When you opt to become a doctor, nurse, or any other practitioner in the medical field, you’re making an investment. The road to the white coat comes with many different tolls that you have to pay to pass–and it all starts with the MCAT.
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) first came into existence as a way to vet those who are ready to study medicine and those who are not. Though it’s gone through a few updates since its inception, administration of the test is done with the same intention. It’s a mandatory prerequisite for any student hoping to attend medical school. It also acts as a way for admissions councils to evaluate applicants and can play a significant role in your potential acceptance.
The MCAT is administered 15 times each year in hundreds of locations in the US, Canada, and around the world. The schedule is accessible to the public, so applicants can select the date and location of the test they’d like to sign up for by visiting the the Association of American Medical Colleges website.
There is a registration fee that’s due at sign up, paid to hold your seat and have an exam prepared for you on the selected test date. This fee will include the cost of taking the exam and, once complete, distribution of your scores to your chosen schools.
Test-takers are encouraged to register as early as possible, or at least about a month in advance. For those who register more than 29 days ahead of the exam, the fee is $315. The cost of registering for the MCAT increases the longer you wait to register. For exams scheduled sooner than 29 days from registering, the cost increases to $370.
For anyone taking the test in an international location, there is a $115 fee applied to the registration, regardless of when the reservation is made.
To make sure you get the most out of your registration fee, stick with it. If for any reason you need to make changes to the date or location of your test, it is an available option that incurs an additional fee. Just as it is with registering, the closer you get to the date, the more you’ll have to pay to cancel. If there are more than 29 days until your test is scheduled, you’ll be charged $95 for changing your exam location or rescheduling. Changes made less than 29 days from the originally scheduled exam will incur a fee of $115.
All fees are non-refundable.
If something comes up or you decide you’re simply not ready, you may cancel your registration for the exam, but you forfeit much of the registration fee that’s already been paid. The most you can get refunded after canceling your exam is $115. Only those who cancel at least 29 days from the originally chosen test date will receive this refund. Any later than that and no refund whatsoever will be issued.
For those who have financial constraints but still want to register for the MCAT, you can look into the Fee Assistance Program. This program is in place to help relieve some of the financial weight of registering for this test, allowing aspiring medical professionals to go after their dreams.
U.S. citizens, green card holders, or refugees may qualify for the Fee Assistance Program. It’s dictated by poverty level. Anyone whose household income is 300 percent or less than the 2018 national poverty level for their family size may receive assistance.
Any individual is only qualified for fee assistance up to five times throughout their lifetime. These assistance awards cannot be applied retroactively, so it’s important that you find out if you qualify before paying for the exam out of pocket.
Approved applicants will receive the same benefits as those who paid without assistance. It includes registration for the exam as well as official exam practice materials, access to the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) website, and reduced AMCAS application fees.
Traveling the road to medical school is an investment in your future. Some fees are unavoidable, while others can be bypassed if you know the schedule ahead of time. With the help of a fee assistance program, anyone can have access to the first step in a fruitful career without the MCAT’s cost getting in the way. For everyone, proper preparation will ensure that you don’t pay more than necessary.