is it true that asians are expected to get a higher MCAT score?

Sep 4, 2009
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I got what I feel is a decent score (30R) but all of my advisors said that because I am an asian female, I need to score 5-6 points higher to be competitive. Based on the stats provided by my school, this appears to be true. But, whenever I tell someone my score, they say "Oh that's a good score...why are you retaking it?". I want to be competitive for top tier schools so obviously I need a higher score but in general, is it true that asians are required to get a higher score? I'm just curious because this is the first time that I have heard this, and frankly, I'm a little worried about my chances, especially considering that retaking the test usually only results in a 1-2 point increase.

Also, I thought an MCAT score is just to get you past the cutoffs to get your application looked at, and then the rest of your application should wow the adcom into asking you to come for an interview?
 

solo75

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As true as the sky is blue. Should be an interesting thread....

Seriously though, the thought that the mcat just gets you through the initial "cutoff" is not true. Some schools have a formula that they plug your scores into while others look at your whole application before they offer you an interview. After, and sometimes during the interview, schools will for the most part rank their applicants based on the whole application including GPA and mcat.

I think that if you have a relatively strong GPA, EC's, LOR's, and interview skills, you should be competitive at a lot of schools with a 30. It is the range of the average score that accepted students get. A higher score would definitely make you more competitive for top tier schools though.
 

Avoidthetiger

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I think if you are hoping to apply to top tier schools -- your advisor telling you that you will need to retake is not so much because you are asian, but because your MCAT score is on the lower side for top tier schools (36/37 average MCAT scores). Him saying it is because Asians need a higher MCAT score is most likely not correct.

Honestly though, I wouldn't retake a 30 unless you were positive you would do better. A 30 will get you into medical school -- just don't apply only to top tier schools.
 

georgearms

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I got what I feel is a decent score (30R) but all of my advisors said that because I am an asian female, I need to score 5-6 points higher to be competitive. Based on the stats provided by my school, this appears to be true. But, whenever I tell someone my score, they say "Oh that's a good score...why are you retaking it?". I want to be competitive for top tier schools so obviously I need a higher score but in general, is it true that asians are required to get a higher score? I'm just curious because this is the first time that I have heard this, and frankly, I'm a little worried about my chances, especially considering that retaking the test usually only results in a 1-2 point increase.

Also, I thought an MCAT score is just to get you past the cutoffs to get your application looked at, and then the rest of your application should wow the adcom into asking you to come for an interview?
A balanced 30R is a good score! I know several Asian females who got into med school with this score...so in general, no I don't think Asians are expected to get a higher score or that ethnicity "detracts" from a score in any way. If you're looking at more competitive schools, well the MCAT scores across all students tend to be higher, so you might want to think about that. The MCAT's just one part of your app though!
 

torshi

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Adviser is an idiot...You don't tell someone you have to score 5+ more points just because your Asian...wow

30 is average, but usually not competitive for top tier schools.
Also with that MCAT score and solid GPA, great EC's/clinical exposure, great LOR's you would be fine for a lot of M.D/D.O schools.

Apply broadly/early, that's the key
 

NickNaylor

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What IS true is that, statistically, Asians as a group must have a higher GPA/MCAT to get accepted. Five points seems excessive, but in order to get accepted the average Asian does have higher numbers than any other ethnicity. I don't feel like searching for the link, but this data is available in the AAMC matriculation data that's released annually I think.
 

georgearms

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What IS true is that, statistically, Asians as a group must have a higher GPA/MCAT to get accepted. Five points seems excessive, but in order to get accepted the average Asian does have higher numbers than any other ethnicity. I don't feel like searching for the link, but this data is available in the AAMC matriculation data that's released annually I think.
Ooo I didn't know that..
 

eli20

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I don't know how true it is for MCAT, I wouldn't be surprised considering elite undergraduate schools "editing" SAT based on race.
 

