The MCAT can be one of the most exciting and terrifying of all college entrance exams. If this is the field you’ve chosen, you want to do the best you can on this test to ensure you get into the program you desire. However, the MCAT is one of the more challenging of tests, and it requires a good deal of studying and prep time to ensure you get the best results possible. The question is, when are you ready for it? There are few things that can help you to know that you’re in the right place.

Do You Feel Prepared?

The simplest answer to this question is to take the MCAT when you feel the most ready for it. That’s easier to say than to actually do. However, if there is any reason you do not feel you are prepared for it, you may not be. More so, if you feel unsure of yourself, the chances are good that feeling will defeat you as well. The good news is that you will know when you are ready because of the time and work you’ve put into preparing for it.

The Same Year as You Will Apply

When do you want to enroll in medical school? Use that date to help you plan when to take your MCAT. For example, most students will take their MCAT the same year they enroll in medical school, and at least several months before they do so. If you want to enroll in the fall of 2020, you need to take your exam in late 2019, before you apply. This ensures you have all the time you can to study.

Know There Are Limits

Unlike other college entrance exams, you can only take the MCAT three times in a single testing year. And, you can only take it four times over two consecutive years. And, across your lifetime, you can only take it seven times. That puts a bit of pressure on you. Instead of taking it and doing poorly, prepare and put the time into learning about this exam’s structure, question types, and content. Be ready for that first time so you don’t face challenges due to poor scores because you took the test too soon.

Other Tips for Knowing When to Take the MCAT

Consider a few more tips to help you make this decision:

  • Do you feel you’ve mastered the content on the exam? If you haven’t taken undergraduate courses in areas such as chemistry, biology, physics, and biochemistry, you may not be ready for it. It also helps to take a course on sociology and psychology.
  • Have you taken a prep course for it? This is an easy way to boost your skills to ensure you are ready for the test itself.

In situations where you have done all of this, you’re ready to take the test. Don’t put it off too long that you fail to remember the information you’ve learned.