Having a good MCAT score is VERY important for determining what medical schools you can get into. But what MCAT scores are actually good? Well, that can be tough to determine because of how complicated MCAT scoring is. But don’t worry - we’ve broken down all the details you need to understand the MCAT score range. To make the most of your MCAT preparation, consider signing up for a free 30-minute MCAT strategy call, exploring our MCAT self-prep guide, or checking out our MCAT Prep Hub
What MCAT Score Is Good: MCAT Scoring Explained?
The MCAT score range is based on each MCAT Section:
Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS)
Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
Each of these four sections assesses different aspects of your knowledge and skills, contributing to your overall MCAT score. Each section has a score range from 118-132. The sum of these scores makes up your overall score which can be in a score range from 472-528. For example, if you scored in the 50th percentile on every section (125 points), you would get a total MCAT score of 500.
Why is the MCAT Scored Like This?
These ranges may seem like almost random numbers, but they are based on the number of questions you get correct and then scaled. This is because there are multiple versions of the MCAT each year. Each one is designed to test the same basic concepts but may have slight variations in difficulty. To account for this, the AAMC scales each score to ensure the test is both stable and accurate to the student’s performance. You can see what the scaled scores were from 2022-2023 from the AAMC here.
Is This the Same as “Grading on a Curve?”
Short answer: No.
An exam that’s graded on a curve would adjust each student's score relative to their peers. The MCAT scales scores so that scores have the same meaning. In other words, no matter which version of the test you took, each score will mean the same thing. If you score a 125 on the Chemistry and Physics section, it will mean the same thing regardless of which version of the Chemistry Physics section you took.
For more information on MCAT scoring, click here.
What is a “Good Score? Anyway”
The MCAT Score range and scaling system allow for a percentile ranking for each score. Each year, the AAMC collects the last 3 years of MCAT score data and uses this to create a ranking of scores. Currently, the average MCAT score is 501, which makes this a 50th-percentile score.
However, the average score of students actually accepted into medical school is 512. This is an 83rd-percentile score! If your goal is to be accepted into an MD medical school, you should be aiming for a score at or above 512.
In contrast, if you are interested in DO school, the average MCAT score for DO students is around 505.
Although, you want to be careful when looking at these numbers. These values are calculated by taking the average of all medical schools in the US. A better way to decide what a "Good MCAT Score" is for you, would be to factor in your GPA and schools you are interested in. Luckily for you, after countless hours of research and Excel-gymnastics, we have created the tool to do just this! You can download our free tool at the bottom of this post!
How Do I Reach My Target Score?
Once you know your target score, use our FREE MCAT Study Schedule to ensure your MCAT prep is as efficient and effective as possible. We have tons of free resources to ensure your success in our MCAT Prep Hub. If you really want to prepare like an expert from the MCAT, it's worth getting expert advice! You can schedule a free 30-minute strategy session with an expert to customize your MCAT prep today!