If your short-term goal is to appear for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), you already have a lot on your plate. And we don’t want to overstress you with med school and MCAT fees and numbers, so we’ve broken down all the costs of taking, repeating, rescheduling, and canceling your MCAT test. We’ve even gone one step further to help you calculate how much it will cost to apply to med school in general. The MCAT is just one fee you’ll have to cover as you embark on this next step in your journey.
As soon as you become a doctor, you’ll be making an excellent salary, but when you’re starting out on your education journey, money may be tight. Medical school is pricey, so let us help you plan out these initial expenses so that you can go in prepared.
How much does it cost to apply to medical school?
Get a pen and paper; it’s time to make your medical school application checklist. You’ll have to consider the following fees as you start applying for medical school.
- The MCAT: We’ll explain the ins and outs of MCAT fees below, but add the MCAT to your checklist because it’s the first expense of all—one you’ll have to pay before you can even start sending schools your applications, as you’ll need to include your MCAT results therein.
- Primary application fee: Most medical schools use a centralized application processing system through the American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS). The system saves your application, which you can then use to apply to various med schools. The first application costs $170, and each application afterward costs $43. Disclaimer: most but not all medical schools use this service, so if you are applying to one that doesn’t, you may have to pay an additional fee and fill out a different application form.
- Secondary application fee: Many medical schools require a secondary application, and the fee to submit it varies by institution.
- College service fee: Think of college service fees as processing charges. They are usually small and cover the transmission services for your letters of recommendation or transcripts.
Want to project your admission process expenses? We’re all about making a smart budget. There are plenty of costs of applying to medical school calculators online that can help you arrive at a sound estimate.
How much does it cost to take the MCAT?
MCAT fee is an entire category of medical school admission costs. Let’s break down the cost of taking, retaking, moving, and canceling this exam.
- Initial registration fee: It costs $325 to cover your registration for the exam and processing of your score. If you only take the test once, this fee is all you will have to pay. And if you qualify for financial assistance, you’ll pay only $130 as the registration fee via the MCAT cost waiver program.
- Cancelation and rescheduling fees: There are times when we can’t avoid unexpected events and have to make time to attend them, which makes us reschedule other commitments. Similarly, aspiring medical students sometimes need to move their MCAT exam date. Perhaps you just want a little more time to study, and that’s totally valid. Whatever the case, The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) will let you opt out of or move your exam for the following cancelation and MCAT reschedule fees:
- 60 or more days before exam: Reschedule – $50; cancelation refund – $160
- 30-59 days before exam: Reschedule – $100; cancelation refund – $160
- 10-29 days before exam: Reschedule – $200; cancellation refund – $0
These costs are lower for those who qualify for the fee assistance program.
- Other fees: Depending on where you live, you may need to shell out for travel and accommodations. And no matter where you’re coming from, you’ll need MCAT study materials, some of which can be costly.
A helping hand
The AAMC offers a Fee Assistance Program (FAP) for the MCAT that helps students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford the test. If you earned a great score on your application test or have some noteworthy feathers in your hat, you can qualify for this program. These reduced fees can significantly impact your education journey, especially if you intend to take the exam several times.
And you can keep your preparation fees low by using free online courses, materials, and practice tests.
Third time’s the charm?
If you don’t reach your target MCAT score range the first time around, you can retake the test. Although this will come at a cost, it may be worth it if you feel more time studying could help you get a better score before applying to your dream school and you have experience appearing for the test once, which could help you prepare again.
Just keep in mind that you can only take the MCAT three times per year. Be smart about your test dates, and avoid taking the exam before you’re ready. It’s best to give yourself the necessary time to study instead of wasting one of your three opportunities to take the test when you’re not prepared.
Be compassionate with yourself. Even if you take the test three times and still don’t get the score you want, remember that the road to becoming a physician is long, no matter how you slice it. Everyone’s journey to holding this role is different, and if yours takes a little longer than you expected, there’s nothing wrong with that.
At Jaanuu, we’re experts at supporting medical professionals. We have loungewear and scrubs that withstand long hours of studying and test-taking. We also have career-oriented advice that can help you prepare for the MCAT and this journey as a whole. Oh, and we’re cheering you on from the sidelines every step of the way.