When is the best time to take the MCAT exam?

Short Answer

Students should try to take the MCAT 1 year before the application year. This will allow them time to retake the exam the following year if necessary. For students that want to take the exam as soon as possible their best option is April to May. For students that need more study time, we suggest taking the MCAT between June and August.

When can students take the MCAT exam?

The AAMC offers 30 MCAT test dates in 2023 between January and September, so you can study and take the exam at any time that is convenient for you.

When do medical school applications open and close?

Medical school applications typically open during the first week of May and close between October and December.

[Related Article: How long is the MCAT?]

The best option for prepared students: April to May

When you sit for the exam you have to wait 1 month before the scores are released. This is why if you’re already prepared, then taking the MCAT between April to May is the best option because your score will already be ready by the time the MCAT application opens in around June.

The best option for students that need more study time: June to August


Taking your exam in June will give you a few weeks of MCAT study time. On the other hand, you will be studying straight after your finals which could lead to burnout. The other downside is that you will have less time to submit your application.


For applicants that want to apply to medical school in the same year, but want more time to revise, July is a great time to take the MCAT because you get nearly a full month to study and prepare for the exam.

However, this will also cause your MCAT application to be submitted later than others which can reduce your chances for admission into medical school.


Whilst taking the MCAT in August will give you plenty of time to study and prepare for the exam the major disadvantage is that you will miss that application cycle (you will have to wait until the next year).

Final thoughts

We strongly advise applicants to take the MCAT only after completing all of the premedical coursework so that they have enough time to dedicate to MCAT study.

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