roseglass6370

Are we there yet?
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 24, 2008
610
13
101
Status
Other Health Professions Student
...should I be concerned?!

Last year I transferred from a state university to a small liberal arts college because of the opportunity for free tuition. I recently met with my new pre-med advisor here. During our discussion I was told a couple of things that concerned me.

We talked for a bit about the MCAT and she told me that a 30 was "a very good score" on it and that she rarely sees people from this school score in the double digits on all three sections. I mentioned that most of the schools in the MSAR had an average score in the low thirties and her response was, "Well, they don't want to advertise that they take lower scores!!" :confused: Umm...

Basically she said that the highest score she has ever seen someone from our school get is a 33. This definitely has me shaken up a bit. I would GLADLY take a 33 but the fact that most people from our college don't hit the 30 mark has me wondering if I'm going to get the preparation I need for the MCAT here. She did mention that my high school stats (especially my ACT score) was high for this school...but that doesn't mean much in means of how well this college will prepare me.

What are you thoughts?
 

brooklynblunder

ACFAS Member
Aug 3, 2009
12,563
0
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
i have tutored like 200+ students in the last 2 years (in a northeast ivy league area) in the MCAT and probably only a couple of them broke 30. 31s and 32s at that, which is a respectable score. probably ma fault
 

filhodeinferno

10+ Year Member
Mar 22, 2009
377
185
281
Status
Resident [Any Field]
To be honest, MCAT score has little to do with the school you're attending, and a lot to do with your own intelligence and work ethic.
 

xanthomondo

nom nom nom
Removed
10+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2006
15,650
20
251
the island of Doctor Moreau
Status
Resident [Any Field]
...should I be concerned?!

Last year I transferred from a state university to a small liberal arts college because of the opportunity for free tuition. I recently met with my new pre-med advisor here. During our discussion I was told a couple of things that concerned me.

We talked for a bit about the MCAT and she told me that a 30 was "a very good score" on it and that she rarely sees people from this school score in the double digits on all three sections. I mentioned that most of the schools in the MSAR had an average score in the low thirties and her response was, "Well, they don't want to advertise that they take lower scores!!" :confused: Umm...

Basically she said that the highest score she has ever seen someone from our school get is a 33. This definitely has me shaken up a bit. I would GLADLY take a 33 but the fact that most people from our college don't hit the 30 mark has me wondering if I'm going to get the preparation I need for the MCAT here. She did mention that my high school stats (especially my ACT score) was high for this school...but that doesn't mean much in means of how well this college will prepare me.

What are you thoughts?
Your school doesn't have that much of an influence on your MCAT score - it's going to be determined by how well YOU learn the material.

Don't just shoot for A's in your courses, shoot to learn/understand the concepts.

A 33 is a good score, though. If it was lower I still wouldn't be concerned - it just means they haven't had very strong students come in before. Their lack of success does not = your lack of success. The opposite is also true, previous success does not = your success.

Also, don't forget that there's a first time for everything! ;)
 

roseglass6370

Are we there yet?
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 24, 2008
610
13
101
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Thanks for the encouragement! Maybe I've been spending too much time on SDN looking at all the outrageous scores on here! ;) But the MSAR doesn't lie.

Just in need of a little reassurance, I guess...
 

BlueElmo

10+ Year Member
Sep 7, 2006
14,411
23
251
Status
Medical Student
It all depends on you. If you study and prepare, I don't think the school you go to will matter that much in how you do on the MCAT.
 

austinap

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2006
1,028
3
0
CA
Status
I was told similar things by my advisor, and it really doesn't matter. As was pointed out, your school has little impact on your score. The 'highest score a given school has seen' depends on a lot of things - how many students they have coming through, what sort of people the school generally attracts, etc. My undergrad had relatively few science students (~20 chem/yr, ~50 biol/yr, ~5-10 physics/yr), and in general did not attract a large number of driven, smart students. Thus, they often didn't see that great of scores.
 

premed67783

7+ Year Member
Apr 7, 2010
358
2
141
Status
Medical Student
Your school has little to do with your MCAT score. Just make sure you study hard on your own and work hard in all your courses. I recommend getting some MCAT prep books. I used Princeton Review, and they were great. All the necessary information for every section was in there.

Shoot to break the 33 mark, bring it back to your advisor, and ask for a letter of recommendation. Imagine a letter that said "This student scored higher than any student I have ever mentored!"
 

