Applying to Med School: AMCAS 2018 is OPEN!

The time has come for the entering class of 2018 med school hopefuls to APPLY!

As of May 2nd the American Medical College Application Service aka the AMCAS 2018 is OPEN! It’s the BIG one. This application is massive and meticulous so get on it ASAP.

With the exception of the schools in Texas, the AMCAS is the application used for nearly all med schools in the U.S. The Texas programs use the Texas Medical & Dental School Application Service aka the TMDSAS, which also opened this month. Either way, it’s time to start applying!



Getting Started

Firstly, here is the full AMCAS 2018 Instruction Manuel to read.

The AMCAS is long and complicated; make your life easier and actually do read the thing. All the information you can ever want can be found there and at the very comprehensive AMCAS website here.

The application fee for the submitting your AMCAS 2018 is $160 (that includes one medical school designation) and additional medical school designations: $39 each. Keep in mind there is the Fee Assistance Program and if you qualified to use it when registering for the MCAT you probably qualify here too!

You’ll use your AAMC username and password to login, save, edit, and submit your AMCAS. This is the same login info from registering for the MCAT and Fee Assistance Program. If you are completely new to the AAMC website you can register here.



The 9 sections of the AMCAS 2018 to complete: 

o Sections 1-3: Your Background Information

This is the standard personal and biographical information.

o Section 4: Course Work

Even the AAMC admits, “The Course Work section is often reported as the most difficult section to complete.” Here you take a copy of your transcripts to enter detailed information regarding every single course in which you enrolled at any college you attended.

o Section 5: Work and Activities

This is where you enter any work experience or extracurricular activities, awards, honors, or publications that you would like to show off to the admission committees. A maximum of 15 experiences may be entered and 3 entries can be designated as your “most meaningful” experiences. Really it’s quality > quantity, so don’t go crazy here.

o Section 6: Letters of Evaluation

Here you will enter the information regarding your letter of recommendation writers. Up to 10 letter entries may be created but keep in mind individual programs don’t need/want 10 letters!

o Section 7: Medical Schools

This is where you will select the schools to which you will apply. It is also where you can designate the schools you wish to receive specific letters of evaluation.

o Section 8: Essays

Here’s the big bad essay section where you explain why you wish to attend medical school and address any pertinent information not included elsewhere in the application. This is the place in your application where you can make a case for yourself in your own words! Remember: PROOFREAD! There is no spellcheck in the AMCAS and also keep in mind no bold or italics will show.

o Section 9: Standardized Tests

This is where you any test information goes i.e. MCAT scores/ future MCAT test dates and even GRE score if you got some.



Feeling stressed? Check out some advice AAMC has to give on Application Anxiety!
Well there it is folks, MCAT Cracker‘s application breakdown. So until next time…

Happy Applying. 🙂

MCAT 2017 Registration is Open!

You’ve been preparing for this day for a long time and now it’s time to set a date!

Are you ready for the MCAT?


Let’s talk about what you need to now about registering for the Medical College Admission Test in 2017!


Firstly you’ll need to create your AAMC ID here!


Registration for test dates January through June 2017 are now OPEN!

In the chart below you’ll see the testing dates laid out with the corresponding registrations deadlines.



Registration Fees and The Zones

The different zones of registration refer to the amount of time you register before for your selected test date. The Gold Zone is a month or more prior to the exam date, Silver Zone is approximately 3-4 weeks before, and the Bronze Zone refers to signing up for an MCAT date 1-2 weeks out.

It is encouraged to register early within the Gold Zone because test centers and dates do fill up. Also if you do end up having to reschedule and cancel your MCAT exam you can receive a smaller cancellation fee and larger refund. Check it all out below…



Fee Assistance Program

The FAP provides financial assistance for the cost of MCAT registration and AMCAS submission fee. To learn more about FAP and to see if you’re eligible for assistance go here.


Retaking the MCAT? 

Check out our blog post about the AAMC rules and what to keep in mind about retaking here.


