How Many Times Should I Take the MCAT?

You can take the MCAT 3 times in a single year, 4 times over the course of 2 years, and 7 times in your life.

Is taking the MCAT multiple times detrimental to your application? Not necessarily — it’s good to take the MCAT as few times as you can. Medical schools don’t generally ding you for having 3 or fewer tests on your application.

The MCAT is an exam conducted multiple times throughout the year, standardized by the AAMC. It’s a difficult test that takes more than 7 hours to complete.

Because of its difficulty and its significance on medical school applications, many students schedule their initial test date with the intention of retaking it if necessary. Your MCAT score and GPA are 2 of the most important metrics on your application.

Since it takes at least 3-6 months to study well for the MCAT, these dates can add up to quite a long time. Let’s talk about the limits and what makes sense for you during the medical school application process.

How often can you take the MCAT?

There is both a single-year and two-year limit on taking the exam. In a single year, the exam can be taken 3 times. Within 2 years, the exam can be taken 4 times.

In a lifespan, an examinee cannot take the exam more than 7 times.

How many times should you take the MCAT?

It’s fine to take the exam 3 times if you’re making improvements on each attempt, however, if your score decreases or remains the same, then it can be detrimental to your overall medical school application.

Medical schools are unlikely to care about up to 3 attempts if your score improves with each test. But decreasing or consistently low scores may indicate that you don’t have an appropriate grasp of the necessary materials to successfully complete medical school.

Of course, there are exceptions — for instance, what if you took the MCAT 3 times during your junior year of undergrad, then took a gap year or two before starting the application process again? In this situation, it might make sense for you to take the exam more than 3 times.

Do medical schools care how many times you take the MCAT?

Ideally, medical schools would like to see you take the exam once and be done with it. However, that isn’t the case for 38% of students who retake the MCAT. What’s more important is if you’re showing improvement after each try.

Be sure to give A Student’s Experience With the MCAT: Five Tips for Success a read to have a better understanding of preparing for the MCAT.

Studying for the MCAT can be extremely difficult. Book a free consultation call today to find out how MedSchoolCoach can ease that process for you!

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Yaseen Elhag

My name is Yaseen Elhag. I hold a bachelor's in Health Science and I have aspirations of becoming a physician. I have a deep passion for eliminating healthcare disparities. Some of my hobbies include Mixed Martial Arts, traveling, and playing chess!

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