What’s a Good MCAT Score? A Comprehensive Guide to MCAT Scores

The MCAT is administered and developed by AAMC and this is a multiple-choice and standardized examination designed to help med school offices to examine a test taker’s critical thinking, problem-solving skills, behavioral, social science, and natural knowledge. Almost all medical schools in the United States and Canada require applicants to take the MCAT or submit their MCAT scores as a standard part of their admission application. 

 

What is a good MCAT score?

Average MCAT Total Score 500
  • Standard deviation: 10.6
  • 25th percentile> 493-494
  • 50th percentile> 502
  • 75th percentile> 509-510
  • 99th percentile> 522-523

The most trustworthy and most accurate answer to the question “What is a good MCAT score” is “511 out of 528 for all 4 sections or 128 out of 132 in section-wise make a good MCAT Score” .

Many admission committees are practicing a holistic approach towards assessing medical school applicants. 

It means they will have to consider an applicant’s MCAT score and all the medical school’s requirements such as achievements and extracurricular activities, grades, recommendation letters, secondary application essay, the journey to medicine, and the result of the med school interview. Meaning to say, no matter how high your MCAT score is, if you did not make it to the passing interview rating, you might not proceed to med school. Each medical institution receives hundreds of applications from graduates with various grades, experiences, and degrees. 

Therefore, we can safely say that MCAT scores are merely factors but not determinants of the institutions’ decisions. Also, there is a possibility that your MCAT scores will not significantly affect your qualification as an applicant, according to some medical institutions. 

For example, a 500 MCAT score might already be sufficient for the UT Medical School and some other medical institutions in the United States. An excellent example of a medical institution with a high MCAT sore standard is the New York University Medical School which requires an average of 522 MCAT scores.

According to studies, several conclusions can be made regarding the most acceptable and safest MCAT scores. Even though MCAT scores’ total mean can be 500, most successful medical school applicants usually achieve above the 75th percentile of the total MCAT score. 

Nevertheless, suppose you have a 507-508 MCAT score. In that case, it does not automatically mean you failed, and it does not also imply success is highly likely. Always remember that when making decisions for admissions, the applicant’s MCAT rating will be assessed through the context of undergrad achievements and experiences. Thus, you have to understand how different MCAT scores estimate the probability of admission success.

What is an Excellent MCAT score?

515 or above will be called an excellent MCAT score.

What is a Poor MCAT Score?

Any score below 502 (which is 50th Percentile) can be called poor score. But, any score equal to 506 or less is very less likely to get you admitted to in medical school.

What Makes Achieving a High MCAT Score Crucial?

A strong MCAT score is crucial for getting into medical school. Admissions committees use MCAT scores, along with undergraduate GPAs, to filter applicants in the early selection rounds. Your scores indicate your academic ability, so falling below a school’s standards could get your application rejected right away. While specific MCAT cutoffs aren’t always published, you can get a sense of expectations by looking at last year’s average scores for matriculating students. If the most recent class at your top choice school had an average of 511, you’ll want to aim for at least that to be competitive in the current cycle. The MCAT is just one piece of your application, but it’s an important one. Put in the work to achieve a score that shows you can handle the rigors of med school academics.

  • It’s important to achieve consistently high scores across all MCAT sections, not just a high overall score. Most schools want to see well-rounded performance.
  • Many schools have minimum cut-off scores for individual sections. Meeting these thresholds ensures your application is considered.
  • If applying to schools with section cut-offs, make sure to sufficiently study and allot time for all sections. Use a diagnostic test to identify strengths/weaknesses.
  • Scoring at or above your target schools’ expectations can help your application advance past initial screening stages. A competitive MCAT score enables fuller review of your application.

Is there any sectional cut-off in MCAT?

There is no specific official cut-off but an unbalanced MCAT score can affect your chances. Sectional score range is between 118-132 with 50th percentile score comes around 125. Many schools do have unofficial minimum cut-off scores for individual sections. Meeting these thresholds ensures your application is considered.

Despite having high science scores, some students struggle with the CARS (Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills) section. Many medical schools may reject applications with low CARS scores because they value verbal and reasoning skills, which are not necessarily improvable during medical education. The impact of an unbalanced MCAT score varies based on its extent and the specific schools a student is applying to—some, especially certain Canadian ones, place significant emphasis on the CARS score.

