Last Updated: April 10, 2021
The MCAT exam is a standardized test taken by students who aspire to join medical schools for their higher studies. The exam contains 4 sections that have to be completed within a time frame of 7 hours and 30 minutes including the optional breaks offered. The importance of the exam in joining medical schools has made it important to not just attend the examination but to score high marks to stay on top of the competition surrounding the examination.
The score report of the examination may appear complicated to students who are not familiar with the scoring patterns since it includes information regarding raw scores, section scores, and total scores which are all important when it comes to applying for schools depending on which scores are considered in the school of their choice.
MCAT Exam Scoring
Students will receive separate section scores and a total score in their score report. The different sections in the MCAT exam deal with basic concepts and skills though they will be presented to the candidate through questions of different difficulty levels. The raw scores a student obtains in the exam is converted into a scaled score through equating it thereby compensating for the different difficulty levels different papers might have.
The different scores available on the score report are-
- The four different sections of the MCAT exam are Biological and Biochemical Foundations in Living Systems, Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior and Critical Analysis, and Reasoning Skills. Each of these sections has a minimum score of 118 and a maximum score of 132. The scaled score obtained by the student in each of these sections will be available on the score report. The raw scores obtained will not be shown.
- The total score in the score report reflects the combined score of all four sections and ranges from 472 to 528.
- The percentile rank mentioned in the report along with the section scores and the total score is the percentage of test-takers who have scored below or as the candidate. If the student has a percentile rank of 88, it implies that the student has outperformed 88 percent of test-takers in that given session.
Receiving the MCAT Test Score
The scores will be available to the students on the MCAT Score Reporting System on the dates released by AAMC as part of their calendars. The score will be made available before 5.00 pm ET on the day mentioned. The only way of viewing the scores is through the portal. There will be no phone calls or emails sent by the AAMC staff stating the results of the candidate.
How to Rescore MCAT
To apply for a rescore, students must log into the MCAT Scheduling and Registration System and go on to the MCAT Document Holder where they will be able to request for the same. Students will have to pay an additional fee for rescoring their paper and they will receive their results in due time after the request has been made.
It is considered highly unlikely to receive a mistaken score and hence rescoring is opted only by the best students who are aware of the scores they should receive. Even after applying for a rescore students will not be able to see their raw scores. They will be informed of the changed score in case the score has changed. If not, they will receive a letter stating that their existing scores have not changed.
Validity of MCAT Scores
The validity of the score depends upon the medical school the student is applying to. As a general rule, medical schools accept scores that date back to 2 or 3 years but to be certain of the deadline offered by the school, it is best to contact them directly.
The scores from previous exams will be reported year after year by AAMC throughout the AMCAS application cycle. But this does not imply that the given school might take it into consideration.
Reporting the Score Through AMCAS Application
The scores that the student receives in the MCAT are sent directly to the AMCAS. There is no application process required for the same. At the same time, it is also to be understood that the scores will be sent whether or not the candidate wants them to be.
How to Send Scores to Non-AMCAS Institutions?
Students who want to send their schools to other centralized application services like AACOMAS, CASPA, SOPHAS, etc., or even individual institutions can do so by electronically applying through the Score Reporting System or by mailing a copy of their official score report to the place intended.
What is a Good MCAT Score?
A good score in the MCAT, like the score of any other standardized test, is relative and depends upon the score preferences of the medical school the student wants to apply to. To stay on the safe side, it can be said that decent colleges do not accept scores below 511. But at the same time, there are schools that are willing to take in students with lower MCAT Scores.
Scoring above the 90th percentile will secure the candidate admission in almost every medical school which is a score ranging between 514-517. The factors that are considered while providing a student with admission are not limited to the MCAT scores they receive. Though it is mandatory that students take their MCAT exam, having a great GPA provides the candidate a leeway to get admission despite a lower MCAT score.
Importance of getting a Good MCAT Score
The importance of securing a good score in the MCAT exam is that most schools initially look for the GPA and MCAT scores of the candidate before they look into other parts of the application. MCAT scores are also a form of balancing out the entire application form if there are weaker parts to it. Even if schools do not have an official MCAT cut off there will be a specific grade they are looking for considering the number of applicants that apply every year.
In short, to receive admission, candidates must have a strong GPA, MCAT scores, personal statements, and other secondary documents that can strengthen the application. Having a relatively low MCAT score will not lower the chances as long as the candidate has a stronghold in the other sections. At the same time having a higher MCAT score when the candidate has a lower GPA can turn out to be helpful in securing admission.