What is the AAMC PREview test?
The AAMC PREview test, or the Professional Readiness Exam™, is an assessment designed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The exam, which was first released in 2020, is a situational judgment test (SJT) to evaluate the professional readiness of prospective medical students.
The AAMC PREview doesn’t replace any knowledge-related testing you must take when applying to med school. Instead, it’s meant to augment traditional academic metrics such as GPA and MCAT scores by measuring how prepared you are for a medical career in other ways.
The PREview exam will assess how well you can respond to hypothetical scenarios you might encounter in medical school. This method considers a range of competencies crucial to successful medical practice but not typically evaluated through traditional academic exams.
Originally known as AAMC’s Situational Judgment Test, it was renamed “AAMC PREview” in 2022. The competencies and capabilities it evaluates remain the same.
This new test forms part of the admissions process for several participating medical schools and will be reviewed as part of your AMCAS or AACOMAS application.
What does the AAMC PREview measure?
The AAMC PREview Professional Readiness Exam evaluates 8 core pre-professional competencies that are critical for entering medical students. These competencies aren’t about academic knowledge; they test your ability to contribute to the healthcare field successfully.
Here are the 8 core competencies the AAMC PREview measures:
- Service Orientation: This assesses your commitment to serving others and placing the needs of patients first.
- Social Skills: This competency refers to your ability to interact effectively with different people and work well in a team.
- Cultural Competence: This measures your understanding and respect for the cultural differences of patients and your ability to provide culturally sensitive care.
- Teamwork: The ability to work collaboratively and effectively within a group, demonstrating respect, cooperation, and dealing with conflicts.
- Ethical Responsibility to Self and Others: This competency refers to the ability to conduct yourself ethically, with integrity, accountability, and a sense of responsibility towards yourself and others.
- Resilience and Adaptability: This evaluates your ability to withstand stress, adapt to change, and recover from setbacks.
- Reliability and Dependability: This assesses your consistency, trustworthiness, and ability to meet obligations and deadlines.
- Capacity for Improvement: This measures your ability to identify areas of weakness, accept feedback, and strive for continual growth and improvement.
These approaches underline how important it is for medical school admissions committees to see that you have what it takes to become a doctor. A high science GPA and MCAT score aren’t enough to make you a successful physician — you must be able to demonstrate strong “soft skills” that healthcare professionals frequently use, too.
Learn how our Physician Advisors can walk you through the medical school admissions and application process for your best shot at getting into the school of your choice.
Schools That Require or Recommend AAMC PREview
Several medical schools now require or strongly recommend you take the AAMC PREview test as part of the application process.
The only osteopathic school (DO program) that currently recommends AAMC PREview is Des Moines University Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Because DO schools do not use AMCAS, you’ll have the opportunity on test day (and after the fact, if necessary) to have your PREview results sent to that program.
Here’s a full list of schools that take AAMC PREview test scores, including whether or not they require or only recommend the test.
|School||Required or Recommended|
|Cooper Medical School of Rowan University||Recommended|
|Des Moines University Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine||Recommended|
|Des Moines University Medicine & Health Sciences||Recommended|
|Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine||Recommended|
|George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences||Recommended|
|Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans||Recommended|
|Mercer University School of Medicine||Required|
|Michigan State University College of Human Medicine||Situational judgment test required (Casper or AAMC PREview will fulfill this requirement)|
|Morehouse School of Medicine||Recommended|
|Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine||Recommended|
|Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School||Situational judgment test required (Casper or AAMC PREview will fulfill this requirement)|
|Saint Louis University School of Medicine||Required|
|Southern Illinois University School of Medicine||Recommended|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham Marmix E. Heersink School of Medicine||Recommended|
|Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine||Required|
|University of California, Davis, School of Medicine||Required|
|University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine||Required|
|University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine||Required|
|University of Louisville School of Medicine||Recommended|
|University of Massachusetts T.H. Chan School of Medicine||Required|
|University of Utah School of Medicine||Required|
|University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health||Recommended|
For all MD programs, your PREview exam scores for all tests taken since 2020 will be added to your AMCAS application.
