Getting into med school with a low MCAT score
It's no secret that the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a critical factor in the admissions process for medical school. A high score can open doors, while a low score can limit you. So what do you do if you're not happy with your MCAT score? Don't worry — you still have options. We will discuss a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting into med school even if your MCAT score isn't where you want it to be.
What is the MCAT?
The MCAT is a standardized test that all prospective medical students must take in order to be considered for admission to medical schools. The MCAT is administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and is offered several times throughout the year at testing centers worldwide. The MCAT is a computer-based test that consists of four sections:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
The MCAT is designed to assess an applicant's ability to think critically and solve problems, as well as their knowledge of the basic sciences. In recent years, the AAMC has made an effort to make the MCAT more reflective of the skills that are needed in medical school and beyond. As a result, the test now emphasizes questions requiring critical thinking and analysis, rather than simply memorization.
What's considered a 'good' MCAT score?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of what is considered a good MCAT score. Every school is different, and each has its own unique admissions criteria. Some schools may place more emphasis on MCAT scores than others, but ultimately all of them will consider the score in the context of your entire application.
Some schools are more selective than others, and as a result, may have high MCAT score cut-offs. For example, the top-ranked Harvard Medical School and New York University have average MCAT scores of 520 and 522, respectively. This makes them two of the most competitive medical schools in the U.S..
The good news is that there are many schools to choose from, and not all of them are equally as selective. Some schools may have lower MCAT score cut-offs, while others may simply not consider your MCAT scores as heavily as other factors in the admissions process. This means that, whatever your score may be, there's likely to be a school out there that's a good fit for you. At St Matthew's University School of Medicine, we consider MCAT scores alongside GPA, plus other academic factors that can indicate your level of success and commitment separate from an applicant's MCAT score.
Can I get into medical school with a low MCAT score?
Yes, it's possible to get into medical school with a low MCAT score. While your score is certainly an important factor in the admissions process, it's not the only thing that schools will look at. Schools will also consider your GPA, your letters of recommendation, and your personal statement. In addition, they may also take into account your clinical experience, science pre-requisites and extracurricular activities.
So, if your MCAT score isn't where you want it to be, don't despair. Simply make sure to put your best foot forward in the rest of your application and highlight all of the positives you possess. High MCAT or not, you can still be on your way to getting into medical school and becoming a doctor.
Should I retake the MCAT?
There is no easy answer to the question of whether or not you should retake the MCAT. Ultimately, it's a decision that only you can make. Weighing the pros and cons of retaking the test is an important step in making your decision.
Some students choose to retake the MCAT in order to improve their scores. This may help them to get into the school of their choice or to receive more scholarship money. However, it's important to keep in mind that there is no guarantee that your score will improve. If you're confident that you can do better, then retaking the test may be the right choice for you.
Other students decide not to retake the MCAT and instead focus on other aspects of their application. Retaking the MCAT can be a time-consuming and stressful process, and it may detract from other important parts of your application. In addition, retaking the test can be expensive, as you will have to pay the registration fee again. Remember, your MCAT score is just one part of the admissions process. If you have a low MCAT, high GPA, and letters of recommendation, you may still be able to get into a good school.
All in all, the decision of whether or not to retake the MCAT is a personal one. There is no right or wrong answer. Consider your unique circumstances, and make the choice that's best for you.
How to address low MCAT scores in medical school applications
If you're worried about how your low MCAT score will affect your medical school applications, don't be. Remember, your score is just one part of the equation.
To improve your chances of being accepted, one of the best things you can do is to focus on the positive aspects of your application. Highlight your strengths, and don't bring up your low MCAT score unless the school asks you about it. That way, you can control the narrative, and keep the focus on your positive qualities. If you are asked about your score, be honest and straightforward. Explain your low MCAT score results, highlight why you think your score is lower than it could be, and talk about the steps you're taking to address the issue.
Remember that there are many traits that make a great medical school student. At St. Matthew's University School of Medicine, we look for students who are compassionate, hardworking, and dedicated to helping others. If you have these qualities, you will be an asset to any medical school.
Apply to medical school, regardless of MCAT score
Don't let a low MCAT score stop you from applying to medical school. There are many schools that accept students with low MCAT scores. For example, at St. Matthew's University School of Medicine, we believe that every student has the potential to be a great doctor, regardless of their MCAT score. We take a holistic approach to admissions, and we evaluate each applicant on their individual merits.
Take a look at our admissions requirements here at St. Matthew's University School of Medicine, and apply for our medicine program today. Whatever your MCAT score, we'd love to review your application.
Still unsure? Why not join one of our online webinars to find out more about what life is like as a medical student at St. Matthew's? You can also contact us directly with any questions you may have - we're here to help you every step of the way.