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What to Bring to the MCAT

You’ve done it. You’ve studied, prepared, reviewed, and now you’re ready to get that goal MCAT score. While the process of getting here has probably been stressful, the final item on your list should be understanding what to bring to MCAT test day and what you should leave at home. 

What Is Provided During the MCAT?

Your MCAT testing center will give you a wet-erase booklet for note-taking with nine 14-by-8.5 graph-lined pages and a marker. You won’t be able to erase your writing during the exam, but if you need additional space, you can exchange your booklet with a clean one.

You will also be assigned a locker and storage key to store your possessions that aren’t allowed in the testing room.

Pro Tip: Write down the MCAT equations you’ll need before diving into the exam. Download our free MCAT Equations and Formulas Sheets to help you identify which to focus on.

What Can I Bring to the MCAT?

In general, you can break down what items to bring to MCAT test day by what you can bring inside the building and what items are allowed in the testing center. 

Items Allowed in the Testing Center

  • Eyeglasses, subject to visual and physical inspection by test administrators and without the case
  • MCAT-accepted ID
  • The items provided by the test center:
    • Earplugs
    • Storage key
    • Noteboard wet-erase booklet
    • Fine-point marker 

Proper Identification

The most important thing to bring to MCAT test day is a valid ID. A driver’s license or government-issued ID that is up to date with your full name and address that isn’t expired is required for access to the test center. 

Some things that don’t count as a valid ID are:

  • Student IDs
  • Paper IDs (like temporary IDs the DMV may give you when you’re getting a new license in the mail)
  • Birth certificates
  • Social security cards

If you’re unsure if your ID will be accepted, AAMC has laid out its guidelines for what they will accept. Your ​​valid MCAT-acceptable ID must have the following:

  • A name that exactly matches the name you used to register for the MCAT
  • A clearly printed expiration date that is not before your MCAT test date
  •  A current photo
  • Your signature
  • Be in English

Additional Items You Can Bring to the MCAT

In theory, an ID that lets you into the building to take the MCAT exam could be all that you need, but let’s be realistic. This is a seven-and-a-half-hour-long test. You’re going to need a few supplies to get you through. So what else should you bring to the MCAT?

1. Food and Water

The MCAT is administered in four sections with three breaks. Two of these breaks are 10 minutes, and one is 30 minutes for lunch.

Section Length (Mins)
Chemical and Physical Foundations 95
Break 10
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS) 90
Break / Lunch  30
Biological and Chemical Foundations 95
Break 10
Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior 95


When packing what to bring to MCAT test day, don’t forget something to eat! You’ll want to make sure that you have brain food and something to drink. Make sure your snacks are something that will give you energy for your next section. Remember, this is a long exam and you want to give your brain all the energy it needs to stay sharp as the day passes. 

Some great MCAT snack examples are your favorite trail mix or sandwich, water, Gatorade, or energy drink.  Having some cash on you can also be a good idea, in case your snack isn’t quite cutting it and your location has vending machines. Note that you won’t be allowed to leave the test center floor or building to get food. 

While you’re testing, your snacks will need to stay in your locker. So, don’t bring anything that could perish within a few hours. There are no microwaves or refrigerators available in the test centers.

2. MCAT Accommodations and Medical Devices

If you have any conditions that require accommodation beyond what the test center already provides, take those into account when you’re considering what to bring to MCAT test day

The AAMC allows you to bring certain medical necessities into the building or the test room with you with no questions asked. These include:

  • Medical devices like insulin pumps, oxygen tanks and spinal cord stimulators (must be attached to your body, inaudible and can’t include a remote-control device)
  • Medications that are not in blister packaging, unless the medication states that it must remain in the packaging until taken, or are autoinjectors like EpiPens
  • Bandages, braces, casts, slings, hearing aids, and other physical supports are allowed
  • Mobility devices like canes and wheelchairs
  • Medical alert bracelets, necklaces, etc. 

For anything not on the list, you can apply for MCAT accommodations. Outside of additional physical accommodations like medical devices, you can request MCAT accommodations for conditions like ADHD, PTSD, head injuries, and many others that would affect your ability to complete the MCAT. 

