MCAT Score Scale
The Importance of MCAT Score Scale for Med School Admission
The MCAT is a standardized entrance examination taken by students aspiring to pursue medical studies. Medical schools and colleges use the test's scores to compare admission applications and decide on successful ones. If you understand about the scoring practices that are followed by the AAMC for the test you will be able to better understand the concept of the score scale and why is it used. There are various sections to the test and each of them is allotted an individual score. The sum of the scores of the test sections form the final score of the test taker. Final raw scores of test takers are converted and represented on the score scale so as to eliminate discrepancies that may arise in test takers' scores due to the administration of different test-sets. Details and pristine information abut scoring practices as well as the score scale is available on the official website and can be read at https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/preparing/85436/preparing_understandingscores.html
1. How You Are Allotted Points on the MCAT Test
The MCAT tests students for competencies in the disciplines of Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences and screens their rationality and thought process through a Writing Sample. The former three sections of the test contain multiple-choice type questions. No points are deducted for incorrect answers which is why you should always pick the best choice if you are not sure of the answer. You are allotted points for every correct answer. These points are you raw scores. This may lead to a higher score on the score scale if your guesses are correct. The Writing Sample is scored by two readers who score each task of the Writing Sample. The sum of these scores is the raw score for your Writing Sample.
2. What You Should Know About Scaled Scores
The AAMC uses the scaling method to equate scores to eliminate discrepancies in test results that may arise due to minor differences in test administrations. This means that your raw scores are converted to scores that are represented on the score scale. The sections of Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning and Biological Sciences receive scaled scores on a 15-point range. This means that your raw score for each section will be converted to a scaled score on the scale of 1(lowest) to 15(highest) points. This means that the lowest score you could receive is 3 points and the highest 45 in the above mentioned three sections. The Writing Sample receives raw scores for each of the two tasks by two readers (one human and one computer). These individual raw scores are allotted on a 6 point scale for each task. The sum of the individual scores is then converted to an alphabetic grade that is equivalent to the numeric score of the test taker. The alphabetic grade displays the student's proficiency in the Writing Sample section. The alphabetic grade ranges from the letter "J" (lowest) to the letter "T" (highest). More information and details about the score scale can be found at https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/preparing/85436/preparing_understandingscores.html
3. What a Score Scale Represents
The scale is a conversion of the raw scores of test takers to scaled scores. This is done so that there is no reflection of difference in the test sets administered to the test takers. This means that if your raw score in a particular section is between 44 and 46 points you may receive a scaled score of 12 or a raw score between 47 and 49 points would be a scaled score of 13. This clearly means that all the students that fall in a particular score-group receive the same scaled score. Although there are minor differences in their raw scores, these students display similar levels of skills and abilities.
Universities usually prefer top ranking students from the score scale of MCAT. You should ensure that you have prepared yourself well for the test so you achieve a high score. Conducting research about the minimum score requirements at schools and colleges of your choice will tell you how much effort you will have to put in to crack the test.
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