MCAT Scores: What's Average? What's Great? Plus FAQ

Guide to MCAT Scores: Percentiles and What’s Average vs. Good

Dr. Ken Tao

Posted in: MCAT

Table of Contents

The MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) is a standardized test that uses scaled scores for each of its four sections. Section scores are scaled from 118-132, totaling an overall MCAT score between 472-528. 

A “good” score depends heavily on the medical school(s) you’ve chosen to apply to and on other factors that will appear on your primary application.

In the 2023/24 application cycle, the average MCAT scores were:

  • All test-takers: 501.3
  • All allopathic (MD) applicants: 506.3
  • Allopathic (MD) matriculants: 511.7
  • All osteopathic (DO) applicants: 503.0
  • Osteopathic (DO) matriculants: 503.9 

The MCAT exam is administered by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges). This exam is broken into 4 sections: Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills, Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, and Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior.

Below, I walk you through how MCAT scoring works, how to know if your score is commensurate with the healthcare program of your choice, and a few tips for achieving the highest score possible.

Stuck at the same MCAT score? Break the plateau fast with 1-on-1 expert instruction from 99th percentile MCAT tutors.

How MCAT Scores Are Calculated

Your raw score for each section is converted to a scaled score ranging from 118 (lowest) to 132 (highest).

For instance, if you got 36 out of 59 questions correct in a section, 36 would be your raw score for that section. Depending on the difficulty of your particular exam, a raw score of 36 would then convert to a certain scaled score — say, 121 out of 132.

The AAMC does not share raw scores with MCAT test-takers, though students are shown their scaled score for each section (as well as their total scaled score) in their MCAT score report. According to the AAMC, the purpose of converting raw scores to scaled scores is to account “for small variations in difficulty” between different exam versions. That way, everyone’s MCAT score provides a stable measure of performance, regardless of which test form they received.

To get your total MCAT score, the scaled scores of all four MCAT sections (Chem/Physical, CARS, Bio/BioChem, and Psych/Soc) are added together. The highest MCAT score possible is 524, while the lowest is 472.

MCAT Percentiles (2023/24 Cycle)

An MCAT percentile tells you how well you did compared to all other test-takers from the past 3 years.

For example, if you scored in the 52nd percentile, you scored the same as or above 52% of test-takers. If you scored in the 97th percentile, you scored the same as or above 97% of the other test-takers.

It’s important to know and understand your percentile because some schools may have a preference for students at or above a certain percentile threshold.

Total MCAT ScoreMCAT Percentile Rank
524-528100
52399
52299
52198
52097
51996
51895
51794
51692
51590
51488
51386
51283
51181
51078
50975
50872
50769
50666
50562
50459
50356
50252
50149
50046
49943
49736
49633
49531
49428
49325
49223
49120
49018
48916
48814
48712
48611
4859
4848
4836
4825
4814
4803
4793
4782
477-4751
474-472<1

Average MCAT Scores (2023/24 Cycle)

These are the average MCAT scores through the 2023/24 application cycle provided by the AAMC and AACOMAS. Averages are split between MD and DO applicants and matriculants (students accepted and enrolled) in those program types.

 MD ApplicantsDO ApplicantsMD MatriculantsDO Matriculants
Total MCAT506.3503.0511.7503.9
CPBS126.4125.5127.8125.7
CARS125.8125.0127.0125.2
BBLS126.6125.8128.1126.1
PSBB127.4126.7128.9126.9

What Is a Good MCAT Score?

A good MCAT score is 511 or higher — this score will help you stand out as an applicant to allopathic schools. If you have a lower GPA (below 3.75), you need a higher MCAT score to be a competitive medical school applicant.

Here’s a breakdown of good MCAT scores based on where you’re applying:

  • DO program (osteopathic) applicants: 506+
  • MD program (allopathic) applicants: 512+
  • Ivy League (Harvard, Columbia, etc.) applicants: 520+

Most US medical schools do not have a “minimum MCAT score requirement” for prospective students. However, they typically have an unstated MCAT score threshold, below which it is extremely difficult to gain acceptance.

To maximize your options for medical school, shoot for the highest MCAT score possible without neglecting other parts of your application. If you have a solid application, you can get away with a lower MCAT score. If your application is weak, however, you’ll need a better score to make up for it.

Raise your MCAT score by an average of 12+ points with expert coaching from a 99th-percentile tutor.

