The Medical College Admission Test, colloquially known as the MCAT, is a graduate-level entrance exam required for admission to medical school. Students typically take the MCAT at least one year before submitting their med school applications, giving them plenty of time to retake the exam if they’re not satisfied with their initial scores. That being said, the test is expensive and time consuming—if you can get away with taking it only once, you’ll probably be happier overall.
You’re not going to do as well as you could on the MCAT if you don’t study, so plan to spend a significant amount of time brushing up on the subjects you’ll be tested on. Whether you choose to study on your own using online resources or a study guide from the bookstore, enroll in a preparation class, hire a private tutor, or use a combination of study methods, plan to put in 200–300 hours of studying. Register for an exam sitting far enough in advance that you’ll have time to learn the material.