How many times can you take the MCAT (2021 Guide)

No matter how sure you are, knowing how many times you can take the MCAT is a smart idea. There is, after all, some ambiguity surrounding this subject. This is because there is a distinction in how many times you can and should take the MCAT test.

But don’t worry; this post will make it very apparent.

It is vital to know how many times you can take the MCAT since it will help you prepare. When you know you don’t have endless efforts (spoiler alert), it adds an added incentive to create a plan and execute on it. Thus, let us guide you on which MCAT prep classes is to choose before you sit for an exam.

How Many Times Can You Take The MCAT?

Taking the MCAT is a significant step forward in your educational journey. It is the culmination of years of schooling, and you have most likely studied for months in preparation. But what if, after taking the test and anxiously awaiting your results, you discover that you didn’t perform as well as you thought?

Fortunately, the MCAT is not a one-time exam. You can retake it if you want to raise your score and make your medical school applications more competitive. Retaking the MCAT is, in fact, fairly common. Many students take the exam at least once to see if they can improve their marks.

The AAMC, or Association of American Medical Colleges, has a lenient retake policy. There are some restrictions, but most students will not require as many opportunities as AAMC provides. Students are permitted to take the MCAT seven times in total.

This is the policy that lasts a lifetime. You’re out of luck if you don’t get your targeted score after seven attempts to take the MCAT test. Those attempts cannot be made in succession. You can only take the MCAT four times in two years, or three times in a single year.

How Many Times Should You Take It?

Now, just because you can take the MCAT up to seven times does not mean you should. Read about what are the easiest medical schools to get into and understand what are their entry requirements to avoid losing the chance to be accepted. 

To take the MCAT test, the MCAT is intended to demonstrate to admissions committees that you understand the course material and are prepared for the rigors of med school. Taking the MCAT test too many times is a red indication that you’re struggling.

Contrary to popular misconception, your top score is not the only one sent to schools with your application.

Medical schools have access to all of your retake scores. As a result, they can observe how many times you took the test and how your scores changed with each try.

When deciding if you’re a suitable fit to take the MCAT test, most admissions committees will simply look at your best score. However, this is not always the case.

Some programs will examine the most recent retake score and compare it to the bigger pool of applicants. Others will average your scores based on the sum of your scores.

The admissions committee will look at all of your tries, regardless of which score is most important. The amount of tries you make, whether intentional or not, may have an impact on the admissions decision.

It is still possible to be accepted after retaking the test more than once, though this is uncommon. Another way to put it is that after your third effort, your odds of acceptance decline dramatically.

What is the reason for this? The United States Medical Licensing Examination, or USMLE, is typically the deciding factor.

The USMLE is the final MCAT exam you’ll take to become a licensed practitioner. There is a retake policy for the USMLE. However, it operates in a totally different manner from the MCAT. Once you pass the USMLE, you will not be able to take the exam to improve your grades.

When you include more than three MCAT attempts in your application, it sends a negative signal to the admissions committee. The medical school is committed to provide you with the greatest possible education so that you are properly prepared for the USMLE.

Numerous MCAT retakes indicate that you may need to take the USMLE numerous times before passing.

How To Make Sure You Don’t Retake The MCAT Unnecessarily

There are various factors to consider before deciding to retake the MCAT. It is natural to strive to enhance your scores as much as possible. However, it is not always essential.

Because you don’t want to take the MCAT test too many times, it’s critical to reassess your situation before proceeding.

Examine your MCAT results to discover how you compare to the prerequisites for medical school. Compare your scores to the schools you’re interested in using the Medical School Admission Requirements database.

While you may have received a lower MCAT score than you desired, your results may still be competitive in comparison to the pool of applicants. But once you know the minimum MCAT score needed for med school, you might have more confidence while taking exams.

Another thing to consider is whether or not your retake will be worthwhile. Consider how well you prepared for the MCAT the first time you took it. Were you confident and well-prepared? If this is the case, you may not notice a big improvement in your final score.

Taking the MCAT is not inexpensive. If you don’t think there’s anything you can do to see a notable difference, you might choose to skip the next effort.

Finally, there is the problem of time. The admission cycle for medical school is well-established. If you perform everything correctly, you should have enough time to repeat the MCAT. But what if you didn’t apply on time?

Schools must receive your completed application and MCAT scores by a specific deadline. Retaking the test may just postpone the procedure in some cases. You’ll also need time to prepare.

With everything else going on, you may have less time to study for the MCAT on your second attempt than you had on your first. The last thing you want is to receive a lower grade. So, in this case, you might wish to ponder a retake.

How To Make Sure You’re Ready To Take It Again

If you decide to retake the MCAT, you must alter your approach. You didn’t perform as well as you had hoped the first time around. This suggests there’s probably opportunity for improvement in your preparation.

Was there a particular area that threw you off? Did you experience any pace issues? Consider the testing experience and identify any issues.

The next step is to evaluate your MCAT study routine. The idea is to address your weaknesses, so you’ll most likely need to make some adjustments. Consider your study methods and whether or not they aided you.

You might not have done enough practice drills, for example. You might also have taken the practice tests without imitating genuine MCAT exam settings. Have a look at honest review on Altius MCAT practice tests to make sure you are at the right track while preparing for exmas.

You can truly take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen your preparation routine now that you have a little more experience. You have a good understanding of how the MCAT works, what it looks like, and how it feels to be in that testing room.

Make the most of that knowledge by adjusting your study schedule accordingly.

Want Someone In Your Corner?

We’d love to talk to you if you need help preparing for the MCAT (or simply want to make sure you score well when it matters).

Almost every premed student nowadays uses some kind of help when studying for the MCAT. You name it: tutors, practice tests, and so on. Learn more about information on next step Blueprint MCAT tutoring to maximize your potential to the fullest.

It’s no surprise that the application procedure is becoming increasingly competitive!

Over the years, we’ve assisted hundreds of students in gaining admission to medical school and achieving a high MCAT score. If you want an expert teacher to help you through the process, please contact us!

How are multiple MCAT scores viewed by admissions?

Keep in mind that all of your scores will be reviewed by medical schools, though admissions committees will use MCAT results in different ways. Schools may, depending on the program,:

  • Take your best score into account.
  • Take the average of all of your results.
  • Give your most recent score more weight.
  • Take into account your top section score from each examination.

Examine the admissions policies of each medical school on your list.

How to Decide if You Should Retake the MCAT

1. How does your first score measure up?

A “excellent” grade for you is determined by the schools to which you are applying and the strength of your entire medical school application. Compare your GPA and MCAT scores to the averages for the programs on your list using resources such as the MSAR database of med school admissions requirements. Are you competitive for the majority of the schools to which you’ve applied? If not, retaking the exam is probably in your best interests. Find out more about good MCAT scores.

2. How prepared were you for the MCAT the first time around?

If you prepared extensively and did your best, you may not notice a significant rise in your MCAT score. If you were unable to study, or if you were surprised or overwhelmed on the day of the exam despite your preparation, you could increase your score by putting in additional MCAT test prep, particularly in crucial areas such as pacing or subject review.

3. How do you plan to prepare for the next test?

If you decide to retake the MCAT, you will need to rethink your study strategy. Have you completed enough practice exams and drills? Did you practice under real-world MCAT conditions? If you studied on your own the first time, think about taking a prep course or working with a private tutor to identify your unique weak points. It is very important to have a upward trend in GPA to increase the chances of acceptance.

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