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What is a Good MCAT Score?

Good MCAT Score - image by Magoosh

What’s a Good MCAT Score?

Medical schools don’t just rank applicants by their MCAT scores and accept the highest ones–they look at the whole applicant and review everything that is brought to the table. Therefore the MCAT score you should aim for will depend on which schools you’re applying to and the strength of the rest of your application.

With that in mind, we recommend aiming for an MCAT score that falls at or above the 50th percentile of MCAT scores for the most recent cohort of students admitted to your med school(s) of choice.

The 50th percentile is the average MCAT score for students a school has accepted, so if you have a specific school in mind, you should to set your minimum MCAT goal score at the center of that school’s specific average.

Wondering where to find those numbers? Check out our data on MCAT scores and GPAs for the top 100 medical schools!

The MCAT Scoring System

Even if you have a score in mind based on the schools you’re applying to, it will be helpful for you to understand where these numbers come from and what they actually mean.

Before 2015, students who took the MCAT received a score between 1-15 for each of the three sections–with the elusive 45 as the perfect score. But with the 2015 addition of a fourth section to MCAT, the AAMC created a new MCAT scoring system to avoid confusion: They simply took the old scale and added 117 so each section is now scored between 118-132.

You might be thinking that this doesn’t really change anything and you’re right. It’s still a 15-point scale. Just as how 8 was the average on the old exam, 125 is now the average for the new exam. 528 is the new 45!

MCAT Scores - MCAT score rangeFigure from AAMC, 2015

Average MCAT Scores

While you definitely should research the MCAT scores associated with the particular schools you’re interested in, it can also be helpful to look at the worldwide averages.

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Below are the most recently released MCAT score percentiles, in effect from May 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020.

Total ScorePercentile
528100
527100
526100
525100
524100
52399
52299
52199
52098
51997
51896
51795
51693
51592
51490
51388
51285
51183
51080
50977
50874
50771
50668
50565
50461
50358
50254
50151
50047
49944
49841
49634
49531
49428
49325
49223
49120
49018
48916
48814
48712
48610
4858
4847
4836
4825
4814
4803
4792
4782
4771
4761
475<1
474<1
473<1
472<1

From the table above, we can see that the 50th percentile score is around 500. As you might have guessed, an average MCAT score is not a golden ticket to medical school. After all, half of all test takers score above average.

The table below can help assess where you stand in the larger pool of MCAT test takers and medical school applicants. For those of you interested in the best of the best, we also included the average MCAT scores for the most recent incoming class at Harvard Medical School.

 New MCAT Score
Average MCAT Score for All Test Takers500
Average MCAT Score for All Applicants to Medical School505-506
Average MCAT Score for All Matriculants to Medical School510-512
Average MCAT Score for the 2017 Entering Class of Harvard Medical School519

Table from AAMC and Harvard, 2020

MCAT Scores vs. GPA

While average MCAT scores can seem very informative, they aren’t the only aspect of your application. A 510 MCAT score can lead to very different admissions results for two different applicants, depending on the rest of their application. For example, consider GPA:

  • 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 high MCAT scores do not necessarily make up for a low GPA and vice-versa.
  • Most successful students have balanced GPA and MCAT scores.

Refer to the table below to see how GPA and MCAT scores work together with regards to admissions statistics:

Acceptance Rate
for Applicants
Total MCAT Scores
5-1415-1718-2021-2324-2627-2930-3233-3536-6839-45
Total GPAAcceptance Rate %
3.80-4.002.83.78.119.837.157.674.082.687.190.4
3.60-3.790.02.07.114.726.542.760.973.978.683.5
3.40-3.590.31.94.011.020.230.646.560.369.272.4
3.20-3.390.00.32.29.516.723.234.546.652.756.9
3.00-3.190.00.32.57.415.419.227.934.941.645.0
2.80-2.990.01.01.65.712.617.722.823.731.928.6
2.60-2.790.00.42.84.19.313.919.330.324.033.3
2.40-2.590.00.01.63.75.712.714.028.313.350
2.20-2.390.00.00.00.09.48.823.56.314.30.0
2.00-2.190.00.00.00.04.27.716.70.00.00.0
1.47-1.990.00.00.06.311.10.00.00.00.00.0

Table from AAMC, 2018

A Complete Application: More Than Just Numbers

Whether any given MCAT score is good enough to get you accepted depends on how it works in conjunction with the rest of your application and where you are applying. And that’s a good thing!

You don’t want your potential as a physician to be measured by numbers alone.

When you apply to medical school the medical school admissions committee will read your entire application. This includes:

  • MCAT scores
  • GPA
  • Your personal statement
  • Descriptions of your extracurricular activities and awards
  • Letters of recommendation
  • 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!

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How to Improve Your MCAT Score

If you are looking for tips to get that good MCAT score you want, we recommend that you read our Top Tips for MCAT Studying and the Biggest Study Mistakes on the MCAT.

