Right after the MCAT scores are released, phones go wild in medical school admissions offices. It will not help to panic over disappointing scores, or to call or e-mail blaming your scores on “bad sushi” the day of the exam. Take responsibility for your disappointing scores, and be honest with yourself and the medical schools you are applying to.
If your scores are considerably lower than average, it may be necessary to retake the exam. However, applicants need to be aware that taking the MCAT multiple times could have a negative impact on their applications, unless there is a dramatic change in the scores. Though there is no longer a rule against repeating the MCATs more than three times, doing so will probably work against you.
It is also important to know how medical schools are looking at your MCAT scores. Though some medical schools may average your test scores or take the highest score in each subtest, most consider your most recent test scores the most important in the application process.
Keep in mind that most schools will only accept MCAT scores that are less than three years old, and there are some medical schools that will only accept them if they are less than two years old. Do your homework!
This post is excerpted from 101 Tips on Getting Into Medical School by Jennifer C. Welch, who has served as the Director of Admissions at SUNY Upstate Medical School since 2001.