The MCAT scores across these four exam sections will result in a scaled rate that accounts for the level of difficulty of questions the test taker has answered incorrectly and correctly. In simpler terms, accurately completing two various sets of 30-item questionnaires can result in different scaled rates.

The Medical College Admission Test is specifically designed to credit the item difficulty to measure further the test taker’s real mastery of a particular subject. Also, the test takers can receive more points for master if they have answered the complex questions correctly. 

Simply put, complex questions can impact your score more than the easier ones. Conversely, the test taker will also face harsher deductions for incorrectly answering easier items than incorrectly answering the difficult ones.

How do medical schools interpret multiple MCAT attempts?

Ideally, Medical schools like students who get the MCAT right the first or second try. They want to see that you took the test seriously. Most medical schools evaluate applicants based on their highest MCAT score. Along with the highest overall score, the subsection scores from that particular attempt are also considered.

  • Unlike the SAT, where the highest score is typically considered, all MCAT scores are reported to medical schools, unless a score has been voided.
  • There are no specific rules about how medical schools must handle multiple MCAT scores. They may choose to consider the most recent, the highest, or even the lowest score.
  • When considering retaking the MCAT, students should be aware that previous scores do not disappear, even if they score higher later.
  • A significant score improvement in a retake is necessary to demonstrate serious commitment and effort.
  • Medical schools use their own software and filters to analyze applications. They may choose to interpret MCAT scores in various ways, such as calculating an average score or using an algorithm to create a superscore, although superscoring is rare.

How long can I use my MCAT?

Most medical schools in the United States and Canada accept the MCAT score  for a period of two to three years. Although your score does not officially expire on AAMC, each medical school has its own specific rules regarding the duration for which an MCAT score remains valid.

Some schools are open to accepting MCAT scores that are up to 4 years old. To ensure you are up-to-date with their policy, it is always advisable to get in touch with the admissions office of the medical school you are interested in to understand their specific criteria regarding the expiration of MCAT scores

What is the Medical College Admission Test scored out of?

The Medical College Admission Test overall score is roughly around 472-528, with an average score of 500. Each Medical College Admission Test section (4 sections) is rated 118-132 with an average score of 125 for each exam section.

How can an MCAT score impact your application?

Despite all the announcements and reminders that this admission test is just one part of your medical school application, it indeed feels like a maker or breaker of your path as a medical student.  Yes, it increases the likelihood of studying in a medical school. However, there are still plenty of criteria to consider aside from an admission exam. Also, even when you knew you did well, there is a part of you that makes you question whether you would reach the threshold. Well, to know whether the scores you attained are good enough to pull you up to the top-20 or top-10 program, learn more through our ultimate guide below. 

Of course, you have to know what a good MCAT score is, what score you should reach to get to medical school, and to have the privilege to study in a medical school that you want precisely. 

In this ultimate guide, you will learn about the MCAT structure and other aspects. These will include answers to questions like what your scores mean, what score you have to attain to enter medical school successfully, and how you can improve your list according to your admission score.

The MCAT score is a vital part of the medical school application as it is one of the significant determinants of whether or not the applicant can study in a particular medical school or not. So, the higher the MCAT score is, the higher the possibility of passing the application.

What is the Medical College Admission Test highest score?

The highest possible score for MCAT is 528, which is equivalent to the 99th percentile. Scores above the 520 standards are higher than the 99th percentile. 

What is the highest possible MCAT score an applicant could attain?

The simplest, most straightforward answer is 528. Although it sounds nearly impossible to reach, it indeed makes sense. Setting incredibly high goals and standards for yourself would allow you to fall near it. 

If you miss the highest target, then you can settle a point below it. There is no safe answer to the question because the more you feel complacent and aim for the average, the lower the chances of getting a good score. 

When knowing what score you should aim to pass the Medical College Admission Test, you need to understand two critical things. These are your ideal medical school’s requirements and the connection between your MCAT rate and your undergrad GPA. 

Earning a high score for an MCAT will indeed benefit you, regardless of what medical school you are applying to. Medical institutions vary in requirements and standards; thus, it is ideal to at least land above the 50th percentile to be practical and realistic.

AdComs utilize your undergrad GPA and MCAT score’s relationship to evaluate your academic performance. You may apply this way of thinking to understand what score you must reach thoroughly. 

So, if your grade point average places you in the 50th or lower percentile, you must aim for the 75th or higher percentile for your MCAT. Then again, to play safe, it’s best just to set higher standards for yourself and, as much as possible, aim for the 528.

