Don’t underestimate the impact of attitude on your MCAT performance. Develop a positive “MCAT mindset” to boost your score with more confidence, less...
Understanding MCAT Score Ranges: What Your Scores Mean and How They Compare
Your MCAT score plays a critical role in getting you accepted to the medical school of your choice. We’ll explain what a MCAT score range is and exactly what all of the components on your score report mean. And if you need to improve your MCAT score, we’ll discuss ways to help you tackle some of your pain points and boost your performance on exam day.
Whether you’re deep in preparation or researching to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), you’ve probably heard that your MCAT score is a pivotal piece of the medical school admissions process. The standardized exam is multiple-choice and assesses your readiness to navigate the challenging landscape of medical education. And, unfortunately, there’s no set score that gets you in, so understanding the complexities of MCAT score ranges, percentiles, and their significance is a crucial part of crafting a successful medical school application.
MCAT Score Ranges and Percentiles
The number of questions that you answer correctly for each section (Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills; Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; and Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior) is converted to a scale that ranges from 118 to 132. The scores from each section are added together to yield your overall score, which can range from 472 to 528.
Another component you’ll see on your score report is MCAT percentile rank. These numbers reflect how your scores compare to the scores of others taking the exam and indicate the percentage of test-takers who scored the same or lower than you. For instance, if your score is in the 90th percentile, that means you performed better than 90% of your peers.
How MCAT Scores Compare
For those applying to U.S. MD-granting medical schools in 2022-2023, the average MCAT score was 506.5, and the average score for enrollees was 511.9. These figures offer a valuable benchmark when assessing your own score.
A competitive MCAT score is one that positions you favorably in the applicant pool. With the average MCAT score of medical school enrollees being close to 512, aiming for a score above this number would significantly boost your chances of admission. A score of 520 or above is considered excellent, and is often highlighted in marketing campaigns and discussions, as it falls in the 98th percentile of all test-takers.
How You Can Improve Your Score
First of all, don’t be afraid to shift your strategy, especially if you’re not hitting your target score. Setting a target score can help guide your preparation. Your target should be influenced by the average scores of successful applicants to your desired medical schools.
Also, keep in mind that many successful applicants take the MCAT more than once. Sigh, but re-testing can lead to significant score improvements. After all, you’ve learned a lot during your journey and by taking the exam already. It’s worth the time to step back and take a close look at what worked well and what could be improved. If it’s not quite clear, don’t hesitate to use your network and get ideas on what resources may give you a fresh perspective. Check out this blog post to plan and slay your MCAT retake.
And know that Sketchy’s got you covered! Our MCAT Prep Essentials Bundle contains more than 370 lessons covering everything on the MCAT and even includes all of the available AAMC resources. Go ahead, we dare you to have fun with our unforgettable lessons while you tackle new pain points.
While it's important to understand MCAT score ranges and how your MCAT score is an important aspect of your application, it is not the sole determinant of success. Some medical schools have begun moving away from MCAT scores in their admissions process, focusing instead on holistic application reviews.
Regardless, MCAT scores continue to play a significant role in many medical school admissions. Therefore, it's advisable to research the average accepted scores at the schools you're interested in. Remember, your MCAT score is a measure of your preparedness for medical school, but it is not a measure of your potential to become a great doctor.