How Much Does the MCAT Cost? [2021]

The journey to becoming a doctor, nurse, or any medical professional is a huge investment; in yourself and your future. This journey has plenty of different road tolls you need to pay to move along. One of the first big tolls is the MCAT. In this article, we’re going to look at how much taking the MCAT and the overall medical school application is going to cost you.

What is the MCAT?

The Medical College Admission Test, MCAT for short, is an exam that every student who’s hoping to study a medical course has to pass. It is a solid way to weed out those who are ready and serious about studying medicine and those who aren’t. The MCAT has received a fair number of updates since its inception, however, the overall purpose of the exam has stayed the same. Admission councils of medical schools also use the MCAT as a way to properly evaluate applicants. This is why the MCAT plays a significant role in your chances of being accepted. 

How Much Does the MCAT Exam Cost?

The MCAT exam is held 15 times every year, in numerous locations in the United States, Canada, and all around the globe. The exam schedule is accessible to anyone online. Applicants can visit the Association of American Medical Colleges website to select their preferred date and location of the test. Below are the fees you’re going to incur when trying to take the MCAT Exam.

MCAT Exam Fees

  • You’ll have to pay a registration fee when you sign up. This fee covers the cost of the exam and the distribution of your scores to your chosen schools afterward.
  • How much you pay for the registration fee depends on when you register. It is highly encouraged to register for the exam as early as possible; around one month in advance is ideal. For applicants who register more than 29 days ahead of the exam date, the fee will be $315.
  • If you register sooner than 29 days from the exam date, the fee will be increased to $370
  • For applicants taking the test in an international location, an additional $115 fee will be applied during registration. This fee doesn’t change based on when you’ve made a reservation.  
  • If you request any changes with your chosen date or location for the test, it will incur additional fees. The closer you are to the exam date when canceling or moving, the more you’ll have to pay.
  • All of the MCAT Exam Fees are non-refundable.

Application Fees

In addition to the MCAT Exams Fees, you’ll also have various application fees for your chosen medical schools. These application fees may be the largest expense. They most often fall into three categories:

  • Primary Application Fee
  • Secondary Application Fee
  • College Service Fees

Primary Application Fee

The majority of medical schools use the American Medical College Application Service or AMCAS to process applications from students. As an applicant, you can also use this service so that you can easily submit one set of application materials and send them to the schools you’ve chosen. In 2021, the application fee for your first school of choice is $170 and $41 for every additional school.

Keep in mind though, not every medical school will be using the AMCAS service. So always inquire with your chosen medical schools to clarify their admission process. 

Secondary Application Fee

Most, if not all medical schools will require a secondary application. The cost of these secondary applications can vary. If you qualify for the Fee Assistance Program from AAMC, some medical schools will waive this fee. You can double-check with your chosen schools if they have this policy.    

College Service Fees

Most colleges will have small fees when you use various services such as transmitting your transcript and letters of recommendation. You can inquire from your school’s registrar if there are fees when you request these services. 

Extra Expenses

There may be other costs that you should look out for during the application process. These expenses can include:

  • Medical school application guidebooks and tools. Examples are the Medical School Admission Requirements subscription and The Official Guide to Medical School Admissions.
  • All the costs when it comes to your preparation for the MCAT such as exam practice materials.

 

Final Thoughts

Your journey to medical school is a huge investment towards your future. There will be fees and costs that can’t be avoided but some can be bypassed if you know the right information. A good example is registering for your MCAT exam at least 29 days ahead of the scheduled exam date. 

There are also programs such as the Fee Assistance Program to which everyone has access. This program is designed for applicants who can’t afford the fees but are determined to study in a medical school.

Proper preparation and research will take you far and ensure that you don’t have to pay more than you should when applying for your chosen medical school.

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