What's a good MCAT score? – Kaplan Test Prep (2023)

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A good MCAT score is generally considered to be 511 or higher, with no section score below 127. The MCAT, also known as the Medical College Admission Test, is a computer-based standardized exam designed to assess your potential as a medical student and doctor. Earning a good MCAT score is crucial to gaining acceptance into a top medical school. There is no set passing score on the MCAT; therefore, understanding the different MCAT score ranges and which percentile you’ve scored in will help you set realistic goals. This article breaks down the MCAT score ranges so you can see what a good MCAT score looks like and how it might impact your admittance into medical school.

[ RELATED:2022 MCAT Test Dates and Score Releases ]

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • How is the MCAT Scored?
  • What is the Highest MCAT Score?
  • MCAT Score Ranges by Scoring Percentiles
  • MCAT Score Breakdown by Section
  • How Do You Get a Good MCAT Score?
  • What MCAT Score Do You Need for Top Medical Schools?
  • How Long are MCAT Scores Valid?
  • MCAT Score Statistics
  • MCAT Practice Quiz

How is the MCAT scored?

Your MCAT score is based on the number of questions you answer correctly. The MCAT is not graded on a curve; rather, it is scaled and equated so that scores have the same meaning no matter when you take the exam. Furthermore, there is no penalty for wrong answers, so it’s important to answer all questions on the MCAT to maximize your score, even if you have to take an educated guess.

This is how the MCAT is scored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC):

  1. The AAMC counts the number of questions you answered correctly in each of the four sections. There is no penalty for wrong or unanswered questions.
  2. The AAMC converts the number of correct questions you answered into scaled scores for each of the four sections.
  3. The AAMC adds the scaled scores from each section to calculate your total scaled MCAT score, ranging from 472 (lowest) to 528 (highest).

Ultimately, you will receive five scores for your MCAT exam: one scaled score for each of the four sections and one combined total scaled score.

[Read Next: What’s Tested on the MCAT?]

MCAT Score Range

Each of the four sections of the MCAT is scored between 118 and 132, with the mean and median at 125. The total MCAT score range is between 472 to 528, with the mean and median at 501. Why such odd numbers? According to the AAMC, this scale emphasizes the importance of the central portion of the score distribution, where most students score (around 125 per section, or 501 total), rather than putting an undue focus on the high end of the scale.

What's a good MCAT score? – Kaplan Test Prep (1)

What is the Highest Score You Can Receive on the MCAT?

The highest MCAT score you can receive is 528. While test designers make it difficult, it is possible to achieve a so-called “perfect score” on the MCAT. According to the AAMC, out of the approximately two hundred thousand students who take the exam each year, between 30 and 70 achieve the highest score of 528 on the MCAT. See below for the correlation between scaled MCAT score and percentile.

MCAT Score Ranges by Scoring Percentiles

Best MCAT SCORES

Best MCAT Scores: 515-528
These MCAT scores will put you in the top 10% of all MCAT test takers.

(Video) MCAT Tips: What's a Good MCAT Score? | Kaplan MCAT Prep

Competitive MCAT SCORES

Competitive MCAT Scores: 509-514
These scores will put you in a highly competitive place in medical school admissions (top 25% of MCAT test takers).

ABOVE AVERAGE MCAT SCORES

Above Average MCAT Scores: 502-508
These scores put you ahead of the pack in medical school admissions (50%+), but won’t be as advantageous when applying to highly competitive programs.

Below Average MCAT Scores

Below Average MCAT Scores: 501 or below
These scores may be enough to get admitted to certain medical school programs, but are below average when compared to the testing population.

MCAT Score Breakdown by Section

MCAT sections are scored between 118 and 132. Below, we break down each MCAT section score by best, competitive, average, and below average

Best MCAT Total Score Range: 515-528

  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: 129-132
  • Critical Analysis and Reading Skills: 128-132
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: 129-132
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: 130-132

Competitive MCAT Total Score Range: 509-514

  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: 127-128
  • Critical Analysis and Reading Skills: 127-128
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: 127-128
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: 128-129

Above Average MCAT Total Score Range: 502-508

  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: 125-126
  • Critical Analysis and Reading Skills: 125-126
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: 125-126
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: 126

Below Average MCAT Total Score Range: 501 or below

  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: 124 or below
  • Critical Analysis and Reading Skills: 124 or below
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: 124 or below
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: 125 or below

Is 520 a good MCAT score?

