Get answers to your questions about MCAT registration, scores, and more.
How is the MCAT exam scored?
The MCAT exam is scaled and equated so that scores have the same meaning, no matter when you test.
The AAMC does multiple things when we score your exam.
- First, we count the number of questions answered correctly. The scores that you achieve on the four scored multiple-choice sections are based on the number of questions you answer correctly. Wrong answers are scored exactly the same way as an unanswered question and there isn’t an additional penalty for wrong answers.
- Second, we take the number of correct answers (i.e., raw scores) and convert them to an MCAT scaled score for each section. Raw scores from each of these four sections are converted to a scaled score ranging from 118 (lowest) to 132 (highest). For example, if your number correct on one of the sections is between 35 and 37, your converted scaled score might be 123. Number correct ranging from 46 to 48 might have a converted scaled score of 128, and so forth.
So why don’t we give you your raw score on test day or on your score report, and instead convert to scaled scores? In a given testing year, there are many different test forms administered, any one of which you could see on your exam day. The different forms of the exam are designed to measure the same basic concepts and skills, but each form contains different sets of questions. While care is taken to make sure that each form is about equivalent in difficulty, one form may be slightly more or less difficult than another. The conversion of number correct scores to scaled scores, through a process called equating, compensates for small variations in difficulty between sets of questions. The exact conversion of number correct to scaled scores is not constant because each conversion is tailored to the specific set of questions included on a test form.
The scaled score, reported on a 15-point scale, tends to provide a more stable and accurate assessment of a student’s performance than the number correct score. Two students with equal preparation who answered different sets of questions would be expected to get the same scaled score, even though there might be a slight difference between the number correct scores each student obtained on their test form. This is also done to ensure that scores have the same meaning across test administrations and testing years.
Is the MCAT exam scored on a curve?
Test takers often ask if obtaining a high score is easier or harder at different times of the testing year, or, in other words, if the exam is scored on a curve. For exams graded on a curve, a final score depends on how an individual performs in comparison to other test takers from the same test day or same time of year.
The MCAT exam is not graded on a curve. Instead, the MCAT exam is scaled and equated so that scores have the same meaning, no matter when you test or who tests at the same time you did.
Although there may be small differences in the form of the MCAT exam you took compared to another examinee (because you answered different sets of questions), the scoring process accounts for these differences. For example, a 124 earned on, the Critical Analysis and Reasoning section of one test form means the same thing as a 124 earned on that section on any other form. How you score on the MCAT exam is not reflective of the particular form you took or the group of examinees you tested with—the test date or the time of year—since any difference in difficulty level is accounted for when calculating your scaled scores (see above for information about scaling).
How long does it take to receive MCAT scores?
Scores are released approximately 30-35 days after each test day. Please see the U.S. Testing Calendar, Scheduling Deadlines, and Score Release Dates for the release dates for each exam. Scores are released by 5 p.m. ET on release days.
AAMC scales and equates each exam after each test day. This takes 30 to 35 days. The scaling and equating process is done to account for small differences in the difficulty of test questions when we convert the number of questions you answer correctly to the MCAT score scale. This time also allows students to submit any concerns they have about exam questions or testing conditions. The AAMC then reviews and investigates each concern. So, due to this careful analysis and review of feedback from each exam date, we aren’t able to provide a score immediately after you complete your exam.
For more information about how the MCAT exam is scored, please click here.
How do I understand my percentile ranks?
The percentile ranks provided on your score report show the percentages of test takers who received the same scores or lower scores on the exam than you did. They show how your scores compare to the scores of other examinees.
Every year on May 1, the percentile ranks are updated using the combined data from the three prior testing years. These annual updates will ensure that the percentile ranks reflect current and stable information about your scores. This means that changes in percentile ranks from one year to another reflect meaningful changes in the scores of examinees, rather than year-to-year fluctuations. Updating percentile ranks is consistent with industry practice. You can view the percentile ranks here.
Will medical schools know if I void my exam?
Medical schools do not have any record of exams which you chose to void or no-show, nor do they have the ability to access a system that shows them whether you voided or no-showed. Only you will have a record of these exams through the MCAT Score Reporting System. Medical schools only have access to the exams you chose to score. Remember, voids and no-shows count as an attempt toward your testing limits.
How are multiple MCAT scores used?
According to a survey of medical school admissions officers, schools use multiple sets of MCAT scores in several ways:
- Some schools weigh all sets of scores equally and note improvements.
- Other schools consider only the most recent set of scores.
- Still others take an average of all sets of scores.
- Some schools use only the highest set of scores or the highest individual sections scores.
How do I send my MCAT scores to non-AMCAS schools?
MCAT scores can be sent to non-AMCAS schools or programs in two ways:
- Electronically through the Score Reporting System, or
- Mailing a copy of your official score report.
For more detailed information, view the Help link within the MCAT Score Reporting System.
Can I rescore my MCAT exam?
If you think that a scoring error has occurred, then you may request that your MCAT exam be rescored by hand.
You will receive the results of this rescoring via email. The response letter will either confirm that your original scores were correct as reported, or inform you of the corrected scaled scores for each test section. Raw scores will not be disclosed.
For privacy and security reasons, the MCAT program and its independent reviewers do not disclose any information on score changes. However, scores may go up, down, or remain the same.
For more information, please refer to the MCAT Essentials.
If I took the MCAT exam prior to April 2015, how long can I submit my scores?
The AAMC will continue to report MCAT test scores from the 1991 version through the 2022 AMCAS application cycle. However, whether medical schools will continue to accept these scores through the 2022 AMCAS application cycle will depend on the individual medical school.
The AAMC conducted a survey about medical schools' policies for accepting scores from the prior version of the MCAT exam (administered from 1991 through January 2015). See the survey results:
Do you have statistics and data on MCAT examinees scores?
Yes, this information is reported annually. See MCAT Research and Data for more information.
Will medical schools see every MCAT exam score, no matter what year I took it?
Yes, as of April 2003, the AAMC has followed a full-disclosure policy. This means that all tests taken from April 2003 onward will be included in score reports or will be made available through your AMCAS application. Pre-2003 scores that have previously been released to AMCAS will also be included in your AMCAS application. If you have additional questions, please send AMCAS a message or call 202-828-0600.
How far back do medical schools accept scores?
Every school is different but generally schools accept scores from tests taken 3-5 years ago. Please refer to the report from MSAR on the latest and oldest MCAT Test Administration dates considered by medical school to view how far back MCAT scores are accepted.
How late can I take the MCAT exam to still be considered for the 2023 application cycle?
Medical schools have different timelines. Please check the MSAR Report for Applicants and Advisors document to view MCAT exam deadlines for individual schools.