These are all just the highlights! You are off to a great start here so be sure to check out AAMC’s MCAT Essentials here for any further questions you may have!

Don’t forget to check out the blog for more things pre-med and on conquering the MCAT including test section breakdowns and study tips! Practice with MCAT Cracker to ace it!


Happy Registering!

Creating Your MCAT Study Guide!

Preparing for the Medical College Admission Test is a daunting undertaking and you need a proper plan of action to succeed! If you’ve been following along the blog for a bit the idea of creating your own personalized MCAT study guide has come up before so now let’s really get into it!


There are actually quite a few study guides and strategy suggestions floating around but unfortunately, like a lot of MCAT information, it’s likely wildly outdated! With the major overhaul of the MCAT in 2015 much of the advice and general thinking around how to study for the big test reflects the old exam. It would be better to create a personalized MCAT study guide that is catered to you anyway so let’s explore how to do that!


AAMC’s Suggestions

The 5-part guideline outlined by the American Association of Medical Colleges is a pretty good place to start and adding in the blog wisdom


  1. Understand – Know The Enemy

 Learn all the ins and outs of the MCAT! Check out this quick overview video from AAMC. Luckily there’s conveniently quite a few MCAT Cracker blog posts focusing on breaking down the test! Example: CARS Section Breakdown

  1. Establish – Know Where You Stand

 Run a MCAT Cracker diagnostics test to discover your starting point and find out where you stand with the material so you can best decide how to move forward!

  1. Study – Know Your Stuff

Personalize here! You know yourself best so set yourself up for success and get organized! Explore further with the blog posts we’ve covered in the past  MCAT Study Tips and MCAT Tools & Resources! Work smarter not harder.

  1. Practice – Practice Practice Practice

And Practice! Knowing the mountain of material is important but don’t underestimate the power of practice! Not only have we’ve been preaching the importance of practice here on the blog…MCAT Cracker  specialize in it! Did you know you can take practice exams focusing on a specific section? So if you’re less strong on one section you can focus on working on that!

  1. Simulate – Dress Rehearsal

Test day is a big day!

Gain some confidence and calm your nerves by going through test day like a practice run. This means wake up and prepare to take a full timed test and simulate the real thing at least once before real test day!

Check out the AAMC guide in full here.


You Do You.

By now throughout your many years of schooling you know what works best for you so don’t stray and stay true to what works. Basically you know you best and if that means studying in the early mornings versus late afternoon or visual tools instead of textual guides then no need to drastically change your all study habits just adapt and expand! Check out Wikihow’s guide to formatting a personalized guide for you here.


You now hold the keys to success in order to create your very own MCAT study guide to conquer the test! As you may have noticed we have covered a lot of these topics already so stay tuned for more MCAT and medical school insight around the blog 🙂

Happy Practicing!

Should You Retake the MCAT?

Maybe you freaked way out on test day or your scores turned out wildly unbalanced.

For whatever reason you might be considering retaking the MCAT, deciding to retake really depends on you!


Here are things to consider when facing the decision to relive test day…


The Rules.

First off, you need to know the official word on retesting from the AAMC…

  • In a single testing year, the MCAT exam can be taking up to three times
  • In a two consecutive-year period, the MCAT exam can be taken up to four times
  • In a lifetime, the MCAT exam can be taken up to seven times

Also worth noting: you can only be registered for one seat at a time and that no-shows and voids count as attempts!


Potential Med School Policies.

Don’t forget to check in on the medical programs you’re applying to and research specific MCAT retake rules! Different schools may look at multiple scores in a ways that can influence your decision to retest.

It’s imperative to note whether the schools you’re eyeing consider

only the highest overall score, average all scores or they might only consider the most recent score.


Prep Check.

Now that you’ve taken the test once and want to improve here are two important questions to ask yourself and answer honestly:

How did you prepare the first time?
What will you do differently in preparing this time?