An MCAT score of 520 is very strong and puts you in the 98th percentile of all MCAT test takers. However, whether or not a score of 520 on the MCAT is enough to get you into medical school depends on which schools you are applying to and your other qualifications. Another factor to consider is that while a 520 on the MCAT is generally considered a good score, top medical schools prefer an even distribution for section scores. You may want to retake the MCAT if one of your section scores is significantly lower than the others to be a more competitive applicant.

How do you get a good MCAT score?

Earning a good MCAT score may seem like a daunting task. One of the most important things you can do to set yourself up for success on the MCAT is to begin your studies early and take advantage of study materials and resources designed to enhance your studies. Below, we list some MCAT test prep resources we recommend you use to maximize your score.

[Keep Reading]: Top 10 MCAT Study Tips

MCAT Test Prep Resources

  • Free MCAT Practice Test (with practice bundle): Establish a baseline for your MCAT studies by taking a realistic practice test. After signing up, you’ll also receive 30-day access to our new study planning calendar, a Qbank with 230 questions, and learning modules.
  • Free Study Plans for the MCAT: Plan out your MCAT studies with our expertly curated MCAT study plans. Choose from our 6-month MCAT study plan, 3-month MCAT study plan, 2-month MCAT study plan, or 1-month MCAT study plan, depending on your exam date.
  • MCAT Question of the Day: Jumpstart your studies with an MCAT question – and detailed answer explanations – in your inbox every day.
  • MCAT Prep Courses: Get personalized MCAT prep from Kaplan experts. From live online courses to private tutoring, we have the right course for you and your study goals.
  • Schedule your MCAT by reviewing a list of all upcoming test dates, registering for the exam, and keeping an eye on score release dates so you know when to expect your score.

What MCAT Score Do You Need for Top Medical Schools?

What MCAT score you need to get into top medical school depends on various factors. When considering your MCAT score goal, it’s always a good idea to look at the requirements or minimums (if any) at the schools to which you’re applying. But while what is considered a good MCAT score differs from program to program, Kaplan Test Prep research shows that not doing well on the exam is the admissions factor most likely to keep you out of medical school.

According to the 59 medical schools we spoke with in 2021, 38 percent said a low MCAT score is “the biggest application dealbreaker” in the primary application; a low undergraduate GPA was a close second at 36 percent.

In the table below, we list the average MCAT scores for top medical schools across the U.S.

Average MCAT Scores
RankMedical SchoolAverage MCAT Score
1Harvard University520
2New York University522
3Duke University519
4Columbia University521
5Stanford University518
6University of California – San Francisco517
7Johns Hopkins University521
8University of Washington511
9University of Pennsylvania522
10Yale University519
(Video) Kaplan vs Princeton Review MCAT Prep (Comparison Guide)

How Long are MCAT Scores Valid?

According to the AAMC, medical schools generally accept MCAT scores that date back two to three years at most. If you have an MCAT score that’s older than three years, the AAMC will keep a record of it in their database. However, an MCAT score older than three years will not be valid for medical school applications as schools will want to see applicants prove up-to-date medical knowledge by taking a more recent MCAT. Consult the Medical School Admission Requirements™ (MSAR®) to check the application policies of the schools to which you intend to apply to ensure your MCAT scores are valid.

MCAT Score Statistics

The average MCAT total score is 501 with a standard deviation of 10.8, while the 91st percentile score is 515. As of 2022, there are 45,097 men and 50,328 women in medical school according to the AAMC. In the graphic below, we highlight some important MCAT score statistics.

What's a good MCAT score? – Kaplan Test Prep (2)

Many factors affect your med school application, and each will help decide whether you’re admitted or rejected. Your MCAT score is just one part of your candidacy. Your undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, research, interviews, and personal essays will all contribute to your acceptance into your dream school.

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FAQs

How many questions do you need to get right to pass the MCAT? ›

How many questions do you have to get right on the MCAT? Here's where MCAT scoring can start to get a little strange though for test takers. Each section of the standardized test is scored from 118 to 132. That may seem a bit arbitrary, but it allows the AAMC to set the average MCAT score right in the middle, at 125.

How accurate is Kaplan MCAT score? ›

From user submitted scores of both their Kaplan and official MCAT exams, the general trend is that Kaplan practice exams are generally scored ~10 points below what you can expect to receive on an official MCAT, were you to take one. This might seem very off and imply that Kaplan exams are poor predictors of the MCAT.

