What is a Good MCAT® Score?

Mcat scores

For pre-med students working to get into medical school, scoring well on the MCAT® is a top priority. There is an inherent competitive nature in medical education (as well as the medical profession), and this dictates that pre-med students reach the highest MCAT score they are capable of.

As students look ahead and begin preparing for the exam with MCAT practice tests and other study resources, they commonly ask this question: “What is a good MCAT score?”

To answer the question “What is a good MCAT score?” It is important to understand the contents of the exam, how the exam is scored, the average MCAT score, the highest (and lowest) possible MCAT score, and a few other details about the MCAT exam. Let’s begin with the contents of the exam and how they contribute to your overall MCAT score.

MCAT Scores Overview Guide

The MCAT is a six hour and fifteen minute exam made up of four sections:

  1. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems 
  2. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS)
  3. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems 
  4. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior

Each of these four sections of the MCAT is scored on a scale between 118–132. Your total MCAT score is the sum of your section scores.

MCAT Score Range

With each of the four MCAT sections being scored between 118–132, a test taker’s total MCAT score will range between 472–528, with 500 being the average score (i.e., 50th percentile).

The MCAT exam is not graded on a curve. Instead, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) states that the “MCAT exam is scaled and equated so that scores have the same meaning, no matter when you test.”

MCAT Percentile Rank

In addition to receiving a scaled score upon completion of the MCAT, test takers receive a percentile rank for each section and the total score. The percentile rank informs each individual how he or she compared to other test takers by seeing what percentage of test takers scored the same or lower on their exam.

Percentile ranks are updated annually by the AAMC (on May 1) using data compiled from the most recent three years.

Average MCAT Score and Percentile Ranking

For students wondering, What is a good MCAT score? looking back at average (mean) MCAT section and total scores for both medical school applicants and medical school matriculants can be beneficial:

MCAT Scores for Applicants and Matriculants to U.S. Medical Schools, 2017–2018 through 2020–2021

2017–20182018–20192019–20202020–2021
Applicants
CPBS126.2126.3126.4126.5
CARS125.7125.9125.9125.9
BBLS126.4126.6126.7126.8
PSBB126.5126.8127.1127.2
Total504.7505.6506.1506.4
Matriculants
CPBS127.6127.7127.8127.8
CARS126.9127.1127.1127.0
BBLS127.9128.0128.1128.1
PSBB128.0128.3128.5128.6
Total510.4511.2511.5511.5

Noting recent MCAT scores and their percentile ranking is another helpful way to determine what your target MCAT score should be as you prepare for the exam.

MCAT Percentile Ranks from May 1, 2021 – April 30, 2022

Total MCAT ScorePercentile Rank
472<1%
473<1%
474<1%
475<1%
4761%
4771%
4781%
4792%
4803%
4814%
4824%
4836%
4847%
4858%
4869%
48711%
48813%
48915%
49017%

Total MCAT ScorePercentile Rank
49119%
49221%
49324%
49427%
49529%
49632%
49735%
49838%
49942%
50045%
50148%
50252%
50355%
50458%
50562%
50665%
50769%
50872%
50975%
Total MCAT ScorePercentile Rank
51078%
51181%
51284%
51386%
51488%
51590%
51692%
51794%
51895%
51996%
52097%
52198%
52299%
52399%
524100%
525100%
526100%
527100%
528100%

So, What Is a Good MCAT Score?

There are a number of factors that go into answering this question. Let’s consider three things that we’ve already discussed in this post:

  1. The MCAT score range is 472–528, with an average score of 500.
  2. Percentile data from the last three years shows that a score over 510 is better than more than 78% of test takers.
  3. The average MCAT score for matriculants was 510.4 in 2017–2018, 511.4 in 2018–2019, and 511.5 in 2019–2020 and 2020–2021.

With this information in mind, one can assume that a “good” score would start above 510. 

However, test takers should take into careful consideration the average MCAT score of matriculants at their target medical schools. What is a good score at one school may not be enough at another school. 

The more prestigious the medical school, the higher the GPA and MCAT expectation. For example, the average MCAT score for matriculants at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2021 was 523.

It is imperative that pre-med students do their research and discover MCAT averages for the medical schools on their radar.

When Are MCAT Scores Released?

MCAT scores are officially released 30–35 days after the exam date. Scores are released by 5:00 p.m. EST on the scheduled release date set forth by the AAMC.

According to the AAMC, “Quality control procedures are in place to ensure the accuracy of scores and score reporting; however, you may request a rescore if you believe a scoring error has occurred.”

How Long Are MCAT Scores Valid?

Many times, pre-med students choose to take their MCAT exam well before applying for medical school; therefore, this question arises: How long are my MCAT scores valid?

Generally speaking, medical schools accept MCAT scores dating back 2–3 years. However, each school sets their own standards. It is recommended that candidates check with the medical schools in which they intend to apply to find out their admission requirements.


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How is the MCAT Exam Scored? AAMC. (n.d.). https://students-residents.aamc.org/mcat-scores/how-mcat-exam-scored.

2020 facts: Applicants and Matriculants Data. AAMC. (n.d.). https://www.aamc.org/data-reports/students-residents/interactive-data/2020-facts-applicants-and-matriculants-data.

Historical percentile ranks for the MCAT exam. AAMC. (n.d.). https://students-residents.aamc.org/mcat-research-and-data/historical-percentile-ranks-mcat-exam.

Statistics. Johns Hopkins University MSTP/MD-PhD Program. (2021, July 19). https://mdphd.johnshopkins.edu/statistics/.

Requesting a RESCORE. AAMC. (n.d.). https://students-residents.aamc.org/mcat-scores/requesting-rescore.

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