Feb 16, 2010
50
0
0
Status
I was just wondering how most schools look at applicants with 2 MCAT scores.

Lets say a person got 25 on the first one and 35+ on the second one, do they take the higher score?

1. Which schools take the highest MCAT score?

2. Which schools take the average of the MCAT score?

Thanks.
 

austinap

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2006
1,028
3
0
CA
Status
I was just wondering how most schools look at applicants with 2 MCAT scores.

Lets say a person got 25 on the first one and 35+ on the second one, do they take the higher score?

1. Which schools take the highest MCAT score?

2. Which schools take the average of the MCAT score?

Thanks.

First off, I've never heard of anyone improving their score from a 25 to a 35. Most schools seem to look at the most recent score, some look at the highest, and fewer still will combine the highest score in each section to produce a new composite score. Search for previous threads to find a breakdown of how schools treat multiple scores, as it's been discussed to death on this forum (e.g., search google for "multiple scores site:studentdoctor.net").

The best advice is to make sure you do well the first time. I actually had to take the test twice, but it was because my previous scores had expired. I don't think it hurt me at all, but it may have if my first score wasn't solid. If your first score is significant below 30, I would suggest a) finding out what happened, and b) doing something else for a little while to make the rest of your application stellar. Though people certainly get accepted with scores below 30, it isn't the norm. At the higher end schools, the median scores of accepted students is approaching 35, with a 10 in each section being the "recommended" lower end.
 

GoodmanBrown

is walking down the path.
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2009
1,380
9
151
In the forest
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I was just wondering how most schools look at applicants with 2 MCAT scores.

Lets say a person got 25 on the first one and 35+ on the second one, do they take the higher score?

1. Which schools take the highest MCAT score?

2. Which schools take the average of the MCAT score?

Thanks.
I don't think schools really deal with MCAT scores in the way you're thinking (i.e. kind of like looking at a grade for a single class). The MCAT score is such a singular, important factor that schools will definitely look at both results. Jumping from a 25 -> 35+ would be a definite flag. Either you were incredibly sick (which wouldn't be a big deal) or you were incredibly unprepared (which would be a somewhat big deal) the first time. Or you cheated the second time and somehow got away with it.

In any event, a 10+ point jump in your MCAT would require explanation on your personal statement as it's so rare. As an above poster said, if there aren't large extenuating circumstances, there's almost no way someone would see a 10 point improvement with just chance.
 
Oct 13, 2008
5,310
904
281
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Lets say a person got 25 on the first one and 35+ on the second one, do they take the higher score?
Congrats; unless you're applying DO, you just scored a 30! (as a rule of thumb, see below poster's advice about calling schools you're interested in and asking)

First off, I've never heard of anyone improving their score from a 25 to a 35.
I think there's one at least poster on SDN/MDapps who claims to have made that jump.
I don't think schools really deal with MCAT scores in the way you're thinking (i.e. kind of like looking at a grade for a single class). The MCAT score is such a singular, important factor that schools will definitely look at both results. Jumping from a 25 -> 35+ would be a definite flag. Either you were incredibly sick (which wouldn't be a big deal) or you were incredibly unprepared (which would be a somewhat big deal) the first time. Or you cheated the second time and somehow got away with it.

In any event, a 10+ point jump in your MCAT would require explanation on your personal statement as it's so rare. As an above poster said, if there aren't large extenuating circumstances, there's almost no way someone would see a 10 point improvement with just chance.
Agreed.

It's like the jump between an unprepared practice test and the real thing. Exponential increase in knowledge base and skill.
 
Last edited:

naijaboi

MS0
Nov 20, 2009
287
4
41
Boston, MA
Status
Medical Student
Why would you plan on taking the exam twice? Prepare for it, and take it when you are sure you will get the higher score.
 
Mar 15, 2010
60
0
0
Orlando/Tally, FL
www.facebook.com
Status
Medical Student
I took the MCAT twice. The first time I didn't like my score, but hadn't taken some of the pre-req classes. I took it so early because I wanted to make the deadline for applying that year. The next time I took it, I was happy with my score, but had (of course) taken the remainder of those pre-reqs.

