The MCAT exam schedule for 2019 includes test dates in January as well as March through September, offering a variety of ways to approach the MCAT in terms of your schedule and the medical school application cycle.
A good place to start when thinking about your MCAT test date is by considering your course work, past and future. According to AAMC's description of content on the new MCAT, you should be familiar with the breadth of topics on levels covered in the following classes:
The more popular strategy in past application cycles has been to schedule to take the MCAT in the Spring of one's third-year or that following Summer, overlapping with the AMCAS application, in preparation for matriculating into medical school the year following graduation from a four-year undergraduate program. With the addition of biochemistry, psychology, and sociology topics being added to the MCAT repertoire, the scheduling to fit all of the recommended courses into this same timeline is strained. To relieve some of this scheduling pressure you may look more favorably to a late summer exam date. Keep in mind this will constrict your ability to easily schedule a retake.
Students following a non-traditional schedule are perhaps afforded a little more flexibility in selecting their MCAT test dates, but scheduling in accordance to a post-bacc program can bring its own challenges.
In any case, having completed the MCAT prior to the time needed to submit the AMCAS application as well as secondary applications grants you a separation of concerns, allowing you to focus on one monumental task at a time. Both of these periods are important steps in your medical school application process. Prevailing wisdom always states that no matter what your plan began as, take the MCAT when you are ready.
Registration for the MCAT takes place online through AAMC. Registration typically begins around October for the next year’s round of exams with specific registration periods for groups of test dates.
If you wish to retake the mcat, you must wait 48 hours after your most recent exam (including voids and no shows) to register for another date. Because of this waiting period and the availability of exam dates for seats in your area, you may experience a scheduling crunch towards the end of the testing season.
Aim to test early, test once.
A Quick Reference for What to Expect on Test Day
A comprehensive rundown of the new MCAT