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How Long Do MCAT Scores Last?

William Cohen
Published by William Cohen
Last Updated On: December 3, 2021

If you want to continue your medical education and get admitted to your dream med school, it is necessary to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test).

After many hours specifically dedicated to researching this topic, we have gathered all the information you need to know about this exam.

We will go through everything you need for this test, starting from the validity of MCAT scores to MCAT exam rules and accepting MCAT scores.

How Long Is an MCAT Score Good For?

  • How long your MCAT scores are valid depends on your intended school. Schools have different requirements.
  • Most schools will accept scores 2 to 3 years old.
  • You can take the MCAT 3 times a year, 7 times in your life.
  • How successful your application will be depends on your scores.

How Long are MCAT Scores Valid?

Pencil on top of shaded answer sheet

If you want to enter medical school, you should know that most med schools accept MCAT scores that are 2-3 years old.

So, you can submit your test score together with your medical school application if no more than 3 years have passed since the test date.

Of course, if you have taken the test before, we suggest consulting with the administration of the medical schools you want to apply for. A medical school admissions committee will provide you with precise information about the validity of your score.

What is an Acceptable MCAT Score for Medical School?

Young medical undergraduate with professional attire

When applying for a med school, you must keep in mind that your choice of medical schools also plays a role.

Your MCAT score may be satisfactory for one med school and below satisfactory for others, depending on how competitive medical schools you applied for are.

To make it easier for you, with the help of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) [1], we came up with average MCAT total scores for M.D. programs over the past few years:

Academic Year Medical School Applicants Medical School Matriculants
2016-2017 501.8 508.7
2017-2018 504.7 510.4
2018-2019 505.6 511.2
2019-2020 506.1 511.5
2020-2021 506.4 511.5

Of course, if your score is higher than these averages, it doesn’t guarantee success; and if it is lower, you shouldn’t be discouraged either.

Related Article:

Which Medical School is the Right Fit Based on Your Numbers?

Two medical students looking at a book

Later in the text, we will share some information about the general MCAT rules, the minimum score you need to have, and similar, but for now, let’s focus on choosing the right medical school based on your MCAT scores.

The average number of medical schools most students apply to is as high as 16.

Of course, with more applications sent, you will have a better chance of getting accepted to the medical school of your dreams.

If your results are high, you won’t need to send applications to too many medical schools.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela

Depending on your GPA and MCAT exam results, we made a comparison of the M.D. and D.O. programs that may be suitable for you.

Assuming a good cumulative GPA (i.e., 3.5-3.6) and well-written application essays, we suggest the following rough program breakdowns depending on your MCAT scores:

  •  Below 500: 0-25% M.D. programs; 75-100% D.O. programs
  •  500-504: 25-50% M.D. programs; 50-75% D.O. programs
  •  505-509: 75% M.D. programs, 25% D.O. programs
  •  510+: 100% M.D. programs; 0% D.O. programs

Generally speaking, this was our critical analysis.

Of course, if your GPA is 3.7 or even higher we suggest applying to more M.D. programs. On the other hand, if your GPA is 3.4 or lower, we suggest you apply to more D.O. programs.

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FAQs

Is There a Certain Number of Attempts Considered to Be Too Many?

No, there is not a certain number of attempts considered to be too many. However, certain rules are defined.

Each individual is allowed to take the MCAT seven times in their lifetime. Anything beyond that is not allowed.

Also, if a student does not show up for the exam, he loses his attempt (One of a possible seven).

How Many MCAT Results Did Medical Schools See?

Medical schools and their administration have access to all your results (even the old scores). Medical school admissions committees may look at your test scores in different ways.

If you have multiple MCAT scores, a medical school can consider: your highest score, the average score on all tests you have taken, or observe each of your scores- but the recent scores are the most significant.

What is the Average MCAT Total Score Among All Medical School Applicants and Matriculants?

The average MCAT score for matriculants is between 510 and 511, with an average GPA of 3.71. [2] Take a closer look at the table we added above if you want to get a detailed insight into the average scores.

How Often Can You Take the MCAT?

You can take the MCAT up to 3 times per year. If you are not ready, feel free to take a gap year or more between two tests.

In the meantime, your best bet is to practice tests, take some courses, study MCAT prep books and get ready for the exam.
Another general rule is that students can take the test only 4 times in two consecutive years.

Finally, as we have already mentioned, students can take the MCAT test only 7 times in a lifetime.

What is the Minimum Number of Points You Need to Have to Be Accepted?

The minimum number of points you need to have to be accepted depends on your choice of medical schools. However, most medical schools accept students with a total score of 509 or above.

Related Article: Medical Schools That Don’t Require MCAT

How Long are MCAT Scores Valid - Final Thoughts

We hope this guide provides you with more than enough information about how long are MCAT scores valid.

If you pass the MCAT test, your results will remain valid for up to 3 years.

Also, if you are not satisfied with your MCAT score, you can retake this test again. You can take it up to 7 times in your life.

We advise you to do your best when taking the test regardless of your previous GPA results. Remember, persistence always pays off in the end.


References:

  1. https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/taking-mcat-exam/
  2. https://www.aamc.org/media/6056/download

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