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SuperHiro

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Here is the AAMC chart for asian matriculants
https://www.aamc.org/download/157598/data/table25-a-mcatgpa-grid-asian-0810.pdf.pdf


For Black/African American
https://www.aamc.org/download/157594/data/table25-b-mcatgpa-grid-black-0810.pdf.pdf

For White
https://www.aamc.org/download/157958/data/table25-w-mcatgpa-grid-white-0810.pdf.pdf

For others just google "aamc medical school matriculation -ethnicity-"


I didn't try to analyze these charts but just wanted to point out the information for your own use. As for the OP's particular situation, a 30R is NOT competitive for a top tier school. Just given the information from the MSAR, the top tier schools have average MCAT of 32-34+. Also, the rest of your application is incredibly important. If your GPA is subpar, if you have weak extracurriculars, weak LORs, awful essay etc you will not have a good chance at ANY SCHOOL.
 
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gravitywave

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What IS true is that, statistically, Asians as a group must have a higher GPA/MCAT to get accepted. Five points seems excessive, but in order to get accepted the average Asian does have higher numbers than any other ethnicity. I don't feel like searching for the link, but this data is available in the AAMC matriculation data that's released annually I think.
From 2008-2010, 17,264/28,063 (61.5%) of applicants who got a MCAT score of 30-32 were accepted. (source: https://www.aamc.org/download/157450/data/table24-mcatgpagridall2008-10.pdf.pdf)

From 2008-2010, 3887/6,715 (57.9%) of Asian applicants who got an MCAT score of 30-32 were accepted. (source: https://www.aamc.org/download/157598/data/table25-a-mcatgpa-grid-asian-0810.pdf.pdf)
these numbers aren't that far apart. that's not a difference worth worrying about.

30 is pushing it for the highly ranked schools. i'll agree with what others said: it's a fine score, but you're a real long shot for WUSTL. only retake if you can drive your realistic practice exam scores up to 36+
 

SuperHiro

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:eek: I'd like to know what the special circumstances surrounding that applicant it and how they're doing now...
Those types of applicants probably moved on to graduate education prior to medical school. From what I can recall, graduate school grades are not factored into the overall GPA.
 

fahimaz7

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:eek: I'd like to know what the special circumstances surrounding that applicant it and how they're doing now...
Here's how it happens.

Graduated with a BS in 1975 with a 1.5
Worked for 25 years, decided to go back
Took prereq's for medical school with a 3.75-4.0
Took the MCAT

Applied and got accepted.
 
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What about the "2.00-2.19 GPA, 15-17 MCAT" guy? Neither stat seems to even be in acceptable range for an MD applicant.
 

Narmerguy

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The difficulty facing Asians is vastly overstated on this forum, likely because there is a significant number of Asians on this forum and everyone likes to play the victim.

Keep in mind that GPA/MCAT is only a portion (though obviously an important one) of the admissions story. Just as some groups seem to excel in one component like grades (Asians with the highest averages), other groups probably excel in other areas of admissions that are also important to adcom members. For whatever reason people seem to become very fixated and one-dimensional when looking at acceptance rates.
 
OP
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Thanks for all the input everyone!

Just to clarify, my advisors did say that it is because I am an asian female that I need a higher score. We looked up the acceptances of asian females that had stats similar to mine, and they all only received one acceptance! That's why I am really worried. I guess I'm just anxious, thinking that all my hard work and passion will not count for anything because of my MCAT score...Going to a top tier school shouldn't matter but it does to me.

It seems that my conclusion is if I want to go to a big name school, I have got to score higher!
 

solo75

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Thanks for all the input everyone!

Just to clarify, my advisors did say that it is because I am an asian female that I need a higher score. We looked up the acceptances of asian females that had stats similar to mine, and they all only received one acceptance! That's why I am really worried. I guess I'm just anxious, thinking that all my hard work and passion will not count for anything because of my MCAT score...Going to a top tier school shouldn't matter but it does to me.

It seems that my conclusion is if I want to go to a big name school, I have got to score higher!
Just make sure you really will get a higher (by at least 2 points) score. I wouldn't retake it until you are consistently scoring at or above your goal in practice tests. Go post in the MCAT forum, they helped me out over there...
 

