Should You Retake The MCAT?December 23, 2013
Your MCAT score is one of the most important parts a medical school application and there is tremendous pressure on prospective med students to score well in this test. But what happens if your score is too low to meet most medical school standards? Is it advisable to retake the test?
There is no straightforward answer to the question. If you have already taken the MCAT and you are not satisfied with your score, here are some thoughts you need to consider before you decide to retake the test.
Think about the schools that you are aiming for
Different medical schools have different cut-off points. Before you retake the think, think about what kind of schools you are reaching for. If the schools you want to apply to are top tier schools and you scored a 31, you will have to retake. However, there are several other med schools that will accept applicants with an MCAT score of 30. Perhaps these schools would be a better option Be realistic about your goals. If you know you did your best but still only got a 31, then unfortunately you will have to let go of your dreams of applying to a top tier school and settle for ‘second best’.
Do you think you can do better?
If you are convinced that you can do better and your low score was only because you were ill or nervous or stressed over some personal problems, then it may be worth it to retake the test. However, if you did your best and still could not get the score you were aiming for, taking another test is not likely to result in an improved outcome. It is important to recognize your limitations and know when it is time to accept your score.
Think about what how you intend to get that higher score
If you decide you are going to go ahead and retake the MCAT, you should consider using a different strategy to perform better. Obviously the strategy you used before did not work and it needs to be changed. The change could be something as simple as taking a day off before you take the test so you do not get burnt out before your test or as complex as completely changing your study schedule and taking a MCAT prep course. Expecting to improve your score without making any significant changes will only cause you to be very disappointed.
Use this time to explore your commitment to the profession
The MCAT test is actually designed to weed out applicants who are not totally committed to becoming doctors. Getting a low score can make you rethink your drive to become a doctor. Are you ready and willing to go the extra mile and make any sacrifices necessary to overcome this major hurdle and improve your score? Do some soul-searching. Be honest with yourself and if you realize that you are not 100% committed to the profession, the post MCAT time might be a good time to rethink your career plans.
Retaking the MCAT is a major undertaking in terms of effort and expense too. Don’t make the decision to retake the test lightly. Take some time to research and think about it. You do not want to retake the MCAT if you don’t have to.