We cover real MCAT data and tell you what that data means in terms of your own stats. We are specifically looking at AAMC’s Table A-16 for MCAT Scores and GPAs for Applicants and Matriculants to MD schools from 2018-2019 through 2022-2023. We’re joined by Nicole from Blueprint MCAT. If you would like to follow along on YouTube, go to premed.tv.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
[02:07] Why Pre-Health Offices Are So Picky About Candidates
There can be a lot of pressure from peers or other students when you hear that if you don’t get this specific number or higher, you’re not going to get into medical school. But Nicole clarifies there’s a lot more to the story because the score really depends on the goals of these students.
Now, there’s one school out there that requires a 514 MCAT score if you want a committee letter from them. 514 is a fantastic score but you don’t need that to get into medical school.
Pre-health offices are sometimes going to be picky about the candidates they endorse. And so, for students that might have come to premed in nontraditional ways or who may have struggled at some point earlier on in their journey, it can be hard to get approved because there are things required of you.
There are perverse reasons for schools to not screen secondaries. First, it could be for monetary reasons. Second, if they have more secondaries submitted and verified, and they have a small class size. That would look like they rejected a lot more people. And that’s one of the metrics on the U.S. News and World Report as to how competitive you are as a school.
[06:26] Schools Pulling Away from U.S. News and World Report
For the U.S. News and World Report, if your acceptance rate is lower than everyone else is, they’re going to rank you higher. And that is just an absurd thing for them to be basing things off.
If there is a scoring system, then you can play to that system. And if it’s something that students care about, the schools are going to want to participate. And so, Nicole is excited to see this movement away from rankings.
Well, a lot of the schools like to talk about is mission fit and what their mission or their goal as a school, as an institution, and as a hospital system is. All these schools are pulling out of the rankings, instead, focus on what they really care about.
[08:58] Digging into AAMC’s Data for MCAT Scores
Based on AAMC’s Table A-16 for MCAT Scores and GPAs for Applicants and Matriculants to MD schools from 2018-2019 through 2022-2023, we look at the average MCAT scores that are happening nowadays so that we can understand what’s going on out in the world.
First off, The AAMC is using mean data. And one big caveat right off the bat is that this is historical data. And so, we can’t fully rely on this data in determining your chances of getting into medical school. A person on TikTok actually reviewed this table and said that if your GPA and MCAT are 56% of these people getting in, then their chances of getting in are 56%.
It’s important to understand the nuance behind these numbers. It’s also the same way of looking at your median for the MCAT. So you think that if you don’t have that MCAT score, you must not be competitive for that school. And it’s easy for students to jump to that conclusion. Many students fall into that trap. But what it really means is that half of the students that go to that school right now have a score that is lower than that median.
It’s just the central tendency of the data – half of the students are below and half of the students are above. And so, for those students that are below that median, there must have been something else about those students that made the school interested in them. So we can’t say that if you’re not at the mean, then you’re not good enough. Because if that were true, then that would not be the mean.
[14:30] Analyzing the Data
Looking at the chart, we see that the average MCAT score for people who matriculated is 511.9 for 2022-2023. And it hasn’t gone up a ton over this five-year period. It’s easy for students to look at that 511.9 and they think they must have a 512 or they don’t have a chance. But that is simply not accurate.
When we look at these numbers, it’s about context. It’s about your goals. 512 is an easy answer as that’s the average for people. But there’s so much more to the discussion. If we look at MCAT data, we can approximately fit that to a normal distribution, which is going to form this bell curve where the majority of students have a certain score. And then we have people going off to either side.
[20:03] Looking at the TMDSAS and AACOMAS Data
The majority of TMDSAS schools are MD schools. Now, when we look at the data from AACOMAS, we can really see a big difference. Mathematically, it was harder to get into a DO school based on the number of acceptances and the number of applications. The acceptance rate was lower.
In the recent data, their average for applicants is 502.8. And the biggest difference is in their matriculated students where the average is 504.6.
This says something about MD schools. For DO schools, even if the students may have low stats on average for the schools that they’re applying to, the acceptance rate is still very low. Interestingly, there is less of a spread in terms of the MCAT scores of the students who ended up getting accepted and matriculating into those schools.
At the end of the day, it’s not just that stats that matter in this entire process. Because not only will the medical schools look into the story behind the GPA or the MCAT, but they will also look at the story behind your activities and life experiences.
The data also shows there are 302 people who got 519 or higher, whereas there are 2,084 students who got 513-518. Then we can see from a matriculation standpoint, that the majority of students are matriculating with 501-506.
[29:06] Final Words of Wisdom
Hopefully, looking at this data, this will give you some confidence. A higher MCAT score will never hurt you. A better score always helps shoot for the moon. but you also don’t need to have a 511 to get into medical school.
Maybe you’re a nontraditional student and you have a lot of other obligations but you still gave it your all and you got a 507. Then that 507 is not a death sentence. You have to do some self-reflection to figure out what you could do to do better. Whether that’s to do more practice tests or get the right resources. Or maybe that means listening to The MCAT Podcast or focusing on practice questions.
And if you have the time and resources to do a retake then try to do better. But for those students that had given it their all, that means they’re dealing with a lot of other items on their plate and have a score that’s still good. And it’s still a good score by any measure.