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How Many Times Can You Take the MCAT?

May 5, 2022
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How Often You Can Take the MCATHow Many Times You Should Take the MCATFAQs

The MCAT is challenging, and often students want to retake the test to improve their score before applying to medical school. Here we’ll talk about how many times you can retake the MCAT and how it may affect your application.

Wondering how many times you can take the MCAT? You’ve come to the right place! As you may know, the MCAT is a computer-based standardized test administered by the AAMC multiple times a year. The test is known for being challenging in both subject matter and length, as it takes over seven hours to complete.

Due to the complexity of the MCAT and the weight it carries in medical school applications, students often schedule their first date with enough time to retake the test if they’re not happy with their score. But how many times can you retake the MCAT? And how does that look on a college application? We’ve got answers.

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How Often You Can Take the MCAT

There are three separate timeline limits to how many times you can retake the MCAT. Here we’ll go over each MCAT test-taking limit.

Single-Year Limit

In a single testing year, you can take the MCAT three times. Each exam date can be scheduled as far apart or close together as you would like, although you should probably give yourself time to review your score and study again before retaking the test.

Two-Year Limit

In a consecutive two-year period, the MCAT can be taken four times. That means if you’ve already taken the MCAT three times in your first year of taking the test, you have only one more try before you have to wait another year. This limit only applies to two consecutive years. If you’ve waited a year between the first three tests, the single-year limit remains the same. 

Lifetime Limit

You can take the MCAT up to seven times in a lifetime. After your seventh time taking the MCAT, you will no longer be able to register or take the test regardless of how long it has been since your last attempt. 

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How Many Times You Should Take the MCAT

Although you can take the MCAT up to seven times in your lifetime, that number certainly does not reflect the amount of times you should take the test. Taking the MCAT twice will look fine on your application, and even three times shouldn’t impact your admissions too much. However, any more tries can begin to damage your application. 

Aim to avoid having to retake the test at all while planning time to retake it once if necessary. You should give yourself at least three months to study for the MCAT and make sure to take multiple full-length practice tests on the exam. 

Keeping your ideal MCAT score in mind can also help you study for the exam and decide if you should retake it. Consider the admissions requirements of each of your target schools. Perhaps you don’t have a perfect score, but would it be admissible for your target schools? Can you make up for it in other areas of your application?

If you’ve retaken the MCAT multiple times with no success, you can also consider applying to medical schools that don’t require the MCAT or consider other careers in the health field. 


Here are some frequently asked questions about retaking the MCAT. If you want to improve your MCAT score, consider setting up a consultation with an experienced tutor.

1. Will It Look Bad On My Application If I Retake the MCAT?

If you retake the MCAT only once, even twice, and improve your score each time, it won’t impact your chances of admission. However, retaking the MCAT an excessive amount of times or scoring lower each time you take the test may negatively impact your application. 

2. How Many Times Do People Retake the MCAT On Average? 

It is normal to retake the MCAT once. After all, the test is challenging, and we all have bad days. Just make sure that your score improves when you retake the test. 

3. Should I Retake the MCAT?

If you already have a good score (ex. 514 or above), it may not be the best idea to retake the MCAT. By retaking the test, you risk getting a lower score than your first attempt. Try looking at the stats of your target schools to see if retaking the MCAT is worth the risk. 

4. Is It Bad To Retake the MCAT More Than Once?

Retaking the MCAT multiple times isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as your score improves each time. If your score worsens with each attempt or stays the same, it will look bad on your med school application. 

5. How Many Times Can I Retake the MCAT Per Year?

In one year, you can take the MCAT up to three times. The test dates can be scheduled as far apart as you wish, although you should give yourself time to review your score and study before taking the exam again. 

6. How Many Times Can You Take the MCAT?

In a lifetime, you can take the MCAT up to seven times.

Final Thoughts

Retaking the MCAT is a big decision. Between each attempt, it is vital to give yourself just as much (if not more) time to study than you did in the first round. You should also take full-length practice tests to simulate the actual testing environment. Keep in mind it’s important to focus on every section when studying for a retake, not just the one you did badly in.

You should research your target school’s class statistics and admission requirements before deciding to retake the exam. Avoid retaking the test hastily without giving yourself proper time to study, as you risk receiving a lower score than the first time around. 

Retaking the test more than twice may reflect negatively on your application, so make sure to sit on your decision and consider all factors before moving forward. If you’re not sure how to improve your initial score, consider hiring an experienced MCAT tutor to boost your results.

Good luck!

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