Essentials for Obtaining the Highest MCAT Scores
The MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is a test to ascertain the suitability of a candidate for the schools of Medicine. The MCAT is a standardised test that has four sections. The four sections of the MCAT are:
- Physical Sciences: Consists of 52 multiple choice questions
- Biological Sciences: Consists of 52 multiple choice questions
- Verbal Reasoning: Consists of 40 questions
- Writing Sample: Consists of 2 questions
For anyone who is new to it, the MCAT scoring process will be the most confusing aspect of the MCAT but if you are aiming for Medical School Admissions you have to understand how what you answer in the MCAT is converted to the score given to you and how you can maximise your scores to achieve the highest MCAT scores. There are three aspects of an MCAT score. They are:
- The MCAT actual/total scores
- The MCAT scores on the comparative scale and
- The MCAT Writing Sample alphabetical scores
1. The MCAT Actual Scores:
The questions in the first three sections of the test i.e. the Physical Sciences section, the Biological Sciences section, and the Verbal Reasoning section are equally valued. No marks are deducted for wrong answers. The MCAT actual score is the sum total of the marks from the correctly answered questions. Therefore, if you have answered 100 questions correctly then your actual score or your total is 100. A high total score does not necessarily determine highest MCAT scores. These are merely totals.
2. The MCAT Scores on the comparative scale:
The MCAT actual scores are converted into the MCAT scores on a scale which ranges between 1to 15, where 1 is the lowest score and 15 is the highest MCAT score on this scale. The MCAT score of each section is a derived value of the actual score totals. The value is derived mathematically through charting the actual scores of all the candidates on a graph and comparing them to each other. This is done because different candidates answer different test papers and each paper may have a different range of questions. What may be easy for one can be difficult for another. It is very difficult and can be erroneous to decide who has scored better than whom if we go by the actual total scores. The relative value derived through the score scale helps in rating the ability of two equally able candidates who may have different total scores due to difference in question sets.
3. The MCAT Writing Sample alphabetical scores:
The Writing Sample section of the MCAT has two questions. Both these questions are assessed by two people to arrive at two different sets of scores. For example, your Writing Sample has two sets of total scores given by two people who have checked your MCAT paper. One person may have given you a 5 and 3 on the two answers and the second person may have marked you as a 4 and 5 on the given answers. The total score of your Writing Sample will be a sum of all these scores which is 17. The marks are allotted on a scale of 1 to 6. This sum total is then expressed in an alphabetical way ranging between J and T where J is the lowest MCAT writing sample score and T is the highest MCAT Writing Sample score. X denotes that your answers were not scored due to any possible reason.
What are MCAT scores and what are the highest MCAT scores?
The MCAT scores are measured separately for each of the four sections. To determine the highest MCAT scores of a student, the scores of each of the four sections needs to be determined.
- Every section is scored separately.
- Each correct answer carries equal marks.
- No marks are deducted for wrong answers.
- The total marks obtained in each section are the actual scores of the candidate.
- This actual score is then scaled and compared to arrive at a score between 1 and 15 where 15 is the highest MCAT score.
- The Writing Sample scores are compared on a scale of 1to 6 and are expressed in alphabets where J is the lowest score and T is the highest MCAT Writing Sample score.
- The scores of all the three sections along with the Writing Sample alphabetical score combine to make the MCAT score and the highest MCAT scores are the ones that range between 12-15 in the 15- point comparison and those that are closest to the alphabet T in the 6- point comparative scale.
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