The MCAT Scoring Process: Your Questions Answered

MCAT scoring

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.   Continue reading “The MCAT Scoring Process: Your Questions Answered”

Location, Location, Location! Should You Apply In-State or Out-of-State? 

The AAMC Premed Team recently conducted a few twitter polls which asked premeds to share what you are looking for in a medical school. We received hundreds of responses, and while a school’s mission statement and scholarship opportunities were both important influences, the results pointed to one factor above all others: location! Continue reading “Location, Location, Location! Should You Apply In-State or Out-of-State? “

How to Maximize Your Pre-Interview Research

One of the most exciting and nerve-wracking stages of the application process can be your medical school interview. On the one hand, receiving an invitation for an interview can be a huge confidence booster because it proves that you’ve impressed the admissions committee enough that they want to meet you. On the other hand, because medical schools invite significantly more students to interview than they have room for in the class, going to an interview can make the competition feel even more fierce. Continue reading “How to Maximize Your Pre-Interview Research”

What Medical Schools Are Looking For: Understanding the 15 Core Competencies

When you think about how medical schools will evaluate your application, it can seem like a mystery. What will an admissions committee look at first? How are experiences that are not related to health care viewed or evaluated? How do you explain a personal circumstance that may have led to poor grades during an academic semester and how will medical schools interpret that information? Continue reading “What Medical Schools Are Looking For: Understanding the 15 Core Competencies”

5 Steps to Earning a 90th-Percentile MCAT Score

Famous Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once remarked, “When my teams took second place, the fans called me an idiot. A guy who finished last in medical school is still called a ‘doctor’. Hardly seems fair.”
Lou’s pithy comment may be true for students already in medical school. However, if you are a premed student, finishing last, or even in the middle of the pack, dooms your chances of going to a quality medical school. Every year, students face fierce competition. Scoring “above average” isn’t enough. To be highly competitive as an out-of-state applicant at schools across the country, you need a strong MCAT score—usually in the 90th percentile or above. Continue reading “5 Steps to Earning a 90th-Percentile MCAT Score”

Dealing With Premed Stress

With another busy semester behind you, you might be using your summer to work or volunteer, prepare for the MCAT exam, or work on your medical school applications. But summer is also a good opportunity to catch your breath and practice a little self-care. Being a premed is stressful, but there are healthy habits you can start practicing now that will help you manage stress next semester, and later when you’re in medical school.
1. Cook at home. It’s tempting to save time by always buying meals on the go, but cooking for yourself can actually be a stress relieving activity. And it’s often the healthier choice. Plus, it will save you money! Try listening to music, a podcast, or an audiobook while you cook, or turn it into a social activity by cooking with your roommate or significant other. Continue reading “Dealing With Premed Stress”

Four Tips for Completing Your AMCAS Application

amcas application

The 2018 AMCAS application cycle has started! If you plan to apply to attend medical school starting in Fall 2018, the application is now open for you to begin working through the nine different sections of the application. While the application is straightforward, it can be easy to make simple mistakes that can delay the verification process. To help you fill out an application that may be processed faster, we asked for tips from the AMCAS Verifications Team, as they review and process thousands of AMCAS applications each year. The Verification Team provided us with some important tips to help you avoid making mistakes and ensure your application gets successfully verified. Continue reading “Four Tips for Completing Your AMCAS Application”

10 Tips to Prepare for the AMCAS Application Opening


It’s that time of year. The American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®) 2018 application cycle will open on May 2, allowing you to begin preparing your application to medical schools. AMCAS is the centralized application service that collects, verifies, and delivers your application information and MCAT® score(s) to each school you choose.
Before you begin working through the application, check out these 10 tips to help you prepare for opening day:
1. Meet with your pre-health advisor. Your pre-health advisor is a great resource as you prepare your application. They can offer guidance, support, insight, and answer your questions to help you put your best application forward. While it’s a good idea to meet with your advisor early and often, it’s never too late to connect and get guidance about starting the application process. If you don’t have a pre-health advisor, you can request one through the Find an Advisor tool through the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP).
2. Know how the application process works. On May 2, the 2018 AMCAS application cycle will officially open, allowing you to begin working through your application. Though you won’t be able to submit your final application to AMCAS for verification until June 1, you will have almost an entire month to work through your application and finalize it. Watch this short “behind the scenes” video to learn more about what happens to your application after you hit submit!
3. Apply for the Fee Assistance Program. The AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program helps people who, without financial assistance, would be unable to apply to medical school. The Fee Assistance Program helps cover many of the costs associated with the MCAT exam and the AMCAS application. One important point to remember is that you must apply for fee assistance before you intend to register for the exam or submit your AMCAS application, as benefits are not retroactive. Learn more about the Fee Assistance Program eligibility and benefits here.
4. Contact your letter writers. Make sure you contact your letter writers in advance of May 2, when the application opens, so that you know who is willing to write a letter of evaluation on your behalf for your application. Once the application opens, you will be able to print the Letter Request Form found on the Main Menu of the application. This is the form that you will give to your letter writers and includes the instructions to send letters, your AAMC ID, and Letter ID. Also, be sure to check if your school offers a committee letter and how to request one.
5. Familiarize yourself with the AMCAS Tools and Tutorials page. This collection of helpful fact sheets, resources, and videos is the best source of detailed information about the AMCAS application and process. Now is also a good time to familiarize yourself with the AMCAS Applicant Guide and have it bookmarked to refer to as you make your way through the application.
6. Request a copy of your official college transcript(s). You’ll need to provide a copy of your official transcript(s) from each post-secondary institution you have attended (U.S., U.S. Territory, or Canada) when you submit your application. When requesting your official transcript(s), we recommend also requesting a copy for yourself to use as a reference while filling out your application. As part of the application, you’ll need to enter every course you have taken, including those you withdrew from, failed, or repeated (even if your school has a forgiveness policy), exactly as it appears on your official transcript. On average, applicants enter in about 52 courses on their application! Because unofficial transcripts do not always reflect everything you need, it’s best to use your official transcript for reference as you fill out your application.
7. Consider your work and activities. One of the sections that will take time to complete is the Work and Activities Section. In this section, you have the opportunity to fill in up to 15 total experiences, such as work experiences, extracurricular activities, awards, honors, or publications. You can then select three of those experiences that you consider most meaningful and expand in greater detail. These can be experiences where you had a great impact, experienced significant personal growth, or were transformed in some way. Think about these experiences now and begin crafting your descriptions.
8. Work on your personal statement. Your personal statement is an opportunity to share with medical school admissions officers more about who you are, what makes you unique, and why you have chosen to pursue a career in medicine. Crafting your personal statement early is a good idea as you’ll likely go through several drafts. Learn more about how to craft a well-organized and compelling essay with these seven tips.
9. Finalize your list of schools. Before you submit your application, be sure you have done your research into the medical school programs you plan to apply to. Consider using the Medical School Admission Requirements online tool. On average, applicants will apply to 16 medical schools. While you may apply to more or less, it’s a good rule of thumb to only apply to schools you would seriously attend if accepted. To help you with creating your school list, be sure to ask yourself these five questions as you evaluate each of the programs.
10. Follow @amcasinfo on Twitter and YouTube. This is where we’ll announce important information, tips, resources, and the status of the verification process.