For more than 90 years, medical school hopefuls have taken the MCAT as part of the application process. Now, about 85,000 learners take the computerized exam each year to prove they are ready for medical school. If you are one of these hopefuls, you typically wait between 30 and 35 days from test day to the day that official results become available.
That 30-day period can fill you with anticipation. Learn how to access and understand your scores now so you can be ready when the time comes.
Understand the MCAT Format
The American Association of Medical Colleges writes a test designed to determine how prepared a student is to excel in medical school. The organization advises learners to take the exam the year before they want to begin their medical programs. For example, if you want to start in the fall of 2020, you should take the test sometime during 2019.
The MCAT is a multiple-choice exam that you take on a computer in a testing center. The exam covers four distinct areas:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
The AAMC scores each content area individually and then combines those numbers to get a result.
How Important Is the MCAT?
Almost every medical school in the United States requires applicants to submit MCAT scores. However, the importance that the score plays in the application process varies among universities. For example, some schools post minimum scores, while others put more emphasis on GPAs and prerequisites.
If your target schools do not post MCAT minimums, you can contact an admissions counselor to learn more. He can guide you and help you understand how important the MCAT is for your unique application.
View MCAT Scores Online
To check your MCAT results, click the "Sign In" button in the top right corner of the AAMC website. Then, use the information you gave during your MCAT registration to log in. Click "Get Your Test Scores" to get your full score report.
The AAMC aims to post official MCAT scores online between 30 and 35 days after testing. You can check the AAMC testing calendar to find the release dates that correspond with the MCAT test dates for 2019. Results come out by 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the scheduled date.
If your scores do not appear on the AAMC website at the anticipated time, contact the organization at 202-828-0600.
Understand MCAT Scoring
Your MCAT score will show individual scores for each section as well as a combined score. Each section earns between 118 and 132 points, which means your final result will fall between 472 and 528.
To help you understand these scores, the AAMC also gives you a percentile ranking. This number demonstrates how well you did in relation to other test takers.
The AAMC does not grade the MCAT on a curve. Instead, the organization carefully scales each test to ensure that scores mean the same regardless of when someone takes the test. Therefore, there's not a tactical advantage to taking the exam during any particular part of the year.
Send Results or Retake the Exam
Once you fully understand your MCAT results, it's time to decide whether you are happy with the results or want to retake the test. A good way to know how high your MCAT needs to be is to look at the averages at your target schools. Many candidates take the test multiple times to ensure their best chances for getting into medical school.