Grading in MCAT

How is MCAT Grading Interpreted by Med Schools?

MCAT is taken by lakhs of students desirous of becoming a doctor, but only a few are able to pass the initial test needed for getting admission to a medical school. As numerous students appear for the test, the med schools need a common assessment system for grading the students. Thus, the grading system of MCAT came into existence. It is not based on a single system of evaluation. It includes your raw scores, scaled scores and percentiles that a candidate gets. The raw score is the number of correct answers you gave for each section. It does not include negative marking, so it is better to attempt all questions. The raw scores are then converted into a scaled score. It also depends upon the difficulty level of the exam and on how different candidates have performed in their test.

MCAT Grading: How it is Arrived at?

The grading is based on the scores that you receive in the various sections of the test. The test contains Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Verbal Reasoning and a Writing Sample section. The first three sections are multiple-choices based and each is scored out of 15, thus making a total of 45. The Writing Sample section contains two essays which are evaluated by a human and a computer reader. Each essay is scored individually on a scale of 1-6 which is added together. This score is then converted into an alphabetic scale of J (lowest) to T (highest). Thus, the best score a candidate can get is a 45T, which is very uncommon. The scores are made available after 30-35 days of taking the test. It is made available to the medical schools to which you have applied with the help of AAMC and AMCAS.

MCAT Grading: Raw Scores, Scaled Scores and Percentile scores

Each MCAT is different from the other in their difficulty level; some may be easier compared to the other, while others may be difficult. In order to avoid any discrimination to students, arising because of different difficulty levels, the raw scores are converted into a scaled score, based on a 15 point scale. This ensures that students with same eligibility level get the same scaled score, even if there is slight difference in their raw score. For e.g. a raw score in the range of 40-43 may be converted to a scaled score of 11, similarly a raw score of 44-46 may be converted to a scaled score of 12. The scaled score is converted into a percentile score, which is based on how your competitors have performed in the test, for example, a percentile score of 70% means that you have performed better than 70% of your competitors.

How is MCAT Grading Interpreted by Med Schools?

The grading system acts as a medium for the med school to assess a student's ability. Since MCAT is a standardized test, different students from different backgrounds take the test. It provides a common test taking atmosphere to its applicants. So, a common grading system is necessary to measure a student's performance. Med schools use the test grading that a student gets out of 45T, for selecting a student for giving admission. A student getting a score of 30 is considered a good student, and a score of 36 and above is really good for getting admission to a medical school.

Even though, the factors like GPA, performance in extra-curricular activities, experiences in medical field etc are taken into consideration for a medical school admission, the grading of MCAT is the most important factor. If you fail to get a good score in the test, then other factors are of no importance. A good score is important for getting fee-waivers and various scholarships provided by various organizations.

Thus, the grading system is a unique system designed for assessing the different abilities of a candidate for getting admitted to a medical school. It provides a free and fair evaluation system for the medical schools to select the appropriate candidate.