What MCAT Score Do I Need if I Have a Low GPA?

Session 80

If your GPA is low, you may have heard that the MCAT might save you if you get a good enough score. Bryan Schnedeker, VP for Content Development at Next Step Test Prep, is again joining us as tackle a common question that comes in about GPA and MCAT score.

[01:17] What MCAT score do you need to overcome a low GPA?

Medical schools do holistic admissions. They look at everything, not just the numbers. So Bryan says that the correct answer to this questions is that there isn’t a single number.

Based on AAMC Data Table A-23, you will see an MCAT and GPA grid for applying and accepting students. There’s a ton of really good and interesting data there. So don’t obsess over it because it’s not the end all be all due to the holistic admissions.

But the data can help wrap your head around the question. Looking at the table, the acceptance rate at all GPAs and all MCAT scores is listed as 41.9%. This is the baseline. This means that the average premed has 41.9% chance of getting into some medical schools somewhere.

Then compare against that baseline average of 42%, what will get you above it? What’s an asset? And what will drop you below 42%? What’s the detriment?

So if you have a 3.0 GPA and you averaged a B, this puts you well behind the running. The GPA slice from 3.0 to 3.19 only has an overall acceptance rate of 15.2%. This really hurts compared to a national average of over 40%, you’ve only got a 15% chance of getting in.

If you want to bring up your chances if you only have a GPA of 3.0-3.10, is get your MCAT to the 514-517 score range. Then the odds of getting in goes up to 41.7%. Interestingly, if they’re over 517, it’s only 36%.

[04:23] Historical Data and the Digital Shredders

Please understand that this is historical data. which means that the chart was based on the data for last year. Next year, you may need a 518. So we don’t know. Hence, it’s really hard to look at this data and conclude on the score you need.

Moreover, don’t focus on just the score. Obviously, as good as you can get is the answer then make sure that everything else is there as well. As mentioned above, that it’s this holistic aspect of the application.

But this being said, to get to the holistic admissions part, you need to make sure that you get past the digital shredders, the filters. Schools have filters set up that if you have below a certain GPA or below a certain MCAT score, the school may not look at your application.

[06:33] Looking at Your Total GPA

Bryan refers to the Next Step data of the next trench down in GPA from 2.99, where the national average for acceptance rate is under 10%. So when you’re asking what you have to do to make up for a GPA, then what actually was your total GPA?

If for instance, you had a really bad freshman year, dragging your average down to a 2.85, then you need to go back to school. Take a master’s program. Get straight A’s. Because no matter what your MCAT score, once you drop below 3, the acceptance rate just drops off a cliff.

Additionally, medical schools look at whether you have an upward trend. Even if your undergrad GPA still looks terrible, but you have a strong positive trend and you have a good MCAT score and the rest of your application looks great, then that’s great.

[07:57] Check Out Next Step Test Prep

Time and time again, the feedback we get from students is that Next Step Test Prep tutoring, course, and practice tests are all the best test. They feel they’re learning better, they’re treated better, and the materials are better.

Use the promo code MCATPOD upon checkout to save some money.

Lastly, keep posted with my new book coming up, The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement. Check it out to get notified.

Links:

AAMC Data Table A-23

Next Step Test Prep

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement

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