Want to Know about MCAT Score Distribution? A Complete Overview

The admission committees continuously remind students of the importance of the MCAT exam. It is, after all, one decisive examination that can make or break a candidate’s chance of enrolling into her/his desirable medical school. So, fellow med-school test-takers need to be abreast with the latest MCAT score distribution.

In this post, we will discuss about it. So continue reading.

What’s the right MCAT score percentile?

The prospects of preparing for the MCAT test can often trigger chills down one’s spine. And assuming for a moment that you did do well, you might want to know whether your MCAT total score is good enough to get you into the top 10/20 programs or not.

So, to keep things simple, you want to know what a good MCAT score distribution entails. Or how much should you aim to get into your chosen medical college?
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As You Know, MCAT Score Distribution Consists Of Four Sections –

  • (BBLS)Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • (CPBS) Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • (CARS) Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
  • (PSBB) Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior

Also, the MCAT estimates your depth of knowledge by accounting for difficult items more. To put it simply, in this test, you will get more mastery points if you correctly answer difficult questions as to the easier ones. Alternatively, one will be punished more for missing out or answering easier questions wrong as to the difficult ones.

  • As for MCAT scores, the range will be between 472-528, with 500 being the average MCAT score
  • For every section, students will need to score somewhere within 118-132 with 125 as its average score. This also refers to the 50th MCAT percentile for every section.
  • However, this is nowhere close to where your MCAT scores should be. Most average medical schools accept candidates with above 80 percentile ranks. And top-names like Ivy League need students with at least 95th percentile ranks. This means candidates will require a percentile score of 517
  • Another fact worth mentioning is that for students to get into the top 20 programs, their MCAT average scores should be 518 or above. Or in other words, their percentile score should be 518 or higher.
  • 528 measures up to be the highest MCAT score corresponding to the 99th percentile score. And anything within 520-528 entails as the 98-99th percentile.

The MCAT Score Percentile You Should Aim For?

Honestly speaking, that depends. Most admission committees employ a holistic approach to evaluating students. They consider all aspects like the following –

  • Medical school grades
  • Their path to medicine
  • Candidate’s appropriateness as per secondary school application essays and letters of recommendations
  • And their MCAT scores

In addition to these factors, MCAT score reports may vary from one medical college to another. The MCAT students’ scores for one institution might not suffice for another.

Take, for example, the New York Medical School, which needs students to have an average MCAT score of 522. This corresponds to the 99th percentile. On sharp contrast to this, the University of Texas accepts candidates with MCAT scores of 514, which correspond to the 90th percentile.

So, one may argue that the strength of MCAT scores may alone not be enough to get one into a top medical college. It will also rely on the strength of their school application and the institution they wish to apply- be it in the top 25 or top 50, only DO, MD program, or both DO and MD.

Another Crucial Aspect Which Deserves Mentioning

MCAT tests come with different degrees of complexities. And most top medical schools use this method of validation to see uniform performance on all its categories.

If your MCAT score distribution is in the 99th percentile. And in each of the four sections, your average scores range between 97-99th percentile, it won’t make much of a difference in the end.

However, if total MCAT score distribution is in the 80th percentile! And in the 4 sections, you score the following

  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; you score 30%
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; you score 99%
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills; you score 40%
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; you score 98%

This irregularity in score distribution can compromise your total MCAT score. It could raise concerns and speculations of the student’s lack of knowledge in succeeding in tests outside the field of science.

Henceforth, one should concentrate on all four sections, and not just on one section to help them propel their total MCAT score distribution. Scoring big is important, but maintaining uniform and impressive section scores could make the rub-of-the-green go their way.

Top 10 Books For MCAT Prep MCAT Percentiles

The good news for students is that they can easily prepare for their MCAT test and score impressively on all its sections. To aid them in their study, they can refer to these highly popular MCAT test prep books.

  1. Kaplan- MCAT Complete 7 book subject review 2019-2020
  2. MCAT Prep Books 2020-2021 by Test Prep Books
  3. 7 Full-length MCAT Practice Tests by The MCAT-prep.com Authors & Editors
  4. 6. MCAT 528 Advanced Prep by Kaplan Test Prep
  5. MCAT Prep Books 2019-2020: MCAT Secrets Study Guide 2019 & 2020 and MCAT Practice Test Questions
  6. The Princeton Review – MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills Review, 2nd Edition
  7. MCAT Prep 2018-2019: Test Prep & Practice Test Questions for the Medical College Admission Test
  8. Examkrackers MCAT Study Package
  9. MCAT Verbal Practice – By Next Step Test Prep
  10. Sterling Test Prep MCAT (Organic Chemistry & Biochemistry Practice Questions; Biology & Biochemistry Review)

Special Note

Registrations for the 2021 MCAT test dates for January – September is now open. To register, visit the AAMC official site to know the date and location of the test.

Due to the cancellation of the previous MCAT exam dates, the AAMC is looking to expand their examination calendar.

The 2021 MCAT Exam Date As Per the AAMC Declaration

MCAT Exam Date
Source: Association of American Medical Colleges













The most frequently asked question among the students is “When to take the MCAT exam?

For your MCAT examination preparation, it sometimes appears difficult to find time between classes, extra-curricular activities, jobs, and the time to relax and have fun.

You have to plan properly for “how-to-study-for-the-mcat?“. This possibly will give you the best result.