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What is a "good" MCAT score

Discussion in 'Re-Applicants [ MD / DO ]' started by caliente, 04.14.05.

  1. caliente

    caliente Member

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    Hi...don't know how people set up polls, so just answer below.

    What do you consider a "good" MCAT score to be? I know this is rather vague, so feel free to expand or explain your answers.

    I only ask because it seems a lot of people here have AMAZING scores - it's a little scary!!!

    Thanks :)
  2. Lindyhopper

    Lindyhopper Senior Member

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    "Good" = 31 with no section below 9.
  3. dr.z

    dr.z

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    I think 30 with no section below 9 would be good.
  4. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    Agree. A balanced 30 is a competitive score to get into an allopathic med school. You'd probably want even higher to be competitive for the "higher ranked" (top 20) schools though.
  5. nockamura

    nockamura Senior Member

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    Get a 30 and apply early. I don't know how balanced it needs to be.
  6. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    Well, I seem to recall a few stories on SDN of folks who got like 6V, 12, 12 and didn't get in, so I think balanced is important.
  7. drmanyee999

    drmanyee999 Member

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    I know a couple people who don't speak English natively and they say that if you score 6 or less on Verbal it doesn't matter how well you score on BS and PS. Balance is key.
  8. crys20

    crys20 make it happen!

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    Yeah I'll say balanced 30, too..Although a 29 isn't bad either..Damn, I wish mine were more balanced; 8PS, 10VR, 12BS...
  9. caliente

    caliente Member

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    Thanks for the input :)

    Looking at stats and reading profiles on mdapplicants can be SCARY!! I didn't know that some people could actually score over 40 and STILL not get into some schools (i.e. rejected pre-secondary or post-secondary without an interview.) Although, I think the posted profiles are skewed in favor of those with really good mcat scores and gpa (I probably would put mine up too if I got 35+...)

    Anyways, I agree that balance is probably the best, although I have been told that verbal is a fairly important section while the writing sample is relatively less influential when it comes to adcoms.
  10. chooxu

    chooxu Junior Member

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    Well, then I'm screwed.... VR: 7 BS: 13 PHY: 13
  11. evljanevl

    evljanevl Member

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    at least your PS and BS are high and balanced. Is it me or does 30 seem the norm, if everyone aims for the 30 and applied when they reach that don't we all need like 33+ or so? Plus with everyone taking commerical test prep maybe its not that hard anymore. I'm a newbie, so i might be wrong, just checking out the board cuz reapplicants are probably more knowledgable than people just now applying.
  12. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    30 should be competitive for the majority of the schools (assuming you also have a competitive GPA, ECs etc). It is basically close to the average score at a lot of the (allopathic) schools -- that is why it seems like the "norm" -- so a significant number of matriculants still get in with below 30 (although the grouping is pretty tight around that number). I think the impact of commercial prep courses was already seen some time ago, as the average score has gradually been rising. Thus if you have a 30 and apply broadly, the MCAT probably won't be the factor to keep you out of med school. (Bear in mind that med schools look at other factors as well). If you want to go to a top 20ish school, however, a few points higher (like a 33+) is going to give you a better chance.
  13. crys20

    crys20 make it happen!

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    It's still hard to get a 30, harder than you think, if you're the average person. It's a good score because it's the average for MATRICULANTS at like three quarters of med schools. If you're a person with top 10 school aspirations then of course I would say you're going to need to reach higher, but for most schools like the above poster said I think a 30 isn't going to be what hurts you. So if you have a 3.5ish GPA and a 30, solid ECS I think you'll get in the door places and then have to come across well at your interview. But yes, 30 is a good score. Check the MCAT forum pre-score release and most everyone is like "as long as the first number is a 3!"
  14. crys20

    crys20 make it happen!