MCAT Test Dates

2024 MCAT Test Dates

2024 Test DateScore Release DateRegistration Open?Suggested Prep Dates
January 12Feb. 13OpenOctober – January
January 13Feb. 13OpenOctober – January
January 18Feb. 20OpenOctober – January
January 26March 1OpenOctober – January
March 9April 9OpenDecember – March
March 22April 23OpenDecember – March
April 12May 14OpenJanuary – April
April 13May 14OpenJanuary – April
April 26May 29OpenJanuary – April
April 27May 29OpenJanuary – April
May 4June 4OpenFebruary – May
May 10June 11OpenFebruary – May
May 11June 11OpenFebruary – May
May 16June 18OpenFebruary – May
May 24June 25OpenFebruary – May
June 1July 2OpenMarch – June
June 14July 16OpenMarch – June
June 15July 16OpenMarch – June
June 22July 23OpenMarch – June
June 27July 30OpenMarch – June
July 13Aug. 13OpenApril – July
July 26Aug. 27OpenApril – July
August 2Sept. 4OpenMay – August
August 17Sept. 17OpenMay – August
August 23Sept. 24OpenMay – August
August 24Sept. 24OpenMay – August
September 5Oct. 8OpenJune – September
September 6Oct. 8OpenJune – September
September 13Oct. 15OpenJune – September
September 14Oct. 15OpenJune – September

Check out our full-length guide to MCAT test day and release dates, including tips for when to select a date and how to register. 

How to Access Your Scores

Access and view your MCAT scores on the AAMC website here. You will have to sign in.

MCAT scores are released 30-35 days after the test date, typically at 5:00 PM ET. Generally, AAMC does not email you about score updates.

Pro tip: follow the AAMC’s X account and turn on notifications.

MCAT Resources

Prepping for your MCAT exam? We’ve got you covered. Check out these resources from 99th-percentile tutors:

FAQs

The highest possible MCAT score is 528, meaning every section has a perfect score of 132. The MCAT score range is 472-528.

For context, a score of 502 would put you above the 50th percentile, and a score of 518 would put you in the 95th percentile of test-takers.

You can take the MCAT 3 times in a calendar year, 4 times in 2 years, and 7 times in a lifetime. Retakes may impact your application, but most programs won’t penalize you for taking the MCAT 2-3 times as long as your score improves between exams. 

The AAMC MCAT score report includes:

  • Score in each section
  • Confidence band for each score
  • Percentile rank of each score
  • Score “profile” of each score — simply putting each score on a line graph that shows the minimum and maximum scores for context

An MCAT score report is a more detailed view of a test-taker’s results, primarily meant for admissions committees to get a more useful look into an applicant’s performance. Below is a sample score report.

screenshot of AAMC's example score report for a student's score profile on the MCAT

No, the penalty for a wrong answer is the same as for a blank question. It’s best to guess on each question before submitting your exam; don’t leave anything blank.

Use the MCAT “flag” feature to flag questions you’re unsure about, then move on. This allows you to move forward and not waste too much time on a single question. You’ll be able to come back to these flagged questions at the end of the section.

Try to take the MCAT no later than April of your application cycle (for 2024/25, take it by the end of April 2024). This means your score release date will be in May, allowing you to submit your primary application early in the cycle. Waiting longer than this may disadvantage your application.

Ideally, you’ll take the MCAT at the end of your junior premed year or at the end of senior year (if you plan to take a gap year to do a post-bacc or similar).

Your score will be available by 5:00 PM ET on your score release date. Score release dates are 30-35 days after your exam date.

MCAT scores are technically valid for 3 years from the date of the exam and may be used as part of your primary medical school application.

However, it’s a good idea to discuss using an MCAT score more than a year old with an experienced application advisor. In many cases, it makes sense for a prospective medical student to retake the exam instead of using an old score.

Allopathic medical school applicants had an average overall GPA of 3.64 and a science GPA of 3.54 in the 2023/24 application cycle. Matriculants to allopathic medical school in the 2023/24 cycle had an average overall undergraduate GPA of 3.77 and a science GPA of 3.71. 

Review your dream school’s average GPA, average MCAT score, and acceptance rate for more details using MedSchoolExplorer — it’s free!

Boost Your MCAT Score By 12+ Points

The application process for a school of medicine is a competitive one, and it’s important to stand out! A competitive admissions process includes a strong grade point average, great letters of recommendation and personal statement, compelling extracurricular activities, and a high MCAT score. 

Want to improve your MCAT score by an average of 12+ points? Get 1-on-1 help from our 99th-percentile MCAT tutors.
Ken Tao, PhD

Ken Tao, PhD

Ken is the Director of MCAT at MedSchoolCoach. He is an alumnus of UC Berkeley and Harvard University, boasts degrees in Bioengineering, Molecular and Cell Biology, and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. Ken previously worked with undergraduate students at Princeton Review where he was the only tutor certified in all subjects. Ken was one of the highest rated MCAT tutors ever and a teacher trainer. He founded Magoosh's MCAT division and has written content for dozen's of MCAT books and guides.

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