Are Kaplan questions harder than MCAT? ›

Most test takers report that Kaplan practice tests are more difficult, with many scoring about ten points higher on the real MCAT than they did on Kaplan practice tests.

How many questions can you miss on the MCAT to get a 528? ›

Each section of the MCAT is scored from 118 to 132. The score you can get from these four sections is something between 472 to 528. If you score a 132 in all four areas, you will achieve a 528—the perfect score.

What is a 70% on the MCAT? ›

Approximately 70% of test takers are expected to score between 493 and 507. Students will receive score reports that include total MCAT scores, percentile ranks, confidence intervals, as well as score profiles.

What is a 50% on the MCAT? ›

Your MCAT total score will range between 472 and 528, with 501.5 marking the mean, or 50th percentile. Each of the four MCAT sections is scored between 118 and 132, with the 50th percentile coming in around 125 for each section, though it does vary slightly from section to section.

What is a good score on Kaplan practice test MCAT? ›

A good MCAT score is generally considered to be 511 or higher, with no section score below 127. The MCAT, also known as the Medical College Admission Test, is a computer-based standardized exam designed to assess your potential as a medical student and doctor.

How deflated is Kaplan MCAT scores? ›

Kaplan (n=309):

The short story is – Kaplan's scores are heavily, heavily, deflated, but still have predictive power. As an extremely crude conversion, you can add 10 points to your Kaplan score to get your AAMC score. This becomes less predictive at the upper and lower extremes.

Is Kaplan enough for MCAT? ›

But just keep in mind that its not just tutoring you getting – it's also the on-demand course access. While I didn't personally use Kaplan's tutoring services, I would imagine that they would be quite strong. Their instructors are generally regarded as some of the best MCAT experts around.

What is a passing score on the Kaplan test? ›

The Kaplan Admission Test is free. The accepted passing score is 65. The test can be taken twice during each application process and must be taken at least a month apart to allow for study time.

Is 3 months enough to prepare for the MCAT? ›

How many months should I spend studying for the MCAT? 12 weeks, or 3 months, is generally sufficient time to spend studying for the MCAT at about 20 hours per week. This can be compressed or extended based on your schedule.

Is Princeton or Kaplan better for MCAT? ›

The primary difference between the Kaplan and Princeton Review MCAT offerings revolves around instruction. Kaplan provides better quality on demand, video-based instruction, while we tend to like the quantity and approach of Princeton's live classes better.

Is a 517 MCAT worth retaking? ›

On a whole, retaking the exam tended to produce better scores for this group compared to their initial results. For those whose initial score was 517 or lower, the median score gain was three to four points. For retesters who originally scored 518 or higher, the median gain was zero.

Can you get into any medical school with a 528 MCAT? ›

Applicants accepted to allopathic (MD-granting) medical schools for the 2021-2022 year had an average MCAT score of 511.9. This is an increase from 2020-2021 when the average was 511.5. This year alone, MedEdits students have been accepted to allopathic medical schools with MCAT scores as low as 508.

Can I get into med school with a 500 MCAT? ›

With a score of 504-506 or lower, you are not going to be a very competitive candidate. But this score range is not absolutely out of the race! A score of 501 or lower is typically considered too low to be competitive, so you might want to retake the exam or apply to medical schools that do not require the MCAT.

Should I retake a 514 MCAT? ›

If you've scored below a 498, you should probably retest. If you've scored well overall, but poorly in one section, you should consider a re-test: If you've scored a 514 or above you should probably not retest. If your score is in the middle of these two extremes, your GPA may be the deciding factor.

Should I retake a 508 MCAT? ›

A 508 is a good MCAT score if you scored a high, even distribution for each individual score. For example, a 127 (C/P), 127 (CARS), 127 (B/B), 127 (P/S) (508) is excellent. It shows medical schools that you passed every section of the exam. I do not recommend retaking the MCAT if you scored this kind of 508.

Is a 472 on the MCAT good? ›

Attaining a score of 472 on the MCAT means you performed in the 0% percentile.

What is the lowest passing MCAT score? ›

Your correct answers in each section are converted to a scaled score ranging from 118 (lowest possible score) to 132 (highest possible score). The scores for all four sections are added together. This means that the lowest possible MCAT score you can get is 472 and the highest is 528.

Is 35 a good MCAT score? ›

Applicants with scores greater than 31 get rejected and applicants with scores less than 31 get accepted. Generally a 33 is a safe score while anything above 35 would be considered a great score.

