Understand everything about MCAT Scores
What are MCAT Scores?
MCAT scores are scores that can make the dream of all aspiring medical students come true. These are very important to them as they are required for their admission in a good medical school. MCAT or Medical College Admission Test is a standardized computer based test that is taken by all aspiring medical students in USA and Canada. While a good MCAT score can get you admitted to a good medical school, you will find yourself in middle tier schools as your scores degrade. Moreover, the medical schools have published deadlines, within which the scores must be submitted. However, the basic thing that you need to understand here is the meaning of a good score, which you will find later on in this article.
MCAT Scoring System
In the MCAT test, there are four sections, namely:
- Physical Sciences(PS)
- Verbal Reasoning(VR)
- Writing Sample(WS)
- Biological Sciences(BS)
Among these four sections, there are three multiple choice sections. They are:
- Physical Sciences Section
- Verbal Reasoning Section
- Biological Sciences Section
These three sections are marked on a scale of 1 to 15. While 1 is the lowest score in each of these three sections, 15 is the highest score. The scores of the three MCQ sections are added to get a composite score, which in turn ranges between 3 and 45. In this case also, 3 is the lowest score and 45 is the highest. A good score usually lies in the 30s or 40s.
The marking system of the Writing Section is a bit different. In this section, there are two essays to which you have to write a response within 30 minutes each. These essays are marked on a scale of 1 to 6 each. They are graded twice i.e. once by the human hand and then a computer based correction takes place. The individual scores of both the essays are added and the final summation is then converted into an alphabetical scale where J is the lowest grade while T is the highest grade.
The scores of the MCAT are reported as the summation of the three MCQ sections followed by the grade obtained in the writing section.
The scores required by the different medical schools vary from school to school. However, like other tests there is always a standard or rather a cut off set by the medical school. This standard is not only applicable for the composite scores but also for the individual section scores. The standard scores for the different test sections are:
- Physical Sciences Section: In this section, the average score is supposed to be around 8.6 to 9 on a scale of 15. If the scores lie between 10 to12 then it is a good score. Finally scores above 12 are said to be top or outstanding ones.
- Verbal Reasoning Section: In this section, average scores lie around 8.5, good scores lie between 10 and 12 while top scores lie above 12 on a scale of 15.
- Biological Sciences Section: For this, average scores usually lie around 9 while good scores lie in the range of 10 to 11 and top scores lie above 12 on a scale of 15.
- Writing Sample Section: Since this section is evaluated on the basis of an alphabetical scale, average score for this section is around N. Good scores usually lie around Q and any score or grade above S is supposed to be an outstanding score.
As I have already mentioned, the average scores accepted by different medical schools vary from school to school. Here is a list of average scores required by some top medical schools in the USA:
- John Hopkins University- Accepts average section scores of around 11.5 and average total score of around 35.
- Duke University-Accepts average section scores of around 11.5 and average total scoreof around 34.
- University of Washington-Accepts average section scores of around 10 and average total scores of around 30 or 31.
- University of Pennsylvania-Accepts average section scores of around 12 and average total scoreof 35.
- Harvard University-Accepts average section scores of around 12 and average total score of around 36.
How to improve your MCAT Scores?
Improvement of the MCAT scores of medical students depends on the following factors:
- Degree of motivation
- Time dedicated to the preparation
- Focus of the student
- Self-discipline of the student
- Organizing capability of the student
- Degree of hard work done by the student
In order to improve your MCAT scores you need to do the following:
- Start well before writing the actual examination.
- Get hold of all the materials required for your preparation.
- Make a routine for yourself. Study according to it.
- First, revise each and every topic based on which the questions are asked.
- Get yourself familiar with the question types simultaneously.
- After that, practice each test section every day.
- Always keep a track of the time. During your practice tests make sure that you finish all the questions within time.
- Performance appraisal should be made every week and work on your weaker areas according to the evaluation.
- As far as the writing section is concerned, practice atleast one response every day and if possible get them checked by an expert or a teacher in case you cannot understand the flaws in them.
- As the test day nears, start taking full length tests each day in the same way as you would do on the final day. This will basically help you get accustomed and build up enough patience to sit for 5 hours and write the examination.
- Finally, don't stress yourself the day before the examination. Stay as relaxed as possible and try and develop a sense of confidence within yourself but of course not overconfidence. Remember that you have worked hard and hard work always pays off.
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