While the national average MCAT score was 501.5 in 2021-2022, prospective students needed a 511.9 — a score closer to the 85th percentile — to have a real shot at getting into medical school.
Jane Nam, Ph.D., is a staff writer for BestColleges' Data Center. Before her work on higher education data trends, Jane was a news writer and the managing editor for an academic journal. She has graduate degrees in social and political philosophy and...
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Published January 12, 2023
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To score in the 90th percentile of any given MCAT section, you'll need at least a 128-130, depending on the section.
To have scored in the 75th percentile, you must have scored higher than a 509.Note Reference 
To have an MCAT score in the 50th percentile, you must have scored greater than 501.5.Note Reference 
Scoring 493 or below means you are in the 25th percentile or below.Note Reference 
Medical schools use the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) to evaluate prospective medical students' readiness for graduate school. Schools use MCAT scores, along with GPAs, as a way to compare applicants.
This article focuses on test takers pursuing medical degrees (MDs) at medical school, but podiatry school, anesthesiology school, MD/PHD programs, and osteopathic schools also use the MCAT for admissions.
Read on to find out more about national MCAT percentiles, broken down by total scores and section scores.
Table of Contents
- MCAT Percentiles
- MCAT Percentiles Broken Down by Section
- MCAT Percentiles for the CPBS Section
- MCAT Percentiles for the CARS Section
- MCAT Percentiles for the BBLS Section
- MCAT Percentiles for the PSBB Section
- Frequently Asked Questions About the MCAT
The MCAT score ranges from 472-528. The average MCAT score was 501.5 for those who took the test between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022.Note Reference 
- To be in the 75th percentile, you must score higher than a 509.Note Reference 
- To be in the 50th percentile, you must score greater than a 501.6.Note Reference 
- To score in or above the 25th percentile, you must achieve a result above 493.Note Reference 
- Scoring 493 or below means you are in the bottom quarter of test takers.Note Reference 
Note that you cannot score in the 100th or 0th percentiles, as these are just theoretical. They act as placeholders, however, and can be useful in better understanding the score range. Scores of 525-528 are in the 100th percentile, meaning no one has achieved them.
|Total Score||Percentile Rank|
The average total MCAT score has increased since 2015 when a new version of the exam was released. This means that the 50th percentile, which reflects the median score of test takers, has gone up. In 2015, a score of 500.0 was the 50th percentile, whereas the number is now 501.5 in 2021-2022.
MCAT Percentiles Broken Down by Section
The MCAT exam has four sections, all scored on a scale of 118-132.
All section score averages have gone up since 2015, except for the critical analysis and reasoning skills (CARS) section.
MCAT Percentiles for the CPBS Section
- To score in the 50th percentile for the chemical and physical foundations of biological systems (CPBS) section, you must have scored 125.2 in 2021-2022, up from 125.0 in 2015.
- To score in the 90th percentile, you must have scored above 128.
|Section Score||Percentile Rank|
MCAT Percentiles for the CARS Section
The average MCAT score for the critical analysis and reasoning skills (CARS) section is the only average section score to have gone down in the past six years.
- To score in the 50th percentile for the CARS section, you must have scored 124.8 in 2021-2022, down from 124.9 in 2015.
- To score in the 90th percentile, you must have scored 128 or higher.
|Section Score||Percentile Rank|
MCAT Percentiles for the BBLS Section
The average MCAT score for the biological and biochemical foundations of living systems (BBLS) section has increased by 0.5 points in the past six years.
- To score in the 50th percentile for the BBLS section, you must have scored 125.5 in 2021-2022, up from 125.0 in 2015.
- To score in the 90th percentile, you must have scored at least 129.
Note the drastic percentile drop from getting a section score of 130 versus 129. Although just a one-point difference, the percentile drops from 96th to 89th. Another big drop occurs between a section score of 127, which puts you in the 71st percentile, and a section score of 126, which puts you in the 60th percentile.
|Section Score||Percentile Rank|
MCAT Percentiles for the PSBB Section
The average MCAT score for the psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior (PSBB) section has gone up the most.
- To score in the 50th percentile for the PSBB section, you must have scored 126.0 in 2021-2022, up from 125.1 in 2015. This is a 0.9 point increase.
- The PSBB section has the highest average score, meaning that test takers tend to score the highest in this section.
- To score in the 90th percentile, you must have scored higher than 129.
|Section Score||Percentile Rank|
Frequently Asked Questions About the MCAT
How is the MCAT scored?
The MCAT has four sections, and each section is graded on a scale from 118-132. The sums of the four section scores are then added up to calculate the total score.
According to the AAMC, students who score about a 125 in each of the four sections and have a total score of 500 are strong contenders to succeed in medical school.Note Reference  As past MCAT exam research shows, they will likely get accepted into medical school, graduate in four or five years, and pass their licensing exams on the first try.Note Reference 
What will an MCAT score profile tell me?
Section scores highlight an applicant's strengths and weaknesses. Medical schools look at an applicant's reported scores for each section and compare them with their course grades and courses taken. This way, the institutions gain a better sense of what a prospective student might find to be more or less challenging during their graduate studies.
Section scores can also be compared with national percentiles to see how a student compares to other test takers of the same year. Are they in the top half of test takers? Are they in the 90th percentile?
