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MCAT Score Percentiles

Instructor: Shelby Golden
What are the score percentiles for the MCAT and how do they relate to your total score? You can check out this article to find out and to learn how to get the percentile rank you need.

Score Percentiles for the MCAT

The MCAT 2015 is a new exam so score percentiles aren't yet available for it. The score scales used for the MCAT have changed, which means that the existing percentile rank tables can no longer help you see where you stand in relation to other test-takers. Instead, new percentile rank tables will be estimated using a combination of scores from early test-takers of the new exam and historical data. Updates will continue as more test-takers complete the new exam.

Score Scales

On the MCAT 2015, the score scales will be based on a total score of 472 to 528, with a center score of 500. Historically, the MCAT score scales focused on the top third instead of the center. The new exam will be more focused on the scale's center.

Some students worry that it's harder to score well on the exam based on the time of year the MCAT is taken since the questions on individual exams might vary throughout the year. However, the MCAT resolves any possible variations by scaling scores. The scaled scores for each exam section are then totaled to create your final score. Your scaled scores allow you to find out where you rank once the new MCAT score percentile tables are released.

MCAT Test Sections

The MCAT test includes four sections that assess your critical analysis and reading skills, as well as your understanding of biological systems, living systems and behavior with multiple-choice questions. Your raw scores for these sections are drawn from the number of questions you answer correctly. These scores are then converted to scaled scores. Scaled score ranges for each section start at 118, with a center at 125 and a high of 132.

You need to successfully complete all sections of the MCAT to get the percentile score you want. All sections involve applying scientific concepts. You'll need to show that you understand scientific principles and are capable of applying scientific reasoning to solve problems. You'll also face questions about designing and executing research, as well as different forms of reasoning. Each exam section contains 59 questions.

You will be tested on:

  • General and organic chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Critical analysis

Because wrong answers do not count against you in any of these sections, you need to make sure you complete every question, even if you need to guess.

Getting Prepared

Attaining the percentile score you want is going to take work. You can check out the website for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to find question banks and study guides that cover the information found on the exam (www.students-residents.aamc.org). AAMC also offers an online tool that allows you to sharpen the technical skills you'll need to use on exam day.

You can also find help with online courses. Check out this MCAT Prep Course from Study.com as your test day approaches. This self-paced course allows you to review the scientific concepts covered by the MCAT with short video lessons. It deals with the principles of chemistry, biology and physics, as well as various social systems and sociological roles. You'll also be able to practice answering questions like those found on the MCAT with interactive quizzes and tests. You can even print off worksheets to study away from the computer.

This lesson on strategies for multiple choice questions can also come in handy as you prepare for test day. Learn the best ways to handle these questions so you can get the rank you need on the MCAT.

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