Professional Testing & Admissions

For successful applicants, the professional school application process really begins two full years ahead of the date that you wish to enter. The first year includes studying for your professional school test.  At the end of that first year, preferably either in April or May, you will take the standardized test necessary for your professional school. Next, between May and July (or early August for a few of the professions’ services), you will complete the standardized application service for your program. The second year may include supplemental applications, called either supplemental applications or “secondaries.” Following completion of those steps, applicants complete necessary tasks requested by professional schools and await contact about the interviews. The final stage of the application process is interviewing, which can occur as early as August or as late as March. Decision time for each candidate follows the interviewing period.

Many of our alums have been choosing to pursue an “exploratory” or “experiential” year following graduation instead of proceeding immediately to professional schools. Indeed this trend has been growing nationally, not only for Dickinsonians. The increasing age for entering professional school students allows candidates to confirm their career interests and to meet the competencies set forth by professional schools for their entering students. Making this decision can be difficult for each candidate as many factors are involved. The Career Center Pre-Health Professions Advisor is available to support you in your decision-making about this option.

What makes a successful testing candidate?

Truthfully, it is either your natural ability to test well or the well-planned use of time combined with ability that makes you a successful candidate.  In the recent past, alumni who have scored well have shared the following suggestions:

Study independently for approximately 20-30 hours per week. This includes:

  • 10-15 hours of material review using available resources
  • 10-15 hours of mock-testing followed by extensive review of the incorrect answers to explore the wording and the reason for the incorrect answer while looking for patterns and associations in questions
  • Use available resources including Altius, Chad’s Videos, ExamKrackers, Princeton Review, Kaplan, or Next Step.  (Save your money on the med school advising though … Dickinson provides FREE services with equal or better results.)
  • The Khan Academy offers FREE videos and mock test questions within the MCAT section. The company created in conjunction with the AAMC, American Association of Medical Colleges along with their faculty and med students.

Princeton Review does offer a free mock test for the MCAT or GRE on campus.  Additionally, you can register for test preparatory programs for a fee.  Sign up for these tools at Princeton Review’s website

  • We recommend that you study at least 10 hours in addition to the Princeton Review or other preparatory course program.

Using a mix of preparation resources will allow you to be successful in your testing performance.

Consult with a learning specialist from a counseling background in order to prepare successfully for the exam, particularly if you know that standardized tests challenge you already.