Are you a medical student confused about what the MCAT examination, score report, scoring system, schools and what a good MCAT score is?
Do you want to know the average score for MCAT that’s enough to get you into medical school?
Are you preparing for your MCAT exams and do not know which score to aim for?
Have you written the MCAT more than once and you’re wondering why you never make it past the score you need?
Are you tired of the MCAT examination and want to know what the scoring system is like?
Trust me MCAT score is one defining factor that determines your transition from pre-med college to medical school.
And the sad news is that many students who take the MCAT examination do not know how the scoring system works.
Basically, in this article, we bring you details that most people do not know about getting a good MCAT score.
We have categorically given you an edge over many of the MCAT writers if you read till the end.
This guide hacks into the details of the MCAT scoring system and what the score report looks like. Also, you get to know how to interpret your score report once you receive it.
If you’ve never written the MCAT examination before, you will understand what to expect and the sections you should prepare for.
Also, we have made a list of schools that accept high and low MCAT scores depending on your need and academic goal.
Without mincing words, you have a masterpiece in your hands that will set you in the 99th percentile if you do your bid.
Sit tight and get informed!!!
What is MCAT?
The MCAT is the abbreviation for the term Medical College Admissions Test. It is a standardized test for pre-med students who want to go further into medical school.
It’s a test that most medical schools consider because it shows them how best to compare your capabilities to that of other students objectively.
It may wow you to know that all other medical school requirements are subjective to this test.
Depending on the medical school you’re applying to, the MCAT score will differ. Most Ivy League Schools will require an MCAT higher than the average. Whereas, other Public Ivy League Schools will need just enough to get you into med school.
Things You Should Know About the MCAT Examination.
First things first, the MCAT examination is not like the regular kind of examinations or Standardized Tests.
Also, you will only worry about this exam if you are an intending medical student willing to go to medical school.
Although there is a trick to this, you can opt for Medical Schools That Don’t Require MCAT Score, if you want to boycott the stress of this exam.
However, if you’re willing to take this step just like we advise, it’s ideal you know what it entails.
#1. MCAT Examination comes in Four Sections.
Just before we talk about the MCAT scoring system, keep in mind that you will be scored based on these four sections.
No section is more important than the others. If you want to get a good MCAT score, you need to do your best in all four sections.
Section 1: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems (BBLS).
Here, you are supposed to show a good aptitude for biology and biochemistry.
Also, the MCAT exam will test your ability to apply analytical, statistical, reasoning, and scientific inquiry skills to find biological and biochemistry solutions.
Section 2: Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (CPBS).
You will have to show an understanding of physical and chemical sciences in conjunction with your ability to solve problems.
Section 3: Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS).
Unlike the first 2 sections, this section will test your knowledge of critical thinking and reasoning skills. Over the years, this section has come with text passages on ethics, population health, philosophy, and more.
Section 4: Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior (PSBB).
Here your ability to comprehend some named scientific principles will be the point of focus.
Generally, it focuses on the importance of psychology and behavioural determinants of health in medicine.
#2. MCAT has a Unique Scoring System.
Unlike most other tests, MCAT has a scoring system unique to just its examination.
This strange yet unique scoring system was born out of the need to level the playing field.
Find out more about the MCAT score report below!!!
#3. The MCAT Examination is Hard!!!
I don’t mean to scare you but from statistics, it takes at least 2 attempts for any medical student to pass the MCAT examination.
The reason being that most do not get a good MCAT score at the first trial.
In 2020, the Association of American Medical Colleges reported that over 88,000 applicants had taken the MCAT nearly 100,000 times.
Sadly, the number keeps increasing.
#4. No Two Year MCAT Examination is The Same.
If you are an ardent user of past questions and answers, it will not be useful for you in the MCAT examination for medical schools.
Sadly, different sets of questions are offered every year. And the truth is, some may be more difficult than other versions.
You’re on your own each year. What past questions and answers can do is to give you a heads up on what you should expect. Not a repetition of questions.
How Important is A Good MCAT Score?
The MCAT score is a huge determinant if you are going to go into medical school. In fact, it is the key to medical school.
If you have all the boxes checked in your medical school admission requirement without the MCAT, you’re going nowhere.
Beyond the GPA, SAT/ACT Score and other requirements, a good MCAT score stands in the front row if you’re going to get admission into medical school.
The medical admission team uses it to vet how you are going to fare in medical school and your licensing exams in the future.
Also, the aim is not just to write the MCAT examination but to excel in it. That’s why many medical students aim towards getting a good MCAT score.
