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are mcat scores going up?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ejay286, May 10, 2008.

  1. ejay286

    ejay286 Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 10, 2005
    is it just me or do you see way more ppl making 30+ when it seemed like a few years ago a that kind of score was considered among the elite. maybe sdn is skewing my perception cause everyone on here seems to at least have made a ''30.''
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  3. mdgator

    mdgator 2+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2008
    33 is approximately a 90th percentile score. 90% of the people who take the test make lower, thus probably 90% of the people you talk to about their experiences with the test probably scored lower. However, SDN does two things:
    1. It selects for people with really high numbers. They'll be the ones giving advice and flaunting their stats...not the guys with 27s.
    2. It encompasses a much wider group of students (nationwide/worldwide) than the group of pre-meds likely to be in your circle (the ones at your university and maybe a couple of neighboring universities.

    So yeah, SDN makes it seem like everyone with a prayer of getting in scores in at least the low to mid thirties. However, many people will matriculate with lower scores. (However the process seems to be getting more and more competitive.) Also, although the percentages of people making certain scores probably remain relatively constant (since it's a curved test), there have been record numbers of applicants in recent years, which will translate into more high scores.
  4. wally47

    wally47 I drink your milkshake 2+ Year Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    you aren't being exposed to a proper sample if you are just looking at ppl on sdn. If you look at the percentages for each section they haven't changed. I never took stats but I think that means that the same percentage of people who got higher than an 11 in verbal is still about 5-10% of all the people that took the exam. Since more people are taking the MCAT than in previous years then you will have more higher scores but the same percentage of the total will have these "higher scores".
  5. dd128

    dd128 7+ Year Member

    May 30, 2007
    Have to agree with gator, SDN does curve your world view. In real life I don't know a whole lot of people who got well above 30, and still most people got in somewhere. Besides, it's a curved test so there aren't likely to be more of any score, unless a lot more people than usual start taking the test which is possible. Now, matriculating averages may be going up, but that fluctuates quite frequently. If you look at the long term trends they'll go up for a while only to fall again. I'd imagine over the next decade or so as schools try to increase class size, competitiveness, and possibly stats, would even out or maybe go down a tad. Unless a lot of people decide they really want to start going to med school.
  6. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist Rocket Scientist Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    While I am sure that SDN (and anywhere else that someone would self-report a score) does represent a significant sample bias, it is possible that the number of people taking the test has gone up. (I haven't seen any statistics so this is purely hypothetical) But if you have more people taking a curved test then there will be more people in that 90th percentile and you will have a greater number of scores of 30+, just as there would be an equivalent increase in the scores of 18 and below.
  7. TexPre-Med

    TexPre-Med Banned Banned 10+ Year Member

    Aug 5, 2003
    This is correct. The number of applicants and thus MCAT test-takers are on the rise. Getting into med school is becoming more and more selective.
  8. Tutmos

    Tutmos MS0 2+ Year Member

    Apr 10, 2008
    I think the key things have been mentioned here already but not put together.

    1. This is the internet.
    2. These scores are self-reported.
    3. People are less than honest in social settings about values that can't be verified, in particular when the measure is somehow reflective of their social standing within that group. A perfect example is an auto racing forum, suddenly every car on the forum is 40% faster with double the horsepower than it has in reality.

    I'd be willing to bet that between 1/4 to 1/2 of the scores on SDN are inflated, some dramatically. It's instant credibility at the stroke of a key. On the other hand I'm sure the median score of matriculants is also increasing due to the increased volume of applicants without number of med schools rising at a similar level. While that may mean an increase in the scores for those in the accepted category it shouldn't change the percentage of scores of the unwashed pre-meds.
  9. nevercold

    nevercold 2+ Year Member

    Oct 19, 2007
    Economy down

    Unemployment up

    Enrollment in educational/vocational tracks up

    Number of applicants up

    Average stats of applicants static

    Number of medical school spots static

    Average stats of matriculants up
  10. SageFrancis

    SageFrancis 2+ Year Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    I agree, this is definitely going on. But I think the OP, like the rest of us, is just spending too much time on SDN, where it seems like everyone has a 35+. Many people I've talked to consider anything above 30 a great score. I also have a group of friends who are always on SDN. They just took the MCAT and all are expecting/hoping for a 35.
  11. pakbabydoll

    pakbabydoll Average student 7+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    :thumbup: it seems like everyone I meet wants to be a physician :rolleyes:
  12. 167649


