Taking the MCAT once is already a grueling experience but sometimes you just have to take it again. You’re not happy with your score, you know you can do better, and you are willing to go through the process all over again. Let’s say you improve your score on your second attempt but still don’t reach your target score. While debating whether or not to retake the test again, you might ask, “How often can I retake the MCAT?” This is a good question as the creators of the MCAT, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), have set limits to how often students can retake the MCAT. According to the AAMC, you can take the MCAT up to three times in one year, four times in a two-year span, and seven times in a lifetime.
What do the Limits Mean?
Previously, we mentioned it is not bad to take the MCAT again but also that you should limit yourself to three attempts. Keeping this in mind, the AAMC limits are really quite generous. There is very little reason for why a student would need to take the test more than three times in one year or more than seven times in their life. Generally, students that find the AAMC’s limits problematic need to take some more time to think about what they are doing before signing up for another test date. If you have not taken the MCAT yet, what you should focus on instead is when you should take the exam. This step is important because if done correctly, you might not have to even retake the MCAT.
Retaking the MCAT
If you have taken the MCAT, your situation is much different. First of all, you need to decide whether or not you need to retake the exam. To help with this decision, you will want to learn how much of a score increase is possible on the MCAT. Not everyone that gets into medical school has a great MCAT score. However, if you feel strongly that your MCAT score is not high enough, then you need to devise a plan of attack for your retake. Start first by evaluating why you did not achieve your target score and determine what you need to do to improve your score. If you have friends that have excelled on the MCAT, ask them for advice on how you could improve. Second, create an effective study plan that will cover all of your weaknesses from before. Remember too that Magoosh also offers our own MCAT prep to help you prepare. Finally, open up your books and get studying! If you are looking for more advice on how to improve your score, check on our post on the top five strategies for MCAT success.