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    Well, then I'm screwed.... VR: 7 BS: 13 PHY: 13

    That damn verbal is screwing you, eh? Sucks! I've known so many people in that boat. Hopefully you'll make it in w/o having to retake. Those sciences are top-notch.
  15. Mistress S

    Mistress S Don't mess with the S

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    I think it is important that the score be balanced. I applied with a very unbalanced 32 (15 VR, 8 PS, 9 BS) and only got 3 interview offers out of 15 schools applied to (went on 2, accepted to one and waitlisted at the other). Taking the Aug MCAT probably didn't help either. I'm not complaining since I ended up getting in at one of my top choices, but I imagine if I had applied earlier and my 32 had been balanced I would have fared better. I think shooting for a 30 or higher with no lower than 9 in any section and applying early is good advice. Also, apply to a range of schools. Good luck!
  16. liverotcod

    liverotcod Lieutenant Crunch

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    Based on the rule of thumb:

    Good MCAT = 67 - (10 * GPA)

    So, say, with a 3.6 GPA:
    67 - 36 = 31
    but with a 3.3 GPA:
    67 - 33 = 34

    Mistress S, did your science GPA help to make up for your BS and PS scores? If you have to be lopsided, a strong VR is better than a strong BS or PS, I'm sure!
  17. Mistress S

    Mistress S Don't mess with the S

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    Well, my sci GPA was nothing to write home about--3.45, overall GPA was good (3.75). I was an English major in college. I did have very strong clinical experience (6+ years as a paid staffer at a non-profit women's health clinic) and other decent EC's and, I think, good essays and LOR's. I'm just grateful I only had to go through this process once. :thumbup:
  18. crys20

    crys20 make it happen!

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    mistress...what kind of schools did you apply to? do you live in a state where there were a number of state schools?
  19. bmolloy

    bmolloy oldgal

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    Most schools look for at least a 30, with none below a 9.
  20. Mistress S

    Mistress S Don't mess with the S

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    Ha, I wish...I live in OR, there is one state school (OHSU) which takes at least 50% of it's class from out of state. But, it is a great school and I was fortunate enough to be accepted there relatively quickly. I applied to a range of schools all over the country, 15 total. I got interview invites at MSSM, GW, and OHSU, and didn't go to my GW interview because I was already in at OHSU and knew I would rather go there. I'm on MSSM's waitlist, so we'll see what happens there.
  21. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    I'm not sure you should try and use a formula for other than a very very rough guideline, and I think that the formula you have provided ends up resulting in an MCAT a bit higher than what should be deemed "good", but I guess that depends on how you define good. The average of matriculants should, I think, be deemed "good", since most people with these stats get in. I believe the average is about a 3.5 GPA and a 30 MCAT. By the above formula, with a 3.5, the MCAT would need to be a 32 with that GPA (which is better than good) but the average student certainly gets into med school with lower.
  22. liverotcod

    liverotcod Lieutenant Crunch

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    Another option with the formula is to use 65 as the magic number for MCAT + 10*GPA, which would be in line with what you suggest. I take "good" to mean a significant positive in your application. I don't consider average to be good - at that point, your MCAT neither really helps you nor really hurts you.

    I guess my real point is that it's all relative. One's "good" MCAT score depends on the other parts of the application.
  23. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    Fair enough - point well taken. I think average is good when you are talking about matriculants (as opposed to applicants), as average gets in, and getting in is good :) . But you are absolutely correct about the relevance of other parts of the application -- without decent ECs, positive LORs, a well written PS, and a decent interview, etc, you are sunk notwithstanding a "good" (by either methodology) MCAT.
  24. MJB

    MJB Senior Member Moderator Emeritus

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    If I end up taking it in August, I think I would probably go on a 3 day party if I was able to get a 30...
  25. jrae

    jrae Senior Member

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    My experience tells me that a 33 is what I would call a good score. I applied last round with a 3.75 overall and 3.9 science GPA yet my MCAT was only a 28, yet ballanced (9V 9PS 10BS). I was accepted into my last choice ( my Undergrad and current employer). Probably doesn't help I took it last August....
    I plan to take a review course this time and shoot for a beter score in Aug. while reapplying early with my old scores....
  26. crys20

    crys20 make it happen!