MCAT guy

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The difficulty facing Asians is vastly overstated on this forum, likely because there is a significant number of Asians on this forum and everyone likes to play the victim.
:thumbup:

Asians make up 4.5% of the United States (~14 million).

~17,000 of the active 79,000 medical students are Asian, which is 21.5%.
 
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The difficulty facing Asians is vastly overstated on this forum, likely because there is a significant number of Asians on this forum and everyone likes to play the victim.

Keep in mind that GPA/MCAT is only a portion (though obviously an important one) of the admissions story. Just as some groups seem to excel in one component like grades (Asians with the highest averages), other groups probably excel in other areas of admissions that are also important to adcom members. For whatever reason people seem to become very fixated and one-dimensional when looking at acceptance rates.
Culturally, my observation has been that Asian students are greatly influenced by their parents throughout education. Asian parents especially fixate on things like GPA and test scores, although becoming very proficient at a skill (read: violin) is generally also pushed. This cultural standard (which is greatly homogeneous among the group) creates a lot of similar applicants, who may sometimes lack in qualities of other sub groups who don't place as much importance on solely quantitative measures of ability. That's my theory, at least.
 

MCAT guy

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Culturally, my observation has been that Asian students are greatly influenced by their parents throughout education. Asian parents especially fixate on things like GPA and test scores, although becoming very proficient at a skill (read: violin) is generally also pushed. This cultural standard (which is greatly homogeneous among the group) creates a lot of similar applicants, who may sometimes lack in qualities of other sub groups who don't place as much importance on solely quantitative measures of ability. That's my theory, at least.
I agree. The movie Karate Kid reinforced this notion in its entirety.
 

NickNaylor

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From 2008-2010, 17,264/28,063 (61.5%) of applicants who got a MCAT score of 30-32 were accepted. (source: https://www.aamc.org/download/157450/data/table24-mcatgpagridall2008-10.pdf.pdf)

From 2008-2010, 3887/6,715 (57.9%) of Asian applicants who got an MCAT score of 30-32 were accepted. (source: https://www.aamc.org/download/157598/data/table25-a-mcatgpa-grid-asian-0810.pdf.pdf)
I'm surprised at that actually. I thought I remembered the difference being more striking. I guess not.
 

Ignatius M.D.

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If you have a really high GPA (3.8+) you still have a chance for a top tier. If you have a low GPA (3.4ish) you'll need to compensate with a great MCAT (36+). Either way you'll also need shadowing, volunteering, and research never hurts. No matter what, it's unpredictable. There are 4.0/40T students that get rejected top tier, and 3.4/35Q that get in. Just do your best, and if you take it over and get the 2+ points you referred to, that would actually be beneficial. That change from 30 to 32 actually represents a nice jump in percentile. Good luck!
 
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If you have a really high GPA (3.8+) you still have a chance for a top tier. If you have a low GPA (3.4ish) you'll need to compensate with a great MCAT (36+). Either way you'll also need shadowing, volunteering, and research never hurts. No matter what, it's unpredictable. There are 4.0/40T students that get rejected top tier, and 3.4/35Q that get in. Just do your best, and if you take it over and get the 2+ points you referred to, that would actually be beneficial. That change from 30 to 32 actually represents a nice jump in percentile. Good luck!
I read somewhere on the MCAT subforum that a difference of up to +3 could be attributed to test familiarity according to the AAMC? So if you retake and get 33, putting you in the 90th percentile or so now, adcoms can still attribute it to you knowing what to expect. But definitely if you retake and hit 36+ then that's a different story. Keep in mind though that you might drop, so don't rush to retake until you are sure you're well prepared. Good luck!
 
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Maybe the medical field is just becoming to over-populated with Asian people? As in, it is not that they usually do better than the rest, but that there are a lot of Asians in general that do well and get accepted. So in order to "stand out" you need to do better. And when you are Asian, which includes Indian and Chinese, you have quite a hefty amount of competition when you calculate in the population amounts of each groups.
 

wanderer

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The stats above compared asian applicants to all applicants. It would make more sense to compare them to white applicants. Some of the hypotheses posted make sense. Another possibility, a lot of Asians tend to live in a few areas (CA, NYC and a few other big cities), and these locations are generally very competitive.
 

