Average Score of MCAT

MCAT Score Average Requirements of Med Schools

MCAT is the standardized exam to test your eligibility for medical school admission. However, there are other factors like your grades (GPA), your performance in the interview, and the overall quality of your application, which combine with your test's score to decide if you get through or not. Agreeing that a great score alone cannot get you medical school admission, is there anything considered as a good grade or a good score? Does scoring on an average or scoring above the average help increase your chances? What is the national  average score? Does scoring below the average completely null your chances?

MCAT Scoring and Score Releasing

MCAT test has four sections in total-three in the multiple choice section and one is a writing section. First, raw scores are decided for each of the three multiple-choice sections based on the number of correct answers and then each of the separate raw scores are converted into a score on a 15-point scale. Raw scores are converted into scaled scores so that the slightest variation in the difficulty level of the different tests is compensated. Score on the Writing part is converted into an alphabetical score ranging from J to T (highest). Accordingly, the total score will be a number denoting the aggregate of the three multiple-choice sections and a letter denoting the score for the writing section. For example, if your individual scores on the multiple choice section are like 13, 12, and 12 and the score for the Writing Sample is T, your total test score reads as 37T. However, while interpreting the scores, factors like fatigue, anxiety, less optimal test room conditions, etc. should also be considered to improve the reliability of the test. The test's scoring uses an SEM (standard error of measurement) of 2 points to define the 68 percent confidence bands around reported individual scores. That is, if the reported score is 23, in 68% cases, the true level of achievement lies within the range 21 to 25 (23-2 and 23+2). Similarly a reported score of 25 will fall within the confidence range of 23 to 27; and the confidence ranges overlap indicating that the true level of achievements in both cases are, perhaps, more or less similar.

Since 2003, MCAT scores are automatically released into the centralized AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) system and from here to all the participating medical schools. Scores can also be released to other centralized application systems, if required, by using the Testing History (THx) System available online.

How Do Medical Schools Use the Score?

There is no uniform rule across the various universities and medical schools on how they use the result of MCAT for selecting candidates. Based on the policies of individual medical schools and the number of applications they receive in a year, the criteria vary and might even change over a period of time.

  • Some give equal importance to GPA and MCAT results, while some others prefer to evaluate candidates on the overall quality of their applications based on 23 application variables such as interview, gender, ethnicity, rural background and so on. At the same time, there is a third group, which gives a slight preference to scores.
  • The admission committees also consider the fact that repeaters' scores improve when they retake the test in the same year. Some use the applicant's latest score, while some others consider the best score, and yet others use only the average score of the individual across multiple takes.
  • According to AAMC sources, the average score of all applicants (rejected and accepted) has been around 25 with a standard deviation of 6.4 from 2008-2010. In the same year range, 8 percent of applicants with GPAs of 3.8 + and total scores of 39 or above were not admitted into any of the medical schools they applied to. At the same time, 18 percent candidates with GPAs in the range 3.20 to 3.39 and scores of MCAT in the range 24 to 26 were accepted by at least one school.
  • If you want to understand what a good score is, it is better to look at the accepted average score of the individual medical schools you apply to, and there might be great differences. For example, the University of Illinois College Of Medicine had an accepted average score of 31 in the year 2011, while the Pritzker School of Medicine had an accepted average score of 36 in the same year.

Nevertheless, it cannot be predicted what test score can secure you a medical seat. Anything below 24 might be considered not good enough, though. Scanning the trend over recent years for the accepted score average might help you analyze your score better.

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