As this is a new test, many additional medical programs use the exam results for research. If you apply to a school using PREview results for research purposes, the admissions committee will not view your results until after the end of the application cycle.
How To Prepare
The AAMC PREview Professional Readiness Exam differs from traditional knowledge-based exams like the MCAT. Instead of assessing rote academic knowledge, it evaluates your understanding and application of critical professional competencies.
To prepare, you must familiarize yourself with these competencies and hone your ability to respond appropriately in given scenarios.
These strategies can help you prepare effectively:
- Understand the exam structure and competencies: Review the AAMC PREview Examinee Preparation Guide. It provides detailed information about the exam format, scoring, and how the 8 core competencies the exam measures fit into a medical context.
- Practice with sample scenarios: The AAMC offers sample scenarios and a full practice exam for examinees to get ready for the exam. Practice rating the responses on the practice test and understanding the rationale behind each rating.
- Review the test tutorial: AAMC provides a tutorial outlining the full test day experience. Familiarize yourself with this information to reduce test-day stress and ensure you understand all the technical aspects of taking the exam.
- Listen to the podcast: The PREview team from AAMC was invited to a podcast that may help you understand more about how this exam works from the perspective of students like you. Listen to the full episode.
Remember, the AAMC PREview Exam is not about memorizing facts but demonstrating your understanding of professional behaviors. The best preparation includes practicing critical thinking, effective communication, and decision-making in scenarios reflective of real-life medical situations.
Studying practice questions for the AAMC PREview isn’t just helpful for this specific exam; it will help you prepare for medical school interviews, too. Whether you’re attending a traditional interview or an MMI, questions that measure competencies like those on the PREview are a great way to get ready for these interviews.
We recommend reviewing common questions that may come up in med school interviews as one way to prepare for the admissions process.
The format of the AAMC PREview provides sample scenarios and responses to those hypothetical circumstances. You’ll use a 4-point rating scale to determine how a particular response will impact the situation.
Unlike some SJTs, the AAMC PREview doesn’t require you to provide written or verbal approaches to scenarios.
The 2023 version of the exam contains 30 scenarios and 186 total responses (items).
AAMC PREview Effectiveness Ratings
You’ll rate the effectiveness of multiple responses to each scenario using a 4-point scale.
|Very Ineffective (1 point)||Ineffective (2 points)||Effective (3 points)||Very Effective (4 points)|
|The response will cause additional problems or make the situation worse.||The response will not improve the situation or may cause a problem.||The response could help but will not significantly improve the situation.||The response will significantly help the situation.|
According to the AAMC, the responses provided represent your next immediate response to the situation, not necessarily the complete response from start to finish.
There may be multiple responses for individual scenarios that can be scored the same way. For example, the test may give you multiple very ineffective or ineffective responses. Don’t try to assign effectiveness ratings by spreading them out; assign a rating to each response based on its actual effectiveness.
Example Scenarios On the AAMC PREview
You are a member of your school’s student council and have been tasked with organizing a community health fair. However, the date you’ve planned the fair conflicts with an important practice session for the intercollegiate sports tournament you participate in.
What to consider: This question targets your ability to handle a situation where you have essential responsibilities that conflict (covering several of the 8 core competencies). To provide an effectiveness rating for each response, determine which responsibility should take priority and how to interact with the parties involved respectfully.
Please rate the effectiveness of each response to the situation.
- Go ahead with the health fair as planned and skip the practice session.
- Request your coach to reschedule the practice session for another time.
- Cancel the health fair to attend the practice session.
- Inform your coach beforehand about your absence at the practice session due to the health fair.
- Reschedule the health fair to accommodate the practice session and look for alternate dates or a replacement organizer.
