Previously, we answered a common question from pre-medical students, “When should I take the MCAT?” If you read that post, then you know that the right time is when a student has taken enough of the prerequisite courses and has time in their schedule to study for the exam. However, another important consideration is MCAT score expiration. Medical schools unfortunately do not accept MCAT scores that are too old. The actual rule depends on the school but two to three years is the norm for most medical schools. There are also some differences between the old and the new MCAT. The best way to figure out your MCAT score expiration is to read the medical school policies for accepting scores.
Old MCAT Score Expiration
Most medical schools will accept the old MCAT for the 2017 application cycle. However, considerably fewer schools will accept the old MCAT for the 2018 application cycle. In addition, there are a number of schools that will accept the old MCAT but prefer applicants to take the new MCAT. To decide whether or not you should take the new MCAT, you should look up the schools that you are most interested in applying to and check their official policies. On top of checking whether the school will accept the old MCAT, make sure that your score also fits the school’s expiration policy. For example, let’s say a student took the old MCAT in 2014 and is planning on applying to medical schools that accept the old MCAT for the 2018 application cycle. If the school only accepts scores no more than three years old, the student’s score would be considered invalid.
New MCAT Score Expiration
All medical schools will accept the new MCAT. The only concern then is how old the score is. Most medical schools will accept MCAT scores no more than three years old but there are a few schools with a two-year expiration. This means that you should plan your MCAT test date along with when you are planning to apply for medical school. A student that chooses to take their MCAT in their sophomore or junior year of college would have to apply to medical school soon after they graduate. If you know that you want to take several years break after college, you will want to make sure that you plan your MCAT accordingly.