Good Score in MCAT
Why Should You Obtain a Good MCAT Score
Conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), MCAT is the standardized test for admission to accredited Medical schools in US and Canada. Though there are various other factors like your undergraduate grades and your performance in the interview that work together with your test scores in the Medical school admission process, it is considered critically important by most aspiring students. So, how does a test score change your Medical school prospects? What is considered a good score of MCAT? And how do you achieve a good score?
Medical Schools and MCAT Good Scores
As of now, there are four sections in the exam, three multiple-choice parts and one writing part. The test score consists of a number representing the aggregate of the individual scores of the three multiple-choice parts (with a total score of 45) and an alphabet score of the writing part appended to it (ranging from J to T). The scores are generally released within 30-35 days of the test date, and are automatically available at the centralized AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) system for all the participating Medical schools.
However, participating Medical schools and universities in the US and Canada do not have a uniform policy or rule on the selection criteria, as to the test score or GPA required for getting a Medical seat. Based on a number of factors like the number of applicants to the school and the reputation and prestige of the institute, the criteria change over time and are very strict for some, but might remain less rigid for others.
- Some Medical schools give equal importance to GPA and MCAT scores, while some others give an edge to a good score. However, there are many other universities and Medical schools that assess and screen candidates based on different variables such as performance in the interview, ethnicity, gender, background, and so on in addition to test scores and grades.
- When the same applicant has different takes of the test in the same year, either the latest score, the best score, or the average score is considered based on the policy of the individual Medical school.
Thus, it could be said that there is, perhaps, no uniform score across Medical schools. The best way is to scan the accepted average scores across a number of years and determine what a good score is for the individual school you are considering. For instance, according to 2008-2009 edition of the Medical School Admission Requirements book by AAMC, the University of Chicago, Pritzker had an average accepted test score of 11.7P while the Washington University School of Medicine had a higher average accepted score of 12.3Q and Harvard Medical School had that of 11.7R.
Preparing for Good Score in MCAT
Though it is difficult to point out a single universally accepted good score, anything below 24 is often considered not good enough to get admissions. According to Princeton Review recommendations, a competitive score would be to achieve individual numbers in the range of 10s and 11s in the Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Verbal Reasoning sections of the exam, while the top Medical schools would require scores in the range of 12+ for all these sections. And there is no single solution to achieving a good score.
Professional programs like that offered by Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc. might be good, to give a formal structure for the preparations. However, many still prefer to prepare for the test on their own. A good score need not be dependent on whether you study on your own or by attending a formal program, but rather on a number of important factors like how well you prepare and how much you practice. Along with systematic study and regular practice, you also need to have a thorough understanding of the subjects tested at the undergraduate level. It should also be noted that all sections of the exam are important and should be given due stress while you prepare. You also need to have a clear understanding of everything about the exam-starting from exam dates to types of questions, so that you can prepare in advance and well enough.
Tips to Get a Good Score in MCAT
- Start your preparation early enough, hopefully with your undergraduate studies. Systematic studying might guarantee you a good score.
- Have a thorough understanding of the concepts required like those from Physical Sciences, and Biological Sciences. Give due importance to the Verbal Reasoning section and Writing section of the exam, and prepare accordingly. Remember all sections are important for achieving a good score.
- MCAT is a timed test; take as many practice tests as possible so that you learn to complete the test within the give time. Tests also help you identify your weaknesses and strengths, so that you can modify your study plan accordingly.
- During the exam, make sure that you are not over-stressed or tired. You should be comfortable so that you can deliver the best.
- A maximum of three retakes of the exam are allowed per calendar
year. Plan early so that even if you do not get a good score
initially, you have another chance in the same year.