Average Scores of MCAT
MCAT Average Scores Accepted by Top Medical Schools
The MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is a test to ascertain the suitability of a candidate for the colleges of Medicine. It is a standardised test that has four sections. The questions of the test are multiple-choice questions that are designed to assess the aptitude and ability of a candidate aiming for medical school admissions. The test is designed mainly for the medical schools of the United States and the governing body or the administrator of the test is the AAMC i.e. the Association of American Medical Colleges. There are various expectations of different medical schools from the candidates taking the MCAT. Before a candidate understands these score requirements, they should know how average scores of the test are calculated and, what do they mean.
The following are a few details of the MCAT scores:
- MCAT scores are a combination of alphabetical and numerical scores.
- These are derived through statistical calculations and expressed as MCAT average numerical scores and MCAT average alphabetical scores.
- The MCAT scores are comparative and denotional. They do not convey the total number of correctly answered questions but express the averages of their scores.
A few details of MCAT score calculation mechanisms:
- 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 have equal weightages. No marks are deducted for wrong answers and the actual test score is the sum total of the marks attained from the correctly answered questions. Therefore, if you have answered 100 questions correctly, then your actual score or total score is 100. These are merely totals and not the average scores that are declared to candidates.
- The actual scores are converted into the average scores on a scale that ranges between 1 and 15, where 1 is the lowest score and 15 is the highest score. The average score of each section are derived mathematically after charting the actual scores of all the candidates on a graph and then 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. In such a case, 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.
- The Writing Sample section of the test has two questions which are assessed by two people to arrive at two different sets of scores. The marks are allotted on a scale of 1 to 6. 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 the sum of all these scores, which is 17. This sum total is then expressed alphabetically, between the alphabets J and T. The score denoted by J is the lowest writing sample score and T is the highest and the scores that are closest to T and farthest from J can be called as good average scores of MCAT on the alphabetical chart. X denotes that your answers were not scored due to any possible reason.
MCAT average scores that are generally accepted by some top medical schools are:
- The Harvard Medical School has been known to accept 36 as the expected score apart from the other test scores that are considered for its admissions.
- For the Pennsylvania University, the expected score is 37 as numerical scores and Q for writing samples.
- For the John Hopkins University, 32 is the expected average score.
- St Louis based Washington University expects average score of 31 or above, for admissions into its medical courses.
Most medical schools accept a score closest to 45 as the numerical scores and closest to T as the alphabetical scores. As we can figure out from the above-mentioned examples, MCAT numerical scores in the range of 26-38 can be considered as good scores of the test and, students should aim to get as close to 45 as possible to improve their chances for medical school admissions.