Do Medical Schools Superscore the MCAT for Multiple Attempts?

Session 57

Join me, Dr. Ryan Gray, and Bryan Schnedeker of Next Step Test Prep as we dive into the forums over at the OldPreMeds.org. Also, take a listen to all our other podcasts on the MedEd Media Network.

Today, we talk about how medical schools are going to look at multiple MCAT scores? If you are 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?

If you are taking the MCAT for a second or third time, this is a good one 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 Scores

Bryan thinks it's just par for the course for the college kids now. I think where the biggest confusion comes from is that students take the SAT and think they can take it ten times. 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.

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.

So all of your scores are reported. What medical schools are going to do with multiple scores is whatever they well 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.

[03:27] When You're Considering a Retake

When you're thinking about retakes, for instance, if you have a score right on the edge, say your goal is a 508 and you got a 507, they're always going to get to see that 507. It doesn't go away. It doesn't get super scored 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 that you're showing the school that you're not just diddling around and not taking the MCAT seriously.

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

I did an episode on The Premed Years Podcast 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's four different columns for your different sections and fifth column for your total score. They may sort by total score and 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 consider the whole idea of the 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. Based on the information I've seen from the premed advisor world is that most schools look at your highest score. Bryan clarifies they take the highest overall score then whatever subsection scores came with that higher score, those are your subsections as well.

[05:50] Looking at Your Most Recent Score and Trends

A premed advisor put together a list of 34 MD schools and 3 DO schools. There are a lot of highest scores but there are a lot of most recent scores as well. So you always have to second guess when you get that score. Do you really want to retake it? Because it's that most recent score that they're going to look at.

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] Looking at Your Judgment

When we talk to advisors at these premed conferences, they are considering the judgment that you display in taking or retaking the MCAT. And 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 for 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.

[07:35] Final Thoughts

Check out everything that Next Step Test Prep has to offer specifically practice tests. If you're taking practice tests or if you aren't taking practice tests yet, check out the MCAT practice test bundles Next Step offers. You can buy MCAT full-length exams for 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. Use the promo code MCATPOD to save some money.

Links:

The Premed Years Podcast Episode 245: Why Does Texas Have Its Own App and More TMDSAS Questions

MedEd Media

Next Step Test Prep (Use the promo code MCATPOD)

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