In most cases, you should take the exam in the calendar year prior to the year in which you plan to enter medical school (so that, for example, if you are applying in 2013 for entrance to medical school in 2014, you should take the exam in 2013). If you are trying to determine whether you should take the exam early in the year or later, you should ask yourself a couple of questions:
Will I take the exam just once or is there a possibility I may want to take it again?
Have I mastered the material or do I need additional coursework or study?
If you think that you will take the exam more than once in a given calendar year, you may want to make your first attempt in January, March, April, or May. This should allow you sufficient time to receive your scores, make a decision about your second attempt, and find an available seat later in the testing year. Seats fill up quickly, especially near the end of the year, so the earlier you test and make a decision about a second attempt, the higher the likelihood that a seat will be available for you later. But don't test too early if you are just not ready. If you have coursework to complete, additional studying to do, or you have a major conflict that will not allow you to be in the right frame of mind for the exam, we suggest you wait until you are better prepared. This may mean you make your first attempt in June or July. That's OK, too. You are the best judge of your preparedness.
You will want to take the exam the year in which you will apply for medical school, so that, for example, if you are applying in 2013 for entrance to medical school in 2014, you should take the exam in 2013.
The MCAT exam is offered all throughout the United States, Canada, and in 15 other countries throughout the world. For current listing of test sites, you must go into the Scheduling and Registration System.
If you plan to take the MCAT exam in 2013 or 2014, please note that the Writing Sample section will no longer be part of the exam. In its place, a voluntary, unscored trial section will be added to the MCAT exam starting in January 2013. The unscored questions on the Trial Section will test content that will be added to the MCAT in 2015, including content in psychology, sociology, and biochemistry. The Trial Section will consist of 32 questions and will be administered in a 45-minute time period after all three operational sections (Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, and Biological Sciences) have been administered. Including the Trial Section, the 2013 and 2014 total testing time will be shorter than it was in 2012. Examinees who volunteer to participate in the Trial Section and put forth a good faith effort will be compensated. The Trial Section will be administered under standard conditions for all examinees who volunteer to participate and scores will not be reported for this section.