The coronavirus has affected all of us one way or another. This is no different for premed students struggling to get into medical school. Aside from classes being switched online and Universities closing for the rest of the year, the largest obstacle for a premed student right now is how to take the MCAT exam.
It may seem like this is going to push back your career, but don’t let it! Now is the time to push even harder to make becoming a doctor a reality. This pandemic has shown us that doctors are needed more than ever. Now is a great time to enter this profession.
This article will provide information regarding how COVID-19 is affecting the MCAT and what you can do to make sure you don’t delay your medical school admission.
What Exam Dates Have Been Canceled?
According to AAMC as of April 1st, all MCAT exams for the month of April are canceled.
As for May, we will have to wait and see how things progress before the AAMC will let us know about future testing dates.
Additionally, for people that had their 4/24 or 4/25 dates canceled, here is a tweet from AAMC:
This segues into the topic below, what to do with this placeholder.
What To Do If My MCAT Exam Was Canceled Due To Coronavirus
The first thing you can try to do is reschedule for a later date. Chances of securing a spot will be more difficult due to the fact that lots of students will be trying to reschedule. But you should still try and maybe even consider commuting to a testing location further away.
When I first scheduled my MCAT exam, I scheduled it too late and almost had to take the test at a location two hours away from me. I checked every day for a spot to open up at a location close to my apartment. Eventually, a spot opened up and I took it.
The AAMC is waiving all rescheduling fees regardless of exam date, so don’t worry about being charged!
If you can’t find anything at the moment, don’t worry yet. The AAMC is working Pearson VUE to come up with extra testing dates in the future in order to account for all the students trying to reschedule. The AAMC will put an automatic hold on your account until further notice so you can easily switch to a new testing date whenever.
Also, you can cancel your reservation for a full refund and repurchase later. But keep in mind, it could take several days to get the refund in your bank. It may be smarter to just keep the hold and transfer to a new date when available.
If your hold expires, you will automatically receive the full refund.
I Plan On Applying To Medical School This Cycle, What If I Can’t Take The MCAT Until After The Application Cycle Opens?
Sadly, lots of students will have this problem this year. But on the bright side, because lots of students are having to postpone their exams, this places you on an even playing field.
And if you are one of those lucky students who already completed the MCAT, you have an advantage because lots and lots of premeds will be submitting scores later this year.
Here is what the AAMC has to say regarding this:
“Medical schools are aware of changes to the MCAT administration dates, and the AAMC is working with the schools as they begin to prepare for later test score availability for the upcoming application cycle. Please go to MSAR for school specific policies and deadlines.”
Despite what people tell you online, Medical Schools are very reasonable with applications. If there is a legitimate reason, it won’t adversely affect your chances of getting in.
Take Advantage Of Your Quarantine To Study
The situation with the coronavirus can be very discouraging. Not only the fear of contracting the illness, but also the fear of what this is doing to our economy.
Don’t let this fear consume you to the point where it affects your studies.
If you were planning on taking the MCAT soon, do yourself a favor and shut off the outside world. And I’m not talking about just staying at home and self-quarantining. I mean literally turn off the news, online media notifications, and even your social media.
There is a lot of information circulating out there and all we can really know is that we don’t really know what’s going on. Shutting yourself off from the media, news, twitter, etc. will do wonders for your sanity.
This will relieve stress, help you sleep at night, and ultimately help you focus on what’s important: getting into medical school.
When this is all over, you can turn everything back on and get the less panic-stricken report on everything going on.
You are literally stuck at home. Having no distractions from friends or family will give you the chance to study more than you ever could. As long as you don’t stress yourself unnecessarily, you can ultimately turn this quarantine into a positive study aide.
If Your Studies Are Disrupted, Re-focus Yourself.
It’s possible that COVID-19 has already disrupted your classes and study schedule for the MCAT.
If this is the case, don’t fret. You can still re-focus yourself. Consider doing our 1 month MCAT cram course to get you set up for the MCAT. This is an intense, fast-paced schedule which helped me personally increase my MCAT score by 12 raw points.
This is very inconvenient, I get it. This is the first time this has happened in MCAT history and I feel bad for the students that have to go through it.
Just stay focused and take the MCAT immediately when it becomes available.
My predictions are that there will be 2 kinds of MCAT takers after all of this is over. The first kind is students who let the overwhelming negativity from the news and social outlets affect their ability to study for the MCAT. Then there will be the second kind of students who shut themselves off and stay focused on the MCAT.
The one thing I know is that someday this will all be over and a thing of the past.
When the dust settles do you want to be the first kind of student or the second? Because we both know which group will be getting into medical school. Life will constantly throw obstacles your way, it’s your job as a future physician to stay cool, calm, collected, and focused to do what is right.