mcat checklist

What to Bring to the MCAT

Written by: Kristine Thorndyke

The day has finally come! It’s MCAT test day! And boy, are you excited to finally get this test over with so that you can carry on with the rest of your life. But hold up, before you start planning your post-test celebration shenanigans, you need to think about the actual test day and what exactly you need to do well on this big day and get into med school.

First things first, on the day of the exam, you need to double check the address of your testing center online, as once in a blue moon, the testing center location can change without much warning. Granted, the AAMC generally does a fantastic job letting you know this ahead of time, but to be on the safe side, confirm the location as well as directions to the testing center before leaving your house that morning.

Plan to arrive to the testing center at least 30 minutes before the start time to allow adequate time for parking as well as check-in. And for heaven’s sake, confirm the time zone of the testing center if traveling for this test. If you are late to the test, you will be turned away and will not receive a refund. Nobody’s got time for that.

Studying for the MCAT? Check out our favorite MCAT Prep Books!

MCAT Test Day Checklist:

According to the MCAT Essentials, the 2018 test-taking experience has shifted a bit, which means it’s important to get the updated information regarding what to bring to the MCAT.:

  • Photo ID: Your driver’s license or passport is required for check-in on test day. This cannot be a temporary ID and it must match the name you used to register for the MCAT
  • Leave your phone in the car: If you are seen using your phone during the MCAT or on breaks, you will likely be asked to leave the testing center. The same goes for any other electronic devices – don’t risk it. Can’t avoid the temptation? Don’t even bring it in.
  • Leave hats at home: Unless for religious purposes, hats and hoods are not permitted in the testing center. The AAMC recommends dressing in layers so that you can take off clothes if you get warm.

Changes to the MCAT test day include the following features:

  1. Foam ear plugs are provided by the center
  2. You will receive a notebook instead of scratch paper

MCAT Break Checklist:

You will be provided a locker for your things, which you may access during designated MCAT breaks. There are three optional breaks scheduled during testing day. If you choose to leave during these breaks (highly recommended!), you will need to submit your fingerprints and scan your photo ID when you leave as well as when you re-enter the testing site. Here are some of the things that we recommend you pack for your breaks:

  • Brain food snacks: Go for snacks that have a low glycemic index to keep your blood sugar and insulin stable. Whole grains and fruit are good options as well as protein bars.
  • Low sugar beverages: Low sugar gatorade for electrolytes, sugar free Red Bull, coconut water, as well as regular bottled water are great options to sip on during your breaks!

Getting you ready for test day is what we do best. But now, the rest is all up to you! Good luck on your upcoming MCAT!

While you’re at it, check out when you can expect to receive your MCAT scores!