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What Should My MCAT Goal Score Be?

When we’re first studying for any kind of test, let’s be real: We think that if we put in the time and the hard work, we’ll be able to pull off a perfect score. Am I right or am I right? Unfortunately…reality then sinks in (for 99.99% of us) and we have to set our sights on another, non-perfect score to work towards. And there’s nothing wrong with that! It’s no different when it comes to studying for the MCAT. Having a realistic MCAT goal score will help you work towards something tangible as you’re studying.

MCAT Goal Score

Let’s look at the different factors that can help you decide what your MCAT goal score should be.

1. Which School You Want to Go to: Do you have a dream med school that you’ve wanted to go to for as long as you can remember? Or a list of schools that you’re planning on applying to? Visiting these schools’ websites will most likely give you an idea of their average MCAT scores and GPA. If they have their average MCAT score listed based on the old MCAT, check out Burton’s blog post about the New MCAT Score Conversion. Alternatively, you can sign up for the MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements) to see the MCAT and GPA ranges of every medical school in the nation. MSAR also has other useful information such as what selection factors each med school values when it comes to admissions!

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2. Your Grades: Your GPA and MCAT are the two biggest factors that determine which medical schools you’ll be accepted to. And while a high MCAT score is not guaranteed to make up for a low GPA, it can certainly go a long way in showing admissions committees that you have what it takes to be a successful medical student. If you’re still in school, realistically predict what you think your GPA will end up being and use it to set an MCAT goal score. If you have a high GPA, you should aim for a high MCAT score as well to doubly impress med schools 🙂

3. Your Practice Test Scores: Throughout your MCAT studying, you should be periodically taking full-length practice tests in order to gauge how ready you are for Test Day. Check out Ken’s blog post about Full-Length MCAT Practice Tests and where to find them. As you get closer to taking the MCAT, the practice tests you take will likely be a good predictor of how you’ll do on the real deal. If you’re getting scores that you’d be happy with, then you’ve set a good MCAT goal score and are in shape to achieving it! If you are not quite there yet, you should think about how to change your study strategy and work on your areas of improvement. Or, you should assess whether you need more time for MCAT studying and think about postponing your test day.

4. Time: If you do decide to postpone your MCAT, think about where this fits in with your plan to apply to medical school. Applications open up in the beginning of June and the earlier you submit your application, the higher your chances are of getting in. So, if you’d originally planned to take the MCAT in April but have pushed it back to June, think about how this will affect your chances (remember that you have to wait 30 days before your MCAT scores come out). Typically, students who complete their applications in August and beyond have a much lower chance of being accepted, unless they have a stellar GPA and MCAT score. Deciding to wait and apply the next time around can relieve the stress that goes into MCAT studying, give you time to strengthen your application even more, and set you up to apply as early as possible! Not a bad option at all.

Ultimately, you know your application better than anyone else. Be realistic, use smart strategies to set you up for MCAT success, and look at this post about How to Predict Your MCAT Score. MCAT success is there for your taking. Challenge accepted?

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