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Blog / Old To New MCAT Conversion How To Convert Your Score And Percentiles

Old to New MCAT Conversion: How to Convert Your Score and Percentiles

Written by Keenan on May 11, 2022

The History of the MCAT

The publication of the Flexner report in 1910, written by Abraham Flexner called for reform in American medical education methods. It was during this time that Flexner sowed the seeds for standardizing medical education among different medical schools, an education based on the sciences of physics, chemistry, and biology. 

He also believed that it was important to standardize the methods by which medical schools selected students who would be able to successfully train as doctors.

In answer to the reforms called for in the Flexner Report, American medical colleges came up with the predecessor to the MCAT, which was the beginning of standardized testing as part of admission to medical school. 

It was in 1948 that Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) took its current name, and it continued to change in order to measure entirely students’ abilities to integrate, apply new knowledge and use the critical thinking skills properly.

After several adjustments, in 2014 the American Medical Colleges Association (AAMC) announced that the MCAT would be the first of a new kind of entrance exam to assess students’ eligibility to enter medical school, and it was modified to best reflect the current state of medical education. Afterward, the exam changed from being limited to certain disciplines to having a broader scope and greater applicability in the real world.

This article will consider some of the most important changes in the new MCAT and what they will mean for potential medical students.

Old And New MCAT Characteristic Changes

Before the new MCAT scoring system came along in 2015, previous test-takers received an MCAT score of 1-15 for each of the three categories. The old average MCAT score was around 25.6. The new MCAT scoring system is a scaled score of 472-528, earning 118-132 on each section. The mean total for the current MCAT is 500.

The three existing typical categories which were Physical and Biological Sciences and Verbal, have been replaced with four sections that contain Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior, Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills, Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior. The new sections were created as the AAMC felt that knowing just science concepts was deficient preparation for modern medicine.

Since each section of the new MCAT became considerably longer than before, the MCAT exam length was increased from approximately five hours to seven and a half hours to accommodate the extra information being tested.

Prior to 2015, students complained that the passages seemed to have nothing to do with medicine. The new MCAT’s passages are now much more biologically relevant as well as many more of the passages are experimental and adapted from scientific journal articles, indicating the growing importance of medical research.

Old And New Scaled Scores

Many people, even admissions officers, are having trouble with interpreting raw scores or figuring out the new scoring system. Believe it or not, several individuals still are unsure how to interpret MCAT overall scores and section scores, and are more comfortable with old scores.

Before we get into the scaled scores, let’s have a look at the terms you should know about:

MCAT Raw Score: The raw score refers to all correct answers. Since there are 230 questions on the new MCAT, it will be out of 230.

MCAT Percentiles: The percentile ranks indicate how many other test-takers scored below a specific value.

Old MCAT Score: A score between 3 and 45, with the average being 25.6.

New MCAT Score: A score between 472 and 528, with the average being 500.

Old MCAT to New MCAT; Total Score Conversion and Percentiles

The table below can be used for the new MCAT score conversion. This refers to the overall result for the entire MCAT exam.

 

Old MCAT Score New MCAT Score MCAT Percentiles
45 528 >99
44 527 >99
43 527 >99
42 526 >99
41 525 >99
40 524 >99
39 523 99
38 522 99
37 520 98
36 518 96
35 517 95
34 515 92
33 514 90
32 512 85
31 510 80
30 508 74
29 506 68
28 504 61
27 503 58
26 501 51
25 499 44
24 498 41
23 496 34
22 494 28
21 493 25
20 491 20
19 490 18
18 488 14
17 486 10
16 485 8
15 484 7
14 483 6
13 482 5
12 480 3
11 479 2
10 478 2
9 477 1
8 477 1
7 476 1
6 475 <1
5 474 <1
4 473 <1
3 472 <1

 

Old MCAT to New MCAT; Biological Sciences Score Conversion and Percentiles

 

Old MCAT Score New MCAT Score MCAT Percentiles
15 132 >99
14 131 >99
13 130 >99
12 129 >99
11 128 >99
10 127 >99
9 126 99
8 125 99
7 124 98
6 123 96
5 122 95
4 121 92
3 120 90
2 119 85
1 118 80

Old MCAT to New MCAT; Physical Sciences Score Conversion and Percentiles

Old MCAT Score New MCAT Score MCAT Percentiles
15 132 >99
14 131 >99
13 130 >99
12 129 >99
11 128 >99
10 127 >99
9 126 99
8 125 99
7 124 98
6 123 96
5 122 95
4 121 92
3 120 90
2 119 85
1 118 80

 

Old MCAT to new MCAT: CARS Score Conversion and Percentiles

Old MCAT Score New MCAT Score MCAT Percentiles
15 132 >99
14 131 >99
13 130 >99
12 129 >99
11 128 >99
10 127 >99
9 126 99
8 125 99
7 124 98
6 123 96
5 122 95
4 121 92
3 120 90
2 119 85
1 118 80

As you can see, the Medical School Admissions process has changed considerably over the years. Since new sections have been integrated and the average score has changed since 2015, all medical schools will require you to take the new MCAT. 

The reason for these changes is primarily the enhanced process improvement by which medical school administrators can train and recruit physicians who can think and treat their patients in a holistic, culturally competent manner. These changes in the MCAT reflect significant changes in healthcare, which itself is yearning to become more technological, accessible, money-conscious, and culturally competent, making it also increasingly complex. 

Keep in mind that not all medical schools will accept the old MCAT when applying to medical school, most committees will not consider MCAT scores that are over two years old.

 



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