When to take MCAT if taking a gap year (current senior)

May 11, 2012
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I'm currently a senior in college and will be taking a gap year. If I am to be applying this coming summer, should I aim to take the MCAT around June? My previous thought was to take it in August but I realized this would probably be too late. I end school at the end of April. I want to apply early and want to know if it will be a detriment to send my score in late.
 

scoKraz4

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Dec 16, 2013
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When I originally signed up for the MCAT, I ended up delaying it another month about a week before the test. It made a huge difference and made sure that I felt completely ready for it. Absolutely do not force the test on yourself because it will hurt you in the long term. Study hard and take it when you feel you are the most prepared that you can possibly be.
 
OP
D
May 11, 2012
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Pre-Medical
I have a sub-par gpa so I want to apply early and broad so I can get as many secondaries as possible. Will taking the test in July hurt my chances at all? I'm not planning on working at all so I will just be studying from the start of May to the test day. I'm mostly worried about the latent period that occurs when the school has my primary and is then waiting for my MCAT to come in.
 

Elevencents

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Sep 3, 2011
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I took mine at the end of June and made sure my primary was verified before my score came back in July. I was attending my last interview when a lot that I had talked to that day were at their first. So being complete at the end of July is still early IMO.
 

hallowmann

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Obviously, taking it any time later than the end of May/beginning of June will delay your app, and as a result will hurt you. The issue is whether or not you will be prepared for the MCAT by the end of May/beginning of June, because as others have stated, a low MCAT score will hurt you more.

If I were you, I wouldn't schedule the MCAT for later than June. Personally, I don't think you need to study for 3 months, but everyone is different so only you can figure that out. 1 month worked just fine for me, and I think I would have reached my peak at 1.5 months. If you are able to multi-task and study during school, you can still fit in lots of MCAT prep time.

If you have the extra $75 (cost of changing the test date), I'd schedule it for around the earliest you think you'll be ready. If by 2 weeks before, you don't feel confident and are not getting at or above your target on practice tests, I'd postpone it to a slightly later date.

Regardless of when you take it, make sure your app is in and verified, you have all your LORs, and have secondaries pre-written by the time your MCAT score is released. This is all provided you have a GPA >3.0.
 
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Sep 29, 2013
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The sooner you apply the better. Last year I took my MCAT and moved across country after I graduated. I didn't submit my primary until the end of August which then took 6 weeks to verify. I didn't get secondaries until mid October. I sent out 10 secondaries, got 2 interview invites and no acceptances. This year I submitted my primary as soon as I could and then sent out 5 secondaries. I got 4 ii's and 3 acceptances all by mid October. My only improvements to my application this year included 300 hours of volunteering and increasing my MCAT from a 27 to a 28. Applying early definitely makes a huge difference.
 
May 26, 2013
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You definitely want to take it before March 2015, unless you feel like taking a longer exam with new subjects.
3 days later after I graduated from undergrad, I was in the library studying for the MCAT. I only spent ~3.5 months following SN2ed schedule.
Take the MCAT while the material is fresh in your mind. I got accepted, but during my gap year I find myself feeling stupid and losing knowledge on science/basic English grammar lol. Studying during the summer might suck for obvious reasons, but if you're serious about medicine, it will be a summer well spent.
 

Dreamstoo

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Dec 13, 2011
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You definitely want to take it before March 2015, unless you feel like taking a longer exam with new subjects.
3 days later after I graduated from undergrad, I was in the library studying for the MCAT. I only spent ~3.5 months following SN2ed schedule.
Take the MCAT while the material is fresh in your mind. I got accepted, but during my gap year I find myself feeling stupid and losing knowledge on science/basic English grammar lol. Studying during the summer might suck for obvious reasons, but if you're serious about medicine, it will be a summer well spent.
Agreed, last summer I studied a little bit for the MCAT to get the hang of it. About 6-7 hours a day then eventually for my last 3 weeks I bought it down to 2 hours a week (this was after I stopped volunteering and relaxed for my last two weeks during the summer). My friend did the SN2 schedule for only 3 months and said his score improved from a 29 to a mid 30. He was also very intellectually gifted. His first practice was already nearly a 30, it was a 29 or a 28.