So you survived the 7.5 hour ordeal know as the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). A month later you get your MCAT score report.
Do you know how to interpret your MCAT section scores, MCAT score confidence bands, MCAT percentiles, and total MCAT score to answer one important question?
Is your MCAT score good enough to get you into medical school?
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How is the MCAT Test Scored?
The MCAT is scored according to the number of questions you answer correctly. You might as well try to answer every question on the test because getting a question wrong has the same result as not answering a question (neither adds to your raw MCAT score).
Your raw MCAT score is converted into a scaled score according to the difficulty of each question.
The MCAT score report includes four measures for each section of the test.
Your score report will list the scaled scores for each section of the MCAT. The scores will range between 118 and 132 for each section.
These scores are combined for the total MCAT score, which ranges between 472 and 528. The middle MCAT score is 500.
MCAT Confidence Band
According to the AAMC, your MCAT scores are not perfectly precise, so they provide a confidence interval that brackets your real MCAT score. The interval is typically a point or two higher and lower than your reported MCAT scaled score.
MCAT Score Profile
The score report also includes a graph displaying your MCAT score confidence band.
According to the AAMC, the gaps between the diamond shapes indicate a real difference in your test performance on those sections. Overlapping diamonds indicate that your performance was essentially the same for those sections.
MCAT Total Score
The most important number on your MCAT score report is the total score.
The report will also list a confidence band for your total score as well as an overall MCAT percentile rank.
Sample MCAT Score Report
The image below is a sample MCAT score report, courtesy of Magoosh’s MCAT blog.
If you are currently studying for the MCAT, then you might want to check out their 7 day free trial of the Magoosh MCAT prep program.
Your MCAT percentile is a measure of how your score compares to all of the students who took the MCAT test. If your percentile is 80%, then your score is better than 80% of all the students who took the test.
The percentiles listed for each section of the MCAT are updated every year by the AAMC. The most recent MCAT percentiles are based on test takers who took the MCAT in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
MCAT Percentiles 2018
The AAMC updates the MCAT percentiles every year based on current MCAT statistics. The graphic below lists the top MCAT percentile ranks for 2018.
You can see that the top MCAT percentile ranks are closely clustered. The top 10% of MCAT scores range from 514 to 528, which is a 14 point difference. If your score is 14 points lower than that, a 500 MCAT score, then the percentile rank drops to 49%.
A few points on the MCAT total score can make a huge difference on your percentile rank.
Improving Your MCAT Score Percentiles
What’s the best way to improve your MCAT percentiles?
Purchase an Online MCAT Prep Program and Study Your Ass Off
The main advantage of buying an online MCAT test prep program is the large number of practice questions and practice MCAT tests you can take to improve your score.
Magoosh MCAT prep includes 350 video lessons and over 700 practice questions. Their service also has a 10+ point score improvement guarantee.
Princeton Review has an MCAT prep program with 500+ video lessons and thousands of practice questions. They also have a score improvement guarantee.
How I Scored in the 100th Percentile on the MCAT (A Video from MedBros)
Your MCAT score report can be somewhat confusing. The provided section scores, confidence bands, section percentile ranks, etc. are not self explanatory.
Getting a good MCAT score will be critical for you to get into your medical school of choice. You need to understand how your MCAT percentile rank will affect your chances.
Hopefully this article will help you understand your score report better.
You might also be interested in our article about the difficulty of the MCAT test.