Pinpointing the issues and deciding how to move forward in studying for the next time is key. Is it just that you didn’t prepare enough or was it the way you studied? We would suggest that the essential factor in improving you score is PRACTICE. With MCAT Cracker practice tests you will get better at testing taking in general while also studying the content tested.


Postponing Instead.

If you having serious concerns before the big day and are already thinking about retesting, consider postponing your test instead. Depending on how far out test day is you might even be able to get a slight refund. Check out the different MCAT rescheduling fees according the different zones below:

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 9.44.18 PM


Basically the only acceptable answer to

‘Should I retake the MCAT?’ is

it depends.


If you go with retesting, remember with MCAT Cracker you build on your test taking skills, time management, accuracy, confidence, and improve you MCAT scores!


Benefits of Joining a Pre-Med Organization

Imagine that crowded and bustling organization fair at the beginning of each semester. There is likely a wide range of different pre-med or pre-health professional organization tables vying for your time and membership. There’s really a lot out there so how do you choose?

Or perhaps…

You may have strolled through that fair and thought something along the lines of…

“Hey I know all about applying for medical school and I got a pretty good handle on the MCAT so I don’t need those meetings and membership fees, right?!”


…but let’s take a closer look, shall we?





Gaining Relevant Experience

Simply putting down on your resume that you were a part of some pre-med society isn’t much help but there are plenty of ways to get involved in events and programs put on by the organization. Pre-med clubs offer a wide range of opportunities to be proactive in bettering yourself through things like for instance mentoring programs or gaining experience volunteering in the medical world.

Make the most of your time and membership fees frankly and get involved!


Leadership Opportunities

Within the ranks of the organization you can lead peers and drive the club to success.

Taking on a leadership role can be challenging but you gain the very valuable skills for a future in medicine in communication, negotiating, and problem solving just name a few. Besides leadership positions always look great on a resume. Taking the lead and the subsequent skills gained are extremely beneficial for a future medical professional.


Access to Resources

These organizations have resources you may not even be aware exist and in order to take advantage of them you have to be in the know!

One of the perks of a pre-med organization is that school representatives from the different medical programs will schedule more visits should they anticipate an audience of pre-med students. That means many clubs will host these representatives to come and talk to the group and answer any specific questions or even host a whole panel of representatives to speak!


Figure Out Exactly What You’re Doing

Anesthesiology, Internal Medicine, and Neurology, OH MY!

So what exactly are all the specializations and what is it exactly you want to do? Student orgs may bring in a wide range of people in the medical profession to talk on what they do and offer advice and help you discover exactly what you’d like to do someday!


Misery Loves Company

You’ll meet other pre-med hopefuls to share the woes of preparing for medical school. With everything from the AMCAS, the MCAT, letters of recommendation, etc making connections with fellow students that know exactly what you’re going through can be both comforting and helpful! You can even share your wisdom about how great MCAT Cracker is! 🙂



The real trick is finding the pre-med club for you. I wasn’t kidding when I said there’s a few out there. Check this list from the University of Texas at Austin of Pre-Health Profession Organizations here.


BONUS: The AAMC has even created a resource of potential pre-med organization lesson plans! It is a really neat tool. Check it out here.


In review, pre-med clubs can offer many benefits helping members stay on the track with things like career panels and mentoring programs!

So why would you want to join? The better question is why not?


Applying to Med School: Early Decision Program!

The Early Decision Program (EDP) is an elusive, exclusive, and may be an alluring option but there a few important things to keep in mind so let’s review! What is it exactly?

The Early Decision Program gives you the opportunity to secure acceptance from one school by October 1, while allowing time to apply to other schools if you’re not accepted.

This option can save time and money since you only apply to one program. Plus since you’re applying early it can save you a lot of stress but there is a catch (few actually)!


One School.

You apply to one school and one school only.

That decision is not to be taken lightly by any means because if accepted through the EDP you must commit to that school. The EDP is a restricted program, in that applicants are bound by program agreements including (I repeat) you apply to one school and if you get in that’s it! So basically only if you really know where you want to go and it’s your one true dream school then you can consider the EDP.