Our effectiveness ratings:
- Ineffective (2 points): Go ahead with the health fair as planned and skip the practice session. This response doesn’t address the needs of anyone but yourself. It may solve the problem of which event you need to prioritize but may cause problems because you chose not to attend the practice session without telling anyone.
- Effective (3 points): Request your coach to reschedule the practice session for another time. Because the practice session may be flexible, speaking to your coach about changing the date could potentially improve the situation. However, changing that date is likely to cause inconvenience to others, and there’s no guarantee that the date of the practice can actually be changed.
- Very Ineffective (1 point): Cancel the health fair to attend the practice session. This will likely cause significant problems, as you’d be failing to follow through on your commitment as a student council member.
- Ineffective (2 points): Inform your coach beforehand about your absence at the practice session due to the health fair. This response also causes you to fail to follow through on a commitment. You’ll be able to run the health fair as promised, but this response doesn’t improve the problem of the double-booked date.
- Very Effective (4 points): Reschedule the health fair to accommodate the practice session and look for alternate dates or a replacement organizer. This solution allows both events to occur and considers another person to take your place in organizing the health fair. This is a response very likely to solve the presented problems.
You’re working in a hospital as a part of a clinical rotation. A patient refuses to receive care from you because of your ethnicity, which makes you feel uncomfortable and unsure of how to proceed.
What to consider: In this scenario, the patient needs medical care despite insensitivity to cultural differences. It’s your job as a physician (or physician-in-training) to ensure the patient is cared for, despite any insensitivities they display. However, it may also present an opportunity for you to communicate openly about an important issue (whether with colleagues or the patient).
Please rate the effectiveness of each response to the situation.
- Withdraw from the case without discussing the issue with anyone.
- Talk to a supervisor or mentor about the situation to seek advice.
- Insist on providing care to the patient despite their refusal.
- Report the incident to the hospital administration without discussing it with your mentor.
- Engage in a dialogue with the patient to understand their concerns while maintaining professionalism and upholding the principles of cultural competence and patient-centered care.
Our effectiveness ratings:
- Ineffective (2 points): Withdraw from the case without discussing the issue with anyone. This solution doesn’t do anything to address the problem at hand. The patient will likely receive care, but the underlying issue will not be resolved.
- Very Effective (4 points): Talk to a supervisor or mentor about the situation to seek advice. An advisor with more experience than you will likely offer significantly helpful feedback to resolve the issue. Instead of drawing on your own limited experience, this response communicates that you are open to feedback and advice from more experienced professionals.
- Very Ineffective (1 point): Insist on providing care to the patient despite their refusal. This will almost certainly exacerbate the problem of your patients’ discomfort and cause additional issues.
- Effective (3 points): Report the incident to the hospital administration without discussing it with your mentor. This removes the “human element” from a concern requiring empathy and compassion. The hospital administration is unlikely to address the issue outside of reassigning the patient to a different physician. While the patient will receive care, there isn’t a resolution.
- Effective (3 points): Engage in a dialogue with the patient to understand their concerns while maintaining professionalism and upholding the principles of cultural competence and patient-centered care. Depending on the patient, the circumstance, and your delivery, this could significantly improve the situation or make it far worse. Ideally, the patient would engage with you and adjust their mindset. However, you may discover the patient becomes more agitated when forced to discuss this issue amid a health concern.
You are a medical student on rotation in the pediatric department. One of the children in your care, an eight-year-old boy, is nervous and scared about his upcoming surgery. His parents are also anxious and keep asking questions about the procedure’s risks and success rates. You can sense the tension is escalating.
What to consider: While you aren’t the primary physician on this patient’s case, the patient and his family look to you for reassurance. It’s vital to be truthful and forthcoming while also putting their minds at ease and showing empathy.
Please rate the effectiveness of each response to this situation:
- Dismiss the parents’ fears as irrational, telling them they must be strong for their son.
