Should I retake biology for MCAT?

I took basic biology back in 2004 and received an A in both sections but have been prepping for the MCAT and discovered that most of my bio knowledge has evaded me. Do you think it would be beneficial to retake biology or that just reading a MCAT book on the subject would be sufficient? Thanks!


Hi, please also check out the requirements of the schools you intend to apply to. I have been told by three real actual Directors of Admission currently serving who visited our university, that any course older than five years (!) is stale and needs to be repeated. Some here have quoted a ten year limit on “freshness” and “shelf life.” You are nearing the 8 year mark and it may be close to ten by the time you apply.

The answer: Yes, do both.

You can review books and find a community college with low fees if that is factor, and re-take it for a grade. Show 'em your stuff!

A solid “A” now will reinforce that you will do well in their med school, as well as giving you bio knowledge you will need in the SOM.

I would suggest taking the long view of pursuing knowledge, not just the statistics on getting that all important MCAT score, while important, is only a reflection of your internalized understanding of the bio principles and ability to apply them.

Good Luck!!!

Dr Quinn in LA

Thanks! Your response was VERY helpful! My main reason for not wanting to retake it was simply a time issue–it may postpone my other courses–but I do see what you’re saying about the actual overall goal of gaining the knowledge. Your help is appreciated!

I agree–I had an A in Bio 1 & 2, as well as Zoology, and Comparative Anatomy and a few other bio classes… but all were a decade ago. I just finished retaking Bio 1, and I’m SO glad that I did. I’d forgotten way more than I remembered, and now I feel far more equipped to face the MCAT…but beyond that, I feel like I’ve relaid the foundation for the rest of what’s to come. I didn’t have that before, and I know it would’ve been more difficult. Good luck!

Thanks! I’ve just registered to re-take it. I’m kind of nervous but I know that I have to be on top of this stuff to do well on the MCAT!