Are you planning to apply to medical school? If so, congratulations on taking the first step towards acceptance by learning what MCAT scores you need to get into medical school. Because of the growing interest in health care careers and the ultra-low acceptance rates of many medical schools, it can be extraordinarily difficult to get into medical school.

Since the demand for medical education is near an all-time high, you should expect stiff competition. At some of the country’s most prestigious medical schools, like Johns Hopkins and Harvard, acceptance rates hover at around four percent.

Though the path to a career in medicine can be challenging, it is worth it due to the financial security and personal rewards that come with being a doctor. There is a lot of planning and preparation that leads up to applying for medical school. Understanding what MCAT scores are required for admission to medical school is essential for a competitive application.

What Is The MCAT?

Not all PA schools have the same requirements for admission. If you’re planning on attending a PA school, you’ll want to look at your chosen school’s requirements prior to your senior year to ensure you will meet the minimum expectations in terms of GPA, standardized test scores and clinical hours. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself not being competitive and wasting both time and money on an unsuccessful application cycle.

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is one of the medical school requirements. The MCAT is a standardized test that assesses skills necessary for the practice of medicine like critical thinking, problem-solving, and knowledge of social, behavioral and natural science concepts.1

The MCAT exam tests both what you know and how well you apply that knowledge. The MCAT consists of a total of 230 questions. The questions are over biological and chemical knowledge, critical thinking and reasoning skills and psychological foundations of behavior.

MCAT Scores

After you take the MCAT, you will receive five scores. One score for each of the four sections plus a total score that is a combination of all four parts. Each section is scored from a low of 118 to a high of 132. The midpoint score is 125. The MCAT score range is from 472 to 528. The midpoint combined score is 500.

After you take the MCAT, you will receive five scores. One score for each of the four sections plus a total score that is a combination of all four parts. Each section is scored from a low of 118 to a high of 132. The midpoint score is 125. The MCAT score range is from 472 to 528. The midpoint combined score is 500.

Understanding the MCAT Score Report

About a month after taking the MCAT, you will receive a score report. Here is an example score report. This report contains the information that admissions committees will use to evaluate your application. Therefore, it is essential that you understand your MCAT score report.

You will be given a score for each of the four sections of the MCAT. The scores will range from 118 to 132. The confidence band refers to the accuracy of your scores. Like all other measurements, the MCAT is not entirely precise, which is why there is a confidence band listed. This range indicates where your exact scores likely lie.

You will also be given a percentile rank. This rank is important. It tells you how your score compares to that of your peers. A score that is in the 98th percentile means that you scored higher than 98 percent of other test-takers.

What MCAT Score Do You Need To Get Into Medical School?

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Elite Medical Schools

If you want to attend an elite medical school like Johns Hopkins School of Medicine or Harvard University, then you will need much higher scores than the average. The average MCAT score for students enrolling at Johns Hopkins Medical School during the 2018 school year was 522.2 At the University of Chicago prestigious Pritzker School of Medicine; scores ranged from 505 to 526 for 2018.3

Can You Still Get Into Medical School With A Low MCAT Score?

As you can see with the example with The University of Chicago, you can still get into even prestigious medical schools with a low MCAT score. However, if your MCAT score is on the low end, then other aspects of your application must be outstanding. Here are some other aspects of your medical school application that are just as important as MCAT scores.

Personal essay – This is your opportunity to explain to medical school admissions officers who you are and why you would make a great doctor. It also gives you a chance to differentiate your skills and strengths from that of the countless other students who apply to medical school.

Letters of recommendation –Letters of evaluation or recommendation are an essential part of your medical school admission application. These letters should come from advisors, teachers and others who know you very well and can craft a message that stands out.

Academic record – A strong academic record can make up for lackluster MCAT scores especially if you have had significant coursework in the sciences.

Extracurricular activities – If you had activities that had a transformative effect on you as a person, then this can sway admissions committees too. Examples would be volunteering at a clinic in a Mexico border town or conducting breast cancer research at a lab where you worked as an undergraduate.

In conclusion, the mean MCAT score was just over 505 for students admitted to medical schools in 2018. You should aim for a similar score to be competitive. However, other aspects of your application can help make up for a score lower than 505.


If you plan to apply for medical school, contact us today for medical school admissions consulting. Getting into medical school is tough — especially with so many other equally qualified applicants. We can help you get the attention of your admissions committee through our personalized medical school admissions consulting. We also offer an array of socially-responsible healthcare internships abroad. Contact a Program Advisor today for more information.

References:

  1. https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/taking-mcat-exam/
  2. https://mdphd.johnshopkins.edu/statistics/  
  3. https://pritzker.uchicago.edu/page/entering-class-profile