Since it’s called the EARLY Decision Program you can imagine the application deadline to be much sooner rather than later. In fact for the AMCAS the deadline is August 1st! This includes both the AMCAS and any secondary application a specific school may require to be in by then. That’s a lot to get in so if you’re considering the EDP for real… finish reading this post and GET TO WORK!


HIGHLY Competitive.

As if getting into med school wasn’t hard enough keep in mind that schools will only admit a small portion of their entering class through the Early Decision Program. That means only applicants with an already excellent chance of admission to a particular school should apply through EDP.


To find out specifically about Texas schools participating in the TMDSAS Early Decision Program (whose deadline is also August 1st) go here.


The good news is AMCAS EDP applicants will be notified no later than October 1st and TMDSAS EDP applicants will know by September 15th if they’ve been accepted! Does the EDP sound like the dream? Just be sure check that your ONE medical schools you’re applying to participates in the program, in fact you might want to do that first, huh? 🙂



P.S. Since our last post the University of Texas’ brand new (well still under construction) Dell Medical School just received word on accreditation and is open for applications for 2016! If your interested apply here and check out a specially curated playlist for when you apply here.

The New MCAT: What The First Test Takers Are Saying!

CONGRATS to the first test takers of the new MCAT!

So what’s the verdict?


Was test day a complete unprepared fail? A complete crash and burn?…

plane crash


…or maybe a pleasantly surprised victory?

Were you like Bill and remembered all your science?

bill science



The word on the street aka Reddit and the SDN is that the test was hard.

Not so surprising there, we knew the test would be tough.

Score reports will be out very soon so we’ll see how the early test takers fared.



Here’s a small summary of the common comments from April test takers about the all-new MCAT:


  • Yikes: “By FAR the hardest, most exhausting exam in my entire life.”


  • A new focus on procedural interpretation of experimental data on top of content testing. Basically, you have to know your stuff and how to apply what you know.


  • The CARS section is generally the same.


  • Reading comprehension is heavily tested all throughout the exam.


  • Most people found less physics than expected and more bio/chem/biochem.


  • Biological section the hardest especially biochem questions


  • Data interpretation. Reading peer reviewed articles isn’t just good habit for med school but it seems like it’ll help greatly here too.


  • The Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section featured a lot of unfamiliar terms and theories and it’s the understanding and application of these things that is imperative.


  • Practice. Practice. Especially with reading passages.



FYI: Registration for September test dates is now open! Go here to register.

 If these first reactions to the brand new MCAT concern/scare/worry /etc. you, study up buttercup! Practice with MCAT Cracker to get you ready for your test day!



Applying to Medical School: The Interview!

The admissions process is long, stressful, and at times it feels like a lot of waiting and uncertainty. During this trying time there’s one clear sign in the process before a rejection or a congratulations letter that your doing well… getting the call or email about setting up an interview!

Reaching this point in the admissions process is exciting and promising but don’t blow it now!

You’re not in yet!

You look good enough on paper to make it this far but are you really what medical schools want?…

prove it


So let’s talk about the interview and how to ace it!


Professional Basics

You know these things but they are important enough to drill into your head some more now…



Projecting “FOMO”

FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out and you basically need to instill in a admissions committee the fear of missing out on what an awesome prospect you are! The interview is a two-way conversation and you not only what to be prepared to answer their questions, you want to be engaging and have questions of your own. You are interviewing them as a potential school as much as they are interviewing you as a potential student and you gotta make them want you. This may be your top choice school… but hey, you’re a catch and half and got other options too so you want them to win YOU over too. Note that this kind of confidence isn’t cocky but reflects a genuine and avid interest in what the program has to offer. You are evaluating the school as much as they are evaluating you.


