The MCAT Scoring Process: Your Questions Answered

By AAMC Staff

When you receive your score report, you will receive five scores—four scores for each of the multiple-choice sections of the exam and one total score. As you prepare for test day, you may wonder how the AAMC calculates your scores. Or perhaps you’ve heard some theories about how we do it. To help dispel any myths, we’ve answered three of your frequently asked questions about how the MCAT exam is scored.  

Is the MCAT exam graded on a curve? One of the most important things to note about the scoring process is that the MCAT exam is NOT graded on a curve. Instead, the MCAT exam is scaled and equated so that scores have the same meaning no matter when you take your exam. 

The AAMC follows three steps to scale and equate your exam: 

  • First, we count the number of questions you answered correctly for each of the four sections. This means your score for each section is based on the number of questions you answer correctly. It’s a good idea to answer all the questions on the exam, as there is no penalty for wrong or unanswered questions.
  • Second, we take the number of correct answers and convert them to an MCAT scaled score. Scores from each of these four sections are converted to a scaled score ranging from 118 (lowest) to 132 (highest). For example, if the number of correct answers on one of the sections is between 35 and 37, your scaled score might be 123. Number of correct answers ranging from 46 to 48 might have a scaled score of 128, and so on. The scaled score indicates how much examinees know or understand based on the body of knowledge and reasoning skills that the MCAT exam covers. 
  • Third, we add your scaled scores for each of the four sections together to calculate a scaled total score ranging from 472 (lowest) to 528 (highest). 

Why don’t I see raw scores on my score report? In a given testing year, there are many different test forms that are produced for that year’s examinees, any of which you could see on your test day. The forms of the exam are designed to measure the same basic concepts and skills, but each form contains different sets of questions. The conversion of raw scores to scaled scores compensates for small variations in difficulty between sets of questions, and the exact conversion of raw to scaled scores is not constant as different sets of questions are used on different forms. 

This means that two students of equal ability who take different test forms, would be expected to get the same scaled score, even though there might be a slight difference between the raw scores each student obtained on their individual test. This also ensures that scores have the same meaning across test days and testing years.

Why does it take a month to receive my scores? We understand that waiting 30-35 days after taking your exam is a long time. However, the process to scale and equate every form after test day takes about a month. During this period, we allow time for students to submit any concerns they have about exam questions or testing conditions, and the AAMC then reviews and investigates each concern. Due to this careful analysis and review of feedback from each exam date, we aren’t able to provide a score immediately after exams are completed. 

Once your scores are posted on the designated score release date, you will be able to access your score report through the MCAT Score Reporting System on the AAMC website. Scores are released by 5:00 pm ET on release days. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @AAMC_MCAT for announcements on when scores are posted and available!  

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