Average MCAT Score - Sliced & Diced Between Applicants vs Matriculants

Does the average MCAT score matter the most to you as a premed student? If you're like most students looking to get into medical school you're numbers bound.

Averages are good but they’ll keep you mediocre.

I would suggest you focus on a bit more than the mean if I’m going to use a math term.

But I won’t leave you in suspense about the average MCAT score. Instead, I’m going to share two numbers that will get you to two very different places.

The average total MCAT score of everyone who applies to medical school is 501.8. The key phrase, “everyone who applies”.

This makes no reference to whether they got into medical school or not.

When you look at the numbers for those who apply and matriculate (get into) medical school they have an average MCAT score of 508.7.

That’s a difference of 6.9 points on your total MCAT score.

Crazy right?

Let’s put these numbers into perspective before getting too far ahead.

Matriculant MCAT score and GPA

MCAT Scoring Basics

Your total MCAT score can range anywhere from a low of 472 to a high of 528.

  • There are four individual sections to the MCAT:
  • Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical & Physical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Psychological, Social, & Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

These individual MCAT sections have a score range from 118 to 132.

Your total MCAT score is calculated by adding each of your four sectional scores on the MCAT.

To be a competitive applicant for medical school ideally you want your average MCAT score on each of these sections to be above 125 which is the midpoint.

Remember midpoint scores guarantee you an acceptance and you always want to strive for the highest score possible.

I once asked an AdCom from a top 20 medical school about their admissions policy in regards to numbers they said, “On average applicants to our program have X score but it is in your best interest to achieve the highest score possible.”

This makes sense when you think about it in hindsight.

It would be bad if the AdCom said you just need an average MCAT score of X because they were basing the information on what worked for the previous incoming class and then you find out the competition is much stiffer and now you need a score of Y which is much higher than X.

But this is the cost of admission to get into medical school. AdComs expect to only admit the best and brightest students. Especially when it’s so competitive nowadays where over 60% of first time applicants to medical school are REJECTED! Ouch!

Before the new MCAT of 2015 admissions officers thought about applicants in a manner similar to what a program director of a prominent Master program in Boston, MA to the incoming students:

If you apply to medical school with a MCAT score over 30 and a 3.5 GPA or better there is no reason why you shouldn't get into at least one medical school.

The updated version of this would be having a MCAT score above 508 and a 3.5 GPA or better.

Now that those basics are out the way let’s get into the nitty gritty of scores for each section of the MCAT.

Applicant MCAT score and GPA

Average MCAT Scores for Each Section

I hate to be numbers bound but when computers screen applicants based on minimum cutoffs then you need to be aware of how your MCAT score can affect your chances of getting into medical school.

The numbers are extremely important to your medical school application.

Everything else in your application will not matter if you do not have the numbers. AdComs will never know about your personal statement, your extracurriculars or all the promise you have for a career in medicine because the computer will toss your application before a human every lays eyes on it.

With that scared straight tacting out the way let’s take a look at the averages.

Chemical and Physical Foundations Section

Of everyone who applied they had an average score of 125.5 with a standard deviation (SD) of 2.8.

Don’t worry I won’t get at mathematical on you and use statistics that will be the farthest I go. You can keep your scientific calculators closed.

This is in comparison to the average MCAT score of those who matriculated which was 127.1 and 2.2 SD.

Not a huge difference but a difference of 1.6 points in the Chemical and Physical Section.

CARS

You can apply with a score of 125.1 and 2.8 SD but to get admitted to medical school you’ll need a score of 126.7 and 2.4 SD.

This is a difference of 1.6 points between those who applied versus those who were admitted.

I know CARS can be an extremely tough MCAT topic to handle and here’s a word of warning: “Run and run fast from anyone who tells you the way to improve CARS is by reading more and reading more broadly.”

Not accurate at all.

You need to practice from CARS style passages and more importantly CARS questions.

Biological and Biochemical Average MCAT Score

More numbers for your to get all bent out of shape over.

For the BBLS expect everyone who applies to have an average MCAT score of 125.6 and SD of 2.8.

The ones who get into medical school will have a score of 127.4 and SD of 2.2.

This means those in the Biological and Biochemical sections will have a difference of 1.8 points.

Psychological, Social and Biological Numbers

This section of the MCAT is new so not a lot of history here but since it factors into your overall MCAT score you’ll certainly want to give this section the consideration it is due.

A quick look at the data shows that everyone who applied had a score of 125.6 and SD of 2.8.

Then for those medical school applicants who matriculated they had a score of 127.4 with a SD of 2.3.

The overall difference between applicants and matriculants on the Psychological and Social section comes in at 1.8 points.

Final Thoughts on Scores

I think it’s abundantly clear that you’re going to need higher scores to get into medical school.

Overall I showed you that those who get into medical school actually perform 6.9 points higher than everyone who applies.

When it comes to getting into medical school you cannot fall for the rumors or the misguided information that others will tell you.

One myth that really bugs me and I believe is doing you a huge disservice are the medical students who say they got into medical school with a subpar MCAT score.

They are the exception and not the rule.

Most of the time there are extenuating circumstances or they are a unique case but I wouldn’t bet my medical career on an AdCom offering me a spot if my numbers are not competitive.

As I mentioned, 60% of first time applicants to medical school are rejected and most schools use computers to screen your application based on the minimum MCAT score they will seriously consider.

Here's a the comparison chart for you of average MCAT scores:

Category

CPBS Mean

CARS Mean

BBLS Mean

PSBB Mean

Total MCAT

Applicants

125.5

125.1

125.6

125.6

501.8

Matriculants

127.1

126.7

127.4

127.4

508.7

> > Average Score


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