How Often Can You Take the MCAT?
3 Things To Know

Last Updated On: February 28, 2021

Are you considering applying to med school? If so, then you know you will have to take the MCAT to be considered for entry. MCAT is one of the most difficult entrance exams for professional schools.

Since it is so complicated and the top medical schools require a high score to get in, it might be a good idea to know how frequently you can take the entrance test.

In this guide, we will arm you with the information you need to understand how many times you can take the MCAT and how many times you should.

What is the MCAT?

Studying for MCAT

The MCAT is an entrance examination considered to be a big step in the process of applying for medical school. It might be the most challenging part for many students since standardized tests can be intimidating and difficult. Most students have studied for the MCAT for months before they sign up to take the test.

What happens if you leave the test room and you know you didn’t do as well as you would have liked? Waiting for your MCAT scores can be terrifying, and what if they come back lower than you hoped?

Well, the good news is you can retake the MCAT. You can retake it to improve your score and bolster your application to get into the school of your dreams. [1]

How Frequently Can You Take The Test?

The AAMC has set rules on how many times a student can take the MCAT. The rules are as follows:

  • Three times in one year
  • Four times in two years
  • Seven times in a lifetime

If you do not achieve your desired score after 7 attempts, then you cannot retake the MCAT. You cannot take the exam 7 times within one year, so make sure you are well prepared for your second and third attempts to enter med school during your desired year.

How Many Times Should You Take the MCAT?

Most medical schools prefer to see that students have only taken the MCAT 3 times. While you are allowed to take the MCAT up to 7 times in a lifetime, it might not be wise to do so. It is important to keep in mind that not all med schools want to see you have taken the MCAT numerous times.

The MCAT was designed to help admission councils understand your aptitude for medical school. They want to see that you understand the course material to continue through the difficult rigor of medical school courses.

When you send in your medical school application packet, it is not just the highest MCAT score they receive. They receive the scores from all of your MCAT attempts. Granted, most schools will only consider your highest score when deciding if you are a good fit for their program.

3 Things To Consider Before You Retake the MCAT

friends studying together

1. How good is your first score?

To determine if you received a “good” MCAT score, you need to consider the med schools you are applying to and the competitiveness of the rest of your application. If you apply to medical schools with the minimum score they expect for entry, but the rest of your application is stable, you can get accepted.

If your first score is much lower than the minimum score of the med schools you are applying to, then you might want to consider retaking the MCAT to see if you can improve your score.

2. How much did you study for the MCAT on your first attempt?

If you studied for numerous hours per week for 6 months before taking the MCAT, then retaking it might not improve your score. Some students are confident they studied as hard as they could before their first MCAT attempt. In cases like this, it might not be wise to retake the exam since it costs money and time.

3. Do you have a different study plan for your next MCAT attempt?

If you are sure you could have studied harder or used better resources, then you might want to devise another MCAT study plan and retake the exam. Some students may have only had a few hours a week to study.

In this case, you might want to create a more detailed study plan and retake the MCAT. You might want to include different study resources such as a prep course, tutoring, or other MCAT study books.

The Bottom Line

The MCAT is one of the most difficult standardized tests. We understand it can be hard to bring in a top score on your first attempt. In this guide, we have provided you with the information you need to determine if you should retake the MCAT or rely on your current scores. Make sure you understand exactly what the med schools you are applying to are looking for before booking another test date.


  1. https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/taking-mcat-exam/

About the author

William Cohen

William Cohen

William is an electrical engineer whose great passion is helping promising students achieve their goals and dreams. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with aspiring learners from all over the world.

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