What is a Good MCAT Score?

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Rebecca Nolan

Group Content Manager

What's a good MCAT score

If you’re considering applying to medical school, you should be aware that the MCAT is an important component of the application process. The MCAT is a standardized test that assesses your knowledge and skills in various areas, including biology, chemistry, physics, and critical thinking. But what exactly is considered a good MCAT score?

In this post, we’ll explore the answer to that question and provide some insights to help you understand what score you need to achieve your medical school goals.

Why is the MCAT Score so Important?

The MCAT is one of the most significant factors medical schools use to evaluate applicants. Your MCAT score shows admissions committees how well you comprehend scientific concepts, analyze and evaluate data, and think critically.

It’s a critical component of your application that can significantly impact your chances of getting accepted to medical school. In addition, it can influence scholarship opportunities, reducing the financial burden of attending medical school.

MCAT good scores

How Is the MCAT Scored?

The MCAT is not marked on a curve; scores are scaled and equated, giving a standardized score. Standardizing scores mean scores can be seen as standardized between test papers. So, if there were to be a test paper that is “easier”, the standardized score and percentage would be the same for an individual if they were to have taken a “harder” paper. Thus, it ensures the validity of scores no matter the questions on the exam. 

To calculate the score of an individual, the AAMC:

  • Counts the amount of correct answers in each section.
  • Converts the amount of correct answers in each section into a score.
  • Adds the scaled scores together to create a total score.

Candidates will receive a score for each section and an overall score when they get their results. 

The lowest possible score for the whole exam is 472; there is no “zero” score or “failing grade”. The highest possible score is a “perfect” 528; however, the test is designed, so achieving this is incredibly difficult. AAMC records show that out of the approximately two hundred thousand students who take the exam each year, only 30 -70 achieve the highest score of 528 on the MCAT.

Scores will then relate to the percentile an individual falls into. The percentile shows how many candidates in percentage scored below you. If you are in the top 10%, for example, 90% of all the other MCAT takers scored less than you. So, this means you are in the 90th percentile. 

medical student taking the MCAT exam on a computer
The MCAT is a standardized computer-based test.

What is a Good MCAT Score?

The MCAT is scored on a scale ranging from 472 to 528, with the median score being 500. A good MCAT score is competitive for the medical school(s) you are applying to. The higher your MCAT score, the more competitive your application will be.

However, what has considered a good MCAT score varies depending on several factors, including the schools you are applying to, your GPA, and other aspects of your application.

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Factors that Influence a Good MCAT Score

Medical School Requirements

Different medical schools to have different MCAT score requirements. You should research the schools you are interested in attending to understand their minimum MCAT score requirements. The Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) is an excellent resource that provides information on MCAT score requirements and other admissions criteria for all US and Canadian medical schools.

Your GPA

Your GPA is another critical factor that admissions committees consider when evaluating your application. If you have a strong GPA, you can achieve a lower MCAT score and still be competitive in some medical schools. However, if your GPA is lower, you may need to achieve a higher MCAT score to remain competitive.

Other Aspects of Your Application

Your MCAT score is just one aspect of your application that medical schools consider. Other factors, such as your personal statement, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and work experience, can also impact your chances of acceptance. Therefore, ensuring that all aspects of your application are strong is essential, not just your MCAT score.

Good score for MCAT

What MCAT Score do You Need for Top Medical Schools?

According to the MSAR, the median MCAT score for accepted students at top medical schools, such as Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, is typically in the 518-520 range. However, this varies by school and program. For example, some medical schools may have a lower median score for specific programs, such as primary care.

To be competitive for top medical schools, you should aim for an MCAT score at or above their median score. Remember that even if you achieve a lower than their median score, other application factors can still make you a competitive candidate.

Can I Get into Medical School with a Low MCAT Score?

Getting into medical school with a low MCAT score is possible but requires strong application in other areas. A low Medical College Admission Test score can be a red flag to admissions committees, as it may indicate a lack of readiness for the rigorous medical school curriculum. However, there are some steps you can take to mitigate the impact of a lower score.

One way to compensate for a lower MCAT score is to have a strong academic record in other areas. This includes your GPA, especially in science courses, and your performance in challenging courses such as advanced science classes, research projects, or honors programs. 

Admissions committees also consider other aspects of your application, such as your statement, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities. If you have a compelling story or experience that demonstrates your commitment to medicine, this can help offset a lower Medical College Admission Test score.

In addition, you can retake the Medical College Admission Test and aim for a higher score. Many medical schools allow applicants to submit multiple scores; some will even consider only the highest score. Retaking the MCAT also demonstrates a commitment to improving and a willingness to work hard, which can be viewed positively by admissions committees.

Getting into medical school with a low MCAT score is possible, but it requires a strong application in other areas and a willingness to consider a range of medical schools. It’s important to remember that the MCAT is just one part of your application and that admissions committees look at the whole picture when evaluating candidates.

Medical Schools that Accept Low MCAT Scores

Here is the list of medical schools that accept low MCAT scores:

  • Augusta University
  • LSU Shreveport School of Medicine
  • Medical University of South Carolina
  • University of Arizona College of Medicine
  • University of Buffalo SUNY – Jacobs
  • University of Massachusetts School of Medicine
  • University of Mississippi School of Medicine
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine
  • University of Nevada, Reno
  • University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine
  • University of South Dakota, Stanford
  • University of Tennesse Health Science Center
  • Wayne State University School of Medicine

Wrapping Up

In summary, a good MCAT score is competitive for the medical schools you are applying to. What constitutes a good MCAT score depends on several factors, including the schools you are applying to, your GPA, and other aspects of your application. While a high MCAT score is essential for acceptance to medical school, it is not the only factor considered.

Admissions committees also examine your overall application, including your GPA, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and personal statement. Suppose you’re not satisfied with your MCAT score. In that case, there are several things you can do to improve it, such as creating a study plan, utilizing study materials, taking practice tests, considering a prep course, and staying focused.

By preparing and achieving a competitive MCAT score, you can increase your chances of getting accepted to medical school and pursuing your dreams of becoming a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the average MCAT score for medical school acceptance?

The average MCAT score for students accepted to medical school is typically around 510-512. However, this can vary depending on the specific medical school and the competitiveness of their applicant pool.

Is a high MCAT score the most important factor for medical school?

While a high MCAT score is vital for medical school, it is not the only factor considered. Admissions committees also look at other aspects of your application, such as your GPA, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and personal statement.

Should I take an MCAT prep course?

Enrolling in our MCAT prep course can be a good option. Our prep courses can provide structure, accountability, and additional study materials to help you prepare for the exam. However, evaluating your study habits and needs is essential to get the most out of our MCAT prep course.

RNolan Profile picture
Rebecca Nolan
Group Content Manager
Certifications: BA History of Art, PGCE Education, PGC Advanced Educational Practice
Education: University: University of East Anglia
Lives in: London

Rebecca studied at History of Art at UEA before deciding on a career in education. Having worked with children from 3-18 years old, she has worked both in the UK and international schools including Dubai and Zurich, where she was Head of Primary. Rebecca has extensive knowledge in curriculum design and has worked with various curricular models including English National Curriculum and International Baccalaureate.

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