Can Anyone Take the MCAT?

MCAT requirements - image by Magoosh
The MCAT stands for the Medical College Admission Test. Created by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), this exam is typically taken by pre-medical students interested in attending medical school. You might wonder though, can anyone take the MCAT? The answer is no but pre-medical students should not be concerned.

MCAT Eligibility

According to the AAMC, “you are eligible to take the MCAT exam if you are planning to apply to a health professions school.” Any student interested in allopathic, osteopathic, podiatric, or veterinary medicine can take the MCAT. All pre-medical students fall under this category. If you are international, you can still take the MCAT but the process may be a little bit more complex so make sure to visit the AAMC’s website for more information about taking the exam as an international student.

Interested test takers that have no desire to apply for a health professions schools or current medical students are not eligible to take the MCAT. However, they may request what is called “special permission” from the AAMC to take the test. It might seem crazy to you that someone would actually want to take the MCAT but have no desire to apply to medical school. However, these people do exist. For example, test preparation companies send developers to take the MCAT on an annual basis. This way they can design their courses and course materials in a way that will help prepare students for the exam.

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AAMC Limits

When the new MCAT was launched in 2015, the AAMC set limits on how often students could take the MCAT exam. The limits permit students to take the exam up to three times per year, four times within a two-year span, and seven times in lifetime. This means that anyone who has exceeded lifetime limit is also not allowed to sign up for the MCAT.

How Does This Affect Me?

For pre-medical students seeking to take the MCAT to apply to a health professions school, you are eligible to take the MCAT. You may take it as many times as you want according to the limits set by the AAMC. Instead of worrying about your eligibility, you should focus more on your MCAT studies! To learn more about how to best prepare for the exam, check out our post on the top five strategies for MCAT success.

Have other MCAT questions? Check out Magoosh’s MCAT FAQ!

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  • Ken

    Ken is a former blog writer for Magoosh who left to focus on developing novel and effective ways to help students achieve success on the MCAT exam.