How to Apply

Admission Tests

Planning for admission exams

Taking the MCAT, DAT, GRE, or other standardized tests should not be an afterthought. The majority of students who are planning to apply to medical, dental, veterinary, physician-assistant, physical-therapy, or other allied-health schools dedicate several months and approximately 300 hours to study. You should ideally take the exam only after some serious preparation and only after you have completed the recommended prerequisite courses for applying to the particular program you are interested in. 

 Thoughtful planning is important if you want to avoid overloading yourself in a particular semester.  

Test preparation

Southwestern University does not endorse any particular method or brand for preparation. There are some MCAT and GRE books in the Pre-Medical Offices for your use.  We strongly encourage you to review the information provided by the different application services. 

Here are some suggestions:

  • Review the outline printed in the MCAT Student Manual to help you get organized.
  • Purchase a commercial book of review materials and practice exams to familiarize yourself with exam questions.
  • Enroll in a commercial coaching course. These courses are expensive (>$2,000); therefore, if you choose to enroll, make sure you have the time necessary to attend the classes and practice outside the meeting times.
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has a fee-assistance program to help those who would be unable to take the MCAT or submit an American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application without any financial assistance.

AAMC Fee-Assistance Program

  • You are not alone! Create a study group: it helps to keep you on track and is a great source of support.
When to take the test?

You should take the MCAT, DAT, GRE, or any other entrance exam only after serious studying. For many health professions, the exam and/or specific Subject Test of the GRE that you need to take is specific to each individual school. Make sure to check on each school’s website before scheduling to take the exam.

Medical School: MCAT 

MCAT testing calendar is now available:
Registration for the new testing year will open in October. They have a Fee Assistance Program, check it out.
Follow @AAMC_MCAT for updates and announcements. 
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

No later than May in the summer in which you apply.

Dental School: DAT 

  • Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology and General & Organic Chemistry)
  • Perceptual Ability
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Quantitative Reasoning

No later than the first week of June in the summer in which you apply.

Veterinary School: GRE 

Sections: General Exam

No later than the first week of June in the summer in which you apply.

PA School: GRE or MCAT 

Sections: See MCAT or GRE information above

See the dates associated with the particular exams above.