Why Rank Matters
To get into a medical school program, undergraduates must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Scoring well improves your chances of entering your chosen medical program.
After taking the exam, you receive your score and a percentile ranking that compares your performance against the results of other test-takers.
MCAT Section Percentiles
The Role of Your Raw & Scaled Scores
The number of correctly answered questions on the MCAT is the raw score, which converts to a scaled score between 472 and 528. The AAMC also provides test takers with a percentile ranking for the exam and each section.
Each of the four MCAT sections features a score between 118 and 132. The sections have a midpoint of 125, where most students score. However, the corresponding percentile rank of each section varies due to difficulty and length.
After taking the exam, you'll receive your total and section scores along with your percentile rank on the designated MCAT score report release date. Read MCAT percentiles by section the same way you read your total score.
You can also review the current percentile chart to see how reported scores fall within each ranking.
The MCAT Percentiles Chart
How Your Ranking Is Determined
While most programs admit students based on their MCAT score, your percentile rank reveals how your results compete against other potential medical school students. You can view how this number relates to your score using a chart of MCAT percentiles.
The lowest possible score on the MCAT is 472, which is a percentile rank of less than 1 percent. On the other hand, a score of 524 to 528 has a percentile rank of 100, meaning you scored better than 100% of those taking the same exam. A perfect score of 528 is possible, but it is extremely rare.
Annual Percentile Updates
Using Old vs. New Rankings
As the exam changes from year to year, ranks on the section and overall scores will change as well. You can also find the MCAT's old percentiles on the AAMC website.
If you're taking a previous exam as practice, search for the percentile ranks for the appropriate year. However, students taking the current exam should always rely on up-to-date MCAT percentiles to help them determine their percentile goal and meet medical school requirements.
Evaluating Your Results
What Is a Good MCAT Percentile Score?
A good MCAT percentile rank should match or go above the requirements of your target medical school. The AAMC provides the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) database for test-takers to compare their MCAT scores to the averages of the medical schools on their list.
Using this database, you can understand the score range you need to get into the school you want. While having a good MCAT score is important in the admissions process, schools make other considerations when accepting applicants.
Your GPA is a good example. If you have a lower GPA, a higher MCAT score may compensate for it. Likewise, a higher GPA can give you a little leeway with a lower MCAT score.
Medical School Admissions
What Percentile Should I Aim For?
Prospective students should always refer to the criteria specific to their medical school to determine what will be expected for admission. The higher the score received, the better chances you have of getting into your preferred program.
A 95th percentile rank on the MCAT equals a scaled score of 518, which means you scored better than 95% of other test-takers. The average MCAT percentile score for some of the most prestigious medical schools in the United States is 517. If you score in the 75th percentile, your total score is 509 based on the 2021 – 2022 exam year.
While the median score on the MCAT is a 500, the AAMC encourages medical school administrators to consider mid-range scores and not just the highest. The AAMC recommends aiming for a score of 509 or higher to improve your chances for medical school admission.