When I made my list of schools I was applying to, I went to each of their websites and looked for the info. If I didn't find it, I just called. I found no such resource that had a list of schools and how they dealt with scores.

I'd say that I wouldn't be afraid to re-take the MCAT, but I would be afraid of lowering my score. It's awful hard to explain why your score lowered! So, if you decide to re-test, make sure you've remedied your past mistakes and have thoroughly prepared yourself for the next time you take it.
 

littlealex

little tiny alex
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2007
2,101
7
141
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Most schools take your most recent one, but a good portion of them average them.
Differs by school; only way to find out is to go down the list of schools.
 

BlueElmo

10+ Year Member
Sep 7, 2006
14,411
23
251
Status
Medical Student
Yeah I heard schools usually look at the most recent ones.
 
Sep 4, 2006
30,616
10,428
281
Inside the tesseract

NoSurprise

UWSMPH
5+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2010
17
1
91
The Bridge
Status
Resident [Any Field]
First off, I've never heard of anyone improving their score from a 25 to a 35. Most schools seem to look at the most recent score, some look at the highest, and fewer still will combine the highest score in each section to produce a new composite score. Search for previous threads to find a breakdown of how schools treat multiple scores, as it's been discussed to death on this forum (e.g., search google for "multiple scores site:studentdoctor.net").

The best advice is to make sure you do well the first time. I actually had to take the test twice, but it was because my previous scores had expired. I don't think it hurt me at all, but it may have if my first score wasn't solid. If your first score is significant below 30, I would suggest a) finding out what happened, and b) doing something else for a little while to make the rest of your application stellar. Though people certainly get accepted with scores below 30, it isn't the norm. At the higher end schools, the median scores of accepted students is approaching 35, with a 10 in each section being the "recommended" lower end.
I went from a 26(7,8,11) to a 36(14,11,11).

I received 4 interview invites from 9 schools...

Do you guys just take your advice from la la land? :sleep:

Just prep for the test like it is the most important test you'll take so far in life... Oh wait, it is.
 

austinap

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2006
1,028
3
0
CA
Status
I went from a 26(7,8,11) to a 36(14,11,11).

I received 4 interview invites from 9 schools...

Do you guys just take your advice from la la land? :sleep:

Just prep for the test like it is the most important test you'll take so far in life... Oh wait, it is.

I'm sure we can find plenty of anecdotal evidence for any change in score... but I'm sure you'll agree with me that it isn't common to jump ten points. If you don't agree, you can go searching through the AAMC data to see average score changes upon retakes. If you're capable of scoring a 36, then you're shooting yourself in the foot if you ever score a 25.
 

theWUbear

EM PGY2
7+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2009
1,825
41
161
Status
Medical Student
I'm sure you'll agree with me that it isn't common to jump ten points.
If all you're attempting to point out is that not a likely outcome to gain ten points, my response to you (with all due respect) is, "no **** Sherlock". But how about the topic at hand? I'd like to discuss the reasoning behind school that do something like average the scores. I had no idea that was the case until recently. It applies to me - I'm one of those silly little jump 10 points anecdotes (well, 25O to 33O here, so 8).
 

theWUbear

EM PGY2
7+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2009
1,825
41
161
Status
Medical Student
Jumping from a 25 -> 35+ would be a definite flag. Either you were incredibly sick (which wouldn't be a big deal) or you were incredibly unprepared (which would be a somewhat big deal) the first time. Or you cheated the second time and somehow got away with it.

In any event, a 10+ point jump in your MCAT would require explanation on your personal statement as it's so rare.
Really? I'm asking this because I'm curious. Do you all think that jumping ten points, (or in my case, 25 to 33) means I will have to dedicate room in my personal statement about it? Does anyone with experience with this believe I will have to defend myself based on a poorer prior MCAT score? MCAT's are so different from the SAT's....I guess the people that told me my high SAT won't correlate were right :rolleyes:
 

GoodmanBrown

is walking down the path.
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2009
1,380
9
151
In the forest
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Really? I'm asking this because I'm curious. Do you all think that jumping ten points, (or in my case, 25 to 33) means I will have to dedicate room in my personal statement about it? Does anyone with experience with this believe I will have to defend myself based on a poorer prior MCAT score? MCAT's are so different from the SAT's....I guess the people that told me my high SAT won't correlate were right :rolleyes:
I'm no admin or anything, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

Jumping 8 points doesn't seem like quite the leap as the OP was talking about. It seemed like he was talking like 11-12 points which means going from a so-so score to something in the upper percentiles.

