When should I take the MCAT? You should complete all of the core science pre-requisites prior to taking the MCAT. We recommend scheduling your MCAT test date for April or May of the year you plan to apply to medical school. This should allow you to finish any relevant course work you may be taking that semester but will also have your scores available in time for a June application. Typically, scores are issued four to five weeks after the exam.
Do you recommend that students take an MCAT review course? Yes. MCAT review courses will allow you more targeted study that you could achieve on your own. Plus, all courses will have some emphasis on practice tests which are very important in your test preparation.
What resources are available for MCAT review? See Resources page.
Is there any advice that students who do well on the MCAT consistently give? Yes – do LOTS and LOTS of questions and practice exams. Remember, there are only so many different ways that a question can be asked about a particular concept. Doing lots of questions will get you accustomed to not just the most common types of questions asked but the way in which they are asked. Also, make sure to time yourself as you take each practice exam, as if you were taking the real thing. This will help you get comfortable with the pace of the exam.
Should I take the MCAT once just to see how I’ll do? No. Some schools put more emphasis on the most recent set of scores and some are most interested in the student’s highest score, but all scores will be visible to admission committees. It is ideal to take the MCAT only once. But there is no issue with taking the MCAT twice; it is quite common. All MCAT scores, however, will be reported. One should only retake the MCAT, however, if you feel you could do better on the retake and that you have adequate time to study. There are practice tests available to help you prepare for the exam and predict your score.
What is the average MCAT score for those who matriculate to medical school? The MCAT is scored on a scale that ranges from 472-528. The average score for those applicants who matriculated to medical school has consistently been around the 83rd percentile. Students should explore the average metrics of the various schools one might be interested in order to better access one’s competitiveness for that school. These are reported in the MSAR (Medical School Admission Requirements) online resource purchased from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Remember, however, that GPA and MCAT scores are only a part of the application and are viewed by schools in context of the rest of the application.
How can I decide if I need to retake the MCAT? You should discuss this option with your prehealth advisor. If you believe your score is not an accurate representation of your abilities and you are confident that you can improve your score and that retaking the MCAT is worth the time and effort, it may be advantageous to retake the exam. Always assess the situation realistically before retaking the exam and ask whether you have done enough or if your circumstances have sufficiently changed that you can expect a different outcome.
How can I improve my score if I’m taking the test again? Students who retake the MCAT should take a look at how they prepared for the test. Did you allow enough dedicated time for study? Did you take a review course? Did you do practice tests? Did you get enough rest the night before the exam? All of these questions need to be asked in assessing what you need to do in order to perform better on the second test.