Have a Low MCAT Score? Here’s What You Can Do

Your medical college admission test (MCAT) score can be a deciding factor in whether you’re accepted into medical school. The MCAT score range is from 472 to 528. It’s split into four sections, and anything below 500 might significantly impact your chances of getting into the school of your dreams. 

However, this standardized, multiple-choice test might not always impact your chances as much as you think. If your MCAT score is not as high as you hoped and you’re not ready to give up, you might like to take some of the following actions.   

Retake the Test  

If you received a low MCAT score the first time you took your test, you might not need to worry about trying to get into medical school with it. The Association of American Medical Colleges typically allows examinees to take the test more than once if they’re not happy with their score. They can then accept your highest test score. 

Since the MCAT exam was introduced in 2015, just under 95% have tested once or twice. Five percent of examinees tested three times, and approximately 1% tested more than three times. You are allowed to test up to three times in one calendar year and four times in two calendar years. There is a lifetime limit of seven test retakes. 

Enroll in a Master’s Program

If you’re unable to retake your MCAT, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your career is over before it even begins. Completing a master’s program might be an option. You can make your medical school application stand out from the crowd, even with a low MCAT score. 

Many different programs are available, including those designed for pre-medical students trying to get into medical school. Ideally, the program you choose will offer biomedical science courses and have an affiliation with a medical school. 

Take Additional Courses in Weak Testing Areas

Many students experience a great deal of stress when they enter an examination or test. That stress can sometimes reflect in your MCAT score. If you scored low in a particular part of the test, consider taking additional courses and working hard to achieve high scores. When medical schools see your strengths in those additional courses, they may see the previous testing in that area as irrelevant to your skills and talents. 

Explain Your Circumstances

Life can throw curveballs when we least expect them. Your test might have been held during a challenging life event, such as illness or a death in the family. If there are extenuating circumstances for poor performance, don’t be afraid to mention these in your application’s personal statement. Your honesty might be well received by those reading through your application. Especially if they’re already impressed by your other achievements. 

Having a low MCAT score can be devastating, particularly if you have worked hard as an aspiring physician to get into the medical school of your dreams. However, a low MCAT doesn’t have to mean alternative career options for your future. Retaking the test, enrolling in other programs, and even explaining your situation might all allow you to receive the acceptance letter you were hoping for.