It should come as no surprise that the prospect of taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) causes premeds to experience shivers down their spines.
After all, it would appear that the results of this one exam can either make or break your prospects of being accepted into medical school, even though admissions committees are always quick to point out that the MCAT is only one component of your complete application package.
If you don't do well on the MCAT, you might be concerned that all of the years of schoolwork and constant extracurriculars you've done in preparation for medical school might be for naught. Or, even if you think you did well on the test, you could wonder if your results are good enough to help you get into a program that is ranked in the top ten or twenty.
If you are considering applying to medical school shortly, you may be curious about a good MCAT score. Considering all of the tales you hear about the MCAT's difficulty, the stressful test settings, and its impact on the percentage of applicants accepted into medical school, taking the exam can be an intimidating notion. Even while it is possible to get into medical school with a low MCAT score, we strongly encourage you to do everything in your power to earn an excellent MCAT score that will position you as a competitive candidate at the medical schools of choice.
What a good score on the MCAT is. What is the minimum score on the MCAT required to be admitted to a medical school? How about trying to be accepted to the medical schools that you want to go to?
In this guide, we will delve deep into the format of the MCAT, what your scores mean, what score you need to achieve to effectively solidify your chances of getting into medical school, and how you should develop your school list based on your MCAT score. We will also discuss what score you need to achieve to effectively solidify your chances of getting into medical school.
How are MCAT scores determined?
The number of questions you correctly respond to determines your score. You are not penalized for providing a wrong answer because it has no bearing on your score. When taking the test, be careful to respond to every question, even if you are unsure of the response. It is advisable to hazard a guess.
Each section's correct responses are turned into a scaled score, with the lowest possible score being 118 and the highest score being 132. (highest possible score). The results of the four sections' scores are combined. Accordingly, the lowest MCAT score you might receive is 472, and the best is 528.
To ensure that all students taking the MCAT receive fair scores, the conversion is implemented. Each year, there are a variety of test formats. They frequently contain questions of varying degrees of difficulty. The administration asserts that it ensures that all test formats are equally challenging and that all examinations are created to evaluate the same knowledge and skills. Nevertheless, specific exam formats could be a little trickier than others.
Through a procedure known as equating, your correct responses are converted to scale to account for slight differences in test form difficulty. Because each conversion is tailored to the particular set of questions on a test form, this conversion is inconsistent. This would imply that, even if there is some variation in the number of correct answers, two students who are similarly prepared and who answer two sets of test forms with different questions should receive comparable results.
This does not imply that there is a curve in the MCAT score. Simply put, conversion ensures that all raw scores have the same significance regardless of when you take the test or who else is taking it with you.
The MCAT is composed of the following four sections:
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (CPBS): This portion evaluates your understanding of biological and biochemical principles and your problem-solving abilities using logic, statistics, scientific investigation, and analytical skills.
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS): The capacity to use analytical, scientific investigation, reasoning, and statistics to solve issues is tested in this area, as is knowledge of chemical and physical sciences. The natural sciences are referred to as a whole in Sections 1 and 2. Introduction to biology, biochemistry (for one semester only), inorganic (generic) chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics are prerequisites for these topics.
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems (BBLS): This section assesses your understanding of several fundamental biological concepts, psychology, and society. These topics highlight the significance of social and behavioral health determinants in clinical practice. It assesses your ability to use analytical, scientific inquiry, reasoning, and statistics to solve problems, much like the other sections.
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior (PSBB): This section does not assess a particular subject or body of knowledge. Instead, it assesses the critical thinking and scientific reasoning abilities needed by medical professionals and students. Ethics, population health, philosophy, and cross-cultural studies are some subjects covered in this section. The texts in this section are drawn from the humanities and social sciences, much like the reading comprehension sections on other standardized tests.
Your MCAT scores from all four parts will be scaled based on the difficulty of the questions you answered correctly and poorly. In other words, perfect responses to two distinct sets of 30 questions will provide distinct scaled scores.
The MCAT was developed to account for item difficulty to more accurately assess your "real mastery" of the examined material. In particular, you will score more "mastery points" if you properly answer harder questions instead of easier ones. In contrast, you will be penalized more severely for missing easier questions than more difficult ones.