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Culturally, my observation has been that Asian students are greatly influenced by their parents throughout education. Asian parents especially fixate on things like GPA and test scores, although becoming very proficient at a skill (read: violin) is generally also pushed. This cultural standard (which is greatly homogeneous among the group) creates a lot of similar applicants, who may sometimes lack in qualities of other sub groups who don't place as much importance on solely quantitative measures of ability. That's my theory, at least.
There may be some truth to this, although the way it was presented seems slightly inappropriate. In my personal experience, a higher percentage of Asians I've met are newer to this country (i.e. number of generations here) than many of the caucasians. In many Asian countries, acceptance to medical school (or other schools) is much more one-dimensional and based on grades and test scores. This is based on what I've been told from Chinese, Indian, and Japanese doctors. If this mindset is passed down in families this might explain the discrepancy.

I'd much rather believe this than the idea that admissions committees across the country are blatantly racist. For this same reason people with American-trained doctors for parents are better prepared to get through the admissions process than those who will be first generation docs.
 

dragon529

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I'm asian and I got accepted with a "decent" score. But if you want top tier schools, then yes you need 33+.
 
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Regarding the chart, why is it that for gpas that are 3.00 - 3.39, getting a MCAT score of 36 - 38 gives you a better chance of matriculating than the same gpa getting a MCAT score of 39 - 45? Looking at the asian chart, by the way. There's more to it than numbers, I know but....
It could be a variety of things, but most likely because the sample size is so small, the percentage result gets skewed unmeaningfully by the difference of just a few.

Obviously, I should shoot for the highest MCAT score I can, right (gpa ~3.03 - ~3.24)?
Obviously but your GPA may need some help too.

Just a note, my parents want me to marry a successful man and have babies and not be anything close to smart, educated or successful, in case I scare off potential suitors. So not all Asian parents care about grades.
Neither extreme of emphasis is particularly well informed or helpful.

Good luck
 
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Regarding the chart, why is it that for gpas that are 3.00 - 3.39, getting a MCAT score of 36 - 38 gives you a better chance of matriculating than the same gpa getting a MCAT score of 39 - 45? Looking at the asian chart, by the way. There's more to it than numbers, I know but....

Obviously, I should shoot for the highest MCAT score I can, right (gpa ~3.03 - ~3.24)?

Just a note, my parents want me to marry a successful man and have babies and not be anything close to smart, educated or successful, in case I scare off potential suitors. So not all Asian parents care about grades.

"Mom, I got a C- in Diff. Eq..."
"Don't worry! As long as you graduate!"
"..."
thats funny, cuz as a fellow asian male i prefer successful females lol. i want some one whos more competent than me to take care of m.....oh wait....
 
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Regarding the chart, why is it that for gpas that are 3.00 - 3.39, getting a MCAT score of 36 - 38 gives you a better chance of matriculating than the same gpa getting a MCAT score of 39 - 45? Looking at the asian chart, by the way. There's more to it than numbers, I know but....

Obviously, I should shoot for the highest MCAT score I can, right (gpa ~3.03 - ~3.24)?

Just a note, my parents want me to marry a successful man and have babies and not be anything close to smart, educated or successful, in case I scare off potential suitors. So not all Asian parents care about grades.

