When I decided to go ahead to book my MCAT exams, it was in the last of my worries that there would be a situation of full house! It had been around May when I logged onto the AAMC website, and I already couldn’t book any slots for the month of August or September because they were all full at my local exam site. Didn’t know the exam was so popular…I mean yes, there were slots for May or June, but I wasn’t going to do myself a disservice by signing up for an exam that is scheduled in the next two weeks! I had graduated from university for a year now, at that point. MCAT in 2 weeks? That’s a no no.
My mouse cursor strayed over to the exam sites in other countries, and that was when I thought, this may be an opportunity for a holiday too!
After contemplating for awhile, I decided to go ahead to sign up for the exam in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After all, it only took a 45min flight to get to KL from SG. The exam is conducted in a Prometric Testing Center, at a region I heard was where “the rich stayed”. Now that doesn’t sound so bad.
Now that I’ve gone and done the MCAT in an overseas exam site, I thought I’ll share some tips based on my personal experience in KL.
Guide To Taking MCAT Overseas
1. Arrive at least ONE day before
Because the exam starts at 8am in the morning, it’s not a good idea to arrive only on the morning of the exam itself. You won’t feel refreshed and ready to tackle the 6 hour monster of an exam if you had spent the early morning traveling!
2. Book accommodation that is near to the exam site
Staying in walking distance to the exam site will help ease the rush in the morning. It is also a lot more convenient! When I was in KL, there were not many hotels or hostels near the exam site. I had to settle for a serviced apartment within 10 mins drive to the exam site. There was also a shopping center right across it, so it was pretty convenient for me to grab dinner and pack lunch (see point 6). Again, arrive AT LEAST ONE DAY before!
3. Check out the exam site at least ONE day before
Arriving a day or 2 early in the city of choice will also allow you to check out the exam site and find out how to get there from your hotel before the exam day. You wouldn’t want to be late on that crucial day because you couldn’t find your way there!
4. If you were unable to book accommodation that is of walking distance to the exam site, make sure you have a ride to the place
I can’t stress this enough, because I had overlooked this little detail then. I naively thought that it would be easy to hail a cab in the morning, and when that morning came, there were hardly any cabs in sight! It really gave me a mini heart attack as the minutes ticked by and still no cabs were driving by. Luckily for me an Uber car decided to give up looking for his original passenger (oops!) and ferried me to my destination instead. So when you’re there…make sure you have a ride booked and ready!
5. The exam center administrators might be late. Keep Calm & Eat Your Breakfast
Turns out I didn’t really have to worry at all, because the staff working at the exam center were late! I got there at about 745am, expecting to go through registration process and begin the exam at 8am. The staff only came at 830am! We started our exam at 9am instead. There was really nothing much we could do, so we just ate our breakfast and waited patiently till they got there.
6.Remember to pack lunch
Not sure if you kids know this already, but do remember to pack lunch! You won’t be allowed out of the center once the exam begins. Candidates are allowed breaks between the sections but you will not be permitted to leave the center until the entire exam is completed.
7.After the Exam: CELEBRATE!!
By going out to explore the city..you earned it!