How many times can you take the MCAT exam?

How many times can you take the MCAT exam? Or how many times can you retake the MCAT? How long should you wait to retake the MCAT …

These are the frequently asked questions about the MCAT exam by many students. This informative article will reveal the answers to you.

First, let’s learn what is the MCAT? Why the MCAT is so hard?

What is the MCAT?

MCAT is the abbreviation of the Medical College Admission Test, is a standardized, multiple-choice exam administered by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges).

MCAT can help the admissions office of the medical school assess applicants’ problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles required for learning medicine.

The sections included in the MCAT test covering the following subjects:

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  2. The psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior
  3. Chemical and physical foundations of Biological Systems
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (MCAT CARS)

Why the MCAT is so hard?


Like all standardized exams, the fact factors that determine the difficulty of MCAT are the person who takes part in MCAT. Its difficulties reflect the ability of people who are doctors in the US.

The fact is that MCAT is more difficult than traditional college exams. The reason includes:

#1: The testing time is LONG

How long is the MCAT?

The MCAT test time is 6 hours and 15 minutes, while the total sitting time is over 7 and a half hours. No doubt, the exam testing time is much longer than other standardized exams.

Check out the following comparison table of the time length of some standardized tests:

Time length of kinds of standardized test

#2: Covering a very wide range of subjects

The MCAT exam includes 230 total questions that cover many different subjects, they are:

  • Organic chemistry
  • General chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Reading comprehension

Read also: The proportion of subjects included in the MCAT test

From the list of test subjects above, you can see that some subjects are completely different and have a very wide range. Therefore, it will be more difficult for you to prepare for the MCAT exam than most other exams.

#3: Needing very good reading comprehension and the ability to quickly analyze

Almost all questions in the MCAT exam will be related to five to seven paragraphs. This form of exam questions adds complexity to the exam.

You will need to synthesize information from several paragraphs and explain the diagram in the context of background knowledge. The MCAT exam requires that you understand the biological process, understand the article, and answer questions using outside knowledge and article information. . . It is often difficult for students to complete certain parts of the exam within the specified time

Therefore, in the MCAT test, the candidate’s reading comprehension ability and the ability to quickly analyze charts will greatly affect them to get a good MCAT score.

#4: The time is limited

Although the time length of MCAT is up to 7.5 hours, it a bit short to the wide subjects and the lots of questions in the exam.

How many times can you take the MCAT exam?


Now that we have known why the MCAT is so difficult, that is why so many candidates can’t pass the MCAT exam by one or two times.

How Long are MCAT Scores Valid?

AAMC plans to keep current MCAT exam records for at least 15 years. The MCAT scores are valid for 3 years.

For everyone, the number of MCAT exams is not unlimited. Let’s see how many times can you take the MCAT per year, and how many times can you take the MCAT in a lifetime.

You can see the number of times permitted to each student to take the MCAT to in the following table.

PeriodNumber of Times Permitted to Take the MCAT
Single testing yearUp to 3 times
Two consecutive-year periodUp to 4 times
LifetimeUp to 7 times

We can know that the number of times permitted to each student to take the MCAT is limited. SO, it very important for students to decide that:

  • When to take the MCAT exam?
  • How prepared for the MCAT the first time?
  • If you need to retake the next MCAT, when to take the test and how to prepare for it?

Tips for MCAT

For each candidate, the number of MCAT exams is limited. Therefore, before taking each MCAT exam, it is best to make full preparations to get the best MCAT score.

We recommend that you take the MCAT practice test several times before the formal exam and record the part of the MCAT test that you encounter in each practice test. Then you can go back to the MCAT prep books and try to solve the problems in these areas before taking another MCAT practice test.

The MCAT test is a serious and important test, but you need to relax and calm your nerves before taking the test. You can try to use practice tests to help you improve your score and do better every time you take the exam. In this way, in the real MCAT exam, you can best play your level.

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