A 25 -> 33 is someone who scored lower than they hoped, worked hard, and brought it up to a very nice score. So, for you, I'd say no, don't worry about mentioning it.

Again, these are just my thoughts. They will likely be contradicted by multiple posters before you even read these words. ;)
 

austinap

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2006
1,028
3
0
CA
Status
If all you're attempting to point out is that not a likely outcome to gain ten points, my response to you (with all due respect) is, "no **** Sherlock". But how about the topic at hand? I'd like to discuss the reasoning behind school that do something like average the scores. I had no idea that was the case until recently. It applies to me - I'm one of those silly little jump 10 points anecdotes (well, 25O to 33O here, so 8).

Your question was answered above, and has been answered a thousand times before on SDN. As far as the reasoning, who knows? Ask each school why they chose the system they did.

Regardless of official policies, I'm fairly certain that every school will take both scores into account in some way or another, simply because it adds some sort of information about you. My guess is that actual policies (averaging scores, taking high scores, etc) is only strictly applied when selecting candidates for secondaries or interviews. Final decisions likely include all of the information on your application, including multiple test scores.

I had a good score before my retake, but most schools wouldn't accept it because it was several years old. I did get comments in interviews about my score because, statistically, it was unlikely for me to improve from my previous score. Having two high scores adds some confidence that you didn't get a high score by "accident". On the other hand, if you take the test three times, get two low scores, and then one moderately high score, the high score starts to look like an outlier.


So, my suggestion to you: look into how schools say they treat multiple schools before paying the primary application fee. If schools look at the average of your scores don't apply there unless their median accepted scores are fairly low (e.g., 38-32). If they look at the low score, don't apply at all. However, be aware that your multiple scores will likely be taken into account at every school you apply to, just probably not so much during some of the initial screening steps.
 

theWUbear

EM PGY2
7+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2009
1,825
41
161
Status
Medical Student
Your opinion is appreciated, GoodmanBrown. I actually had a meeting with a member of the adcom at my state school since she works with my PI...she asked me if I had taken the mcat multiple times and then asked me why i didn't do well the first time...so I am curious to know if this is something that may come up in interviews nd stuff
 

moonsovermyhamy

10+ Year Member
Sep 3, 2008
37
1
0
MA via NJ
Status
Medical Student
I took it twice and I have received two acceptances so far. My scores were pretty average too. I wouldn't worry about the number of times you take it.
 

austinap

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2006
1,028
3
0
CA
Status
I'm no admin or anything, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

Jumping 8 points doesn't seem like quite the leap as the OP was talking about. It seemed like he was talking like 11-12 points which means going from a so-so score to something in the upper percentiles.

A 25 -> 33 is someone who scored lower than they hoped, worked hard, and brought it up to a very nice score. So, for you, I'd say no, don't worry about mentioning it.

Again, these are just my thoughts. They will likely be contradicted by multiple posters before you even read these words. ;)

Well, I'll add in a vote of agreement. A jump from 25-33 can be explained by lack of preparation or just having a bad day on your first try. You're talking about moving from a score just above the 50th percentile to a score somewhere around the 90th percentile, which is reasonable. Getting scores in the 35+ range puts in you the top ~5%, which becomes more unlikely. Much higher than that, and it becomes downright sketchy.

I don't think you need to explain your score improvement, but be prepared to be asked about it in interviews.
 

startswithb

Future Urologist
7+ Year Member
Jan 31, 2010
1,750
90
171
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Yes, it will come up in interviews, but what's the worst you could say? "I think it demonstrates my unwavering commitment and ability to learn from my mistakes."
 
Oct 13, 2008
5,310
904
281
Status
Resident [Any Field]
And some schools make a new composite based on your highest subscores. This link will tell you which is which: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=566616
Wow this is really interesting. I had always been told that your scores are averaged with each other, but that list implies essentially the exact opposite. No wonder so many matriculants/averages have high scores -- maybe they're not counting the crappy score the person got in the first place?