How is the MCAT Scored?
Your MCAT score is determined by how many correct answers you get on the exam. There is no penalty for guessing because incorrect answers and unsolved questions are counted equally.
After that, the number of correct answers for each part is transformed on a scale from 118 to 132. The MCAT is not given a curve-based grade.
To evaluate how you stack up against other test-takers, you will also be given a percentile rank for each MCAT section and your overall score.
What is the MCAT Section Score Ranges?
Four MCAT section scores will be given to you:
- Each part receives a score between 118 and 132.
- The midpoint of this range is 125.
You'll get one overall MCAT score, which is:
- The average of your four section scores will be your MCAT overall score.
- The midpoint of the MCAT score range, which is 500, is 472-528.
What is the MCAT Score Range?
Your four sectional results will be added together for an MCAT total score range of 472-528, with 500 serving as the midpoint of this range.
The MCAT is not scaled, and admissions committees only consider the scaled part and overall scores during the admissions process. Medical schools will only utilize your scaled scores when deciding whom to admit, not your total percentile.
What is the highest MCAT score?
The maximum MCAT score, or 528, is equivalent to the 100th percentile. A score of 522 or 523 is considered in the 99th percentile, and anything over 524 is considered in the 100th percentile.
What is the Average MCAT Score (2022)?
Your overall MCAT score will fall between 472 and 528, with an average of 500. The scores range from 118 to 132 on each of the four MCAT parts, with an average score of 125.
Average (mean) MCAT total score among all medical school applicants and matriculants
We can draw some pretty significant conclusions from these facts. Even though the average MCAT total score for all test takers is 505.9, most qualified MD applicants often obtain MCAT full scores at or above the 65th percentile (i.e., 506+). In addition, successful applicants' average MCAT scores hover around the 83rd percentile and are on the rise every.
That doesn't mean that if you don't get a 511-512+, your application to MD programs is doomed or that success is assured if you do. Remember that while making admissions decisions, your MCAT score will be considered in the context of your prior accomplishments. As a result, we need to comprehend how different MCAT scores relate to other factors, most notably GPA, when predicting admissions success.
What is a good MCAT score?
Like so many other parts of the medical school admissions process, the real answer to this question is "It depends."
When reviewing applications, admissions committees use a "holistic assessment," which means they consider all of your medical school prerequisites before deciding whether or not to ask you for an interview. These consist of:
- Grades (including the undergraduate institution you attended)
- Extracurricular pursuits and successes (i.e., your AMCAS Work and Activities section
- Journey to medicine (via your personal statement)
- Fit (via your secondary application essays)
- Recommendation letters
- also, your MCAT results
Additionally, people applying to medical schools typically have grades, MCAT scores, and experiences that range widely. MCAT results may thus be competitive for one institution but not for another, and vice versa.
For instance, a 514 MCAT score might be sufficient for the University of Florida College of Medicine and other Florida-based medical schools, but not for NYU Medical School, depending on your GPA (522 average MCAT score).
Therefore, an "excellent MCAT score" will ultimately depend on the quality of your other application materials as well as the institutions you plan to apply to (e.g., top-25 only vs. top-50; MD only vs. DO only vs. MD and DO).
What is a Good MCAT Score for DO vs. MD?
In the most recent application cycle, the average MCAT score for MD matriculants was 511.5. DO graduates averaged an MCAT score of 503.8. Consider that these figures shift each year slightly.
Based on the average MCAT score of DO graduates, admission to DO schools can be more accessible, but this is not necessarily the case. According to DO school rankings, many osteopathic medical schools in the United States have MCAT score averages comparable to or greater than some MD institutions.
If you intend to apply to both sorts of programs, you will not prepare differently for the MCAT. Remember that it is not enough to fulfill the minimum MCAT requirement for the schools you are applying to. Whether you select osteopathic or allopathic schools, you should strive for the most outstanding possible score.
The cornerstone of your medical school applications is your MCAT score.
Although better MCAT scores are linked to a higher success rate for medical school admissions, your GPA, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and essays are also considered when deciding whether to ask you for an interview.
To increase your chances of admission, it's essential to determine your admissions odds based on your MCAT score and create your school list empirically.