"Mom, I got a C- in Diff. Eq..."
"Don't worry! As long as you graduate!"
"..."
People who get MCAT scores 40+ are more likely to feel safe and apply to fewer schools or be cocky etc. (again, speculating, but it seems to be true from my exp)
 

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There is an unspoken truth to this rumor. Medical schools try to promote diversity within their medical school. This can be conducted through background diversity (older vs younger matriculants), undergrad majors, or such things as ethnicity. Focusing on the last subject, if a medical school wants for example 8% of their class to be of asian descent. Then those spots are going to have more competition due to the trend of asian MCAT scores generally being higher.
Now this is not as cut and dry because schools consider other factors, but we cannot deny that it is one way to separate the applicant pool.
 

hiyaman

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Culturally, my observation has been that Asian students are greatly influenced by their parents throughout education. Asian parents especially fixate on things like GPA and test scores, although becoming very proficient at a skill (read: violin) is generally also pushed. This cultural standard (which is greatly homogeneous among the group) creates a lot of similar applicants, who may sometimes lack in qualities of other sub groups who don't place as much importance on solely quantitative measures of ability. That's my theory, at least.
Not all asian families are like this. Asians are the same as anyone else. A white person having educated parents tend to go into a white collared jobs instead of blue collared jobs. Same thing applies to asians.



Just a note, my parents want me to marry a successful man and have babies and not be anything close to smart, educated or successful, in case I scare off potential suitors. So not all Asian parents care about grades.

"Mom, I got a C- in Diff. Eq..."
"Don't worry! As long as you graduate!"
"..."
lol, so your parents are already pushing you to get married?
 

lollybo

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Yes, it is harder to gain acceptance as an Asian applicant, the same way it is more difficult to get into medical school as any minority. You have to deal with issues like language barriers, unfamiliarity with the system, racism, etc that disproportionately affect minorities and immigrants. Thankfully, Affirmative Action serves to help alleviate these inequalities for many groups. Unfortunately, Affirmative Action is not usually applied for Asian applicants.

The reason Asian applicants in the US tend to have strong grades and MCAT scores is due to selection bias. Asians are not naturally better at violin, or test taking, or using chopsticks than everybody else. It's just that the Asians who can come to America are usually highly educated in the first place, and they pass those values down to their kids. Speaking from personal experience, it is VERY hard to immigrate to America from Asia unless you are from the upper echelons from society.
 

iniquus

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Yes, it is harder to gain acceptance as an Asian applicant, the same way it is more difficult to get into medical school as any minority. You have to deal with issues like language barriers, unfamiliarity with the system, racism, etc that disproportionately affect minorities and immigrants. Thankfully, Affirmative Action serves to help alleviate these inequalities for many groups. Unfortunately, Affirmative Action is not usually applied for Asian applicants.

The reason Asian applicants in the US tend to have strong grades and MCAT scores is due to selection bias. Asians are not naturally better at violin, or test taking, or using chopsticks than everybody else. It's just that the Asians who can come to America are usually highly educated in the first place, and they pass those values down to their kids. Speaking from personal experience, it is VERY hard to immigrate to America from Asia unless you are from the upper echelons from society.
I disagree with this. I know you weren't make a blanket statement, but from personal experience, I am the son of Vietnam War refugees. My parents were not scholars, more village folk than anything else. Now imagine having to go through the trauma of the Vietnam War and then having to come to a new land without knowing the language or having any connections. Culturally, I think the work ethic is more important and the only reason I am in college, let alone applying for medical school, is being instilled with that work ethic. I don't believe higher education necessarily translates into having a strong work ethic. Even if my parents didn't pursue higher education (definitely not to say they couldn't), they more than made up for it in work ethic.
 

MCAT guy

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Funny how people respond to generalities with anecdotal single events, as if those events dispute the generality.
 
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Funny how people respond to generalities with anecdotal single events, as if those events dispute the generality.
no one knows that that is, that is why they judge base on the few things they have seen about them.
 

MCAT guy

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no one knows that that is, that is why they judge base on the few things they have seen about them.
Hmmm. Sort of.

Like the stats above show, Asians represent 4.5% of the population, yet a staggering 21% of medical students. This supports the idea that Asians are generally more likely to become medical students than say Native Americans or Hispanics (who represent less than their population warrants).
 
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these threads are always the same.

blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.

Life is unfair and sucks. Deal with it.
 

MCAT guy

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these threads are always the same.

blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.

Life is unfair and sucks. Deal with it.
lol. Agreed somewhat.

Life is unfair and awesome. Deal with it.
Fixed.