We are pleased to announce that the 2018 MCAT calendar and testing locations are now available online. Registration for the first half of the 2018 testing year (January – June) will open late October; we will announce the date in the coming weeks. Please encourage your students to follow us on Twitter @AAMC_MCAT for regular updates and announcements, and be sure to register for the October 5 webinar referenced below.
In the AAMC’s continuing efforts to improve the MCAT exam and the testing experience for your students, we recently reviewed our test administration services. The review was part of the AAMC’s due diligence for your students, the pre-health community, and medical school admissions officers. After a competitive proposal process and comprehensive review of the companies that bid, the AAMC selected Pearson VUE to administer the MCAT exam in its Pearson-owned Professional Centers beginning in 2018. We’re confident that these Pearson-owned centers will provide your students with a positive and reliable testing experience. We’re hopeful that they and you will be pleased with the service students receive.
This transition in test administration providers will, of course, bring changes in testing locations. The full list of 2018 centers can be found here. For the vast majority of your students, these centers are in convenient locations. But, unfortunately, a small number of your students will need to travel farther to test in 2018 than they did this year.
The AAMC selected Pearson VUE and the Pearson-owned testing network after carefully analyzing your students’ preferences for testing locations. We used these data to select the testing centers and to identify locations where there are gaps between students’ preferred locations and Pearson-owned centers. We were able to close most of these gaps by contracting to build additional Pearson-owned testing centers in many of these locations. Still, a few gaps remain. Many of these gaps are in remote locations that were previously served by university-based centers. Newer technical capabilities being used to administer the MCAT exam in Pearson-owned centers are not available at other sites. To ensure a smooth transition in 2018 and to provide a consistent testing experience for your students, we will not be administering the MCAT exam at university-based or other third-party sites next year.
Using a process similar to the one we used to determine testing locations, we also reviewed examinee preference data to set and better align the 2018 calendar with examinees’ preferred dates. For 2018, we added five new dates to the schedule (an increase from 25 to 30) and put the majority of testing dates on Fridays and Saturdays.
When the testing year concludes, we will study students’ experiences with the 2018 dates and locations, and we will also evaluate potential technical solutions that might allow us to consider university-based sites. We will use these data and information to make plans for 2019 and beyond.
As always, the AAMC is deeply committed to the needs of students with disadvantages. Though it doesn’t cover travel costs, the AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program covers the cost of MCAT practice materials, the Medical School Admission RequirementsTM, and up to 16 medical school applications. Additionally, it significantly reduces registration fees for the exam. Information about the Fee Assistance Program is available on the AAMC’s website.
The MCAT Team will be hosting our annual pre-health advisor webinar on October 5, 2017 from 3:00-4:00 PM ET to further discuss the 2018 testing year, the transition to Pearson VUE, as well as answer any questions you may have. During the webinar, you will also learn about exciting new offerings for the 2018 testing year that include:
- A new and improved registration and scheduling system that will provide your students with a more user-friendly experience. The new system will be available during the registration opening in late October.
- A new practice exam and a new edition of the Official Guide to the MCAT Exam later this year.
We hope you will be able join us, though note that the webinar will be recorded for anyone not available to participate. To attend, please register here.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Director for MCAT Business Operations
Association of American Medical Colleges