Do Medical Schools Superscore the MCAT for Multiple Attempts?

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Session 57

Join me, Dr. Ryan Gray, and Bryan Schnedeker of Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep) as we answer a question from the Nontraditional Premed Forum.

Today, we talk about how medical schools are going to look at multiple MCAT scores. Medical schools can see all your MCAT attempts, but are the scores averaged together? Do medical schools only count your most recent attempt? Or do they take your highest score?

If you’re familiar with the SAT, then you know that your best score is a combination of multiple tests. Do medical schools do the same for MCAT retakes, superscoring your best subsection scores together into one? We’ll cover all these questions today.

If you’re taking the MCAT for a second or third time, this is a good episode for you. If this is your first time taking the MCAT, you should listen to this one too (just in case you have to take it again).

[01:21] How Medical Schools View Multiple MCAT Scores

I think where the biggest confusion comes from is that students can take the SAT ten times, and then they take the highest score from those ten takes, and that will be their SAT score. That’s the rule and sort of the standard with the SAT

But when it comes to MCAT, it doesn’t work that way. Bryan adds that when it comes to the MCAT, all of your scores are reported to the med schools. This means every single time you’ve taken the MCAT except if you void your score. Voiding is not reported to med schools.

When it comes to the MCAT, all of your scores are reported to medical schools. Except if you void your score.Click To Tweet

So all of your scores are reported. What medical schools are going to do with multiple scores is whatever they please. There is no rule that they have to follow. It’s not like there is an AAMC mandate of what to do with multiple MCAT scores. So, they’re just going to see all of them and take the most recent or the highest. If they’re looking for a reason to reject you, they take the lowest. They can actually do whatever they want.

Individual medical schools can actually handle multiple MCAT scores however they want to. There's no rule.Click To Tweet

[03:27] When You’re Considering an MCAT Retake

When you’re thinking about an MCAT retake, for instance, if you have a score right on the edge, say your goal is a 508, but you got a 507. They’re always going to get to see that 507. It doesn’t go away if you get a higher score later. Generally speaking, it doesn’t get superscored with anything else.

So if you’re going to take it again, you’ve got to make sure that second score is significantly higher so you’re showing the school that you’re not just diddling around.

[04:10] Behind-the-Scenes in the TMDSAS Application

I did an episode on The Premed Years where I talked to the people behind the Texas application. They gave a little behind-the-scenes on how the information is portrayed to the medical schools. Every single data point that gets entered into your application gets sent to the medical school. And the medical school has their own software and their own filters to look at that information however they want to look at it.

Think of an Excel sheet, and your MCAT scores are all lined up there. There are four different columns for your different sections and a fifth column for your total score. The medical schools can sort by total score, look at the highest one, and say that’s great. Or they may take your scores and have another column that takes the average of those scores. Or they may have some algorithm that looks at those different sections and considers some kind of superscore.

There are some medical schools that have said they do a superscore based on the information that comes to them. But those are few and far between.

Most Schools Look at Your Highest MCAT Score

Based on the information I’ve seen from the premed advisor world, most schools look at your highest score. Bryan clarifies they most medical schools take the highest overall score, and then whatever subsection scores came with that higher score, those are your subsections as well.

Most medical schools take your highest overall MCAT score, and then whatever subsection scores came with that higher score, those are your subsections, as well.Click To Tweet

[05:50] Some Schools Look at Your Most Recent Score and Trends

A premed advisor put together a list of 34 MD schools and 3 DO schools and looked at whether they take a student’s highest MCAT score or a student’s most recent MCAT score. It’s actually split, a fair amount of schools do it each way. So you always have to second guess when you get a score and you think you could do better on a retake. Do you really want to retake it? Because it’s that most recent score that some schools are going to look at, even if you had a higher score on a previous attempt.

Bryan adds that in the end, that’s proprietary to that med school. They don’t have to justify their algorithm to anybody. They can do whatever they please.

Additionally, some of them also look at your most recent plus your trends. So if you’ve got a 510 and wanted a 520, you had to retake it and you got a 508, it’s still a great score but now you have a negative trend.

[06:55] Understand the MCAT and Take It Seriously

When we talk to advisors at these premed conferences, they are considering the judgment that you display in taking or retaking the MCAT. If you say you thought your score was superscored and didn’t realize it wasn’t, then that shows you didn’t do the research about how multiple scores are treated. Medical schools want to see that you’re a serious student who understood the MCAT, took it seriously, and did it right the first time, or at most, the second time. So this would show you’re displaying some poor judgment.

Medical schools want to see that you're a serious student who understood the MCAT, took it seriously, and did it right the first time, or at most, the second time.Click To Tweet

[07:35] Go to Next Step for Your MCAT Prep

Check out everything that Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep) has to offer, especially practice tests. Check out the MCAT practice test bundles Next Step offers. You can buy MCAT full-length exams at a low price. It’s the best way of prepping for the MCAT. Take those exams. Review your answers, both right and wrong answers. So you can improve and get a better score each time.