The MCAT is one of the most important exams for entry into medical school in the US.
But what score will get you a place at med school, and is 507 enough?
What is the MCAT?
The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice test administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
It is required for admission to most medical schools in the United States and Canada.
The exam consists of four sections:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
The number of questions in the exam is roughly 230.
The MCAT only has multiple choice questions, which is different from most college science exams.
While many standardized exams have a writing section, the MCAT exam does not.
Medical school admissions committees however will have plenty of opportunities to see your writing in your application.
The old system of MCAT was scored on a scale from 1-15 for each section.
The total score was then scaled from 3-45, with the average being around 25.
With the new system, the MCAT is scored from 472 – 528, with the mean average score being 500.
This average MCAT score is set to this using students’ scores from that particular year’s cohort.
Anything above 500 would be above the mean average performance of the cohort in any given year.
|MCAT Score||Percentile Rank|
Where is the exam recognised?
The MCAT is largely recognised in the United States, and Canada, as well as a number of locales in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Australia.
Registration for the typical MCAT normally starts three to four months prior to the exam date. The MCAT exam may be taken up to three times a year.
There is no predetermined amount of time that you must wait before taking the test again, however you can only register for one testing session at a time.
Medical school applicants need not all take the MCAT exam, however for the more prestigious institutions, including the osteopathic medical schools, applicants must do the exam, and score highly.
What is a classically good MCAT score?
As mentioned prior, the highest possible score a student can gain on the MCAT is 528.
This is the 100th percentile score and barely any students get close to such a score.
Generally, since medicine is such a competitive course, you must place in the 80th percentile to be a competitive applicant.
This means a score of 510 and above should be a good target to avoid being borderline.
Candidates scoring 507-508 are roughly in the 76th percentile of all test-takers.
This is considered to be the cut-off for most top medical schools using the MCAT as their admissions test.
The MCAT is a hard test with difficult questions, however, the good thing about it is with a period of revision and active recall practice, you can score in the 70+ percentile easily.
6 Valid Reasons Why 507 is actually a good enough score in the MCAT
We have established that a score of 510 and above should be considered a strong score for entry, provided your overall application is also strong.
It also indicates performance better than 80% of the test-taking cohort that year.
Not everyone can achieve such a feat, and therefore it is important to find out whether a slightly lesser score, 507, approximately in the 70th percentile, is also enough.
The Admissions Process: Higher scores don’t necessarily mean getting into med school is easier
The reality of the matter is medical school is extremely competitive and thus no one thing will keep you from getting in, or guarantee you a secure place.
It is usually a culmination of different things including the right entry requirements, strong GPA, relevant work experience, and a well-written personal statement.
Not only do you need to have excellent credentials and professional experience, but even then, only about 30% of applicants are accepted.
While someone could argue that 510 is the cutoff since it places you well about 70% of the population if you haven’t demonstrated the same skill in other aspects of your application you could find yourself facing medical school rejections.
Likewise, suppose your score in the MCAT is low, ie. 506-507. In that case, other areas of your application may impress admissions officers, which is why it’s always important to put in applications regardless of whether you think you’d get in or not.
A score of 507 demonstrates you are capable of learning, retaining and applying information
The MCAT is a hard exam!
A 507 on the MCAT demonstrates that you are capable of learning, retaining and applying information.
This score is impressive and puts you above the mean average.
To achieve this level of success, you must have dedication and hard work.
The skills needed to be a successful doctor are also evident in your score.
Congratulations on this accomplishment!
The MCAT is Just One Piece of the Puzzle: Your GPA, extracurriculars, letters of recommendation, and more are all considered too
The MCAT is just one piece of the puzzle for medical school admissions.
Your GPA, extracurriculars, letters of recommendation, and more are all considered too.
The MCAT is a difficult exam, and many students spend months preparing for it.
However, don’t forget that the MCAT is just one aspect of your application.
All areas of an applicant’s profile are considered when making decisions about who to admit to an Ivy League school or any medical school in the country for that matter.
The MCAT is one factor that is looked at, but it’s not the only one.
