AAMC PREview Exam | Key Info and How to Prepare

October 3, 2023
10 min read


Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 10/3/23

The AAMC PREview exam (AAMC SJT test) is an important part of any medical school application. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to ace the test.

Med student studying for AAMC exam

The AAMC PREview exam (previously referred to as the AAMC SJT) is a standardized test demonstrating students’ readiness for medical school. 

Medical schools have found that academic achievement doesn’t always predict who is best suited to become a doctor. With the creation of the AAMC PREview exam, medical schools have a better view of how students think and, therefore, can better understand who would be successful in the medical profession.

By reading this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the AAMC PREview exam. We’ll go over sample scenarios and possible responses so that you can prepare for the test accordingly.

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The AAMC PREview Exam: What You Need to Know

Female med student studying for exa

The AAMC PREview exam, formally known as the AAMC SJT or Situational Judgement Test, was implemented in 2020 as a way for medical schools to look beyond academic achievement when deciding on acceptances. 

Although only a few schools adopted this form of the test at first, once the AAMC SJT proved helpful, more institutions showed interest. By collaborating with professionals in the field, the AAMC adapted the test to what it is today.  

The newer test, the AAMC PREview Exam, looks at eight core professional competencies that students should understand before entering medical school. The competencies are:

  • Service orientation
  • Social skills
  • Cultural competencies
  • Teamwork
  • Ethical responsibility to self and others
  • Resilience and adaptability
  • Reliability and dependency
  • Capacity for improvement

The medical professionals consulted during the test’s development thought these competencies were integral for any student wishing to succeed in medical school and their profession.

The Structure of the AAMC PREview Exam

The structure of the PREview test is based on hypothetical scenarios that students may encounter in school. Each AAMC PREview exam question asks you to rate how effective responses to the different scenarios would be on a scale from one to four, one being the least effective and four being the most. 

Source: AAMC PREview Exam

Each scenario reflects potential situations medical students may deal with during their training. How you respond to these questions will show how you will likely deal with difficult situations.

Unlike the SJT, the AAMC PREview exam also has a few “field-test” or experimental scenarios that are common once you’ve actually become a doctor. These questions will not be scored but can be used to further understand a student’s readiness to enter the profession.

The AAMC SJT takes 75 minutes to write, with time slated for administrative activities. The following chart represents the timing suggested by the AAMC for the exam.

Activity Time Given
Check-In 5-15 minutes
Examine Agreement and Exam Instructions 5 minutes
Exam Time 75 minutes
Void Question and School Selection 5-10 minutes
Total Exam Time 75 minutes
Total Session Time 90-105 minutes

Source: AAMC 

The exam is taken virtually, so students need to be in a place where there will be no interruptions of internet service. Through the AAMC’s exam portal, each student is able to access the exam with their own device or at their school/workplace. 

For more information on this, you can download the AAMC PREview Exam Essentials document on their website.

How the AAMC PREview Exam is Scored

The AAMC SJT is given a score out of nine based on your answers to the questions and how they align with a medical educator’s ratings. When creating the exam, the AAMC gets medical educators to take the exam and use those answers when determining scores. 

When your answer closely aligns with the medical professional, high scores are awarded. If you have the same answers, then you will receive full credit. However, if your answers don’t align, then you will likely receive a low score. The raw score is then scaled to fit the overall range of one to nine, and this is the score then sent to schools.

AAMC PREview Test Dates

Here’s a table of the upcoming AAMC test dates for this year.

Test Dates Scores Released
March 16 & 17 April 18
May 10 & 11 June 13
June 14 & 15 July 18
July 12 & 13 August 15
August 16 & 17 September 19
September 13 & 14 October 17
October 11 & 12 November 9

Source: AAMC

Please note that score reports will be released 30 days following each testing window. 

How to Prepare For the AAMC PREview Exam

The first step in preparing for the AAMC PREview exam is to go to the AAMC website, where you will find a comprehensive guide on everything you will need to know for the exam. You will want to concentrate on the following preparation methods:

  • Review the AAMC PREview Exam Guide
  • Read through the policies and procedures so that you are familiar with what will happen on the test date.
  • If needed, complete the tutorial on what the test portal looks like and how to use it.
  • Do practice tests (see a sample question and response below).

Making sure that you are prepared for both the technology and the exam questions will make it easier for you to finish the exam in the time allotted without feeling rushed. 

If you are someone who has a difficult time navigating websites, the AAMC also provides webinars that you can sign up for and ask any questions you may have. The AAMC has provided every possible resource you might need for you to write the exam successfully, so take some time to look through their resources before you sit for the test. 

Another way to help prepare for the AAMC PREview exam is to study with other people who will be writing the test. Since the test relies on your judgment, it can be helpful to talk through the sample questions to see how others’ interpretations differ from your own. 

This can broaden your viewpoint and allow you to get used to answering scenario-type questions.

Examples of AAMC PREview Exam Scenarios and Responses

The following AAMC SJT sample questions are for students looking to practice taking the exam. Below are the questions and the appropriate responses, and an explanation of why these are the correct answers.

