Arguably the most important test you will take, the MCAT comes with lots of questions. One of the questions often asked is how many times can you take the MCAT?
It doesn’t matter how well you have prepared or how confident you are, you may need to retake this test. Answering this question also comes with a bit of a debate between how many times you’re allowed to take the MCAT and how many times you should take the MCAT.
Before you go into taking this vitally important exam, you should know the answer. Let’s look at both.
How Many Times Can You Take The MCAT?
The MCAT isn’t a test you can only take once. This is good news, as the nerves could get the best of you the first time. You can retake the test to improve your score, which is actually rather common.
Most students will take the MCAT more than once. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) allows you to take the MCAT up to seven times in your lifetime.
If you don’t achieve the score you want after seven attempts, that’s it. You cannot take it an eighth time.
While you can take the MCAT up to seven times, you cannot take it more than four times in a two-year period. You also cannot take it more than three times in one single year.
Most students won’t need to take the MCAT seven times, however.
How Many Times Should You Take The MCAT?
While you’re allowed to take the MCAT up to seven times, you probably shouldn’t take it this many times. The MCAT is a test used to show admission panels that you’re prepared to enter medical school. If you have to take this test too many times to get a high score, it might be an indicator that you’re still struggling.
Yes, your MCAT score is important to medical schools. However, it’s not the only factor they consider. Plus, medical schools will be able to see the scores from every time you took the MCAT.
While the admissions panel may only consider the highest score you achieved, they can still look at the other scores. This allows for an assessment of how many times you had to take the MCAT to achieve your score.
Most medical schools recommend you don’t take the MCAT more than three times. When you reach the fourth attempt, your chances of being accepted into medical school drop.
You might be wondering why your chances drop. It has to do with the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE). This exam is necessary to become a licensed practitioner. While you can retake this test, too, you won’t be able to retake it to improve your scores.
Having more than three attempts at the MCAT on your application for medical school is a red flag. This shows the admissions panel that you might struggle to pass the USMLE without several attempts.
Should I Retake the MCAT?
The answer to this question depends on your situation. If you’ve taken the MCAT once and you know your score isn’t high enough to get into medical school, yes, you should probably retake it. However, you should also consider a few things:
- Does the school you want to get into consider only the highest score?
- Will they take the average of all your MCAT scores?
- Will they look at all your scores, but put more weight on the highest?
- Is it possible they may look at the most recent score heavier than the others?
Knowing the answers to these questions can help you make the right decision. If you scored high enough to get in, you might not need to retake the MCAT.
What’s it Cost to Retake the MCAT?
Another reason you might not want to retake the MCAT more than three times is the cost. The registration fee for each attempt will cost you $320. If you take the test multiple times, it can add up fast.
Prepare for the MCAT and Skip the Retakes
With proper studying and preparation, you can skip the MCAT retakes. It looks very good on your medical school application when you score high and you only need one or two attempts.
Whether you’ve already taken the MCAT or you’re preparing for the first time, you want to study properly. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare. Getting a good test prep program can also help quite a bit.
Before you retake the MCAT, make sure you know how to prepare properly. With a good MCAT exam prep program, you can go into your retake with confidence you’ll score high.