Here is how many times you can take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), according to the AAMC:
As the Director of MCAT at MedSchoolCoach, I discuss the MCAT with aspiring medical students every day. MCAT preparation is pivotal on the path to medical school, and understanding how many times you can take the MCAT is essential.
The number of times you should take the MCAT depends on various factors, including your initial score and your target score for your ideal medical school. Ideally, you’d score high your first time, rather than having to take this standardized test more than once.
MCAT score ranges go from 472-528. The average MCAT score of all test takers in the most recent cycle year was 501.3, while matriculants (students accepted and enrolled) averaged 511.9 for MD programs and 504.6 for DO programs. MCAT tutoring is worth it to achieve a higher score on the MCAT exam.
For most pre-meds, we recommend aiming for a good MCAT score of at least 511, as this is above-average for students accepted to medical school.
However, competitiveness is much broader than aiming for just one number. It’s better to research the specific schools you’re interested in to understand the competitive score range to aim for. Use the MSC Score Tool to understand how competitive your scores are at a much more granular level.
Ideally, you should aim to take the MCAT as many times as needed to achieve the highest score for your desired schools without overdoing it.
Here’s a breakdown of three key considerations:
Taking the MCAT more than once isn’t necessarily a red flag for admissions committees. Many applicants opt for at least one retake to improve their scores. However, the impact of retakes on your application can vary between institutions.
It’s essential to check the specific admissions requirements of the medical schools you are interested in to ensure you meet their criteria.
Most medical schools consider the MCAT score as a crucial part of the application process, alongside other factors like GPA, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and interviews.
Retaking the MCAT three or more times can raise questions for certain admissions committees. Ideally, you should aim to demonstrate significant score improvement with each retake.
Taking the MCAT four or more times in a short period (unless there are valid reasons like a gap year or a prior career in healthcare) can work against you.
There comes a point where, if you find it challenging to achieve a competitive score despite substantial preparation, pursuing a different career path might be a meaningful consideration.
The frequency of MCAT retakes varies among students. Some applicants secure their desired scores on their first attempt and move forward with their applications. Others may retake the MCAT once or twice to enhance their chances.
The key is to consider your unique circumstances and objectives. It’s important to approach MCAT retakes strategically, focusing on significant score improvement to enhance your chances of medical school admission.
Read Next: The Medical School Application Process
If you find yourself in a situation where an MCAT retake is necessary, proper test prep is paramount. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your retake:
One of the most significant benefits of professional tutoring is the potential for substantial score improvement.
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