How Does MCAT Scoring System Work?
If you’re a pre-med student who is planning to take the MCAT examination, it’s important you know how this exam is scored.
Unlike many other standardized tests, the MCAT follows a unique grading system. Its grading system does not use the A-Z kind of grades or the usual 0-100 grades.
MCAT Scoring takes a whole different approach. Little wonder many students are confused about the MCAT scoring system.
Well, we are here to demystify that confusion. Here’s how MCAT scoring is done;
- MCAT Scoring System Uses A Scale Between 118 and 132. All correct answers are converted using the scale between 118 and 132.
- Then, they will add the 4 scores of each section to get your cumulative total. When combined, it totals between 472 to 528. Usually, the exam is centered so that the mean and median lie at 500.
- Furthermore, each medical student who took the MCAT exam will be given a percentile rank. This is to see where you are in the range of other applicants’.
Weird! Right? Whatever you think, that’s how the MCAT scoring system runs.
How Do I Interpret My MCAT Score Report?
Your MCAT score report shows 4 things;
#1. Your Score.
This column shows your graded score based on the correct questions in each section.
#2. Your Percentile Rank.
Like we gave you a titbit before, this shows your score in range of your competitors. It shows you their percentage that was higher or lower than yours.
#3. The Confidence Band Column.
This shows your range of accuracy in each section and your scores. This is to “avoid differences between candidates with similar results”
Kindly note that a confidence band of 122-124 shows that your score was actually between 122-124.
#4. The Score Profile Column.
This section of the MCAT Score Report shows your strengths and weaknesses from the exam.
With this, you get to understand which section you should focus or improve on just in case you want to retake.
What is The Highest MCAT Score Possible?
The highest anyone can score in the MCAT exam is 528. To achieve this, you score not less than 132 in all 4 sections of the exam.
This score would put you in the 99th percentile. And that’s superb!!!
What Then is a Good MCAT Score?
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, a good MCAT score ranges between 510 and 513.
List of Medical Schools that Accepts High MCAT Score.
If you’re planning to go to thee med schools, you need a very high MCAT score;
- Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
- Washington University School of Medicine.
- Yale School of Medicine at Yale University.
- Harvard Medical School at Harvard University.
- The John Hopkins University School of Medicine.
- New York University Grossman School of Medicine.
- Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
- Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
- The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
Literally, you need to be in the 96th percentile about 521 or higher to get into these medical schools.
List of Medical Schools that Accepts Low MCAT Score.
Just in case, those medical schools above are above your reach, you can apply to these schools with low or averagely good MCAT score;
- Northeast Ohio Medical University
- Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
- Loma Linda University School of Medicine.
- University of Mississippi School of Medicine.
- Louisiana State University School of Medicine
- Florida State University College of Medicine.
- Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
- Central Michigan University College of Medicine.
- Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.
- Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.
At least you should be in the 55th percentile of applicants or higher to get into these schools.
However, the school with the lowest average MCAT score is the University of Mississippi (503).
Frequently Asked Questions About What A Good MCAT Score is.
How Can I Be In The Top 10% of MCAT Test Takers?
If you want to be in the top 10% of MCAT test-takers, you must be in the 90th percentile range.
That means you must have an MCAT total score range of 514-528 with 129 to 132 scores in each section.
How Can I Be In The Top 25% of MCAT Test Takers?
Being in the top 25% of applicants is a safe place to be. In fact, that’s the range for a good MCAT score.
The 25% percentile would mean you should get an overall MCAT range of 508-513, which requires 127-128 in all 4 sections.
How Can I Be In The Top 50% of MCAT Test Takers?
Just before you make a decision to be in this category, you should know it’s not a good place to be unless you don’t want to go into highly competitive programs.
To be in this category, you should have an overall score of 500-507 which would mean a 125-126 in all four sections.
Does a Good MCAT Score Vary By Student?
Yes, a good MCAT score depends on you as a student, your goals and the schools you plan to attend.
If you are aiming to attend highly competitive schools a good MCAT score for you will be above 528. However, if you’re aiming for a low medical school 400 will be a good MCAT for you.
So basically, this is dependent on you.
Also Read: 44 Best Medical Schools in UK Ranking
A good MCAT score is largely yours to decide and that will take into consideration your goals and school of interest.
However, we do recommend that you get the highest grades possible to get into any medical school of your choice.
If you’ve ever gotten a high score in the MCAT, tell us how you did that in the comment section below.