The MCAT

The MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) is required for allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. The exam has four sections, three of which are each scored on a numeric 1-15 scale. The fourth is a writing sample that is scored on a letter scale from J (lowest) to T (highest). There is no score that guarantees acceptance, but a good goal is to score 10 or higher on all three quantitative sections for a total score of at least 30. Retaking the MCAT is a balanced decision, partly because the second set of scores are handled in a variety of ways by different medical admissions panels.

The four sections of the MCAT are:

  • Physical Sciences (numeric scale of 1-15)
    General chemistry and physics (NO calculus), evaluating understanding of key concepts rather than memorization of facts
  • Biological Sciences (numeric scale of 1-15)
    Biology and organic chemistry, evaluating understanding of key concepts rather than memorization of facts
  • Verbal Reasoning (numeric scale of 1-15)
    Interpretation and analysis of several written passages, taken from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. 
  • Writing Sample (letter scale of J-T)
    Two 30-minute essays, providing an opportunity to demonstrate skills in developing a central idea, supporting it logically, and writing clearly.

A common question is "What classes do I need to take that will help prepare me for the MCAT?"  You should be on track with the recommended course schedule having completed 2 biology classes, 4 chemistry, and 2 physics.  If you have yet to take Biochemistry I, we recommend that you take it in the fall of your junior year.  For physics, you can take either the algebra or calculus-based course to be adequately prepared for the MCAT.  For more information about preparing for the MCAT, see Entrance Exams.

Some recent data is shown below:

                                         Average MCAT Score*
Programs Wooster Students National Average
Students Applying to MD Programs 27.2 O 25.9 O
Students Admitted to at least one MD Program 29.1 P 29.2 O
Students Applying to DO Programs 22.9 O 22.9 O
Students Admitted to at least one DO Program 24.4 O 23.9 O

*For applicants in 2007 planning to enter medical school in 2008. Sources: AAMC and AACOM Advisor Information Systems.

Resources such as the Medical Schools Admission Requirements (for M.D. programs) and AACOM College Information Book (for D.O. programs) provide detailed GPA and MCAT profiles for each medical school in the United States. National data for M.D. applicants, showing the admission rates of applicants with certain GPA and MCAT scores, is available at the AAMC Web site.