When Should You Retake The MCAT?

If you’ve taken the MCAT but didn’t get the scores you were hoping for, retaking it can be the best option. Depending on the schools you plan on applying to, retaking the MCAT may be a way for you to make sure that your application stays competitive so that you can get into the school of your dreams. If this sounds like the right option for you, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

Retaking The MCAT

You are limited to how many times you can retake the MCAT, which means you need to prepare accordingly. You can only take the MCAT up to 7 times in a lifetime, with up to 3 times per year. Voids and no-shows do count towards your lifetime limit, so make sure to schedule your exam date for a day you can absolutely attend.

The important thing to figure out if you’re considering retaking the MCAT, is whether this will actually help you during the application process. Not all schools look at multiple MCAT scores the same way. Some will focus on your most recent score (for better or for worse), while some will average all of your scores. Do some research on the schools you plan on applying to and consult with your MCAT tutor to figure out whether retaking the exam will be worth it for you.

You Should Retake The MCAT If:

  1. Your current MCAT score is not competitive for the schools you are applying to.

If your score is not competitive for the programs you want to apply to, then this might be an opportunity for you to improve your chances. Just make sure that you know how they look at multiple MCAT scores.

  1. You have enough time to commit to beginning your MCAT test prep over again.

You need to determine whether you actually have enough time to devote to a whole new round of test prep. If you do, then it doesn’t hurt to try again now that you know what you’re in for.

  1. You truly believe that your current MCAT is not a good reflection of your abilities.

Take some time for self-reflection and decide whether your current score is really how you want to present yourself to potential schools. If you truly think that you can do better, then you should consider retaking the MCAT.

  1. You know exactly what you did wrong before and have a new study plan in place that will correct it.

If your test prep didn’t go the way you wanted and you have some ideas on how to correct that, then repeating the test prep process may be beneficial. You can also consult an MCAT tutor to help you through the process this time around. They may be able to help guide you in a way that corrects any issues you had in the past.

You Should Not Retake The MCAT If:

  1. You don’t have enough time to dedicate to the mistakes you made the last time.

If you don’t plan on committing the necessary time towards test prep, then retaking the exam isn’t going to show any kind of significant change. Without the necessary test prep or work with a MCAT tutor program, you won’t be improving any important skills that could help you score higher this time around.

  1. You scored a 518 or higher.

Statistically, students who received a 518 or higher on the MCAT showed no real score increase when they retook the exam. Instead of wasting your time trying to gain a couple extra points, work on other parts of your application to increase your chances of getting into the school you want.

  1. You want to retake the MCAT because somebody scored better than you.

Your MCAT scores are something that you need to assess on a personal level, not by comparing it to other students. There will always be somebody who scores higher than you, but that in no way decreases your own accomplishments. Be proud of how far you’ve come and if you’d like to retake the MCAT, do so because you want to push yourself to be better rather than because you want to compare yourself to somebody else.

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