MCAT Score's Percentile

What Are MCAT Percentiles and How Do Colleges Interpret Them?

MCAT is a standardized test, which means it is a common test used for testing students coming from different areas or conditions. The test is designed for testing the various skills and aptitudes a student has learned in his school days. The scores of the test are usually available in the form of percentiles. This helps the colleges in providing an easy way for comparing the different students who appeared for the test and thus selecting the best ones.

What Are MCAT Percentiles and How Do Colleges Interpret Them?

MCAT has three multiple-choices based section, Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Verbal Reasoning and one Writing Sample section. Each multiple-choices section is scored out of 15, thus making a total of 45. Each section is scored on the basis of the number of correct answers you have given. There is no negative marking involved, so you are not penalized for making a wrong choice or for leaving a question blank. Since, there is no negative marking involved, you should never leave a question blank. The Writing Sample section requires you to write essays which are then evaluated by two readers, one human and the other one a computer. The essay is given a score of 1-6, which is added together and later converted to an alphabetical scale of J (lowest) to T (highest). So, the perfect cumulative test score is 45T.

The difficulty level of one test may be different from the other's. Some tests may contain more easy questions compared to the other. Since, MCAT is a standardized test, to avoid any discrimination to the candidates; the raw scores are converted to a scaled score. The raw scores are converted with the help of a 15-point scale. This provides a similar scaled score to candidates with same eligibility level, even though there might be slight differences in their raw scores. The scaled score is then converted in to a percentile score based on how other candidates have performed in the test.

It is used to represent your performance in comparison to the other competitors who took the test along with you or in the previous years. The percentile of 70% says that you performed better than 70% of the total test-takers or 70% of the test takers performed poorly compared to you. So, it is a means for calculating the success of the test. This acts as a medium for AAMC to check the testing pattern. It helps them to decide whether to increase or decrease the difficulty level.

The score percentile information is used by students and medical schools alike, for knowing their position among their competitors and for providing admission to the eligible candidates respectively. For some candidates, the percentile decides whether they will get admission to a particular college or not, for the others it helps them to decide which college to apply for. It helps the colleges to categorize the students based on their test scores. It provides an easy way for comparing different students based on their score percentile.

MCAT Score Percentile Table

Score Range

Percentile Rank











The score percentile of 50% comes around a score of 25, this means that 50% of the total candidates score below 25. Medical schools give preference to students getting a percentile of 85%-99%. Getting a percentile of 80% or MCAT score of 30+ is considered as a good score for applying to different medical schools.

As, different candidates from different backgrounds appear for the test, the score percentile of MCAT acts as a common medium to compare the ability of the candidates.