You have studied, prepared, and worked hard. All with one goal in mind: cracking the MCAT. And you are finally almost there! You are a bundle of nerves, and at the same time, you are excited. But, have you brought what you need for test day?
During the MCAT test day, make sure you have all the necessities to make your test experience a great one. Most importantly, have your ID with you, then have some healthy food for the lunch break. Also, keep some healthy snacks for the optional breaks in between.
Read on for more details on what you should bring to the MCAT venue. We suggest that you prepare a checklist well in advance for what you need to bring with you and what you need to do before test day so that you don’t have to scramble at the last moment.
Before Test Day
- Make sure to check your test appointment before the test day. AAMC may contact you to confirm your test date.
- Make sure to go online and confirm the test venue. Check the test venue location and also the directions to get there. You will need to check these details to plan when you should leave home.
- Get a good night’s sleep on the night before test day so that you are relaxed and in a good frame of mind to tackle the tough test the next day.
- Keep the materials you will need to bring to the test venue ready.
- Make sure you have asked for and got permission from MCAT Accommodations Services well in advance in case there are any medications that you need to bring to the test center.
On Test Day
- Get up early and have a good breakfast. You will need it.
- Gather up all you need to bring to the test center.
- Leave home well in time to reach the venue at least 30 minutes before the test starts.
- Leave your phone in the car. Don’t bring it with you since it won’t be allowed inside.
What to Bring
- Most importantly, bring a valid government ID. Your ID should have your name and surname exactly how it is spelled on your AAMC registration form. It should also have a photograph to verify your identity. Lastly, it should have a signature that you will be asked to reproduce at the center.
- Your medication or medical aids (insulin, insulin pump, inhaler, pills, etc.)
- Some nourishing food and snacks for lunch and the optional breaks.
What You Should Not Bring
- Do not bring your phone to the test center. Your phones and any other electronic devices may be kept in the locker assigned to you, but you will not be allowed to use them. If you are found using one, you could be asked to leave.
- Hats. If you do bring a hat, it will have to be kept in your locker. The only headgear allowed is a religious head covering.
Getting to the Venue in Well in Time
We can’t stress the importance of getting to the venue at least 30 minutes before the start of the test.
Make sure you reconfirm your test venue and the directions to get there well in advance. Then, on the day of the test, start early to reach the venue with enough time to sign in and settle down.
Keep in mind your traveling time, and make compensations for traffic as well as other delays. If your test center is in another time zone, make sure that you take that into account as well!
You need to be at least 30 minutes before test time to settle down, check in, store items in your locker, and mentally prepare yourself for the test. If you arrive too early, the center may still be locked. If you arrive late, you may not be allowed to sit for the test. Keep these in mind to prepare ahead of time.
Bring Your Valid ID With You
As mentioned earlier, you won’t be allowed to enter the test venue without valid government-issued identification. Here are some pointers to keep in mind:
- The valid ID should be issued by a government department. The best ID is your driver’s license or your passport (NOT a passport card).
- Your ID should have your name and surname spelled exactly as it is on your AAMC registration. If the names do not match, you could be asked to leave and you would not get a refund.
- The ID should have your photograph so you can be positively identified.
- The ID should have your signature. Keep in mind that you would have to reproduce your signature at the venue.
- The ID should have the expiration date printed on the ID.
- The expiration date of your ID should be any date after the test date.
If you come without a valid ID, you would not be allowed in.
Some Details on Medication
In case you need to take necessary medications like insulin or inhalers, you will be allowed to bring them. However, make sure that you specify these details in the MCAT Accommodation Services section earlier on so that you get the necessary permissions. You would also need to provide your case papers and other details for cross-verification.
Food and/or Snacks to Bring to the Venue
The MCAT is a grueling test that lasts for 7 hours. There are a few optional breaks in between and a 30-minute lunch break.
In this case, you want to make sure you bring healthy, nourishing food for lunch. Preferably, you want to bring comfort food that makes you feel good. Make sure you have liquids as well, like water, low-sugar fruit juices, or coconut water.
For snacks, you could bring protein bars or fruit. All these items will have to be stored in the locker assigned to you.
We suggest that you take the optional breaks to stretch or walk around. Even during the lunch break, take some time to walk around and stretch to keep the circulation going.
You can also talk to others during the lunch break, but DO NOT DISCUSS the test in any way. Break this rule and you could be asked to leave!
What You Are Provided with at the Venue
At the venue, you will be provided with soft foam earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. You will not be allowed to bring your earplugs or headphones. So please take note of this. These earplugs or headphones help in filtering out the ambient noise so that you can concentrate on your test.
Make sure that while preparing for the MCAT, you wear earplugs or headphones during practice tests so that you can get used to them.
Also, the MCAT has many problems that require you to do some rough calculations. At the venue, you will be provided with a note board booklet with 9 graph-lined pages and a fine-point marker for any rough/scratch work you need to do. In case you need another booklet, just raise your hand and you will be provided with a new one.
What Happens During Test Day
During the day of the test, as we suggested, reach the venue at least half an hour in advance so that you can complete the check-in procedures. These are as follows:
- You will have to confirm your test appointment and exam with the test administrator.
- You will have to read and agree to the testing rules.
- You will then be required to verify your ID. Make sure you have a valid ID on you.
- You will be asked to verify your signature by signing on a digital signature pad.
- You may be asked to scan your palm. This is to ensure that no one else takes the exam instead of you.
- After that, the administrators will take a digital photograph of you.
- You then need to store all your belongings in a locker: your watch, purse/wallet, and any other personal items.
- Each time you enter the testing room, you will be checked for personal items that are not allowed. They will even check your glasses.
- Once you have completed the check-in process, you can enter the test center. Each time you enter, you will go through the same process of checking.
Going for your MCAT can be a grueling experience. How you prepare is very important. It is also important to follow the guidelines.
The MCAT rules are pretty strict and non-compromising. So please do read and understand what you can and cannot do. If you fail to follow the rules, you could be asked to leave and you will not get a refund. So take this tip seriously.
It is also important to bring only what is necessary to the test center. Follow the guidelines and have a great test!
That surely is a lot of information to take in, but with proper preparation, you could be able to ace the exams. All the best!