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    lol a 33 is like 94th percentile. your standards for good are quite high. but then i got a 30 so i'm probably just feeling defensive :)
  27. jrae

    jrae Senior Member

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    Sorry to make you defensive...I would have been pleased if I'd gotten a 30, but I would consider it average for students who enter into MD programs. To me a good score is one that not only increases your chances of getting in, but of getting into more than one school. Also, like I said, my downfall last year could have been applying too late.
  28. crys20

    crys20 make it happen!

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    lol i'm just kidding i wasn't defensive. :) right on, it's all depending on what your def of good is and how high your standards are in where you want to go/how choosy you want to be. We should define good based on you'd be happy to go wherever you got in versus good as in you want to have your pick of competitive schools.
  29. ZAZA67401

    ZAZA67401 Senior Member

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    so what about a 28 with 9,9,10? Would you retake? 3.3 undergrad 3.7 grad
  30. HoodyHoo

    HoodyHoo

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    Probably because some schools realize that an awesome MCAT score DOES NOT mean you will be a great doctor. I've always had the feeling that people with scores of 40+ are very attractive to schools for the possible research they could do and the money that they could bring in to the school. but i'm sure that's not completely true.
  31. beefballs

    beefballs MIDWEST

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    Yeah I hear you on this. When I signed up for Kaplan they said 50% of applicants take a commercial prep course and 75% of matriculants had, so based on that it would seem that a prep class is certainly beneficial. (I know there are those that do exceptional without a prep course I am just speaking in regards to the norm)

    -bb
  32. nockamura

    nockamura Senior Member

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    You got in and you're reapplying? Good luck with that. I'd give anything to be going to med school next year.
  33. Howard Roark

    Howard Roark Senior Member

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    a balanced 30 (all 10s) seems to be the general accepted opinion....but cant prove it.

    good luck


    .
  34. koalabear

    koalabear Senior Member

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    so you think if you get a 27,28,29 you should retake even if you end up applying later? or does it all even out?
  35. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    I personally probably wouldn't retake with a 29, but likely would with a 27. Depends what your other credentials are, and whether you felt you could have done better.
  36. Hoya11

    Hoya11 Senior Member

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    9,9,10 is a solid score. I would not retake it and risk an 8 in some section. Applying late probably hurt you more than having sub30. the AVERAGE mcat is 30, meaning lots of people with 28 get in, especially if its a balanced 28 like that.
  37. ky_at_hopkins

    ky_at_hopkins Member

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    Hi, I'm not a re-applicant, but I was looking through the posts and I found this quote interesting. I agree completely with your statement, but I still fail to understand why it is true. I'm confident that my verbal score (9 out of 32; 12PS, 11BS) is what kept me from getting more interviews, but I don't get the importance of verbal. Afterall, medical schools are training scientists, not writers. It would seem more logical to me if medical schools would interview more people with high science scores despite low verbal scores and get a feel for how these people can express themselves. For example, my pre-med advisor and everyone I talked to about the MCAT figured that the verbal section would be the easiest for me because of my ability to express myself clearly. However, I ended up getting the same score on the verbal section as I did on the only practice verbal the night before taking the test. Does anybody know or have any thoughts about why the verbal score is so strongly emphasized by admissions committees?
  38. liverotcod

    liverotcod Lieutenant Crunch

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    The verbal section of the MCAT has nothing to do with self-expression!

    Cf. http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/research/start.htm
    The verbal section correlates best with success in medical school, and consists of close reading and analysis. I also conjecture that doing well on verbal (and BTW 9 isn't a bad score!) predicts diagnostic skills - fusing a diverse, incomplete set of observations and test results and producing a most-likely answer.
  39. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    I can't imagine a 32 with a 9V is what is giving you the trouble -- that's a really solid score. But to address the rest of your post: The reason med schools care about the verbal score is the same reason med schools are currently accepting so many non-science majors these days - medicine is only partly about science, and partly about interpersonal skills/bedside manner (something some of the brightest scientists sometimes lack). In medicine you will be dealing with the intimate details of peoples lives, and with their life and death decisions, and often a purely science-based skillset won't serve you well. This is why med schools seem to want a diverse class of the best and brightest amalgum of all majors they can get their hands on. If med schools wanted to fill their classes with bio or biochem majors they could easilly do so. But in fact since the 1980s, med schools have been quite receptive to applicants with the degrees in the humanities and social sciences, feeling that a more educationally rounded med school class resulted in a better pool of doctors. This is why verbal and writing skills continue to play a big role, and why the interview is so key in the application process (unlike in several other graduate tracks).
  40. koopa_troopa

