Medical School Admissions, Explained

The Minimum MCAT Score Required For Admission To Medical School

The MCAT is the test that you have to take to get into medical school in the United States. It’s a tough test. It’s a tough test on purpose. And interestingly enough, though it is an incredibly painful test, it has been shown over and over and over that it actually works to determine who will do well in medical school and who will do well as a physician. So as much as we hate, we all hate these tests, it’s a very important one.

A little bit about this test. There are four sections. Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Verbal Reasoning and Writing Sample. They’re all theoretically equally important but I would actually argue that the first three: Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences and Verbal Reasoning are really the most important. And those are scored in numbers. The highest number you can get is a 15. So, the best MCAT score you could possibly get is a 45. The Writing Sample is a letter grade, but we’re really just going to stick with the numbered ones.

I would argue, and actually the data out of the medical school shows, that if you get an MCAT of 30 or above with 10, 10, 10 across the board and that means 10 in Physical Sciences, 10 in Biological Sciences and 10 in Verbal Reasoning, you are more likely to get into medical school. So I would argue the bottom score for being viable for medical school admissions is a 30, and you want to be even across the board.

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As you well know, academics are a huge part of the medical school admissions process. This Academics Bucket is filled with items weighed by the medical school admissions committees when assessing your readiness to excel academically in medical school. These include: GPA, MCAT, undergraduate/graduate school strength, course strength, and major. I am often asked, “What GPA and MCAT do I need to get into Harvard Medical School.” I always answer, “It depends.” Many pre-meds think it takes a 4.0 GPA and 45 MCAT score to get into medical school. They are wrong. Pre-meds with 4.0 GPAs and 45 MCAT scores used my consulting services after they were NOT accepted to medical school. Sure, you generally need good grades and a decent MCAT score to get into medical school, but there is no exact GPA or MCAT score that guarantees admission. Medical school admissions committees look at a pre-med’s "whole package" when deciding who gets into medical school. Great grades and MCAT scores, a top-20 school pedigree, upper level classes, and a challenging or unique major are not enough to get into medical school. You need to be well-rounded and stand out among the other 40,000 applicants.