Along with an added section and its heavy focus on biochemistry, the new MCAT also has a new scoring system that is different in some key ways. In this post, I’ll walk you through the basics of how the new MCAT score conversion relates to old scores.
You’ll also find an MCAT score conversion calculator if you’re taking the shortened version of the MCAT this year. I did the number crunching for you, because you have more important, exciting things to do, like memorizing amino acid codes and reaction tendencies, right?
I’ll be quick, but first let’s anchor some terms:
Your MCAT Raw Score: The number of questions you answered correctly, which could hypothetically be as high as 230, since that’s how many questions are on the new MCAT.
Your MCAT Percentile: The percentage of students whose raw scores were lower than yours on a specific test.
Old MCAT Scaled Score: A number between 3-45, wherein students in the 50th percentile received a score of approximately 25.
New MCAT Scaled Score: A number between 472-528, with a 50th percentile score that hovers around 500.
Table of Contents
- MCAT Score Conversion Basics
- Can I convert MCAT scores?
- Other Resources for Converting Scores
New MCAT Score Conversion Basics
A rundown of the MCAT scoring system is covered in more depth in the “How the New MCAT is Scored” post, but here’s the quick version: The old MCAT had three sections of multiple choice and a writing section, with the score in each multiple choice section ranging from 1 to 15 for a total score of 3 to 45. The new MCAT has four sections, each ranging from 118 to 132 with a median of 124-125 per section.
Officially, the AAMC says that direct comparisons between the old scores and new scores are “impossible.” Why the massive overhaul? The new test is meant to cover a broader range of material and better equip medical schools with ways of more completely assessing applicants.
Can I convert MCAT scores?
Yes! We’ve put together a handy conversion table for you to use to go back and forth between new and old MCAT scores.
|Old MCAT Score||New MCAT Score||Percentile|
|7 (or less)||475 (or less)||0|
The AAMC provides no official means of converting the scores between the two systems. However, both the old MCAT and the new MCAT are still standardized exams. As standardized exams, they have percentiles, so the scores can be converted, albeit roughly, by using the MCAT score percentiles. Medical schools will also be using percentiles to assess applicants.
The AAMC has released final percentiles and score correlations for both the old MCAT and the new MCAT (May 2020-April 2021). We can see that the 50th percentiles for the old and new MCAT were about 25 and 501, respectively. This means that a 25 in the old scoring system would be roughly 501 in the new scoring system. The 99th percentile for the old and the new are 38 and 522-523, respectively.
Anyway, the point is that by using percentiles on these two charts, you can convert your scores between the two systems.
Shortened MCAT Score Conversion
If you took the shortened MCAT for 2020, or practiced with a shortened exam, it’s helpful to know how your score stacks up, particularly if you’re retaking the (full-length) exam in 2021. To find your scores, first start with a practice test specifically designed for the shortened MCAT.
How to Use the Shortened MCAT Score Conversion Table
To use this MCAT score conversion table, find the number of questions you got right for the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section, then find its corresponding scaled score and percentile. (For example, if you got 42 questions right in this section, your scaled score would be 130, in the 90th percentile.) Repeat until you have the scaled scores for all sections of the test. Add them up to get your total score, which ranges from 472–528, just like the full-length MCAT.
Note: This table scrolls from left to right. If you’re looking for a particular section in this MCAT converter, scroll to find the corresponding column.
|Scaled score||Percentile||Chemical & Physical||CARS||Biological & Biochemical||Psychological & Social|
Other resources for converting scores
There are numerous other websites that have charts or MCAT score conversion calculators that can (again, roughly) convert the scores. As the new scoring system becomes the new norm, the need for conversion will disappear.
Some schools have adopted a policy of accepting any MCAT scores that were taken within the 3 years prior to admission, regardless of the version. Therefore, having an understanding of how the two types of scores compare can be useful. Or maybe you’re reading this post to see how your score on the new MCAT compares with that of the brother/sister/boyfriend/girlfriend/cousin who took the version prior to 2015, who knows?
I do know that a portion of you are looking for study resources for the MCAT or are considering retaking it, so consider checking out Magoosh’s MCAT course to help prepare. We offer 300 video lessons and over 700 questions, which can be taken as practice tests or split up for review. Plus, you have email access to MCAT experts as part of your subscription.
Kat Thomson is the Magoosh MCAT curriculum manager and has a PhD in medical sociology from UC San Francisco. This blog post also contains contributions from Burton Shen, who recently finished his residency and now practices internal medicine and pediatrics.