How much  does my GPA affect the required MCAT score?

The medical school considers plenty of factors when evaluating every applicant’s qualifications. These evaluations will be the determinant to whether they will accept a test taker or not. Simply put, the only definite metric aside from the MCAT score is the GPA. 

Utilizing MSAR to assess how the GPA stacks against previous successful medical school applicants will somehow provide clues on an acceptable MCAT score. Suppose an applicant’s GPA is 0.05 points lower than the school’s median. In that case, they should study harder to reach above the school’s Medical College Admission Test median to maximize the chances of passing the admission evaluation. 

Are you aiming for a less stressful process for medical school admission?

Truth is told, medical institutions invite the applicants with the most impressive records first. Higher statistics can indeed make a test taker more impressive. Thus, scoring above the school’s median can surely help applicants stand out and increase their chances of winning that interview slot. 

For some schools, the earlier the interview is, the higher the likelihood the interviewee gets a favorable response. Also, the earliest interviews can hear earlier answers regarding their application’s results or feedback. This will grant them a lot more time to set their pre-med school arrangements. 

If you are trying to earn a scholarship, read this.

 

MCAT Score Percentile Percentage of Accepted Applicants
517 and above 90th  82.5%
514 to 517 90th  72.8%
510 to 513 75th  61.4%
506 to 509 50th to 75th  46.4%
502 to 505 50th  32%
499 to 501 Below average to 49th  20%
497 and below Below average 0.5% to 10%

 

Some medical institutions offer scholarships to applicants who have outstanding and impressive records. Applicants with significantly higher statistics than the school’s median actually have a higher chance of grabbing scholarship opportunities. 

Well, one can’t deny that searching online information about an institution’s merit scholarships is tricky. So, it is better to directly contact the institution’s office so you could get the most accurate information possible.

Details you should never overlook

  • Test takers might score lower during MCAT practices than the actual MCAT.

One of the false yet most common assumptions about MCAT ratings is it can equal how much one has scored during a mock MCAT. 

Even if your practice tests are lower than your target score, the time will come when you can already become thoroughly familiar with the questions’ topics and analogies. This will help you slowly become more comfortable to take the actual test already. 

There will come a time that you would no longer rely on the books and other reading materials provided to you by your school or your review center. You will eventually master the entirety of the exam, and over time, your mock MCAT scores will increase. 

It would be best if you took the actual MCAT during your peak momentum. Thus, if you have gotten to the point of your review where you have familiarized all testable ideas, you will be more than ready to take the real MCAT.

 

  • The grade point average is not standardized; the Medical College Admission Test is.

Suppose you have attended a not-so-famous undergraduate institution and have a lower grade point average. In that case, the MCAT is your opportunity to prove to your desired medical school that you can still be their asset by being a top-performing student.

Admission committees continually look at grade point average with a lot more context than looking at MCAT rates. 

They mainly dwell on how intellectually challenging your undergraduate university is. They count that in when it comes to evaluating your GPA. 

For example, the committee will most likely give value to your 3.7-grade point average if you’re studying at Chicago University compared to studying at the University of Illinois. This is how influential a university’s reputation is.

  • Various public med schools differ in competitiveness.

California has more med school applicants compared to any other state. From 2018 to 2019, California had six thousand two hundred thirty-seven state applicants for seven hundred sixty-seven spots among its six public medical institutions. 

If you live in another state, your chance of passing the admission would most probably be higher.

  • There are no guarantees.

An acceptable and “safe” MCAT score doesn’t guarantee admission or interview in any medical institution. Committees will always look into several factors and considerations aside from your numerical records, such as your GPA and MCAT. 

These factors should include community service, internship experience, medical experiences, research, projects, and many more. So, before finally taking the Medical College Admission Test, you need to remember that you should do a lot of research about your desired school’s requirements first. This will help you understand what a “good” MCAT score is for them.

Final thoughts

Yes, the score of your MCAT is a good foundation for your med school application. However, even though high MCAT rates are automatically associated with higher possibilities of admission success, there are still plenty of factors that can pull you down. Suppose you were invited for an interview and you did not do great. In that case, the likelihood of hearing a favorable response from the admission committee will decrease. 

Thus, it is always best to invest in your undergraduate projects, experiences, and grades so that your MCAT score will be another puzzle piece to add instead of being a game-changer.

 

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