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Dear Examinee,
We know how greatly your life has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to say that this is a frustrating and challenging time is an understatement. Preparing for the MCAT exam and applying to medical school takes sustained effort and careful planning over several years. The challenges of COVID-19 have regrettably made it difficult to provide more information to you sooner as you make plans to take the MCAT exam. We thank you for your patience and are glad to share these updates that will help you move forward with your plans for taking the MCAT exam and applying to medical school.
1.) Registration for the updated 2020 MCAT Testing Calendar will open on May 7, 2020. Please visit our website for more information.
2.) We are increasing the number of test appointments in an attempt to provide enough seats for everyone who wants to test in 2020 and to allow for safe social distancing practices in the test centers.
  • Three new dates will be added to the testing calendar (June 28, September 27, and September 28).
  • Exams will be held three times per day on all test dates for the remainder of 2020. Standard start times will be 6:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. each day. There may be some variations by test center. More information about start times, including start times for examinees who currently have 8:00 a.m. appointments, will be provided prior to registration opening.
3.) We are temporarily shortening the exam to 5 hours and 45 minutes for the remainder of 2020 test dates to accommodate the number of appointments offered per day at each test center.
  • Some of the field test questions in each section have been removed, and some administrative items, such as the tutorial and the end-of-day survey, have been reduced or removed to shorten the length of the exam.
  • We encourage you to use the online “Practice with MCAT Exam Features” tool to familiarize yourself with the exam functionality prior to test day in lieu of the tutorial. Visit the free resources section of the MCAT Official Prep Hub.
  • The exam will not be easier or harder than the full-length exam. You will still be tested on all four sections of the exam and are responsible for knowing the same concepts and skills covered on the full-length exam.
  • Scores are not changing. You will receive five scores from the exam: one from each of the four sections and one combined total score, just like examinees who took the full-length test.
  • Please visit our website to learn more about the shortened exam and access helpful FAQs.
4.) Scores will be reported within approximately two weeks for exams held from June 19 through August 1. MCAT scores from other test dates will be reported to examinees and medical schools in the typical time frame, which is about four weeks.
5.) Decisions will be made next week about the status of the May 29 exams and will be communicated by email. We will continue to follow local and state health guidance to determine which locations will be affected. At this time we anticipate testing in some centers, but not all.
6.) Please keep in mind that as the spread of COVID-19 continues to be volatile, and testing may be affected in specific locations, according to the local health guidance. The health and safety of every examinee is our priority, and it is possible examinees may need to reschedule their exam for another date if conditions are deemed unsafe by local authorities. Social distancing and health and safety measures will be in place at test centers when testing resumes. Please visit the Pearson VUE website to learn more.
7.) All rescheduling fees have been waived for all exam dates for the 2020 MCAT testing year until further notice.
8.) The AAMC has been working closely with medical school admissions officers since the start of this pandemic, and they are very aware of the impact of COVID-19 on the admissions process and the delay of MCAT scores in students’ applications. AMCAS has also delayed transmitting applicant data to medical schools by two weeks (moving from June 26 to July 10) to give applicants more time to complete their applications. Medical schools will be flexible with their application deadlines and make their review processes as fair and equitable as possible during this unprecedented admissions cycle.
Please visit our MCAT Coronavirus Page for more information and FAQs as well as other ways the AAMC can support you through the application process this year.
We are wishing you and your loved ones good health during this truly difficult time for our nation. As the next generation of physicians, you are needed now more than ever, and the AAMC is proud to support you at every step throughout your medical school journey.
Sincerely,
The MCAT Program "
 
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DT III

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Which questions do you guys think they mean by "field test questions", the passage-based or discrete?
 
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Which questions do you guys think they mean by "field test questions", the passage-based or discrete?
I don't think there's a way to tell. The field test questions are usually questions they put on there to see if they can use that question in the future. Those questions don't count on your current exam. They're just there for just trying things out. However, they're not always just the stand alone questions from what I've been told. Sometimes they were passage questions. So you can't really tell which ones are field test questions. People have guessed that sometimes it's those questions on the test that you have no idea where it came from.
 
