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Preparing For Mcat Essay

What MCAT score do you need? When considering your MCAT score goal (in 2018’s competitive admissions cycle), it’s always a good idea to look at the requirements or minimums (if any) at the schools to which you’re applying. To start, though, here is what you need to know about your MCAT score:

Each of the four sections of MCAT is scored between 118 and 132, with the mean and median at 125. This means the total score ranges from 472 to 528, with the mean and median at 500. Why such odd numbers? The AAMC stresses that this scale emphasizes the importance of the central portion of the score distribution, where most students score (around 125 per section, or 500 total), rather than putting an undue focus on the high end of the scale.

The AAMC utilizes the whole scoring scale on the exam. Unlike the previous MCAT (administered prior to 2015), the new exam gives a measurable proportion of students the top score of 528.  The AAMC has released an initial correlation between scaled score and percentile:


Competitive Scores

These scores will put you in a highly competitive place in admissions (top 25% of all test takers)

MCAT Total Score: 508-513

Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: 127-128

Critical Analysis and Reading Skills: 127-128

Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: 127-128

Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: 127-128

Less Competitive Scores

These scores put you ahead of the pack (50%+), but won’t be as advantageous when applying to highly competitive programs

MCAT Total Score: 500-507

Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: 125-126

Critical Analysis and Reading Skills: 125-126

Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: 125-126

Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: 125-126

Below Average Scores

These scores may be enough to get into a certain medical schools, but will be below average compared to the testing population

MCAT Total Score: 499 or below

Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: 124 or below

Critical Analysis and Reading Skills: 124 or below

Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: 124 or below

Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: 124 or below


Many factors affect your med school application, and each will help decide whether you’re admitted or rejected. Your MCAT score is just one part of your candidacy. Your undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, research, interviews, and personal essays will all contribute to your acceptance into your dream school.



Did Someone Say Essay?

When the AAMC added content to the latest version of the MCAT, many students were left wondering whether or not the writing sample would make a comeback. If you were one of the pre-meds racking your brain asking “does the MCAT have an essay?”, then fear not! There is no essay requirement on the new MCAT.

Prior to the 2013 testing year, all test-takers were required to complete a fourth section of the MCAT, which was simply called the Writing Sample. Because of this requirement, students converged upon campus writing centers everywhere to improve their writing. The importance of this section was ambiguous to say the least. Many students didn’t know if schools were even interested in the scores they received on this section. Furthermore, the scoring for this section was privy to inconsistencies because it had to be evaluated by an actual person. Following the 2012-2013 testing year, the AAMC did away with the essay portion of the exam to make room for what was then the optional trial section. The writers used incentives to encourage students to take this optional section. This trial section was comprised of sample items that tested out the types of questions that are now found on the current version of the exam.

Do Med Schools Care About My Writing?

Medical schools absolutely care about your writing! Even though the writing section was removed from the MCAT, an essay is still required as part of your medical school application. Both allopathic and osteopathic medical schools require this essay, better known as the personal statement. Your statement can be up to 5300 characters long for AMCAS and 4500 characters long for AACOMAS. It allows you to expound upon your reasoning for wanting to become a physician.

While your writing is no longer assigned a score, schools use your personal statement as an integral part of you application. This is one of the first opportunities that you will have as an applicant have to set yourself apart from the crowd and let your personality and passion shine through. It’s a great opportunity to identify yourself in your own words and apart from your GPA and MCAT score.