Does it Hurt to Take the MCAT Multiple Times?

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Does it Hurt to Take the MCAT Multiple Times?

Session 35

The MCAT is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face as a premed. What happens if you have to take it multiple times? How will that affect your med school apps?

Will taking the MCAT more than once hurt you? The answer is yes. The answer is no, too.

By the way, the episodes in this podcast are recordings of our Facebook Live that we do at 3pm Eastern on most weekdays. Check out our Facebook page and like the page to be notified. Also, listen to our other podcasts on MedEd Media. If you need help with the MCAT, check out The MCAT Podcast.

[00:22] When Multiple MCAT Takes Will Hurt You

It might hurt your wallet and your application to medical schools since it can delay your application.

Assuming you took the MCAT in May. On the year you’re planning on applying, you got your score back in June and then realize you need to take it again. Now, you’re probably going to have to study for a bit because you obviously didn’t do well enough. So you’re going to study for two months, all of June and July and take it sometime end of July or August. It’s the end of the testing year, and there might not be a lot available.

So now your application is delayed, number one, because you’re not submitting your application early because now you’re getting back in the MCAT prep mode. Number two, you check that box in the application that says “I’m planning to take the MCAT again and here’s the date. Schools see that and they don’t consider your application complete until you take the MCAT and the score comes back. Does that mean you’re done? No, but it hurts. It hurts a lot.

'If you take it in August, you're not getting your score back until September, so it's a very, very late application.'Click To Tweet

[01:50] Do Medical Schools Care If You Took the MCAT More Than Once?

Will that look bad if they see your application and the see that you’ve taken it more than once. No.

It will look strange if you’ve taken it the maximum number of times, which is 7. And that could be sending a red flag to them. What happened? But if you got a series of bad scores and then crush it, then that’s going to wow them for your determination. This gives them the idea that you really want to go to medical school.

'Medical schools, the majority of them, aren't going to care how many times you're taking the MCAT.'Click To Tweet

[02:50] Reasons to Retake the MCAT

Did you do poorly? By poorly, it’s subjective. Maybe you were shooting for a 500 and you’ve got 501. Some maybe shooting for a 515 and you got a 512 and you want to retake it.

It’s crazy with Canadians though since, say, they got a 516 but they only got a 126 in CARS and they think they need to retake it. That is important for Canadian students.

'Retaking it is very subjective. And you just have to analyze what you want out of it.'Click To Tweet

Nevertheless, you can get interviews with a 500. A student had a 499 on her first attempt and he’s still getting interviews even though he was in the process of retaking it.

[03:33] Medical Schools Don’t Care

A poor score is very subjective since what you think as a poor score might not be what the medical school thinks is a poor score. So you need to do some soul searching. Go ask your advisors about whether you should retake it or not.

'Medical schools don't care if you're going to retake it a couple of times. What they will want to see is that you're improving.'Click To Tweet

If they see multiple schools and you’re getting the same, poor scores, this might send the medical school a message that you don’t get it. That’s not the message you want to send to medical schools that you keep making mistakes over and over again.

Again, medical schools don’t care if you have multiple MCAT tests on your application. Just make sure that if you screw up the first time, know why so you can prove the next time.


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