Percentile Chart for MCAT
Interpretation of MCAT Percentiles and Related Charts
What is MCAT Percentile?
In order to completely understand what MCAT percentile is, you need to first get the hang of how the test is scored. Percentile is an intrinsic part of scoring in MCAT. Let us look at how MCAT is scored.
- The first three sections of the test; The Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, and Biological Sciences sections are scored on a scale of 1 to 15. The lowest being 1 and 15 being the highest. Usually, scores in the first three sections are also known as the 15-point Scale.
- The Writing Section is scored with the use of alphabets, from J to T; J being the lowest and T being the highest score for writing.
- There are in all four separate scores that are awarded to the test-takers, i.e. one score for each section.
- The scores in the first three sections are based on the number of questions that you have answered correctly. There is no negative marking in this test. This is why it's good to make an intelligent guess, rather than leave the question unanswered.
- Two different readers rate your essays in the Writing Section. Then a raw score is drawn from your two responses. Therefore, your total score for writing is a sum of 4 scores, two for each paper.
- Raw scores are converted into scaled scores, to compensate for the varied difficulty levels between questions. Raw scores do not measure factors such as difficulty levels, changes in test-editions etc, and since scores need to be standardized, they are changed to scaled scores. Changing scores to the 15-point scale makes it more standardized to evaluate. Hence, two students who have similar sets of skills, will have similar scaled scores, but there may be a little difference in their raw scores.
- Further, raw scores for each section will be converted to scaled scores. For example; if you have scored a raw score of 40 to 42, it's likely that your scaled score will be 11, so on and so forth. In the case of the Writing Section, the scores will be given on an alphabetical scale between J and T. X is marked when your writing score is deemed as unscorable. This happens when you have written off the mark because of incomprehension of the topic, or if topics are left blank etc.
- Finally, a cumulative score is reported for the multiple choice questions plus your writing score. A sample score would be reported like this: 40T.
What is an MCAT Percentile Chart?
Percentile is the measure of the total number of students who have scored more than you in MCAT. It is different from percentage, since, percentage is calculated out of 100, in percentile the standard will be, the scores of someone who has done the best in the exam for that particular attempt. A percentile chart of MCAT is a measure of how you have performed in comparison with the test-takers of that particular year/attempt. A percentile chart shows the relationship between your scores and the entire population of test-takers. For example: a 98% in a percentile chart means that 98% of the test-takers scored less than this score. The average test score is around 25, that is 50% of the population who has taken the test is below that score, if we are taking percentiles into consideration. Negotiating with medical schools is known as 'Trading', and students begin to trade with medical schools when they have a score of 30-plus. Most top-medical schools are known to accept students who have percentile ranks between 85-99. This analysis gives you a holistic picture of the test as a competitive exam in which percentile charts play an important role.
The AAMC is known to publish statistical data every year that includes the percentile chart of MCAT. It also publishes the MCAT score statistics on its site to help students understand where they stand with regards to other test-takers.
To see a sample percentile chart of the test click on the following link https://www.aamc.org/students/download/157904/data/combined10.pdf
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