MCAT Percentiles

MCAT Percentiles and How They Are Calculated

The MCAT Percentile:

The MCAT is the standard measure of a student's readiness to handle college-level medical courses. The test is scored on the basis of four sections namely Physical Science, Biological Science, Verbal Reasoning and Writing Sample sections. Accordingly, four separate scores are drawn out of the four sections, based on which the percentile scores are calculated. The percentiles show your performance as compared to the performance of other MCAT test takers from the past years.

The percentiles of MCAT act as an important criterion for medical school admissions as they serve as an active factor of judging the eligibility of test takers for the medical school courses. The percentile is scored after a lot of deliberation, from calculating the raw score and then transforming the raw score into the scaled score. Hence, the  percentiles scores go a long way in determining whether a test taker deserves to pursue medical school courses in reputed colleges. In this article, we shall see how the  percentiles are calculated and what role they play in relation to the MCAT scores.

The Process of Percentile Formulation:

Initially, for the calculation of percentiles, three separate raw scores are formulated from the correctly answered multiple-choice section questions. The raw score is then converted to a scaled score in order to facilitate a precise measurement of student's ability, irrespective of the slightest shift in difficulty of questions. The raw scores are converted generally on a scale of 1-15 point score range. This is done in order to provide a relatively uniform score among two or three test takers with slightest variations in their raw score. For example, a scaled score of 9 may include three test takers, each of their scores being 41, 42 and 43 respectively. Once the scaled score is formulated, you get the percentiles by comparing your scaled scores with those of the past test takers of MCAT.

MCAT Percentile and its Relation with MCAT Scores:

The most pertinent question that may arise is about the relation between percentile and the raw scores of MCAT. The percentiles are measured on the basis of Standard Deviations and the Average Scaled Score.

For example, in MCAT 2010, the average scaled score was 25, which had a standard deviation of 6.4 as faced with a percentile score of 44.5-50.5. For the same year, the highest percentile of 99.99 was achieved along average scaled scores from 41 to 45 with a standard deviation of 6.4.

These percentile scores were later compared with the scores/percentiles of other test takers or college-bound MCAT students. Moreover, the percentiles make it easy to calculate test takers' performance in case a situation arises where two or three students have the same scaled scores. In such cases, the percentile scores help in grouping these individuals under the same bracket.

Farther Use of MCAT Percentiles:

The admission officers of the medical school decide whether you are eligible for medical courses based on your percentile ranking. Your percentiles in MCAT are used as a standard measure of your aptitude and ability to study medical science courses. There are however other criteria like GPA or Letters of Recommendation (LOR), etc. which determine your admission decision. However, admission officers lay more strength on your percentile rank while choosing you as a possible candidate for their courses.

Therefore, in this article, you get to know about the significance of percentile ranking in MCAT, how important they are for your admission and how they are related to your MCAT scores. You should remember that your percentile ranks is vital for your admission and hence take extra care for scoring high in the test.

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