 Example 1

“During class, your professor observes you participating in a roleplay exercise with one of your classmates. You are acting as a doctor, and your classmate is acting as an angry patient. The roleplay is tense but stays on course. You think you performed well, but after class, your classmate gives you unexpected negative feedback that you missed several opportunities to comfort the patient and calm the situation. You are now expected to attend a debriefing session with your professor and classmate. Please rate the effectiveness of each response to this situation.”

Example 1 Answer Explanation

 1 = Very Ineffective    2 = Ineffective      3 = Effective      4 = Very Effective


  1. Tell your classmate that only the professor is qualified to provide feedback. (1)
  • This shows that you can’t take constructive criticism. Instead, listen to the feedback and keep that in mind for the future. 
  1. Ask your classmate about how you could improve your performance in the future. (4)
  • This demonstrates a growth mindset, encourages open communication, and can help resolve tensions. 
  1. Explain to your professor why you were satisfied with your performance. (2)
  • Explaining you’re satisfied with your performance is not a good response as it reflects resistance to feedback and hinders the opportunity for growth and constructive dialogue.
  1. Ask your classmate if they would be willing to practice roleplaying in advance of your next exercise. (4)
  • This acknowledges the student’s feedback, shows commitment to improvement and fosters collaboration. This approach promotes open communication and shared growth.
  1. Ask your classmate not to bring up the negative feedback during your debriefing session. (1)
  • Requesting your classmate not to mention negative feedback in the debriefing session hinders open communication, creates tension, and misses the opportunity for growth and improvement that such sessions are meant to foster.

Example 2

“You are assigned a group project in your biology course. One group member is failing to keep up with their part of the project. The member frequently misses group deadlines, needs constant reminders to stay on track, and submits poor work that requires correcting by the other group members. Your project is due in two weeks, and all members of the group will receive the same grade based on the overall project quality.”

Example 2 Answer Explanation

 1 = Very Ineffective    2 = Ineffective      3 = Effective      4 = Very Effective


  1. Stop assigning extra tasks to the group member and finish the project as a team without their participation. (1)
  • Opting to distance the group member out of the project rather than finding a genuine resolution showcases a lack of teamwork and empathy. This approach also burdens the remaining team members with additional work.
  1. Hold a private conversation with the member to inquire about ways to support them and successfully complete their project responsibilities. (4)
  • This approach showcases empathy towards the group member while keeping the primary objective of achieving a successful project in sight. When the group member senses this support, they may open up about the challenges they're encountering, enabling you to work together to address them, ultimately benefiting the entire group.
  1. Suggest to the group member that they meet with the professor to devise a plan for better workload management. (3)
  • This suggestion points out a potential solution that involves both the group member and the professor. However, it would be more effective if you assumed a more proactive role in assisting the member with their challenges.
  1. Ask the professor to evaluate each group member's performance independently for the project. (1)
  • Ignoring the struggling group member demonstrates a lack of teamwork and compassion, and prioritizing personal grades over collaboration could leave a negative impression on the professor.
  1. Clearly communicate to the group member that their actions are jeopardizing the grades and overall success of the entire team in the course. (2)
  • Initiating a conversation with your group member regarding the issue, without providing constructive feedback or offering assistance in finding a solution, will unlikely have any positive results in this situation.

Example 3

“Over the last few days, you've been providing care to several patients, among them a critically ill individual. Unfortunately, this patient has been exceptionally demanding and impolite, not only towards you but also towards the hospital staff. They frequently summon you for minor requests, significantly reducing the time you can allocate to your other patients.”

Example 3 Answer Explanation

1 = Very Ineffective    2 = Ineffective      3 = Effective      4 = Very Effective


  1. Discover ways to finish your tasks more efficiently allowing you to allocate more time to address this patient's needs. (4)
  • This shows your ability to effectively organize your schedule, ensuring that you can fulfill all your commitments efficiently while accommodating the demands of this patient who requires extra attention and time.
  1. Delegate the task of attending to the patient to another student, enabling you to concentrate on your other patients. (2) 
  • Although this approach ensures the patient's needs are met, it involves transferring your designated tasks to another individual who also has their own set of responsibilities to oversee.
  1. Inform the patient that you have additional patients to attend to, but reassure them that you'll make an effort to return when your schedule allows. (3)
  • This approach emphasizes the importance of honesty and professional communication with the patient. However, while the patient is aware of your constraints and actions, it doesn't guarantee that their needs will be addressed if you run out of time.
  1. Ask your supervising physician for advice on managing the difficult patient. (4)
  • This acknowledges your role as a medical student, which involves learning patient care best practices under the guidance of experienced supervising physicians. Seeking advice reflects your commitment to enhancing your patient care skills and gaining valuable insights.

Example 4 

“While browsing a classmate's social media profile, you come across negative comments they've made regarding a recent patient. Your classmate provides extensive details about the patient and their condition, which clearly breaches patient privacy regulations.”

