Myth #1: The MCAT exam is graded on a curve.
There is no curve associated with the MCAT exam. Instead, the MCAT exam is scaled and equated so that scores have the same meaning, no matter when you test. What does that mean, you ask? There are many different test forms that are produced for a testing year, any of which you could see on your exam day. The 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. We adjust for these differences in the difficulty of test questions when we convert the number of questions you answer correctly to the MCAT score scale. This ensures that scores have the same meaning across test administrations and testing years.
All of this takes time! So why does it take 30-35 days to receive your scores? Now you know.
Myth #2: Your current MCAT scores can be converted to the old MCAT score scale.
We know it is tempting to try to convert your MCAT scores to the more familiar score scale of the old MCAT exam. But it is important to understand the new MCAT exam is a very different test than the old exam. Testing different concepts and skills, a new score scale was developed so new exam scores would carry a different meaning.
Before the new MCAT exam launched in April 2015, the old exam had been in place since 1991! Over 24 years, there has been enormous change in medical research and scientific knowledge. And to keep pace with these changes, medical education has also advanced, redefining what makes a good doctor. So the new MCAT exam needed to catch up! The new exam takes this all into account, as well as the skills that future physicians will need to practice in a rapidly changing health care environment.
Myth #3: You need a certain MCAT score to be considered a competitive applicant.
We are here to tell you this just isn’t true. We know the MCAT exam is an important test. Designed to help admissions committees select students who will succeed in their medical school curricula, it includes the concepts and skills that medical school faculty, residents, and medical students rated as most important for entering students to be successful. But your MCAT score isn’t the single deciding factor in the decision-making process. While each medical school has different processes for reviewing applications based on their specific mission and goals, surveys of admissions officers consistently show that MCAT scores are used in conjunction with information about applicants as a whole, including your experiences, attributes, demographics, and transcripts.
Still not convinced? Historically, students are accepted to medical school with a wide range of MCAT scores. High MCAT scores and GPAs don’t guarantee admission into medical school. Remember, you are not just your MCAT exam score! Your MCAT score is just one piece of your total package as an applicant.