Is 494 a low MCAT score? ›

specific MCAT Score.

Is 494 a bad MCAT score? in, and most importantly, your individual section scores. Attaining a score of 494 on the MCAT means you performed in the 32% percentile. An even distribution for the section scores is preferred.

Is 492 a good diagnostic score MCAT? ›

Attaining a score of 492 on the MCAT means you performed in the 26% percentile. An even distribution for the section scores is preferred.

What is a good score on the Kaplan question trainers? ›

These style questions involve your critical thinking and putting the pieces together. While Kaplan recommends 60%+ on all their tests, getting above or below that score does not indicate how you will actually do on the NCLEX.

Is 491 a good MCAT diagnostic score? ›

Attaining a score of 491 on the MCAT means you performed in the 23% percentile. An even distribution for the section scores is preferred.

Are Kaplan full lengths harder than AAMC? ›

All of them are generally harder than the AAMC tests themselves. Kaplan's are the most similar to the AAMC (add 2-3 pts to your FLE score) and Princeton Review's are the hardest (I bombed a PR test and then scored 16 points higher on an official AAMC test THE NEXT DAY).

What MCAT score should you not retake? ›

Even though schools make exceptions, often times, a low sub score in any section can lead to an automatic rejection. So, if any of your sub scores are below 124, especially CARS, you should heavily reconsider retaking the MCAT. 6.

How many questions can you miss on the MCAT to get a 127? ›

In the Science sections with 59 questions, you can usually get: 5 wrong answers (92% accuracy) and score 130-131 (top 5%) 10 wrong answers (83% accuracy) and score 129-130 (top 10%) 15 wrong answers (75% accuracy) and score 126-128 (126 = top 50%, 127-128 = top 25%)

Is studying 3 hours a day enough for the MCAT? ›

Depending on who you are, you can fit in 3 to 5 hours of MCAT studying per day. Most people on that schedule spend 3 to 4 months studying before the test. Once you finish your content review, I recommend taking as many full-length practice tests as you can.

Is 2 months enough for MCAT practice? ›

As the official MCAT prep of the AMSA, Kaplan recommends that you spend 300-350 hours studying so you can be above average. If you're planning on taking the MCAT in two months, you'll need to put aside a significant amount of study time each week for in order to be able to score competitively.

Is 4 months enough time to study for the MCAT? ›

Most people need 10–15 hours per week to study for the MCAT over a period of at least four to six months . In total, you should aim for at least 200 to 300 hours of MCAT study time.

Is Kaplan easy to pass? ›

It is very easy to pass all your module if you stay focused and yes, I have passed all my modules.

What is Kaplan Pass Guarantee? ›

Pass Guarantee is designed to make sure you are supported to pass your exam, no matter what. Classroom and Live Online students can attend Tuition, Revision and Question Based Days at the next sitting at no extra cost.

Is Kaplan test easier? ›

Generally, however, I have found that Kaplan's practice tests, especially Quant, are a bit harder than the actual GRE. However, do note that harder questions don't mean the questions are low quality. It simply means that your score on a Kaplan GRE practice test would be a few points lower than the actual GRE.

How hard is it to get a 511 on the MCAT? ›

Attaining a score of 511 on the MCAT means you performed in the 86% percentile. An even distribution for the section scores is preferred.

Can I improve MCAT score in 3 weeks? ›

You can increase your MCAT score in three weeks if you approach your preparation process strategically. Knowing how to take the test is almost as important as knowing its content. That's why we highly recommend you focus your efforts on practicing how to take the exam and reviewing it during the time you have.

Is the MCAT becoming harder? ›

The MCAT is not getting harder over time. The MCAT did change in 2016 in which some people say it is harder, but it remains relatively consistent. Even so, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) normalizes scores based on the scores of a particular MCAT.

Which test prep is best for MCAT? ›

The 7 Best MCAT Prep Courses and Classes of 2022
  • Kaplan — Best Overall.
  • Khan Academy — Most Affordable.
  • Blueprint — Best Live Online Course.
  • MCAT Self-Prep — Best On-Demand Course.
  • Altius — Best for 1:1 Tutoring.
  • The Princeton Review — Best for Prep Bootcamp.
  • Magoosh — Best Free Trial.

What is the most accurate MCAT practice test? ›

AAMC. AAMC's official MCAT practice tests are considered the gold standard in MCAT preparation. Because AAMC writes the MCAT, its practice tests most accurately reflect the exam's format, content, and grading. AAMC offers a free full-length MCAT practice test and four paid tests for $35 each.

