Discover the Average MCAT Score Plus Differences Between Applicants and Matriculants

Read to discover the average MCAT score you'll need to be a competitive medical school applicant?

Here's what you need to know about the numbers presented. 

You actually have to do much better to guarantee your acceptance because the numbers provided are from last year's application cycle and every year MCAT scores increase.

Here's an Overview of the Numbers

Get ready to dive into the rabbit hole.

I'm going to begin with a broad overview of the data and gradually get more specific with the MCAT numbers.

A great starting point will be to look at the average MCAT score of everyone.

This includes those who applied to medical school and got in (matriculants) along with those who applied and were rejected. 

Let's dig into the numbers.

The first trend to notice is that for every application cycle the average MCAT score has increased.

What score worked last year will not get you admitted this year.

That's why as a premed student you cannot settle for just aiming for last year's MCAT scores because you will automatically be behind everyone else applying in the current year.

Let's breakdown the averages for the most recent year data is available which is 2019-2020:

  • Chemical & Physical Foundations = 126.4
  • Critical Analysis & Reasoning = 125.9
  • Biological & Biochemical Foundations = 126.7
  • Psych, Social & Biological Foundations = 127.1
  • Total MCAT = 506.1

MCAT Scoring Basics

Your total MCAT score can range 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 of 118 to 132.

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

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

Remember midpoint scores only make you competitive where it's best 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.

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 511 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.

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 tactic 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 126.4 with a standard deviation (SD) of 2.8.

Don’t worry I won’t get all 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 127.8 and 2.2 SD.

Not a huge difference but a difference of 1.4 points in the Chemical and Physical Section.

CARS

You can apply with a score of 125.9 and 2.7 SD but to get admitted to medical school you’ll need a score of 127.1 and 2.3 SD.

This is a difference of 1.2 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.

CARS seems to be where students struggle the most on the MCAT... How would you like to learn about the Lawyer's Way for preparing for this section of the MCAT?

Biological and Biochemical Average MCAT Score

More numbers for you to scrutinize and question, "What are my chances?".

For the BBLS expect everyone who applies to have an average MCAT score of 126.7 and SD of 2.7.

The applicants who get into medical school will have a score of 128.1 and SD of 2.1.

This means those in the Biological and Biochemical sections will have a difference of 1.4 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 127.1 and SD of 2.7.

Then for those medical school applicants who matriculated they had a score of 128.5 with a SD of 2.0.

The overall difference between applicants and matriculants on the Psychological and Social section comes in at 1.4 points.

Final Thoughts on Scores

I think it’s clear you’re going to need high MCAT scores to get into medical school.

Did you know?

Those who apply and get into medical school had an MCAT score that is 5 points higher than everyone who applies. 

Consider that the most recent data on MCAT scores for matriculants showed they had a total MCAT score of 511.5.

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 comparison chart for you of average MCAT scores:

Category

CPBS Mean

CARS Mean

BBLS Mean

PSBB Mean

Total MCAT

Applicants

126.4

125.9

126.7

127.1

506.1

Matriculants

127.8

127.1

128.1

128.5

511.5

Help Improving Your MCAT Performance

MCAT prep not going as planned?

I know exactly what if feels like to study day and night and not see any change in your MCAT scores.

Where it actually seems like the harder you try the worse your scores become.

There's a sinking feeling of doom. A queasy, uneasy feeling that your hopes of becoming a doctor are being dashed right before your eyes.

You've invested in a commercial MCAT prep course and you still aren't having any luck.

What if I told you there's a piece of the MCAT success puzzle that no one ever talks about.

But once you know this hidden piece your MCAT scores will skyrocket.

If you're interested in boosting your MCAT performance then go here to discover what I learned about being successful on the MCAT.

> > Average Score


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