MCAT Scoring System Explained
To understand MCAT scores, you need to understand the basic structure of the test as well. The MCAT has four sections, namely Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, Writing Sample and Biological Sciences. Apart from the Writing Sample, which has two essay writing questions, all other sections have multiple choice questions. The scoring of MCAT is done in two parts - raw scores and scaled scores.
Initial scores are awarded on the basis of the number of correct answers. The Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences sections have 52 questions each while the Verbal Reasoning section has 40 questions. Marks are awarded on the basis of number of correct answers and these form the raw scores which are further converted into scaled scores. The MCAT is one of the very few standardized tests conducted within the territory of the United States that does not follow the policy of negative marking for incorrect answers. Therefore, it is recommended that for attaining higherscores , it is best that you guess a question rather than leaving it blank. When it comes to the Writing Sample section, each essay is scored by two readers on a scale of 1 to 6 where 6 denotes an excellent answer.
The raw scores are all converted to scale. The Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences and Verbal Reasoning section scores are each converted into a score on a scale ranging between 1 and 15. All the four Writing Sample raw scores are combined so as to assign a letter between J and T to decide the writing grade of that candidate where J is the lowest and T is the highest. The maximum combined score anyone can get is 45T. The reason why raw scores are converted to scale which then form the finalMCAT scores is that any variations in the difficulty level can be accommodated. This also addresses the issue of the test being marked on a curve. MCAT is not marked on a curve. This means that taking the test at a different time of the year will do nothing to improve your chances as scores are not awarded in a relative manner. Thus, if a previous MCAT test has been particularly difficult, raw scores would be converted to a higher scale score so as to accommodate this change in difficulty level.
Receiving MCAT Scores:
MCAT scores are released around 30-35 days after giving the exam. All candidates should keep this in mind when they decide on a date to give the MCAT so that they have sufficient time left before application deadlines of various colleges. If you think you won't be able to get a good score the first time, you should leave sufficient time to give it the second time. The AMCAS or the American Medical College Application Service is an application service that has been developed by AAMC itself and it works in conjunction with them. Thus, you do not need to take any extra steps to release your scores to AMCAS as they get your scores automatically. If you want to release your scores to any other application service such as CASPAS, SOPHAS, etc. or even to any individual institution, this can be done electronically through the THx system of the MCAT about which you will learn further on.
Retrieving Old MCAT Scores:
MCAT has what they call their MCAT Testing History (THx) System. This system has scores of all MCAT candidates since 1991. However, if a candidate requires scores from before 1991, he will have to send a request (https://www.aamc.org/students/download/85434/data/thxapplication.pdf) to get a paper score report.
Rescore and Other Additional Services:
If you are not happy with your score, the MCAT provides you with the
option of getting your exam rescored. This is despite the fact that
AAMC and MCAT Program Offices maintain the most stringent standards of
scoring and they pride themselves on seldom making any errors. Even so,
you can get your test rescored. The fee for rescoring the multiple
choice questions is USD $55 and the same is the fee for rescoring the
Writing Sample. The fee for rescoring the entire test is $110. MCAT
also provides you with the option of voiding your scores though only
one chance is given for this and this is on the day of the test. You
can do this by selecting the 'I wish to void my MCAT exam' instead of
the 'I wish to have my MCAT exam scored' option on the screen. A voided
exam counts as one of the three attempts allowed to be given in a
For more information about the MCAT, please visit the official MCAT website.