Do MCAT prep courses really help? ›

The short answer – very likely yes. Compared to self-studying with free resources, or not studying at all, a MCAT prep course is very likely to improve your score. You will get access to content reviews, practice materials and helpful resources, all designed to boost your MCAT score.

Is a 520 MCAT possible? ›

Attaining a score of 520 on the MCAT means you performed in the 98% percentile. An even distribution for the section scores is preferred. For example: 130 (C/P) 129 (CARS) 131 (B/B) 130 (P/S).

What happens if you get a 528 MCAT score? ›

A 528 MCAT score corresponds to the 99.9th percentile of all test takers, along with scores of 524 and above.

What percentage of people retake the MCAT? ›

Almost 20% of students retake the MCAT exam. According to AAMC, most test re-takers get a higher score on their second attempt.

Should I retake a 512 MCAT? ›

Ultimately, deciding whether or not to retake the MCAT depends on your goals. For example, if you are aiming to get in to a medical school with an average matriculant MCAT score of 518 and you earned a 512, you will have to retake the MCAT to have a realistic shot at that medical school.

What's the highest MCAT score ever recorded? ›

The highest MCAT score possible is a 528.

What MCAT score do you need for Harvard? ›

Average MCAT Scores for the Top 30 Medical Schools
RankMedical SchoolAverage MCAT Score
1Harvard University520
2New York University522
3Duke University519
4Columbia University521
25 more rows
7 Feb 2022

Can I get into an MD school with a 505 MCAT? ›

Consider the DO path

However, DO matriculants continue to have lower average MCAT scores and lower average GPAs. Here's my quick personal algorithm for determining which option may be better when considering low testing scores: An MCAT score of 505 is the minimum viable score when applying to MD programs.

Can you get into med school with a low GPA but high MCAT? ›

Myth 2: A high MCAT score will make up for my low GPA, or vice versa. Fact: This myth is true at a certain level but only in extreme cases. For example, a student who has a 3.4 GPA (which would be considered a low GPA by premed standards) but a 519 MCAT has a decent chance of getting into an allopathic medical school.

Is a 510 MCAT good enough for MD? ›

To be considered for acceptance at most medical schools, your MCAT score should be at least 510, and you should score no lower than 127 on each section.

How many questions can you miss on the MCAT to get a 128? ›

If the real MCAT that you get is more difficult, then you might be able to miss 11 or 12 questions and still get a 128. (Of course, these numbers are just approximations.

Is a 500 on the MCAT good? ›

A "good" MCAT score is one that puts you near or above the average percentile for matriculants at your target medical schools.
...
The higher your MCAT percentile, the better.
MCAT Total ScoreMCAT Percentile Rank
50256
50152
50049
49946
12 more rows

Is it better to guess or leave blank on MCAT? ›

Remember, there is no guessing penalty on the MCAT. Never leave a question blank!

Can I increase my MCAT score by 10 points in a month? ›

If you want to increase your MCAT score by 10 points or more within 30 days, one of the best things you could do is to go hard on full-length, timed practice exams. This will not only train your stamina, but will also train you to actually apply the material you have been studying.

Can a high GPA make up for low MCAT? ›

The most traditional strategy for outweighing a low MCAT is having a very high GPA. These two application elements are often considered in relation to each other. So having a high GPA can truly save a lower MCAT score!

Is 3 weeks enough for MCAT? ›

How many months should I spend studying for the MCAT? 12 weeks, or 3 months, is generally sufficient time to spend studying for the MCAT at about 20 hours per week.

How common is it to take the MCAT twice? ›

Since this exam's introduction in 2015, the vast majority of examinees (just under 95%) have tested at most once or twice. About 5% have tested three times. Only about 1% of examinees have tested more than three times. The Guide to Using MCAT® Data in 2020 Medical Student Selection (www.aamc.org/newmcatguide, p.

What's the lowest MCAT score accepted? ›

Applicants accepted to allopathic (MD-granting) medical schools for the 2021-2022 year had an average MCAT score of 511.9. This is an increase from 2020-2021 when the average was 511.5. This year alone, MedEdits students have been accepted to allopathic medical schools with MCAT scores as low as 508.

Is 10 weeks enough to study for the MCAT? ›

Most people need 10–15 hours per week to study for the MCAT over a period of at least four to six months . In total, you should aim for at least 200 to 300 hours of MCAT study time.

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