How Retaking the MCAT Will Affect Your Medical School Application
If you have taken the MCAT twice or are planning on retaking the exam, you should know how this will affect your Medical School application. All MCAT scores are always reported on your Medical School Application, unless your previous score is from a time so long ago the MCAT was still given on paper. This means that medical schools will see every score, not just the highest one you have achieved. In addition if you have registered to retake the exam then this information will appear on your Medical School application.
Some students hope to fool admissions committees by submitting their application to some lower priority schools before they retake their exam and then submitting to the rest of the schools to which they would like to apply after they get their new score. In theory this allows them to apply with only one score to the lower priority schools where they feel speed is more important than high MCAT scores and then later to the higher priority schools with their hopefully improved score. Unfortunately unless you are not yet registered for your next MCAT date by the time you submit your application to those lower priority schools this will not work. If you are not yet registered for you next MCAT by June 1st (the earliest possible time you could be submitting to those lower priority schools) then you are taking that second exam too late in the game anyway.
Why? Because if you have registered for your next test date those lower priority schools will see that you plan on retaking the MCAT. While each school has its own admissions policies, most handle MCAT retakes by automatically sending you a secondary but waiting to process your medical school application until the new MCAT score is available. This delay can cost you an interview spot at rolling admissions schools. If you wait to register for the MCAT until after June 1st and take the exam in the Fall this might make you miss the deadline for some schools altogether and will make you a late applicant, hurting your chances.
The moral of the story? Don’t try and fool medical schools. These days with everything being done electronically your MCAT history and yes, even your MCAT future, are available to all medical schools and they are looking at this section closely. If you need to retake the MCAT do so knowing that if you get a lower score all schools will see it. Do not sit for the exam until you know you are ready. Do not schedule the exam for a date late in application season unless you are prepared to wait until next year to apply. Schools will wait around for that score to process your application. When it comes to MCAT the Medical School Application has no secrets.