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Screamapillar

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Does this mean those of us who already have an MCAT date during the summer will have to re-register on May 7th?
Nope, but your start time will probably change, "More information about start times, including start times for examinees who currently have 8:00 a.m. appointments, will be provided prior to registration opening. "

It sounds like if you already have a test date you should expect an email prior to May 7th.
 
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Nope, but your start time will probably change, "More information about start times, including start times for examinees who currently have 8:00 a.m. appointments, will be provided prior to registration opening. "

It sounds like if you already have a test date you should expect an email prior to May 7th.
Your start time will DEFINITELY change, since everyone currently registered has a 8:00 start, and there will not be any 8:00 starts for the rest of the test year. The question is whether we'll be moved to 6:30 or 12:15. My guess is a little of each, but I'm sure going to try to grab a later time ASAP if they don't give me one before registration reopens!!! :)

By the way, this is a HUGE break for anyone who will be taking the test during this period. It shouldn't change relative performance as compared to the rest of the testing pool, but, let's face it, 5.75 hour test will be significantly less draining and stressful than a 7.5 hour test. A silver lining to all the uncertainty and stress of the past few weeks! :)
 
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pretysmitty

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Your start time will DEFINITELY change, since everyone currently registered has a 8:00 start, and there will not be any 8:00 starts for the rest of the test year. The question is whether we'll be moved to 6:30 or 12:15. My guess is a little of each, but I'm sure going to try to grab a later time ASAP if they don't give me one before registration reopens!!! :)

By the way, this is a HUGE break for anyone who will be taking the test during this period. It shouldn't change relative performance as compared to the rest of the testing pool, but, let's face it, 5.75 hour test will be significantly less draining and stressful than a 7.5 hour test. A silver lining to all the uncertainty and stress of the past few weeks! :)

Ppl get more time per question in everything besides CARS, but the 6:00am/pm times could mess with people. Also lack of lunch break. I think it is possible that people may perform worse on this test compared to previous years.
 

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Ppl get more time per question in everything besides CARS, but the 6:00am/pm times could mess with people. Also lack of lunch break. I think it is possible that people may perform worse on this test compared to previous years.

How are people getting more time for questions? Questions have been removed and the test time was shortened.
 
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I wake up at 5 am every day to start studying around 6 or 6:30 so the 6:30am time will work well for me!
 
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Ppl get more time per question in everything besides CARS, but the 6:00am/pm times could mess with people. Also lack of lunch break. I think it is possible that people may perform worse on this test compared to previous years.
Actually, I think you reversed the calculation, because it's slightly less time per question for all the other sections (1.58 min/question compared to 1.61). Lack of a lunch break shouldn't be a killer because we'll be there almost 2 hours less, and one could use a 10 minute break to grab an energy bar or something. Yes, the 6:00 a.m. will be bad, unless you're a morning person, but only a maximum of 1/3 of test takers will have that time. 6:00 p.m. could also be bad for someone who will be testing until around midnight, but 12:15 should work great for the lucky 1/3 who get that.

In any case, 38 fewer questions over 71 less testing minutes should just make it less stressful than normal, although scores shouldn't be altered (some will do a little better, some a little worse -- I doubt the distribution will change).
 
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How are people getting more time for questions? Questions have been removed and the test time was shortened.
It's actually a fraction of a minute (1.6 seconds) less time for each question (and 6.9 seconds less for CARS) if you do the math, but it's not material. Hopefully, less fatigue will make up for the 1.6 seconds, and the CARS section will involve more questions per passage to make up for the fact that we'll have 7 seconds less per question! :)
 
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there are field questions in both passages and discrete, all of them will be removed.

you'll never notice a difference except it'll be shorter
 
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MedDoc305

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there are field questions in both passages and discrete, all of them will be removed.

you'll never notice a difference except it'll be shorter
I find this so annoying. You mean to tell me I could have dedicated 10 minutes to a question that might not have been counted?
 