    Sep 17, 2007

    Actually, this sums up the situation quite accurately. When the economy is in a recessive state, applications (and thus competitiveness) to graduate and professional schools increase. When the economy goes back up, it drops off. The relationship isn't a coincidence; when the economy is in good shape more college graduates can land a job straight out. But when it is bad professions like medicine offer a more stable future. This is why applications dropped off in the mid 90's, because our economy was kickin then, and why previously it had peaked in the late 80's/early 90's, because it was slow then.

    Also, don't be forgetting about the recent changes made to the MCAT. Now you can take the test much more frequently. I would bet this has a lot to do with more people applying as well.

    Put it all together and competitiveness goes up. It is true that admissions offices recieved a much greater number of applications this year than in years prior, and the average MCAT for matriculants has been on the rise, now at about 31-32 for the allo class of 2011, and will probably go up.
  13. darkraven

    darkraven 2+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Technically, if you've noticed an increase in sdn member % having a higher mcat over the last years, then selection bias and increased applicants doesn't explain the trend. Although, maybe a vicious cycle type thing is happening where, applicants are seeing an increase in the # of ppl with 35's posting (even if percentage doesn't change) which then makes ppl with 30 feel bad and not report their score, which further drives more ppl with 30-scores to not report because of inflated averages.
    also, it could be due to the mcat offered more times a year, so ppl are more likely to retake the mcat and even though they take it twice, only report their better one on sdn.
  14. xanthomondo

    xanthomondo nom nom nom Banned Physician 10+ Year Member

    Does anyone think that this will eventually inflate medical schools' average stats? If you don't get your 30 or whatever you can just retake it until you get a score you're pleased with.

    Before it basically was that you had two bites at the apple unless you reapplied and got another year. I liked it the this way - more pressure
  15. jult24er

    jult24er 2+ Year Member

    Jul 25, 2007
  16. werd

    werd Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2004
    the mcats are standardized to a particular mean score and a particular distribution of scores. for instance, a "9" in a given section corresponds to a particular range of achievement relative to others taking the test (ie 61st-69th percentile). therefore mcat scores do not "go up" over time, like usmle scores can. even if test takers get smarter, the average will remain around 24, x fraction of folks will have 30+, y fraction of folks will have a 34, etc... because applicants' achievement is standardized to this distribution of scores rather than to an applicant's absolute level of achievement.
  17. pride4jc727

    pride4jc727 5+ Year Member

    Aug 23, 2007
    Statistically speaking, if this were the case, it would be a Flynn effect in that the population gets better in taking the test over time. That would mean AAMC would have to revise the test a bit in order to bring back the mean score back to the "true" average. Honestly, though, you have to consider practice effects since everybody taking the test is taking some form of test prep in order to boost their performance.
  18. jult24er

    jult24er 2+ Year Member

    Jul 25, 2007
    But if the number of times people take the test goes up, so can the % of people who score above a 30.
  19. Frank Hardy

    Frank Hardy Member 5+ Year Member

    Jun 4, 2006
    Also since there are more tests now the "higher scorers" are not competing all competing with each other at once so there are more "top scorers" now?? Not sure if this makes sense.
  20. braintrust

    braintrust Banned Banned

    May 17, 2007
    if anything the ability to take the MCAT multiple times may at least dispell the anxiety that some may experience with the test that effects their performance. Plus disatisfied test-takers could take the test a couple of times to hoepfully get lucky with the types of questions in each section to improve their scores as well. I think that since those satisfied with their grade will dropp out with a great score, others will stick around to try to improve heir scores by getting lucky and getting familiar to the actual test.
  21. locus000

    locus000 For my Viet peeps! 5+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    New Orleans
    Most of my friends get 20s so it not like the mcat scores are going through the roof...

    SDN is full of smart people makes the MCAT seem easy :D. More test days will lead to higher scores Eventually but its not here yet

    5 years from now the magic number will be 35

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