- Spend some time sitting with the boy, trying to explain the surgery in a way he can understand, using a comforting and reassuring tone.
- Tell the parents to look up the procedure online to better understand what will happen.
- Patiently answer all of the parents’ questions and offer to bring in the surgeon for further discussion.
- Ignore the boy’s fear and tell him directly that there is no reason to be scared.
Our effectiveness ratings:
- Ineffective (2 points): Dismiss the parents’ fears as irrational, telling them they must be strong for their son. When you are openly dismissive, the parents are unlikely to feel any calmer about the situation. They may become defensive and even more concerned or uncomfortable or frustrated when you return to their room.
- Effective (3 points): Spend some time sitting with the boy, trying to explain the surgery in a way he can understand, using a comforting and reassuring tone. This response is potentially likely to help calm your patient’s nerves. But because you aren’t the surgeon and haven’t directly addressed the parents’ questions, the boy or his parents may still feel unsure about the procedure.
- Very Ineffective (1 point): Tell the parents to look up the procedure online to better understand what will happen. Encouraging the use of “Dr. Google,” particularly about a surgical procedure, is very likely to cause the family to become far more scared or even ask about canceling the surgery. Search results will probably include horror stories of botched procedures like the one the boy is scheduled to undergo. The parents may also become very upset if they find a video of the procedure and imagine their son receiving this treatment.
- Very Effective (4 points): Patiently answer all of the parents’ questions and offer to bring in the surgeon for further discussion. By answering their questions directly and with patience, you show transparency and ethical responsibility. Inviting the surgeon to answer more complex queries is also the most effective way to allow the experienced physician in the situation to address the specifics you may not be able to speak to effectively.
- Ineffective (2 points): Ignore the boy’s fear and tell him directly that there is no reason to be scared. This approach may feel like the easy way to handle the situation — and you may technically be correct. However, this doesn’t solve the problem and may cause added fear or shame for your patient who feels their concerns aren’t being heard.
AAMC PREview Scores
The AAMC PREview is scored by converting the effectiveness ratings you assign to responses into a single-digit total score between 1 and 9. Test takers are also given a percentile ranking with their numerical scores to show where they fall on the spectrum of all examinees. Scores are available around 30 days after your exam day.
Medical educators (faculty, admissions committees, and student/diversity affairs officers) help develop the scoring key for the AAMC PREview exam. You’ll get full credit for answers where your effectiveness ratings align with the medical educators’ rating and partial credit where your answers are similar but not identical.
The PREview test is not about right or wrong answers. Instead, it’s about gauging your ability to respond to hypothetical situations in ways that are effective and demonstrate your understanding of the pre-professional competencies.
You can’t technically pass or fail the AAMC PREview. The concept of a “good” score can vary based on the requirements or expectations of different medical schools. But generally, a higher score indicates a higher degree of effectiveness in your responses, which may be viewed more favorably by medical school admissions committees.
Below are the scores, percentile rankings*, and percentage of examinees to get every score according to the 2023 AAMC PREview score reports:
|Score||Percentile||Percentage of Examinees|
*A percentile ranking represents the total number of test takers with a score equal to or less than the test-takers’ given score.
Do I have to enter my AAMC PREview scores to my AMCAS application? No, all AAMC PREview scores (including AAMC SJT scores from 2020) that you have received will be automatically submitted to participating schools when you submit your AMCAS. You don’t need to do anything to attach or submit your scores unless you’re applying to a DO school.
Should you retake the AAMC PREview?
If you’re unhappy with your AAMC PREview score and in a new admissions cycle, you may want to retake the exam.
You can’t retake the AAMC PREview exam during an admissions cycle; you may only retake it if you finished the admissions cycle and are reapplying. There are a few factors to consider to retake the AAMC PREview if you aren’t happy with your score.
The first is your percentile rank, which indicates your performance relative to other test-takers. If your percentile rank is lower than you had hoped for or lower than the average for admitted students at your target medical schools, you may want to consider retaking the exam.
