You may not have received the best score when you took your first MCAT. But hey, guess what? You’re hardly alone. Every year, the AAMC estimates 10,000 people retake the MCAT. Now that you know you’re no longer a minority, you may feel more comfortable asking the question “how many times can I take the MCAT, then?”
Thanks to the creator and directors of MCAT, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), they have provided clear and reasonable answers to that question. An individual is allowed to take the test just 3 times in a calendar year, 4 times in a span of two years and a total of 7 in one’s lifetime. As clear as this is, it has led to another question, why the limits? And what do they mean?
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A cap as to how many times you can take the MCAT seems a bit limiting, but they are actually there to help you as an individual. As highlighted before, taking the MCAT again is not a bad idea but the limit will only remind you that you have just a little margin for error. Consider the following two reasons for those limits. Keep in mind that included in the “attempts” of taking the MCAT include voiding your MCAT scores after the test as well as not showing up to your scheduled MCAT test date.
There might be a need for you to reassess the reasons why you’re not achieving the score you’d like. Have you built up the endurance for the MCAT length? Have you discovered your strengths and weaknesses, effectively taking a full-length MCAT diagnostic test and focusing on some of your weaker areas.
How many times you can take the MCAT may also be restricted by your budget. There is a large financial burden to taking this test multiple times that can be countered by simply studying and changing how you take the test to improve your scores.
Retaking the MCAT
Now that you know that you can retake the MCAT and how many times you are able to retake it, all you need to do now is to decide when you will take the test again and calculate the probability of you getting a better score than you earlier did.
Here are some things to think about when evaluating how to get a higher score on your retake:
- Think about why you failed at first.
- Consult with those who did well on the MCAT and ask for any tips or insight
- Create a superb study plan that works with your current schedule and routine
- Identify your strength and weakness.
- Attend prep courses if possible. There are many MCAT test prep courses out there including MCAT summer bootcamps, live and on-demand classes, and home study options
- Start studying early. It is never too early to begin to prepare for the MCAT
With all these in place, you can be sure of a higher chance of success in your next MCAT test.
Want to know how your scores compare to the older MCAT? Check out our MCAT score conversion.