How Many Times Can I Take the MCAT?
The AAMC’s release of the most recent version of the MCAT back in 2015 also came with new rules for how many times you can take the exam. In a single testing year, you can take the MCAT a maximum of three times, whereas, in a two consecutive year period, you may take the exam a maximum of four times. The MCAT can be taken a maximum of 7 times total throughout one’s lifetime. It is important to note that if you do not show up for your exam, or if you choose to void your score, these will still count as exams that are deducted from your total number of tries remaining.
Despite the fact that it is possible to take the MCAT up to 7 times, there are a few things you should consider before you sign yourself up for another exam.
According to Princeton Review, the first question you should ask yourself is “How does my score measure up?”, meaning, is my score sufficient for the schools that I want to apply to? If you are not sure how your current MCAT score measures up to averages for the schools you want to apply to, you can utilize resources like the MSAR database to help you compare. If you decide that your score may not be strong enough for the schools you are applying to, it is probably best to take the MCAT again.
Second, you will want to look back and objectively assess the amount of effort that you put into your original MCAT exam. Were you studying multiple hours per day, spending time going over your weak areas, and taking multiple practice tests? If so, and if you feel that you truly put in your best effort in your studying and on test day, then it’s possible that retaking the exam might not help much in terms of raising your score. However, if you are the type of person who gets overwhelmed in testing situations, or you feel like your score does not accurately represent the amount of preparation you put in, then it is probably worth it to take the exam again.
The last thing that you might want to think about when deciding whether or not it is worth it to take the MCAT again is how you will modify or improve your study routine. A common mistake that test-takers make is continuing to use the same study plan or tactics that they used to get them their first score when studying for subsequent exams. If you decide that you want to retake the MCAT, it is well worth your time to put in the effort in determining what you will do differently this time to help you get a higher score. This might mean signing up for a course if you previously studied on your own, making flashcards, watching review videos, or working with a tutor to ensure that your weak areas get addressed.
It is also important to note that ALL of your scores will be viewed by the medical schools that you apply to. Therefore, if you do decide to retake the exam, it will reflect better on your application if your score improves (say, from exam 1 to exam 2) rather than if your score worsens. Despite the fact that all of your scores will be visible to schools, each school implements a different strategy for how they view these scores. For example, schools may decide to only consider your highest score, to give the greatest weight to your most recent score, or to take the average of all of your scores. Therefore, be sure to do your research on each school’s score policies to see how they work, so you can determine what strategy may work best for you.