Along with added content and a new format, the new MCAT also has a new point scale. The AAMC offers a comprehensive description of what the new exam entails to medical school admissions officers. This post will explain how the new MCAT point scale works and what that means for test-takers.
The New MCAT Point Scale
The MCAT point scale and range used to range from 1-15 in each of the three sections, for a total score from 3-45. This is no longer the case for the new MCAT. For starters, there are now four sections on the MCAT and each section is no longer worth up to 15 points. Each of the four sections has a range of 118 to 132 for a score, making the total score range 472-528. Part of the reason for these funny numbers is that the exam is “centered” (the 50th percentile) on the number 500. The reason for this is that the AAMC wants the focus to be more on the top 50%, rather than the top third or so from the previous scoring method. Based on research done by the AAMC, the top 50% based on the new scoring system should have predicted success in medical school and graduate within five years. The point scales for each section are also supposed to be more accurate, as there are more questions in each section, allowing for a more precise score compared to the previous version of the test.
Things That Stayed the Same in the New MCAT Point Scale
Despite these changes, there are a few key features that stayed the same in the new MCAT point scale. The point scale is still the same throughout the year. That means that a score taken in January is the same as a score taken in May–there is no benefit or advantage to taking it at different times of the year. There are still percentiles attached to each score that will compare how a single score ranks against all other test-takers. There will still be score reports that breakdown each individual section.
Despite the new scoring system and numbers, the MCAT remains a difficult and important exam for medical school entrance. Regardless of the numbers attached to the score report, studying and preparing as best as you can will be the key to success.