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I find this so annoying. You mean to tell me I could have dedicated 10 minutes to a question that might not have been counted?

absolutely, but keep in mind that some of the field questions will be easy "gimmes", others a bit more moderate, and of course some are just left-field.

you could have a passage with the entire section experimental, if they wanted to (they don't do this anymore, they actually spread out field questions throughout the exam post-2015)

this is why it is often advised to "cut your losses" and move on when stuck on a question or short on time; you may very well be wasting energy for something that does not contribute to your score.

too, don't dwell when you get to the next section. you need to be able to prevent yourself from being distracted by something left-field since it may just be experimental. sometimes it's best to guess and not think about it again unless you have time at the end.

that said, don't just think since a question or passage is difficult or obscure that it means it is experimental. again, a lot of the easiest questions are, too.
 
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pretysmitty

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Actually, I think you reversed the calculation, because it's slightly less time per question for all the other sections (1.58 min/question compared to 1.61). Lack of a lunch break shouldn't be a killer because we'll be there almost 2 hours less, and one could use a 10 minute break to grab an energy bar or something. Yes, the 6:00 a.m. will be bad, unless you're a morning person, but only a maximum of 1/3 of test takers will have that time. 6:00 p.m. could also be bad for someone who will be testing until around midnight, but 12:15 should work great for the lucky 1/3 who get that.

In any case, 38 fewer questions over 71 less testing minutes should just make it less stressful than normal, although scores shouldn't be altered (some will do a little better, some a little worse -- I doubt the distribution will change).


Yep you’re right. I definitely would have preferred a noon test...


Personally, I’d prefer more questions to less time, as your wrong answers are diluted a bit. But maybe this new format hits the optimal length for test takers.


It would be really interesting if this new distribution of scores will not be significantly from previous tests. I’m betting on a single percentile change in scores, not sure which direction though
 

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It's actually a fraction of a minute (1.6 seconds) less time for each question (and 6.9 seconds less for CARS) if you do the math, but it's not material. Hopefully, less fatigue will make up for the 1.6 seconds, and the CARS section will involve more questions per passage to make up for the fact that we'll have 7 seconds less per question! :)

AAMC just posted a correction to MCAT CARS section timing: it will be 81 minutes for 48 questions at the rate of 101.25 sec/q !!
 
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Yep you’re right. I definitely would have preferred a noon test...


Personally, I’d prefer more questions to less time, as your wrong answers are diluted a bit. But maybe this new format hits the optimal length for test takers.


It would be really interesting if this new distribution of scores will not be significantly from previous tests. I’m betting on a single percentile change in scores, not sure which direction though
It will certainly be interesting! Can't they ensure that the distribution won't change? After all, these are tests that have never been used before, so they can normalize them however they want, can't they?
 

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It will certainly be interesting! Can't they ensure that the distribution won't change? After all, these are tests that have never been used before, so they can normalize them however they want, can't they?

If you look at the previous percentiles on the aamc website, you’ll notice some movement. I think they try their best to create a test that actually isn’t curved (they base difficulty off of previous years). When i was waiting for my scores i went on the deep end and researched their scaling process lol. Wasn’t the best use of time....


You’ll notice that percentiles slowly go down as the population slowly gets better and better at the test.
 
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If you look at the previous percentiles on the aamc website, you’ll notice some movement. I think they try their best to create a test that actually isn’t curved (they base difficulty off of previous years). When i was waiting for my scores i went on the deep end and researched their scaling process lol. Wasn’t the best use of time....


You’ll notice that percentiles slowly go down as the population slowly gets better and better at the test.
Yes, I noticed that as well. I was referring to as compared to previous administrations this year (i.e., it would be a cluster f*** if scores are higher (or lower) from now on as compared to January-March)..
 
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Where are you seeing this correction? The website still shows 76 minutes for CARS


It’s very fluid situation during Covid19 pandemic..
It was corrected yesterday close to midnight via Twitter storm before they went to bed..!
I think the website correction is coming sometimes Monday..
 

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It's actually a fraction of a minute (1.6 seconds) less time for each question (and 6.9 seconds less for CARS) if you do the math, but it's not material. Hopefully, less fatigue will make up for the 1.6 seconds, and the CARS section will involve more questions per passage to make up for the fact that we'll have 7 seconds less per question! :)
when I get a 478 instead of a 526 I'm blaming it on that 1 second less per question for sure #selfservingbiasftw


Edit: idek, there were already some words in the text box
 
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when I get a 478 instead of a 526 I'm blaming it on that 1 second less per question for sure #selfservingbiasftw


Edit: idek, there were already some words in the text box
All kidding aside, remember, while we are losing that almost 2 seconds, we are gaining whatever we will gain by being less tired towards the end, which should more than make up the difference.
 