Another consideration is how well your PREview score aligns with the rest of your application, like your GPA, MCAT scores, and other aspects of your AMCAS application. A retake might be worthwhile if you feel your PREview score doesn’t accurately reflect your competencies or align with the rest of your application, such as elements in your personal statement.
Lastly, always consider feedback from the admissions committees or advisors before deciding to retake the exam. They can provide valuable insight into how your score may impact your application and whether a retake would be beneficial.
Read Next: 4 Medical School Personal Statement Examples
Costs & Fees
The standard fee for the AAMC PREview is $100. This cost includes unlimited score distribution to any participating schools.
To reschedule an exam date, you’ll have to pay a $25 rescheduling fee. You must reschedule 2 weeks before your scheduled exam date.
If you cancel without rescheduling, 50% of your registration fee will be refunded. Cancellations may be completed up to 24 hours before the exam begins.
If you register for an exam date and don’t show up without canceling or rescheduling, your fee will be forfeited.
The AAMC offers a Fee Assistance Program for examinees who can’t afford the full test fees. This program is designed to assist those who, without financial assistance, would be unable to take the AAMC PREview.
If approved for the Fee Assistance Program, you’re eligible to take the AAMC PREview at no cost. Here’s where to apply.
|Activity||Cost (Standard)||Cost (Fee Assistance Program)|
|Cancel||50% refund of schedule fee||N/A|
|No-show||No refund||No refund; student must pay scheduling fee to reschedule|
Students approved for the Fee Assistance Program who don’t show up for their scheduled exam date without canceling or rescheduling must pay the full $100 registration fee to reschedule their exam date.
If you have to cancel or reschedule your exam date after the deadline has already passed, the AAMC may consider waiving the fee you may otherwise owe in certain circumstances. For instance, if you are hospitalized, called to jury duty, or experience a death in your immediate family, you aren’t expected to sit the exam.
Who is eligible to take the AAMC PREview?
The AAMC PREview exam is available to individuals:
- Planning to apply to participating medical schools in the next application cycle.
- Intending to submit an AMCAS application or apply to Des Moines University Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.
- Physically located in the U.S., Canada, Australia, or the U.K.
- Who are at least 18 years old.
What To Expect On Test Day
The AAMC PREview exam is a remotely proctored, online test. On test day, you should log into your exam session 15 minutes before the scheduled time. You’ll then undergo a check-in process to ensure their computer and workspace meet the required specifications.
The whole testing session lasts between 95 and 115 minutes. The actual exam time is 75 minutes.
Here is a brief outline of the test day timeline:
- Check-In: 5-15 minutes
- Examinee Agreement: 5 minutes
- Exam Time: 75 minutes
- Void Question: 5-10 minutes
- Check-Out: 5-10 minutes
- Post-Test Survey (optional): 5-10 minutes
After the exam, you’ll have up to 10 minutes to decide whether to void or score your exam and choose the schools to receive your scores. Voiding the exam means you cannot retake it within the same testing season.
You can watch the PREview Test Day Experience Video to familiarize yourself with the process, including check-in, the exam platform’s key features, and check-out. You should review the AAMC PREview Essentials for in-depth information on test day rules, exam format, identification requirements, workspace specifications, and check-in procedures.
AAMC PREview Test Dates
2023 test dates for the AAMC PREview exam are as follows:
|Test Dates||Registration Closes||Scores Released|
|March 16 & 17||March 2||April 18|
|May 10 & 11||April 26||June 13|
|June 14 & 15||May 31||July 18|
|July 12 & 13||June 28||August 15|
|August 16 & 17||August 2||September 19|
|September 13 & 14||August 30||October 17|
|October 11 & 12||September 27||November 9|
When should you take the AAMC PREview? Ideally, you should take your AAMC PREview exam by or before the May test date of your application cycle year. This will allow you to receive your score around the same time schools send you secondary applications.
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