Competition for admission to top schools is fierce, and test takers should make sure they are well-rounded applicants.
This means having a healthy balance of activities and accomplishments both in and outside of the classroom.
One way to make sure you are well-rounded is to spend your free time wisely.
Get involved in extracurricular activities, like volunteering or joining a club. These activities show admissions committees that you are passionate about something other than academics.
It also makes for a good talking point when it comes to proving your skills such as determination, teamwork, and the ability to endure challenging work.
It’s also essential you have work experience under your belt if you are trying to get into medical school.
Most medical schools require at least one year of full-time work experience, so start looking for opportunities now.
Shadow doctors, nurses, or other medical professionals to see what the day-to-day life of a doctor is like.
This type of experience can give you an edge over the competition.
Finally, make sure your GPA is up to par.
A good idea is to start preparing for the MCAT early, up to a year in advance whilst focusing on other areas of your application too.
Higher scores do not guarantee acceptance
With the new MCAT, the score ranges have shifted.
The new mean score is 500, and the 25th percentile is 480.
Hopefully, you did much better as it is improbable you will secure a place at medical school if you only performed better than 25% of test-takers.
But don’t let this scare you; a lower MCAT score does not automatically mean you will be denied from your target schools. In fact, some 66% of first-time test takers with a score of 507 and higher were accepted into at least one of their target schools in 2016.
This means that there are plenty of opportunities for those who don’t quite make the median score. So don’t worry if your score isn’t as high as you would have liked it to be.
There are plenty of other ways to show your potential as an applicant.
Try focusing on your strengths and highlighting them in your application.
The first time you apply, you may not meet the matriculant average, which is why it is important to excel using your other strengths.
Your GPA is often considered along with your MCAT
While your MCAT score is often the most important factor considered by admissions committees, a high GPA can also be influential in your admission decision.
Medical schools that consider GPAs along with MCAT scores of admitted students aren’t far and few between, however, because data is constantly being updated, universities are also always tweaking entry selection criteria to admit the best doctors. The list includes allopathic and osteopathic schools in the United States.
In order to be considered for the list, the school must require either the MCAT or another choice exam as part of their admission process.
The average GPA of students admitted to these schools was 3.76 on a 4.0 scale. If you are interested in applying to one of these schools, it is important to make sure that you have a strong academic record.
AAMC also offers resources to help you prepare for the MCAT and succeed in medical school.
Strategic applications may help you more than your MCAT score
Strategic applications may help students get into medical schools with lower MCAT scores.
Typically, students who applied to schools with average MCAT scores that were lower than their own MCAT scores were more likely to be accepted than those who applied to schools with average MCAT scores that were higher than their own scores. We suggest applicants use this information to target less competitive medical schools when submitting their applications.
However, we caution applicants against using this information as a way to avoid taking the MCAT altogether or applying only to very low-competition schools.
Play to your strengths and if all else fails, it may be easier to apply to medical schools that don’t require the MCAT such as Adelphi University, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and Hampton University.
Most students won’t do this, however, it may be important to take a diagnostic test before taking your real exam. This will prepare you for the exam, but more importantly, will give you a rough idea of your individual section scores.
If you know this, you can preemptively target schools with admission policies friendly toward a lower score.
There are numerous allopathic and osteopathic MD programs across the country, and the medical college admission test may differ or have lower cut-offs.
In conclusion, 507 on the MCAT may be good enough to get into medical school.
While there are no guarantees, you should always apply as you never know what the admissions tutors are looking for.
Your combination of personality, character, GPA, work experience, drive and passion may be enough to secure a place!
However, If you are truly unhappy with your score, you can always take the MCAT again, and save your application fee.
You always have material from the last year to revise with, and your preparation will help in your medical application for the next cycle.
Before doing so, make sure to check your percentile ranks which are often finalised soon after the test closes.
By doing so, you are able to cross-check your score against the performance of other students.
Typically you should aim to be in the 75th percentile or higher, as this places you in the top 25% of students in the country.
A low MCAT score should be considered to be anything below 500 as you are no longer competitive when compared to peers.