There are many ways to raise your MCAT score, and it really boils down to finding the right option for you. Our Magoosh online MCAT course is an option that works best for students who like to set their own studying pace.

If you prefer a more structured plan, you can also make use of MCAT study schedules where you can prepare for test day within one month or more.

Good luck! 🙂

A big thank you to MCAT bloggers Ken and April for their contributions to this post!

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8 Responses to What is a Good MCAT Score?

  1. Jake Brians February 17, 2016 at 5:58 am #

    Hey Burton just looking for some advice here (been asking a lot of people lately). So I’m from Canada and trying to get into medical school. I wrote the new mcat and scored 130 physics, 129 cars, 131 bio and 126 psych which leaves me at the 95th percentile. The reason I’m writing is to ask if you think it is worth to rewrite. I applied this year and I didn’t meet the cutoff for three schools, as Manitoba and Saskatchewan want scores higher than 97th percentile to apply, and western made their new verbal cutoff 130. I’m almost certain that the verbal will go down next year as it seems a bit unreasonable and only to phase out the old mcat, but I’m worried that with a score of 126 in psych, I’m being held back. Currently my GPA is around 3.9 and my ECs aren’t the best (working on it!) so I’m wondering what your thoughts on if rewriting would be worthwhile. Thanks for your time

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 20, 2016 at 10:00 am #

      Hi Jake,

      Thanks for reaching out! 🙂

      We aren’t admissions experts (we are much better at test prep) but based on what you have written alone, I think you need to give serious consideration to retaking the MCAT. You had trouble in your round of applications this year. I assume these were the programs you wanted most. Though it is daunting to consider rewriting the test, you want to give your applications the most strength possible, so a higher score will help with that. Do you think you can push yourself to increase your MCAT performance?

      You might also need to consider targeting programs with slightly lower score/percentile expectations. This is especially true if you are not positive about improving your MCAT score through a retake. I know it stings to consider not going after the programs you absolutely want, but sometimes there are hard choices to make. (For what it’s worth, I still think you can amp up the MCAT score!) You have to keep in mind that 95th percentile is ABSOLUTELY a huge accomplishment and there are reputable programs that should be open to you with that level.

      It sounds like you need to work on your ECs and perhaps consider increasing the MCAT score a little and then you’ll be a shining candidate next application round. If you aren’t achieving how you want and getting into programs you are after, it is absolutely worthwhile to rewrite. That’s just my thought on it!

      I hope all goes well! 🙂

  2. Anon May 8, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    Hi,

    I’m taking my MCAT for the first time this Saturday. I’ve been studying for the past 4 months. Up until last week I was improving in my scores (even though they still weren’t that likeable scores), but recently I took 2 more full-lengths (1 aamc and 1 princeton) and declined significantly. I scored around a 494 on both of them. In reviewing them I found that there were some content areas that I need to fix, but I also made lots of mistakes because of pure anxiety. I’m starting to get really stressed everytime I take one of these things. When I start a section, my brain kinda shuts off after a few passages or at the beginning of the section and I’m not understanding the passages as well as I should. My reading rate declines when this happens. Do you have any advice to fix the anxiety issues?

    Thanks!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 9, 2017 at 1:13 am #

      There are a variety of ways to fix anxiety problems. Often it can help to take a step back from the “text clock.” By this, I mean do some practice tests where you don’t look at the time while you’re answering the questions. Instead, only look at the timer after you finish everything. This allows you to monitor and find ways to improve it, without actually constantly looking at the timer, which can be very stressful and distracting. By approaching pacing this way, you can also get a feel for your pace that’s more intuitive and requires less clock-watching. This skill can help you a lot with your nerves and your pacing on your actual test day.

      In general, practice reading calmly. You should also try reading MCAT passages entirely outside of test conditions, just reading the passages to see what information is in them. If you can read a passage calmly “just because” (and it sounds like you can), then you’ll know you can also read a passage with calm and focus on the real test.

      Hope all this helps. 🙂

  3. zoey May 11, 2017 at 11:28 pm #

    Hi,

    I have a 4.0 gpa and took my mcat two times, 2 months apart under some serious family circumstances.
    (To family members were critically ill) I scored a 497 the first time and a 506 the second time. What do you think are my chances at getting in to an MD program?
    Any advise is much appreciated.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 12, 2017 at 5:21 am #

      Hi Zoey,

      It is hard to say, because your applications depend on a lot more than your MCAT score, but a 506 puts you above the 50th percentile for sure! I would give it your best shot (if you don’t have time to improve the score) and make sure you portray your great fit for medical school. You won’t know until you try, but a 506 is not horrible, so don’t think you’re a long shot, either. Work hard on the rest of those apps, and good luck! 🙂

  4. Dylan Cooper May 14, 2018 at 10:01 am #

    The percentile score for a 31 and 32 and swapped.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 15, 2018 at 9:50 am #

      Hi Dylan,

      You have sharp eyes! I’ll send this along to our blog writing team so that they can fix this. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!


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