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Any idea when they will be announcing who is going to be assigned what testing times on the given days?
Nope. If you are currently holding an 8:00 appointment for a test that wasn't cancelled, they will reach out prior to registration opening, probably to give choices based on time preferences and social distancing requirements. Otherwise, I think you are just supposed to go in on 5/7 and pick whatever you want, subject to availability.
 

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All kidding aside, remember, while we are losing that almost 2 seconds, we are gaining whatever we will gain by being less tired towards the end, which should more than make up the difference.
Eh, I really don’t think the lower total length will be that much better, and I think losing the 30 minute break will be annoying. I took the test in 2016 and the length was really no issue, but 10 minutes is really not that much time when you consider 3-4 of those minutes are involved in getting out and getting back into the room, especially if there’s a line to go through the metal detector. The only break I took was the 30 minute break, it was very nice to use the bathroom and have a snack with no stress about making it back in time. The overall length wasn’t an issue in my opinion as you’re pumping adrenaline the whole time, you don’t know how tired you are until you’re done.

Personally, I’m going for 6am test. There’s something really spartan about waking up early that makes me feel a lot more energized, provided it’s only one day and not every day.
 
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Wild to think this is still longer than the 'old' MCAT that I took back in the day.

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Eh, I really don’t think the lower total length will be that much better, and I think losing the 30 minute break will be annoying. I took the test in 2016 and the length was really no issue, but 10 minutes is really not that much time when you consider 3-4 of those minutes are involved in getting out and getting back into the room, especially if there’s a line to go through the metal detector. The only break I took was the 30 minute break, it was very nice to use the bathroom and have a snack with no stress about making it back in time. The overall length wasn’t an issue in my opinion as you’re pumping adrenaline the whole time, you don’t know how tired you are until you’re done.

Personally, I’m going for 6am test. There’s something really spartan about waking up early that makes me feel a lot more energized, provided it’s only one day and not every day.
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xMikeyDay

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I'm probably going to go for the 6:30am test as well. I was debating between 6am test or noon, I feel like I'd do better with 6am test, BUT I'm not gonna be able to sleep comfortably, i'll be too afraid I oversleep lol
 
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Pearson mentions sanitizing the stations between testers, but based on the 3 exam timings per day, I don’t see when they can do that before the next batch of testers has to start. Unless I’m missing something here? Someone please do the math and let us know.
 
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Pearson mentions sanitizing the stations between testers, but based on the 3 exam timings per day, I don’t see when they can do that before the next batch of testers has to start. Unless I’m missing something here? Someone please do the math and let us know.
I'm sure sanitizing is going to involve wiping the test station down, rather than a deep clean by a hazmat team! :) I'm sure whatever they are planning on doing won't take more than a few minutes, and I imagine would be performed by staff while we are being checked in.
 
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Pearson mentions sanitizing the stations between testers, but based on the 3 exam timings per day, I don’t see when they can do that before the next batch of testers has to start. Unless I’m missing something here? Someone please do the math and let us know.
Yes, but you're most likely NOT STARTING at 6:30 am anyways. They don't care about start times so you could start around 7am but they WILL adhere to the breaks given and length of the test.

I'd assume they just tell people to wait until earlier groups are finished and areas are wiped.

Source: I took 3/14
 
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We are aware of the diurnal biological changes a normal human body can experience that may alter your biological clock and when you can be at your peak performance point.., nonetheless as aspiring physicians we always tell our trainees that you will need to be ready 24/7 to be a consummate physician that you can possibly be to all your patients!!
 

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I wonder if the practice tests will be adjusted to reflect the new timing?

I doubt AAMC will invest in such short term product as they are planning to go back to the standard format test in January, commercial companies like Blueprint and others might come out with something in time for the start of these tests a month from now!

If I am in your position, I will practice the full thing and you will be fine!
 

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