What Is a Good MCAT Score?


The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized, multiple-choice exam that assesses your problem-solving and critical thinking skills as well as your foundational knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles. The exam is administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and is a prerequisite to the study of medicine. As the MCAT is a crucial component of your medical school application, it’s natural to worry about not doing well on it and how that might affect your enrollment chances. Therefore, it’s important to understand what constitutes a good MCAT score and what score you need to get into medical school.

So, what’s a good MCAT score? Let’s dive into the structure and scoring of the MCAT exam, what constitutes a strong MCAT score, and the factors that can influence it.

What Does the MCAT Exam Measure?

The MCAT not only measures your knowledge in subjects such as biology, biochemistry, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, psychology, and sociology—it also assesses your critical analysis and reasoning skills. It consists of four sections:

  • Biological and biochemical foundations of living systems: This section comprises 59 questions, of which 15 are individual, distinct questions, whereas the others are passage-based. It will assess your understanding of biological and biochemical concepts and your ability to solve problems using analytical reasoning, scientific inquiry, and statistics. 
  • Chemical and physical foundations of biological systems: This section includes 59 questions, of which 15 are standalone, discrete questions. Others are connected from the ten passages of the section. It will require you to combine your knowledge of the fundamental physical sciences with that of the biological sciences to test your ability to apply your understanding of these subjects to living systems. 
  • Psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior: This section includes 59 questions from biology, psychology, and sociology. You’ll also have to combine your scientific inquiry and reasoning skills to solve problems and draw conclusions. 
  • Critical analysis and reasoning skills: This is the only section that doesn’t include discrete questions. It consists of 53 questions, all connected to nine passages. This section will test your ability to analyze problems and find the underlying assumptions and inferences.

How Is the MCAT Exam Scored?

The MCAT score is determined solely by the number of questions you answer correctly, which means that any questions you answer incorrectly will not be counted against your overall score. It is crucial that you do not leave any questions unanswered, as they will be automatically marked as incorrect. Additionally, the MCAT score is given on a scale rather than a curve. This means that your raw score (based on the number of questions you answered correctly) will be converted into a scaled score, which takes into account the difficulty level of the questions. Furthermore, it’s important to note that MCAT scores retain the same meaning no matter when you take the test.

Each of the four sections of the MCAT is scored from 118 to 132 points, with the total score ranging from 472 to 528. The mean score of each section is 125, and the total mean is 500. 

When you receive your results, you’ll also receive a percentile rank for each MCAT section and your total score to determine how you compare to other students. For example, if you score 515 on the MCAT or are in the top 10%, it means you’ve performed better than 90% of test-takers and are in the 90th percentile.

What Is Considered a Good MCAT Score?

Overall, what constitutes a good MCAT score varies depending on the medical school. This means an MCAT score considered competitive for one medical school may not be competitive at another. Additionally, what constitutes a good MCAT score also depends on other components of your application, such as your GPA, letters of recommendation, clinical experience, and personal statement. However, as a baseline, a good MCAT score is considered to be at the 75th percentile, which equates to a combined score of 509 to 514. This averages out to a section score of 127 to 129.

What is the highest MCAT score?

The highest possible MCAT score is 528, which equates to a 132 score on each section. Achieving a perfect MCAT score is undoubtedly difficult and rare, with less than 1% of test-takers attaining it in all four sections. While a perfect MCAT score will get you to the 100th percentile, anything above 524 is also a 100th percentile.  

What is the average MCAT score?

According to AAMC, the average MCAT score for applicants for 2023-2024 was 506.3, whereas for matriculants, it was 511.7. However, to increase your chances of enrolling in your dream medical school, we suggest aiming for an MCAT score higher than 512, equivalent to a 128 score per section. Moreover, achieving a score above 512 will make you a competitive applicant for both M.D. and D.O. medical schools, especially if other aspects of your application are strong. 

What is the lowest MCAT score?

The lowest possible score for the MCAT is 472, as the exam doesn’t have a zero score or a failing grade. The 472 score equates to scoring the minimum 118 on each section. Achieving this score means your options for medical schools will be limited to those without a minimum MCAT requirement.

Factors Influencing a Good MCAT Score

Some of the factors that can influence your MCAT score include:

  • Preparation strategies: Your performance on the testing day heavily relies on how well you plan, schedule, and stick to your study routine. It is advisable to start studying early and develop a structured plan using practice tests and prep books.
  • Study habits: Efficient and effective study habits are crucial in achieving a high MCAT score. You must take frequent breaks, keep a clear and organized study schedule, and use active recall techniques to optimize your study sessions. 
  • Test-taking skills: As the MCAT is a lengthy exam, familiarity with its format and timing can significantly affect your score. You must allocate sufficient time for each section, pace yourself throughout the exam, and use effective time-management strategies to address each question to the best of your ability. 

To perform well on the MCAT exam, you must also balance content knowledge and critical thinking skills. The exam emphasizes the ability to apply knowledge to novel situations and interpret complex data, so it is crucial to have a good grasp of both to maximize your chances of a good score.

How Do You Get a Good MCAT Score?


Preparing for the MCAT is a challenging task that requires effective strategies to help you achieve your desired score. The exam is an essential step in becoming a doctor and demands significant preparation. Here are some helpful tips to get a good MCAT score:

  • Create a study schedule: We suggest starting your MCAT preparation at least three to four months before your exam date. You can make a weekly study plan that involves taking practice tests, revisiting areas you find difficult, rotating the subjects included in the MCAT, and taking a day off for rest.
  • Take practice tests: Taking full-length practice tests will help you prepare for the MCAT content, identify the areas to pay attention to, and build endurance and concentration for the seven-and-a-half-hour MCAT length. 
  • Seek external support: If studying alone is overwhelming, consider taking an MCAT prep class or joining a study group. 

Review the official AAMC materials: The AAMC offers an abundance of practice exams, premed webinars, study guides, official prep bundles, and more to help you familiarize yourself with the exam structure and content.

Acceptance Rates to Med Schools Based on MCAT Scores

According to the AAMC, of the 165,326 applicants from 2021-2022 through 2023-2024, 69,228, or 41.9%, enrolled in a medical school. The table below shows the positive correlation of how chances of acceptance increase when getting higher scores than the mean 500. 

MCAT ScoresPercentage of Students Accepted
Less than 4860.7%
Greater than 51778.1%


Understanding what constitutes a good MCAT score and its influencing factors is essential for getting accepted into medical school. To achieve a good MCAT, you must set realistic goals, develop effective study strategies, and strive for a competitive MCAT score above 512 to enhance your chances of admission. 

So, as you embark on your MCAT journey, remember to stay focused and disciplined in your preparation. Seek out resources and support from other test-takers. And most importantly, remember that you can do it! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How important is an MCAT score for M.D. programs?

The MCAT is one of the most significant components of your medical school application, as it shows admissions committees how well you comprehend scientific concepts, think critically, and analyze and evaluate data.  It also impacts your scholarship opportunities. 

What MCAT score do you need for top medical schools?

To gain admission into some of the top medical schools in the U.S., you must have an MCAT score well above the national average of 501.6

What happens if I don’t get a good score on the MCAT?

If you didn’t get the score you wanted on the MCAT, don’t worry! You can study in the areas you didn’t perform as well and retake the exam later in the year.

How long are MCAT scores valid?

Typically, medical schools accept MCAT scores dating back two or three years.

Leave a Reply

Admission Enquiry