ILikeDrugs

pre-attending
10+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2008
1,793
7
0
L.A.
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Why don't you just download the subject/topic guide for all three sections from AMCAS. You can just bring it to your professor and ask if they'll be covering the sections. However, someone already said it, where you go to school doesn't matter. I've see MDapps profiles that had high GPAs from top schools and low 30s MCAT scores. What you put into it is what really matters. Besides, the concepts are so easy that you can see it to yourself.
 

roseglass6370

Are we there yet?
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 24, 2008
610
13
101
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Your school has little to do with your MCAT score. Just make sure you study hard on your own and work hard in all your courses. I recommend getting some MCAT prep books. I used Princeton Review, and they were great. All the necessary information for every section was in there.

Shoot to break the 33 mark, bring it back to your advisor, and ask for a letter of recommendation. Imagine a letter that said "This student scored higher than any student I have ever mentored!"
Oh my gosh...I am SO doing this!!

Haha, brilliant.

(If I break the mark...lol.)
 

mmmcdowe

Duke of minimal vowels
Staff member
Administrator
Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2008
9,735
1,506
481
Status
Resident [Any Field]
...should I be concerned?!

Last year I transferred from a state university to a small liberal arts college because of the opportunity for free tuition. I recently met with my new pre-med advisor here. During our discussion I was told a couple of things that concerned me.

We talked for a bit about the MCAT and she told me that a 30 was "a very good score" on it and that she rarely sees people from this school score in the double digits on all three sections. I mentioned that most of the schools in the MSAR had an average score in the low thirties and her response was, "Well, they don't want to advertise that they take lower scores!!" :confused: Umm...

Basically she said that the highest score she has ever seen someone from our school get is a 33. This definitely has me shaken up a bit. I would GLADLY take a 33 but the fact that most people from our college don't hit the 30 mark has me wondering if I'm going to get the preparation I need for the MCAT here. She did mention that my high school stats (especially my ACT score) was high for this school...but that doesn't mean much in means of how well this college will prepare me.

What are you thoughts?
The average score of my under grad was over ten points below what I scored. Your score is yours, not your school. Frankly, the kids who are scoring over a 33 probably don't come by the advising office that often :D. My adviser was only vaguely aware of my existence. I met him once as a freshman, once as a junior, and once for a mock interview and to get some signatures I needed during the application cylce. He never saw my application, my MCAT, or where I ended up.
 
Last edited:

mmmcdowe

Duke of minimal vowels
Staff member
Administrator
Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2008
9,735
1,506
481
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Thanks for the encouragement! Maybe I've been spending too much time on SDN looking at all the outrageous scores on here! ;) But the MSAR doesn't lie.

Just in need of a little reassurance, I guess...
The MSAR doesn't lie but its data is easily misinterpreted. For example, most schools have a much lower median/average MCAT than the one displayed, because that includes ALL students. So if 10 schools accept a guy with a 44T MCAT, everyone of them uses his data even though only one of them gets him.
 

orthomyxo

SDN Bronze Donor
Bronze Donor
7+ Year Member
Aug 18, 2009
2,933
28
161
Status
Pre-Medical
Your school has little to do with your MCAT score. Just make sure you study hard on your own and work hard in all your courses. I recommend getting some MCAT prep books. I used Princeton Review, and they were great. All the necessary information for every section was in there.

Shoot to break the 33 mark, bring it back to your advisor, and ask for a letter of recommendation. Imagine a letter that said "This student scored higher than any student I have ever mentored!"
That would be fricken awesome.
 

brooklynblunder

ACFAS Member
Aug 3, 2009
12,563
0
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
my advisor told every pre-med that he never seen anyone break 40. but there's atleast 4-10 people every year from my school that do

these people only see advising in february before they apply for pre-app interview and committee rec and then take the mcat in the summer so there wouldnt really be a chance for the school to take detailed notes on people's mcat scores
 

RogueUnicorn

rawr.
7+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2009
9,746
1,595
181
Status
Resident [Any Field]
10 people break 40 from your school every year? damn that's a high #, considering a 40 is 99.8th percentile.
 

girlofgrace7

10+ Year Member
Aug 8, 2007
310
119
281
California
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
I also attend a small liberal arts school where only maybe 3 students apply to medical school a year. If I looked at the average MCAT score when looking at this university, I probably would have been in your shoes since I know of very few to get a 30+ over the past 4 years. Most students I know have gotten 25-29 on their MCATs and had little success applying to medical school. This year, 2/5 of our seniors/alumni that applied have been successful thus far in the cycle (at least to my knowledge... 2/5 are on their second or third application cycle). The two of us that were accepted got a 30 and a 36 (I'm pretty sure the 36 is the highest my university has ever seen), and we received nearly identical grades in the exact same courses. As people said above, MCAT scores deal much more with your work ethic and your science background (taking upper division courses particularly) than they do with what you learned in class.
I wouldn't worry about the MCAT scores of past students. However, I also would not trust that advisor for advice on the application process considering that she doesn't realize that the MSAR shows the range of scores accepted (including the minimum score)....
 