Example 4 Answer Explanation

1 = Very Ineffective    2 = Ineffective      3 = Effective      4 = Very Effective


  1. Report your classmate’s behavior as a privacy violation. (4)
  • It’s your ethical responsibility to report medical violations like this. This will ensure that nothing else will happen to violate the patient's right. 
  1. Review your classmate's previous comments to see how frequently they post about patient-related topics. (1)
  • This approach doesn’t address the issue. You have an ethical responsibility to find a solution to this dilemma. 
  1. Communicate with your classmate, emphasizing the significance of patient privacy, and request them to remove the comments. (3)
  • This indicated your awareness of privacy policies. Although you communicate and have the classmate delete the comments, it still should be reported because it’s your responsibility. 

AAMC PREview Exam Timelines

To help you prepare for the AAMC PREview exam, here’s a studying timeline to keep you on track. 

6-12 Months Before Exam

  • Month 1-2: Begin by visiting the AAMC website and locating the AAMC PREview Exam Guide. Review it thoroughly to understand the structure and content of the exam. You’ll also need to make an AAMC account. 
  • Month 3-4: Familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures mentioned in the guide, ensuring you know what to expect on test day.
  • Month 5-6: If you are not comfortable with the test portal's interface, complete the tutorial provided by AAMC. Ensure you can navigate the technology smoothly. You must also start registering for the AAMC PREview test. 

4-6 Months Before Exam

  • Month 7: Start doing practice tests to get a sense of the exam format and types of questions. Track your performance.
  • Month 8: Consider signing up for AAMC webinars if you have difficulty navigating websites or if you have any questions about the exam or its resources.

2-3 Months Before Exam

  • Month 9-10: Continue practicing with sample questions and reviewing the AAMC PREview Exam Guide to reinforce your understanding.
  • Month 11: Begin seeking out study partners or groups of individuals who are also preparing for the AAMC PREview Exam. Collaborate on discussing and solving sample questions to diversify your perspectives.

1 Month Before Exam

  • Month 12: Take a final review of the AAMC PREview Exam Guide and ensure you are well-versed in test policies and procedures. Continue practicing with study partners to refine your ability to answer scenario-type questions. Share interpretations and learn from each other's viewpoints.

Weeks Leading to Exam

  • Reduce your practice intensity, focusing on light review and discussing challenging questions with study partners.
  • Test Day:
  • Arrive at the testing location early.
  • Stay calm and confident, knowing that you have thoroughly prepared for both the technology and the exam content.
  • Follow the AAMC's test day guidelines and procedures.

Score Release

The AAMC PREview exam score release will be 30 days after you’ve taken the test. Use this information to see if you're ready for the MCAT. Analyze your PREview Exam scores to identify areas that may need further improvement. Adjust your MCAT study plan based on the feedback provided by the PREview Exam results.

In addition to the above timeline, it's essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, get enough rest, and stay hydrated during your preparation period.

Which Medical Schools Require the AAMC PREview Exam?

Though not all medical schools require the AAMC PREview exam, a lot have recommended applicants take it. The following list goes through schools that require AAMC PREviews and which ones recommend it.

Medical School
AAMC PREview Exam in the 2023
Admission Cycle
University of Alabama at Birmingham Recommended
University of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine Required
University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine Required
University of Oklahoma College of Medicine Recommended (research only)
University of Virginia School of Medicine Accepted (research only)
Carle Illinois College of Medicine Research only
Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science Recommended
Cooper Medical School of Rowan University Recommended
Des Moines University Medicine and Health Sciences Recommended
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Recommended
George Washington University School of Medicine Recommended
Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Required either PREview or CASPer
Morehouse School of Medicine Recommended
Saint Louis University School of Medicine Required
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Recommended
University of California at Davis School of Medicine Required

Source: AAMC PREview Exam

This helpful table will let you know which schools require the AAMC PREview exam. 

FAQs: AAMC PREview Exam

If you still have questions, here are frequently asked questions. 

1. What Is the Exam Format?

The AAMC PREview exam is administered through an online testing environment. It includes one test section with text-based scenarios that present hypothetical dilemmas.

2. What Is the Process for Booking and Entering the Exam?

Here is the process of booking and entering the AAMC PREview exam: 

  1. Create an AAMC account
  2. Register for the exam through your AAMC account
  3. Receive confirmation for the test
  4. Prepare for the exam
  5. Take the test

These simple steps will allow you to book and take the AAMC PREview exam. 

3. Is It Possible to Change the Date of My Exam Appointment?

Yes, it’s possible to change the date of your AAMC PREview exam. However, you must do so before the deadline. If you don’t reschedule or cancel your test date then your registration fee will be nonrefundable. 

Final Thoughts

Though the AAMC PREview exam is required for all medical schools, it has been quickly adopted by many, meaning it will become more important as it has proven to be effective. 

By taking the exam, you are able to show your commitment to the profession and how well you will fit into medical school. If you want to increase your chances of gaining ac

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