Thousands Unable to Register for MCAT

WINNIPEG (CUP) — Registration for students aspiring to write the Medical College Admission Test was temporarily put on hold.

Thousands of students hoping to register for the August session of the MCAT–used as a prerequisite for students applying to medical school–were unable to do so due to a malfunction in the registration program.

Last year, 6,000 students in Canada took the exam in August. This year, however, only about 3,000 spots are available for that exam. The change is due to a change in format: the test is now administered on computers, and is being offered throughout the year instead of only in April and August. As a result, the test administrations have smaller capacities.

Due to the reduced spaces available and the number of Canadian students applying for the August test date, the technology that the Association of American Medical Colleges uses to run the registration process was temporarily overwhelmed, since the registration system opened up at the same time for everybody.

?The Canadian students have always preferred August. We found it interesting this year that they did not tend to take the earlier test dates, for example in June and July,? said Matt Fidler, MCAT program manager for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, the leading provider in MCAT preparation for students.

There are a number of options for students wanting to take the test this summer. In addition to the six test dates in August, there are two scheduled in June and three in July. There are also four test dates in April and five in May.

?I was intrigued to see that the Canadian students did not attempt to look at an earlier test date knowing that their fellow Canadians would be clamouring for an August test date,? Fidler said. ?Canadian students, historically, take time over the summer to prepare for the exam and study for the exam, and that is why they all jammed onto the system and tried to register.?

This, consequently, affected every student who was trying to register as soon as the system opened for August registration; registration for August and September tests was temporarily closed. As a result, many students were under the impression that the registration system had crashed or that they were too late to register for a test.

For students wishing to take the MCAT, Kaplan reminds them that there are still many seats open for July and August test dates.

?[Kaplan is] telling our students that if something comes up during their registration process to give AAMC a call,? Fidler said. ?AAMC firmly believes that they have enough capacity for everyone in Canada, and if that is not the case, Canadian test-takers should be sure to call AAMC and tell them that there is not enough space available.?

Registration for the MCAT opened up again April 11.