Drexon

10+ Year Member
Apr 26, 2007
138
3
241
Southern California
Status
Medical Student
i have tutored like 200+ students in the last 2 years (in a northeast ivy league area) in the MCAT and probably only a couple of them broke 30. 31s and 32s at that, which is a respectable score. probably ma fault
:rofl:

@ OP don't worry just do the best you can. no one can fault you for that.
Please note that 33 is pretty high as it stands. 33 is like 85-98% percentile which is pretty impressive in my book. Plus coming from a small liberal arts school, there probably isn't a big enough sample size of students for you to determine that school = mcat score.
1. it doesn't correlate
2. even if it does correlate, the same size of your school is way too small. Any outliers can greatly affect this correlation... if one existed =)

best of luck in your endeavors
 

mvenus929

10+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2006
6,795
1,583
281
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
To be honest, MCAT score has little to do with the school you're attending, and a lot to do with your own intelligence and work ethic.
This.

In high school, I took AP US History. There were two classes of it at my school, one for IB sophomores, and one for juniors, and the same teacher taught both of them. She was an amazing teacher, definitely one of my favorite from my pre-college years (and sadly, she's not teaching anymore, she's an assistant principal somewhere now :(). Of the 55 or so students who took the class the year I did, 5 of them passed (with a score of 3 or better). Two of those had a score of 4, the other three were 3s.

Several things could explain this... the quality of the teacher, the amount of time we spent in class, the amount of time we spent preparing, etc. But I think that the five people that did pass managed to do so because they actually put in some effort outside of class to understand the material (after all, we didn't, comparably, have that much time in class). I transferred to another school, and they had a similar structure for AP US... and most of the students that took the exam passed it, in part because they simply had more time in class (they were on a block schedule, so they had an hour and a half of instruction every day for a year, vs 50 minutes at the other school), so they didn't have to put in as much time out of class in order to understand the material.
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
22,253
29,081
281
Status
Academic Administration
I find this info useful in understanding MCAT scores. Keep in mind that there are more than twice as many people taking the MCAT are there are seats in all the med schools in all the land. That is to say, if your test score is on the left hand of the curve you are not in a good place.

A score of 26 is about the place where the plot of MCAT against probability of graduating med school in 4 years flattens out.
 
Dec 9, 2009
119
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
:rofl:

@ OP don't worry just do the best you can. no one can fault you for that.
Please note that 33 is pretty high as it stands. 33 is like 85-98% percentile which is pretty impressive in my book. Plus coming from a small liberal arts school, there probably isn't a big enough sample size of students for you to determine that school = mcat score.
1. it doesn't correlate
2. even if it does correlate, the same size of your school is way too small. Any outliers can greatly affect this correlation... if one existed =)

best of luck in your endeavors
33 isn't 85-98% percentile. Its more like 89-91%. It's a good score but it isn't going to blow anyones mind. In my opinion MCAT scores below 30 hurt your app. 30-33 are neutral. 34+ are good for your app.
 

The Poet Sings

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 20, 2009
1,030
4
91
Far from home :-)
Status
Medical Student
The MSAR doesn't lie but its data is easily misinterpreted. For example, most schools have a much lower median/average MCAT than the one displayed, because that includes ALL students. So if 10 schools accept a guy with a 44T MCAT, everyone of them uses his data even though only one of them gets him.
really? i thought they only included data of those who matriculate! i guess i have to crack that book open and take a closer look...
 

Nevadanteater

biochemical engine
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 18, 2006
306
2
0
Status
Pre-Medical
To be honest, MCAT score has little to do with the school you're attending, and a lot to do with your own intelligence and work ethic.
+1 for emphasis.

my score had very little to do with my undergrad (minus my not having to study for the chemistry). When i took the MCAT i had taken very little bio and ended up teaching myself nearly all of it.

small liberal arts college = small sample size and (probably) less crazy pre-med hardcore psychos.
 

justinbaily

5+ Year Member
Dec 6, 2009
307
5
91
Status
Medical Student
To be honest, MCAT score has little to do with the school you're attending, and a lot to do with your own intelligence and work ethic.
This. You personally have nothing to worry about. If you were going to make a 36 at Yale, then you'll make a 36 wherever you are. Conversely, if you were going to make a 26, then you'll probably still end up with that. Although it makes intuitive sense that your undergraduate education should play a causative role in your MCAT score, it just doesn't; it's all on you.

