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How to Get a Perfect Score on the MCAT

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Vince Lombardi, a Hall-of-Fame football coach who won the first two Super Bowls, once said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

For the MCAT, score perfection is technically attainable, but the rest of the quote still rings true. In this post, we’ll discuss the merits of perfection on the MCAT and go over some tips on how to get a perfect MCAT score.

Is a Perfect MCAT Score Possible?

If you look at the current percentile ranks for the MCAT exam, you will see that this is no easy feat:

  • The MCAT has four sections, each scored between 118 and 132.
  • A perfect MCAT score is a 132 in all four sections for a total combined score of 528.
  • Less than 1% of all test takers receive a 132 on any given section of the exam.

To get a 132 in all four sections is very unlikely. As a score of 521 is already the 99th percentile, the number of perfect scores is then much less than 1% of all test takers.

You may have heard before that a perfect MCAT score is a 45. That is for the older version of the MCAT, which is no longer administered. Just as with the new exam (which debuted in 2015), less than 1% of all test takers got a perfect score on the old MCAT.

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The Merits of a Perfect MCAT Score

Besides being an awesome fun fact for ice breakers, a perfect score on the MCAT is extremely impressive and will help any application to medical school. But is a perfect score necessary to have a strong application to medical school? Absolutely not.

As we discussed in a post looking at percentiles on the MCAT, a score of 528 is higher than virtually every other test taker.

But wait—if you look at the data, any score of 524 and above has the designation of being in the 100th percentile. There is no significant difference between getting a 528, a 527, or even a 524. All of them are in the 100th percentile.

One could even make the argument that going to the 99th or even 98th percentile, all achieve the same effective result of letting medical schools that you know your stuff when it comes to the MCAT.

Medical schools look at the complete package when it comes to medical school applications. They will not be nit-picking over who got a 528 and who got a 527.

How to Get a Perfect Score on the MCAT

Having said all that, here are some tips on how to get a perfect score on the MCAT. There are no guarantees on how to get a 528, but these suggestions can help set you up with the best chance.

  1. Focus on high yield topics. One way to increase your chance of scoring in the 99th percentile across sections is to spend extra time on the “high yield” topics that might be found across sections.

    A classic example of a high yield collection based topic is your amino acids. Actually, this may be the single highest-yield topic on the MCAT, period, both for Biological Sciences and Chemical/Physical as well.

    You are GUARANTEED to see at least 2-3 questions–if not more–that require you distinguishing between various amino acids. Ideally, you want to be able to draw each amino acid, name it, and give the 3 and 1 letter abbreviations from memory. If you can do this, this will probably earn you a point or two on the Biology and Chemistry sections just by itself.

  2. Study with your coursework. Ideally, you would be studying for the MCAT during college by taking rigorous classes in chemistry, biology, biochemistry, physics, psychology, and humanities classes. If perfection is truly your goal, I would recommend learning the material in the classes as well as you possibly. And don’t shy away from higher level courses!

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  4. Schedule a solid chunk of time to prepare for the MCAT. You can study for the MCAT in only two months, or even one month. Or, if you’ve really procrastinated, a week!

    However, to get a perfect score, you need to thoroughly cover all the MCAT material before taking the test. The amount of time this will take varies from person to person but I would say two months is the minimum…and realistically you should probably stick to three months or more. An entire summer break would probably be a good amount of time. It’s a lot to give up, but such is the price for perfection.

    If you’re looking for ways to keep your studying on track then check out Magoosh’s MCAT prep and free study schedules.

  5. Relax and get a good night’s sleep. The pursuit of perfection can be stressful and tiring. Stressing out about getting a 528 or sleeping only a few hours a night to study will obviously be counterproductive. If you’ve done well in your classes, studied hard for a good amount of time, then it’s time to relax and focus on sticking to a healthy sleep schedule in the days leading up to the exam.

A perfect MCAT score is a worthy goal for all MCAT test-takers. One of my advisors told me to “aim for a perfect score, and then see where you fall.” If you’re studying for the MCAT the intention of getting a perfect score, it’s very likely that — although you may not end up with that 528 — you will end up with a darn good score.

Happy Studying! 🙂

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