Ensure a solid MCAT/DAT score

Standardized tests are an important element of any health-professions application (if they are required). Making sure that you give yourself adequate time to study and prepare is crucial when going through the application process.

If you have already taken the MCAT/DAT but would like to improve your scores, a growth year(s) offers ample time to study for the exam again and take it without time pressure.

If you have not yet taken the MCAT/DAT, a growth year can allow you to study for your standardized exam without the pressure of completing coursework at the same time, and/or allow you additional time to complete your prerequisite preparation.

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to the timing of your MCAT exam in particular:

  1. You are expected to have finished all of your required coursework before sitting for the exam. If, for example, you will not be done with Biochemistry until the end of you senior year, your best option is to take the MCAT no earlier than the summer after you graduate.
  2. Our office recommends sitting for the MCAT no later than July of the year that you plan to apply—this is because it takes scores one month to come back from the day of your exam, and we encourage all applicants to have their completed materials in by the end of August, at the latest.
  3. Most prospective applicants set aside about four months to engage in dedicated studying for the MCAT. If you are rushing this process, there is a chance that you will get a result you’re not as proud of, making it more difficult to apply.
  4. MCAT scores are only valid for three years, meaning that you want to be strategic about when you take the exam and how many potential growth years you engage in.