What is a Good MCAT Score?
It’s no secret that a good MCAT score can improve your odds of getting into medical school. You might be wondering: what is a good MCAT score? And how is the MCAT scored? It’s important to understand your MCAT score report because it will give you a good indicator of how you will fare in medical school. It’s also one of the key factors admissions departments use to evaluate your success at their medical school, says Julio Sierra III, Associate Director of Admissions, Eastern U.S. and Puerto Rico for AUC School of Medicine. Sierra knows firsthand, as he has spent the last 14 years reviewing applicants each year.
The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice, computer-based test that has been a part of the medical school admissions process for more than 90 years, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges. Each year, more than 85,000 students sit for the exam. Nearly all medical schools in the United States and several in Canada require MCAT scores, and many schools and graduate programs now accept MCAT scores in lieu of other standardized tests. The MCAT exam tests you on the skills and knowledge that medical educators, physicians, medical students, and residents have identified as key prerequisites for success in medical school and practicing medicine.
HOW IS THE MCAT SCORED?
This is also important to understand, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Your number of correct scores on the four multiple-choice sections of the MCAT exam are based on the numbers of questions you answer correctly. Wrong answers are scored exactly the same as unanswered questions and do not affect your score. There is no additional penalty for wrong answers, so even if you are unsure of the correct answer to a question, you should make your best guess.
The number correct score for each section is converted to a scaled score ranging from 118 (lowest) to 132 (highest). For example, if your number correct score on one of the sections is between 35 and 37, your converted score might be 123. Number correct scores ranging from 46 to 48 might have a converted score of 128, and so forth.
The percentile ranks provided on your score report show the percentages of test takers who received the same scores or lower scores on the exam than you did. They show how your scores compare to the scores of other examinees.
WHAT IS A GOOD MCAT SCORE?
A good MCAT score is one that puts you at or above the average percentile for admitted students at your target medical schools. Sierra said it is important to note that admissions committees typically analyze your performance on every portion of the MCAT, so it’s important to do well in all four sections of the exam Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.
WHAT IS THE HIGHEST MCAT SCORE?
A score of 516 or higher is the usual requirement for Ivy League medical schools - with 528 as the highest possible MCAT score.
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE MCAT SCORE?
The average MCAT score range is from 472 to 528, with the mean and median at 500, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The AAMC stresses that this scale emphasizes the importance of the central portion of the score distribution, where most students score (around 125 per section, or 500 total), rather than putting an undue focus on the high end of the scale. The average MCAT score for students who entered medical school in 2020-2021, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, was 511.5.
But Sierra stresses that AUC looks at your MCAT test scores in context along with the rest of your application and that you can make up for lower scores if you have other compelling skills and attributes.
“We value the passion for being a doctor and the experience our students bring to med school,” says Sierra. “We also look at the qualities they bring, like being highly motivated and working hard to gain experience in the medical field.”
For students looking to make a real impression on admissions committees at medical schools, Sierra recommends participating in some of the following experiences: shadowing a physician, volunteering at a hospital, participating in research projects and interning.
“We can tell at interviews when a prospective student is really going to be committed to medical school and when he or she is very passionate about the type of doctor they want to be,” says Sierra. “It makes a big difference in whether or not they get admitted.”
Your MCAT score is a foundational piece of your medical school application and should be taken seriously. While higher MCAT scores are normally associated with higher rates of acceptance, schools also take into consideration your GPA, extracurriculars and letters of recommendation.
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