    koopa_troopa Junior Member

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    What kind of MCAT score do you suggest for a top 20 school, say if i have a cGPA of around 3.8?
  41. liverotcod

    liverotcod Lieutenant Crunch

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  42. Wahoos

    Wahoos Member SDN Advisor

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    I am a 4th year med student at UVA and have been helping out with the admissions committee. I would say that UVA is a top 25 medical school. The average MCAT scores in my class is between 32-33. Verbal ~ 10.6, Bio ~ 10.8, Phy ~ 10.7, and writing ~ P. Our class GPA is about 3.7 In order to be competitive at UVA, you need to have 10-11 on each section..... This was stressed by our Assistant Dean of admissions (who is the only person reviewing all of the apps. She grants about 500 interviews out of 3500 to 4000 apps each year. And we make offers to about 200-250 people to get our 139 spots). So a 10,10,10 is much better score than a 6,12,12. In fact, it is unlikely that you will get a interview with UVA with the latter score (unless there is something very special with your app besides having a good GPA...) Personally, I think the MCAT is kinda BS. Depending on the day, your score may vary 5 points or so. I know a couple of friends that had a 28 and 29 on their 1st try, and got a 35,36 on their 2nd attempt. I also had a friend who had a 34 on the 1st try, but wanted to get a higher score, so he retook it the 2nd time, :confused: studied with me the whole summer, and got the same exact score. (even got the same break down, 11,10,13). This guy ended up at Wash U in their Md/phD program. The other 2 guys ended up at UVA and U Mich. Oh, I forgot to add that if you retook the MCAT, UVA will look mostly on your most recent score, we do not average the 1st and 2nd scores. The above only applies to my school and I am not sure how it works at the other 120+ allopathic medical schools.

    So I would say: Go for the balanced score!!!! (but at least a 30 overall). :D PM me if you have any questions.
  43. Jcrown

    Jcrown Member

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    To retake or not to retake....29p (11V, 10BS, 8PS). I got two interviews, and I am on one waitlist (and I applied late). GPA 3.3 (3.4 science) with an outrageously postive trend. I Improved my clinical experience tremendously during this gap year. It is possible that I could pull a 30-33, but not much more than that. I guess what I am asking is is a 31-32 mcat-retake score going to make that much of a difference when I have a 29 on file? Please help me out. This dilemma is stressing me, and if I'm going to retake it I need to start studying NOW.
  44. liverotcod

    liverotcod Lieutenant Crunch

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    The general rule, FWIW, is to retake only if you can improve by 3 points. It sounds like you're right on that cusp. I think that the extra clinical experience, plus your experience in applying, will make the difference for you this time around. I vote 'don't retake.'
  45. boobah16

    boobah16 Member

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    Jcrown,
    I am in a similar situation; 29, 3.34 gpa, and also a late applicant. I took this year off to get more experience (both clinical and life) and it looks like I will be reapplying as well. I dont think Im going to retake the MCAT for the sole reason of not wanting to be a late applicant again. Im hoping an early application will make all the difference. If you dont think you will go up that much, I would advise you to not retake.
  46. Jcrown

    Jcrown Member

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    Thanks for the input. One thing Boobah16, I think we can still apply in June with our current MCAT scores and just send the results of our new retake scores (should we choose to retake) when we get them in October. Is this not right? I don't know...I'm kind of leaning toward not retaking, and doing some post-bach work this fall (though this will not show up on my AMCAS). Anyways, best of luck!

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