The Medical College Admission Test (more usually known as the MCAT) is something that all aspiring medical students need to pass in order to gain admission to a medical school in the United States or Canada. Although there will also be interviews to consider, the MCAT is the primary element that will determine your next steps, and therefore it’s essential to study hard for it and get the best score possible.
The MCAT consists of four sections and will ask candidates to answer questions on many different areas, from chemistry and biology to reading comprehension. It essentially encapsulates everything a doctor may need to know if they are to be successful in their job.
Something that is always useful to understand is how the MCAT is actually scored. Once you know this, it can help you with your studying and ensure that when you get your score, you know exactly what it means. Read on to find out more.
The Scoring Process
Your MCAT score is made up of four different sections in the test. These are:
- Biological and biochemical foundations of living systems
- Psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior
- Chemical and physical foundations of biological systems
- Critical and reasoning skills
All sections contain 59 questions and take 95 minutes to complete, apart from the critical and reasoning skills section, which consists of 53 questions and takes 90 minutes.
Once the tests are complete, the answers are turned into ‘scaled scores’, and the number will come out between 118 and 132. These are then added together over the four sections to get the final score. The highest possible score is 528.
How this is done exactly is not common knowledge, but there is an algorithm in place that helps to equate the scores.
The good news when it comes to the MCAT is that you won’t be penalized for getting an answer wrong – you simply won’t be scored. Therefore, you should put an answer down for every question, even if you’re not sure of the answer.
How To Study For The MCAT
Due to the scaling system, each section in the MCAT is equal to the next in terms of importance, so studying for everything is crucial. However, in order to give yourself the best chance of success, you must be honest with yourself about which parts of the test are your weaker areas. Once you know that, you can prioritize studying those areas.
That way, you will ideally get a good score across each element. Remember that good scores in three areas and a poor score in the last could be the difference between success and failure, depending on the numbers.
What Is A Good MCAT Score?
Different medical schools require different scores on MCATs, and therefore what might be a good result for one student could be a poor one for another, depending on the school you want to apply to.
However, if you look at average scores, 510 is something to aim for. With a score like this, you can apply to the majority of medical schools, so even if you don’t know quite where you want to study, you’ll have plenty of choices. The lower the score you get, the fewer schools you can apply to.