Be Honest

Besides your Personal Statement (look out for a future blog entry on that), the interview is the only place to speak of yourself in your own words. The school is trying to further get to know YOU and understand your motivations towards medicine. Be prepared for pitfalls and flaws in your application, like a less than stellar GPA or MCAT score, to come up in the interview. This is your chance to shine and reassure them of any doubts and reservations they may have about you as a candidate. Speaking openly and honestly in the interview is always to way to go.


Be “On” At All Times

Each medical program’s admission interview is unique. Some schools do one-on-one interview while others opt for a committee-style set up. Most include all day visits with tours of the school, meeting professors, etc. and it’s important to understand that the entire you’re there is essentially your interview. While you’re on campus act as if you’re always being watched and examined by the admissions committee because you basically are. Making a good impression all day can lead to another professor mentioning something to the committee for instance like, “hey that candidate seemed great and asked really interesting questions on the tour earlier”; keep in mind that this works vise-versa too! So you gotta be on at all times!


Also check out what the AAMC has to say about prepping for your interview here.


With these things in mind you can have a winning interview and be one step closer the congratulations acceptance letter! Until then you can work on getting a winning MCAT score to get you to the interview step with MCAT Cracker. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or advice to add on interviews!


Happy Practicing!

MCAT 2015 Registration is Open!

The day has finally arrived! Drum roll please…

MCAT 2015 registration is officially open!

Are you excited?loki yes

 …Or completely freaking out? new girl freaking out


It’s here! The all-new MCAT rolls out in April & registration is opened for the April – June dates!


Go forth with your AAMC ID and register to conquer the MCAT here!


Remember there is the Fee Assistance Program to aid the cost of registration for the those who apply. For other concerns on MCAT registration like deadlines, reschedulings and cancellations see here.

Registration for the July – September test dates will be available in late April. Check out the full testing date calendar here.


For now here are three reasons to register for the MCAT 2015 early:

  • Preliminary percentile ranks will be sent to you about three weeks after testing meaning learn more about your scores earlier in the application process!
  • Med school will get your MCAT 2015 scores at the same time as the applicants that took the old MCAT since your scores will be added before the first round of verified applications are sent by AMCAS to medical schools in early July!
  • April test takers get a $150 Amazon Gift Card!


An official breakdown of the new monster exam can be found here and be sure to check out a breakdown of each of the sections in the blog!

Whether you’re registering now or waiting for a later date practice with MCAT Cracker to really get the edge over the new exam!


5 Awesome YouTube Channels for MCAT Studying!

Registration for the all-new big, bad MCAT 2015 opens soon (like next month soon) and while you’re tirelessly hitting the books studying sometimes a nice visual aide in the form of a YouTube video can be a nice break or even a new perspective for understanding a difficult concept!

While you cannot rely solely on YouTube for your MCAT prep, these videos can be fun while extremely informative and there are great videos out there!

So how about a fun post on a few great YouTube channels to check out for supplemental studying material?


Khan Academy

As previous mentioned before in the blog, the Association of American Medical Colleges (the makers of the MCAT) and Khan Academy worked together to create these video tutorials on a wide variety of MCAT subjects. With the brand-new sections in the MCAT 2015 these videos will be extra helpful! For example there’s a playlist on Social Inequality with this video on Intersectionality:



Everybody loves the Green brothers and they have great videos on a variety of topics from history to ecology! You should specifically check out their ones on chemistry, psychology, and biology like this awesome one on Why Carbon Is a Tramp:


Biology / Medicine Animations HD

Cool, detailed 3D animations to give additional visual understanding on tons of topics, like this video on Muscle Contraction:



Short and sweet mini-lessons! Great for quick but educational break!

Try out this one on the 5 Antibody Types:



Super fun and actually helpful lessons for MCAT studying but in song form!

Just as Barney the purple dinosaur once taught us about sharing and caring…

Mr. W sings and raps on subjects like Mitosis and Glycolysis below:


Happy Studying!

P.S. Right now on MCAT Cracker gain an edge on your MCAT for only $49, regularly $99! Get access to full-length practice exams here!