I will say that the average MCAT of a school tends to reflect the overall quality of its students in my opinion, so be aware that this information is still not a great sign.

To the MCAT tutor from the Northeast, I would guess that the type of student who is desperate enough to hire an MCAT tutor is not one who is likely to score 34+. The MCAT is something that requires a great deal of time and personal effort. I don't see a tutor doing much more than smoothing out some confusion regarding a tricky concept or passing on some helpful strategies. A few weeks of constant tutoring is probably good for a point or two.
 

slowbutsteady

slowbutsteady
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 30, 2008
1,141
3
91
Status
Resident [Any Field]
33 isn't 85-98% percentile. Its more like 89-91%. It's a good score but it isn't going to blow anyones mind. In my opinion MCAT scores below 30 hurt your app. 30-33 are neutral. 34+ are good for your app.
And your "opinion" is relevant to anything in the world that exists outside your own mind because . . .?
 
Last edited:

alibai3ah

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 24, 2008
1,422
1
91
Status
Pre-Medical
...should I be concerned?!

Last year I transferred from a state university to a small liberal arts college because of the opportunity for free tuition. I recently met with my new pre-med advisor here. During our discussion I was told a couple of things that concerned me.

We talked for a bit about the MCAT and she told me that a 30 was "a very good score" on it and that she rarely sees people from this school score in the double digits on all three sections. I mentioned that most of the schools in the MSAR had an average score in the low thirties and her response was, "Well, they don't want to advertise that they take lower scores!!" :confused: Umm...

Basically she said that the highest score she has ever seen someone from our school get is a 33. This definitely has me shaken up a bit. I would GLADLY take a 33 but the fact that most people from our college don't hit the 30 mark has me wondering if I'm going to get the preparation I need for the MCAT here. She did mention that my high school stats (especially my ACT score) was high for this school...but that doesn't mean much in means of how well this college will prepare me.

What are you thoughts?
First of all, 30 IS a good score. It's this website that makes you think otherwise. 30 is about 80th percentile = meaning you beat 80 percent of those who took the test. 33 is 90th percentile = meaning you beat 90 percent of those who took the test.

Honestly, just get the highest score you can possible. And work on other aspects of your application.
28-29= meh area
30-32 = decent area
33-34 = very very good
35+ = spectacular
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
22,253
29,081
281
Status
Academic Administration
Do keep in mind that more than half who take the exam do not get into any med school. If you are on the left side of the curve you are not in a good place.
 

premed67783

7+ Year Member
Apr 7, 2010
358
2
141
Status
Medical Student
I want to point out one more thing. . . Though the school you attend does not make a huge difference in your MCATS, the courses you take and your performance in them does. I studied engineering as an undergrad, so as a result, I had no trouble at all for the physics section (i barely studied for it). My coursework was lighter on the biology/physiology material though, so I had to study harder for those. In the end, it all comes down to how hard you work and apply yourself.
 

littlealex

little tiny alex
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2007
2,101
7
141
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I would go to a more competitive school. It makes you strong.
 

45408

aw buddy
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2004
16,976
45
141
Status
Resident [Any Field]
33 isn't 85-98% percentile. Its more like 89-91%. It's a good score but it isn't going to blow anyones mind. In my opinion MCAT scores below 30 hurt your app. 30-33 are neutral. 34+ are good for your app.
There are a lot more schools that consider a 33 to be more than a "neutral" score than there are that would consider it a neutral score. A 33 is a damn good score.
 

roseglass6370

Are we there yet?
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 24, 2008
610
13
101
Status
Other Health Professions Student
I would go to a more competitive school. It makes you strong.
Thanks for that insight, unfortunately that's not an option for me... Did you even read the post? :rolleyes:

Thanks for all the reassurance everyone! I really appreciate it a great deal!
 

mooshika

Removed
Jan 13, 2010
312
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
is found in MCAT prep materials, often different in that it omits/adds topics covered in college courses in those subjects.

The more students that take the MCAT from a given school, the higher the probability of someone scoring over a 32 becomes.

It is not easy to score over 30. Look at the stats. Only 15% of the people who take the MCAT score 32 or better. And who takes the MCAT? Pre-med students and... crazy people.

moo.