The MCAT Scoring Process: Your Questions Answered

MCAT scoring

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.  

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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.

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4 Things I Wish I’d Known About the MCAT

taking the mcat

Walking out of the test center after I had completed the MCAT was a surreal experience. Somehow, the far-off test date for which I had been preparing for months had not only arrived, but had already passed. I was suddenly and thankfully in possession of all of the components of a complete medical school application, as an MCAT score was the last blank space to fill on my impending AMCAS application.

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Get a Top Score on the MCAT for Less Than $300


Many MCAT prep companies will try to sell you on the idea that you need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a fancy prep course with all its bells and whistles in order to get a top score on the MCAT, but this just isn’t the case. We carefully analyzed the experiences of students that scored above the 95th percentile on the MCAT and looked for patterns in their preparation, and our analysis revealed that the students who performed well weren’t necessarily the students who spent the most money on a prep course. In actuality, top scorers use a variety of low-cost resources. And this actually makes perfect sense. Think about it. Every MCAT prep company has a single (likely slightly inaccurate) perspective regarding the most important concepts to know for the MCAT. By preparing using a variety of materials, you will gain several perspectives on the material, which when combined together provide you with a much more accurate picture of the MCAT.

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How to Balance MCAT Prep with School or Work

In an ideal world, the months before an MCAT test date would be exclusively devoted to preparing for the exam. Prospective medical students would wake each morning without any obligations outside of studying. Unfortunately, the reality for most students is that MCAT prep does not occur in a vacuum separate from other responsibilities. Instead, MCAT review occurs in the context of the typically busy life of a pre-med—taking science courses, conducting research, volunteering, and applying to medical school. Finding time to adequately prepare for your MCAT test date can be challenging, but with careful planning and the tips listed here, you can squeeze MCAT prep into your schedule.

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Managing Anxiety on Test Day

managing anxiety

Taking the MCAT can be a nerve-wracking experience. In fact, many students develop significant test anxiety as a result of the MCAT’s role in the medical school admissions process. If this scenario describes you, here are several tips to help you successfully manage this anxiety:

1. Review difficult details and concepts on your test day
As you study for the MCAT, proactively compile a list of those details and concepts that you consistently struggle to understand. On the morning of your exam, wake up an hour early to review this list. This can help you refresh your memory and begin the MCAT in a much calmer mood.

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How to use a Pea Plant to Increase your USMLE, COMLEX, and Shelf Exam Scores

80/20 principle

Studying for the boards overwhelms most people. The sheer amount of information to know is … Read more

Five Things to Consider in Choosing an MCAT Prep Course

With the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) undergoing major changes in 2015, the first revamp in over two decades, aspiring medical students are faced with new uncertainty in how to prepare for the crucially important exam. Many students are turning to dedicated MCAT prep courses to supplement their self-directed studies, only to be stymied by a market crowded with many alternatives. Here are some important questions to ask when selecting an MCAT prep course.

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Pirating Test Prep Material Doesn't Pay

 
A question that’s on almost every student’s mind is how and where to get enough money to pay tuition. Kenneth Chou “resolved” that problem by opting for a quick get-rich scam: piracy.
Chou was not an ordinary pirate roaming the high seas and pillaging ships. Instead, the former student at SUNY Upstate Medical University in New York peddled his illicitly obtained loot – Kaplan lecture DVDs copied from his school’s library – in cyberspace.

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