11 VR/15 PS/12 BS=38 is...

  • the same as 11 VR/13 PS/12 BS=36

    Votes: 5 17.2%
  • NOT the same as 11 VR/13 PS/12 BS=36

    Votes: 24 82.8%

  • Total voters
    29

tlaloc87

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Obviously there's no denying that a 38 on the MCAT is a great score, but I'm sort of wondering if there are any times when a 38 is really just considered the same as a 36.

For example, does a 15 really mean a whole lot more than a 13 when comparing a breakdown of 11 VR/15 PS/12 BS=38 vs. 11 VR/13 PS/12 BS=36? Both are still >96th percentile overall and close to 98th+ percentile for physical sciences, so I'm just thinking that some people (i.e. adcoms) may not see a huge difference between the scores. What do y'all think?
 

MegaSpectacular

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The only possible time someone with balanced 36 might beat out a 38 is if the 38 is unbalanced (15-8-15).
SN2 is the official expert on the MCAT.

Also agreed with his statement. The 38 wins most of the time.
 

Geekchick921

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When it is ajar?
 

Drexon

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well i consider them the "same"
a 36 vs a 38 with the scores you've posted ( the difference between them is a 15 vs 13 PS) is almost negligible in my opinion. The difference between getting 13 vs a 15 on the real AAMC test is like 2-3 questions . But none the less it's a big deal because it's a big 2 point difference.
 
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Don't all schools have averages for each section? Say a school has 11's for each section, adding up to 33. An applicant receiving 35 with subcores of 10 PS, 10 BS, 15 VR is technically below the average in two categories. Wouldn't a 33 with balanced subscores be better in this case then?
 

tlaloc87

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Don't all schools have averages for each section? Say a school has 11's for each section, adding up to 33. An applicant receiving 35 with subcores of 10 PS, 10 BS, 15 VR is technically below the average in two categories. Wouldn't a 33 with balanced subscores be better in this case then?
No doubt balanced is always better. My question is more of if the school averages 11 in each section and there are two applicants, one with a 15 in PS and another with a 13, are their scores seen as basically the same? That's what I was asking.
 
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I'd say so. I am not so sure with subscores, but once you have overall a 35+, it doesn't really matter whether it is a 36 or 40. Correct me if I am wrong.
 
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I think it probably comes down to opinion. Probably 36-38 is the same level, while 39+ is another level above that where scores are the same.
 

tlaloc87

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I think it probably comes down to opinion. Probably 36-38 is the same level, while 39+ is another level above that where scores are the same.
Why do you say that? The difference between 12 and 14 in any given section is only a couple of questions. So even a 36 (all 12s) could really just be three wrong answers--one in each section--away from a 39 (all 13s).
 
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I go more by the ranges because to drop from a 15 to 14 or 14 to 13 or 13 to 12 is usually one or two questions at most. To drop from 12 to 11 is usually usually 3 or more questions. Not only that but from what I've seen, people who score that high usually score consistently 13-15 on the sciences, a lot of people have trouble getting over the 12 hump and I do think there is a difference, for the sciences at least. Maybe it's just me but it just seems like to get above 12 you need more test taking skills. It's rare to see someone in the 12-13 range. 13-15 is common and 11-12 is common but 12-13 or 12-14 in the sciences doesn't happen very often because I think there is a difference between the two "levels". I don't know if anyone agrees with me but that's just what it seems like to me.
 

RogueUnicorn

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going from a 14-->12 is often more than a couple of questions. more importantly, these are the questions that are supposed separate out the elite from the good. it's not like all the questions of a given section are of the same difficulty.
 

sdsoccer

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Don't all schools have averages for each section? Say a school has 11's for each section, adding up to 33. An applicant receiving 35 with subcores of 10 PS, 10 BS, 15 VR is technically below the average in two categories. Wouldn't a 33 with balanced subscores be better in this case then?
I dont think that is very valid and i would say the 35 is still better. why? because 35>33. An average is just a statistic. you are going to have people above and below that score but you do not know how many people and that can give a very skewed proportion. I think that is why it is more important in the case for MCAT matriculants to look at the median in which case a score of 11 at the median means there just as many people above 11 as there were below.

Also, the range from 11-15 is quite significant where as the difference between 10 and 11 is like what? usually 1 question? 10 or 11, it can go either way on any given test day. you do not simply go from 11 to 15 on any given test day.
 

sdsoccer

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I'd say so. I am not so sure with subscores, but once you have overall a 35+, it doesn't really matter whether it is a 36 or 40. Correct me if I am wrong.
i think a 40 speaks more than a 35. to be honest. those subtle 1-2 questions are meant to separate the best from the better.
 

wanderer

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You make it seem that once one gets to a 14 or so, there is no consistency between tests and that person can easily come out with a 12 on that section. I assure you that's not the case. A 14 generally indicates mastery of at least one subject and near mastery or mastery of the other one. Such a person is highly unlikely to get a 12 in that section, unless the 14 came due to a fluke. The same does not apply to Verbal, imo.
 

NYR56

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You make it seem that once one gets to a 14 or so, there is no consistency between tests and that person can easily come out with a 12 on that section. I assure you that's not the case. A 14 generally indicates mastery of at least one subject and near mastery or mastery of the other one. Such a person is highly unlikely to get a 12 in that section, unless the 14 came due to a fluke. The same does not apply to Verbal, imo.
This. It's also irrelevant how many questions separate each point. A 15 and a 13 is NOT the same and people scoring 13 on one section and 15 on another will not randomly vary between the two on the sections.

I don't know how people can group 36+ together either. To me that's the same as saying 24-29 is the same, which it obviously isn't.
 

PhilIvey

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Obviously there's no denying that a 38 on the MCAT is a great score, but I'm sort of wondering if there are any times when a 38 is really just considered the same as a 36.

For example, does a 15 really mean a whole lot more than a 13 when comparing a breakdown of 11 VR/15 PS/12 BS=38 vs. 11 VR/13 PS/12 BS=36? Both are still >96th percentile overall and close to 98th+ percentile for physical sciences, so I'm just thinking that some people (i.e. adcoms) may not see a huge difference between the scores. What do y'all think?
Yes. Don't use the AAMC scales. There is a big difference between a 15 and a 12. I'm pretty sure the curve on the real thing is more lenient. I think from old SDN posts a 13 in every section is possible if you're really good. After that, there is a little bit of luck. There are curve breaker questions. On the PS I didn't really notice these, it's a do you know your stuff or not. On the BS, yes there were some tricky discretes. Here your biology mastery comes into play. I wasn't a bio major so that hurt a bit but I disagree with the premise of this.

IMHO, 30-32, 33-36, 37-39, 40-42, and 43-45. 37 is the median at many schools. Please note median and not average. I think most people can hit the 33-35 ish range. However, from my observation 37-39 is another level. Now 40-42 is a little luck but also true mastery. Bleargh, vihsadas, Fenguin, etc, these guys knew their **** down cold. Whereas someone like me who averaged a 39 would need a little luck to get that high.