What is a Good MCAT Score?

Your MCAT score is one of the most important numbers in your life, and in many cases, can help determine your future in the medical field.

As you study for the big exam, you may be wondering where to set your sights and what a "good" score is.

Read on for a breakdown of your MCAT and how to get your best score to add to your application for medical school.

The MCAT Breakdown

It's important to know how the MCAT is laid out in terms of scoring.

You already know that there are four parts, and each part has its' own score.

When you get your MCAT score, you will see a separate score for each section of the exam, and a final score.

MCAT Sections:

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  3. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

It's important to note that medical schools are very interested in the breakdown of your score as well as the total.

We want to make sure that each section score is relatively even.

Don't try to stand out in one section; this is usually not a strong tactic and can suggest that there is an area of the medical field you are weak in or don't find particularly important.

The Numbers Game: MCAT Score Basics

Each section ranges from a low score of 118 to a high score of 132.

Total scores range from a low score of 472, to a high score of 528.

The top of the bell curve for the total score is at 500.

The Old vs. New MCAT Scoring

As we look at scores from students past, it's important to remember that the MCAT has changed its format, and therefore its scoring, in April 2015.

While comparing the old scoring to the new scoring is almost impossible, the AAMC has released data on MCAT and GPA scores from 2016-2017.

Since the AAMC has not released statistics on the new exam yet due to lack of data, it's important to know how to convert a good score on the old exam to a score on the new exam. We do this using score percentiles.

Score percentiles

Using score percentiles, we are able to compare the scores from the old MCAT to the new version.

This will tell you what your score on the new MCAT exam would have been, roughly, on the old MCAT, along with the percentile you would fall into.

Here are the percentile ranks for total and section scores for the old exam, and the new exam.

For example, the 55th percentile scores for the old MCAT is a 26, and on the new MCAT, it's a 502.

When we look at data to determine a "good" MCAT score, we can use the conversion tables from the AAMC to translate across both exams.

So what's a "good" score?

Now that you know the range of scores that are possible, it's time to back into the scores a little bit and determine what is "good" for your future into the medical field.

What school are you looking to go to? What's your top choice/dream school, and what's your safety school?

The students standing in your dream medical school lab - what did they score on their MCAT?

By now, you've most likely picked a few medical schools that you'd see yourself going to.

Median MCAT scores and GPA for all medical schools are available here.

Best Medical Schools: Research Ranking Methodology, 2017

The Numbers Game Part 2: GPA

Don't forget that the MCAT score is not the only number that medical schools look at on your application. Your GPA is very important as well.

Two different applicants can have the same MCAT score, but if their GPA's vary greatly, they will have two very different outcomes.

For more guidance on your MCAT at GPA aligning, the AAMC has provided this table.

Numbers aren't everything!

We spent a lot of time on numbers, as medical minds tend to do.

However, as a medical professional you will come to understand that test scores aren't everything.

Your patients will not just be made up of numbers on a chart, and neither are you when it comes to your medical school application!

Here are some other factors that are taken into consideration by the people reviewing your application.

These factors can make your MCAT score look even better and increase your chance of acceptance into your dream medical school.

  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal Statement
  • Extracurricular activities such as volunteer work, internships, any research projects you have done

Remember, the application committee is reviewing the entire person that you are - MCAT score and GPA are important, but they are not the only pieces of the puzzle.

So, take a deep breath, and do your best on your next MCAT exam.

Good luck!

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