Pre-medical students are always striving to excel academically. They know that successful medical school applicants do well in both their college courses and the MCAT. However, is GPA or MCAT score more important? This is a tough question to answer. Acceptance rates from medical schools though will tell you that both are about equally important.
Is GPA or MCAT Score More Important?
The Association of American Medical Colleges has released acceptance rate statistics on all the medical schools in the nation (table below). This table shows the acceptance rate of all students that fall within a certain GPA and MCAT score range. For example, 73.9% of all the students that applied with a GPA between 3.60-3.79 and an MCAT score between 33-35 were accepted to medical school.
Table from AAMC, 2015
As a general trend, students with higher GPA and MCAT scores have a higher acceptance rate. Students don’t have to have extremely high numbers to get accepted though. You can see that many students do get in with lower numbers. However, a particularly low GPA or MCAT score can be detrimental to a pre-medical students chance of attending medical school. This indicates that a high MCAT score does not necessarily make up for a low GPA and vice-versa. Most successful students have balanced GPA and MCAT scores.
More Than Numbers
Remember, getting an admissions offer from a medical school requires more than just numbers. The medical school admissions committee will read your entire application, including your personal statement, description of activities and awards, letters of recommendation, and any additional essays required by the school. You will be evaluated based on your reasons for pursuing medicine as well as the quality and depth of your clinical, volunteer, research, and other extracurricular experiences. A good GPA and MCAT score will definitely help but they are also not everything! To learn more about applying to medical school, check out our previous post on the Medical School Application Process.