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COVID-19 Update: In response to public health concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak, we will NOT be offering classroom prep courses in Summer 2020. Students who have registered in a classroom prep course will be switched to a live online prep course. See FAQ here.

MCAT Scores, Explained

Posted in: MCAT

April 18, 2019 | by Alexis

You know that you need a high percentile score to be considered for medical schools. To help you to prepare well and strategically, find out what that means, exactly.

To be considered for the interview stage of medical school applications, you need to score above the 80th percentile. Additionally, your score needs to be high in each of the MCAT’s sections. To find out more about what that means, read below.

Raw Score

Your raw score is the number of questions you answer correctly (out of 59 in each of the three science sections and out of 53 in the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section).

Scaled Score

Your raw score will be converted into a scaled score using a statistical procedure called equating. This procedure adjusts for differences in difficulty between the test forms. (There are many different versions of the MCAT used in each testing cycle. So the person next to you on test day will probably be writing a different test.)

Each of the four sections is scaled.

Percentile Rank

Your percentile rank is the percentage of candidates who scored equal to or below your score in each section, and on the test as a whole.

Score Report and Confidence Bands

The score report, a breakdown of an applicant’s scores in each section, includes confidence bands to show the ranges of test scores the applicant can probably achieve.

The MCAT has proven itself to be the most reliable predictor of students’ performance in medical school. However, like other standardized tests, the MCAT is an imperfect measure of what test takers know and can do. Scores are not perfectly precise. Applicants’ scores can be affected by factors like fatigue, test anxiety, and less than optimal test-room conditions. Conversely, they can be boosted by recent exposure to some of the tested topics. As a result, the score report includes these confidence banks to show the ranges that are likely to include a test-taker’s score on another MCAT attempt at about the same time.

Competitive Scores

Be aware of what represents a good score on the MCAT.

  • Above the 80th percentile is a competitive score for most medical schools.
  • Above the 95th percentile is a competitive score for elite medical schools.

Each section’s score will be considered. Balanced scores are viewed much more favourable than lopsided scores. You should aim to maximize your score in each section. A high score obtained by doing extremely well in some sections and poorly in others is not favourable for admission.

Your ticket to competitive scores

To maximize your scores in each of the four sections, you should work with experts. The instructors at Prep101 know the strategies, techniques and tips that will help you to study and write strategically. They can help you to create and implement a study plan, and they can help you to practice. Check out Prep101.com for more information about intensive sessions.

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