3. Earplugs

When you’re figuring out what to bring to MCAT test day, consider earplugs. Most test centers will provide these for you and, if so, you can only use theirs. However, some test centers will allow you to bring earplugs with you. Make sure you call ahead of time to find out if you need to bring your own. 

What Can’t I Bring to the MCAT?

To avoid violating AAMC and your test center rules, the following is a list of items you can’t bring with you to the test center:

  • Laptops or tablets
  • Notes, MCAT prep pages, review books
  • Earbuds or headphones (unless your test center clearly says they do not supply them)
  • Friends, family, or any member of your MCAT support group

However, there are items you can bring to the test center but must stay in your locker while you are testing. You can’t even access these during your breaks:

  • Your cell phone
  • Any electronic devices (For example, a watch)
  • Backpack or purse (If you need to access items from a backpack or purse you must ask the test center staff before doing so.)
  • A car (Ok, yes, you can’t store your car in a locker but you also can’t access it until you’re done testing)

You will be required to store cell phones and small electronic devices in sealed bags given to you at the test center. The bag must remain sealed until a test administrator opens it after your exam.

Remember, even simply holding or touching your phone during your breaks is considered a violation. So, it’s best left either in the provided locker, tucked away safely in your car, or happily charging at home. 

Things to Remember About MCAT Test Day

Voiding Your Test

At the end of each section, you have the option to void your MCAT. This means that it won’t be recorded and that the entirety of that MCAT exam will not be scored.

If for some reason, you begin the test and part-way through a section decide that you want to void your MCAT and get out of there, you can skip through the questions to the end. Then you’ll be presented with the voiding question and you can end the section there.

Before you consider voiding your test, make sure you know how many times can you take the MCAT and how close you are to the limited attempts you have.

While voiding is possible, it isn’t recommended. Finishing out a section, even if you’re struggling, can give you valuable information about which portions of the test are challenging you and which ones you need to focus on studying before the next time you take the test. 

What to Wear 

This may not be something you’ve thought about, but it is something you should give some consideration to. The biggest thing is to be comfortable. The MCAT is a stressful test, and you want to make sure that you’re not adding discomfort to the equation. Keep in mind that it is a professional-ish environment, so make sure that you’re not wearing anything inappropriate for a business-casual situation. 

MCAT Test Day

To ensure test day is smooth sailing, there are some things to keep in mind. Be sure that you know where your test center is so that you can get there a little bit early. Map out your route ahead of time so that you have plenty of time to get through a security check-in, find your assigned locker, and take a few deep breaths before the test actually starts. 

What to bring to MCAT test day and
store in your locker
What not to bring
What you can bring to MCAT test day but can’t access even during breaks
Food and/or drink Notes, test prep pages, review books Cell phone
Medicine Tablets, laptops Backpack or purse
Personal hygiene items Earbuds, headphones Any vehicle
Cell phone – must be sealed in the bag provided Visitors Any electronic devices

It’s useful to make yourself a small action plan the week of your MCAT test date to mitigate any stress. 

  • Have your valid identification ready. The MCAT allows several forms of ID, so if you don’t have a driver’s license, make sure to bring another option from the approved list. 
  • Pack yourself a lunch, a light snack, and something to drink for your breaks, as well as any medications you might need. 
  • Plan to take a short walk when you can or do some deep breathing exercises in between sections to refresh yourself.
  • Make sure that you’ve applied for any MCAT accommodations you need ahead of time. 
  • Wear something comfortable. 

Getting to the MCAT is an achievement all of its own. You’ve prepped, you’ve practiced, and you’re ready to go. Before you get there, make sure that you are prepared with the MCAT essentials and know what to bring to MCAT test day to make it go as smoothly as possible.

Test day can be stressful, but proactive MCAT test prep with Blueprint Prep can make the process much easier and support you in getting that top score you’re aiming for

Good luck!

MCAT is a registered trademark of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which is not affiliated with Blueprint.