What percentage of correct answers is a 510 on the MCAT? ›
Attaining a score of 510 on the MCAT means you performed in the 84% percentile. An even distribution for the section scores is preferred.What score is 80% correct on MCAT? ›
Our medical school admission experts recommend that you aim for a total score of a 509 or above. This score places you in the 80 th percentile of MCAT scores, according to AAMC. Read More: Medical School Requirements: How Important is GPA?What score is 75% on MCAT? ›
75th percentile – total score: 509/510; score for each section: between 126-128. 90th percentile – total score: 515; score for each section: between 128-130. 99th percentile – total score: 523; score for each section: between 131-132.How many questions can you miss on the MCAT to get a 528? ›
Each section of the MCAT is scored from 118 to 132. The score you can get from these four sections is something between 472 to 528. If you score a 132 in all four areas, you will achieve a 528—the perfect score.What is 50% correct on the MCAT? ›
Remember the ~50% or basic average is a score between 500 and 501, and max achievable is 528, so with every extra point in your total score is a significant bump up in the percentile ranking. Each section of the MCAT is graded the same way individually.What is 70% correct on MCAT? ›
Approximately 70% of test takers are expected to score between 493 and 507.What is a 72% on the MCAT? ›
What is a good MCAT percentile?
|Total Score||Percentile Rank|
If the real MCAT that you get is more difficult, then you might be able to miss 11 or 12 questions and still get a 128. (Of course, these numbers are just approximations.What is 73% on MCAT? ›
Attaining a score of 506 on the MCAT means you performed in the 73% percentile. An even distribution for the section scores is preferred.Is 487 a good MCAT score? ›
Attaining a score of 487 on the MCAT means you performed in the 13% percentile. An even distribution for the section scores is preferred.
Should I retake 516 MCAT? ›
Assuming a strong GPA and extracurricular profile, scoring a 518 or above will help you be competitive for the highest-tier schools, even if their average matriculant MCAT score is a 520 or 521. With scores at this level, an MCAT retake is not necessary because schools will consider you to be academically elite.Is 508 a low MCAT score? ›
508-510 are all fine, and if you don't get accepted with a score in that range, it's not because of your MCAT score. Anything that's 510 and above will help you. This is going to discourage a lot of people because they may only be getting a 504 or 505.Is the MCAT curved? ›
There is no curve associated with the MCAT® exam. Instead, the MCAT exam is scaled and equated so that scores have the same meaning, no matter when you test. Learn more about how the exam is scored.
In other words, you can miss a question on a section of the MCAT and still achieve a perfect section score of 132. Many students who achieve perfect section scores and perfect overall MCAT scores likely do miss a question or two. That being said, it is still very difficult to achieve the perfect 528 on the MCAT.Should you retake a 509 MCAT? ›
But, if you are aiming to get in to a medical school with an average MCAT score of 509 for matriculants, there is likely no need to retake the exam.What is a 44% on the MCAT? ›
|Old MCAT Score||New MCAT Score||Percentile|
As the percentile rank table shows, a total score of 501 on the MCAT exam has a percentile rank of 56%. This means that 56% of MCAT scores were equal to or less than 501. Every year on May 1, the percentile ranks for the MCAT exam will be updated using data from one or more previous years.What percentile is 490 on MCAT? ›
Attaining a score of 490 on the MCAT means you performed in the 20% percentile. An even distribution for the section scores is preferred. For example: 127 (C/P) 118 (CARS) 120 (B/B) 125 (P/S).What is a 71% on the MCAT? ›
These percentile ranks are based on all MCAT results from the 2019, 2020, and 2021 testing years combined. For example, 71% of MCAT total scores were equal to or less than 508 across all exams administered in 2019, 2020, and 2021 combined. Updates to the percentile ranks will be made on May 1st each year.What percentile is 499 on MCAT? ›
Attaining a score of 499 on the MCAT means you performed in the 49% percentile. An even distribution for the section scores is preferred. For example: 130 (C/P) 123 (CARS) 119 (B/B) 127 (P/S).
Can I get into med school with a 507 MCAT? ›
Whilst it's certainly possible to get into a medical school with a 507 or below (and there have been cases of students accepted with sub-500 scores), it's unlikely – especially if you're applying for a more competitive college. In general, it's difficult to get accepted with an MCAT score below 500.What is 100th percentile MCAT scores? ›
Anything between a score of 524 and 528 is considered in 100th percentile, and there is no perfect score, as the exam is calculated on a percentage basis and changes from year to year. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that about 85,000 people sit for the MCAT every year.What percentile is a 495 on the MCAT? ›
Attaining a score of 495 on the MCAT means you performed in the 35% percentile. An even distribution for the section scores is preferred.How many CARS questions can I get wrong MCAT? ›
In order to get around a 127 on the CARS section, you need to miss no more than 10-13 questions. There will definitely be some variability on how many you can get wrong on MCAT CARS exams administered. But that is usually the average you could get wrong and still get a 127. There are 9 passages on each MCAT CARS exam.Should I retake a 515 MCAT? ›
Retaking a 515 and not scoring 520+, which is relatively unlikely, period, will cause them to question your judgment, whether you score 518, 512, or 515 on the retake. It's very difficult, although certainly not impossible, to win retaking a 515, which is why the advice is overwhelmingly against it.How many Mcats can you void? ›
Fortunately for pre-meds, medical schools do not see that you voided your MCAT. However, your voided attempt counts toward your 7 lifetime MCAT attempts as well as your three attempts per year. Another thing to mention is that your voided attempt is non-refundable.What is the hardest section on MCAT? ›
The Most Difficult MCAT Test Section
Many students report that the most difficult section is CARS, and the average scores reported by AAMC back that up. The lowest average section scores overall and for matriculants are in CARS.
Attaining a score of 479 on the MCAT means you performed in the 2% percentile. An even distribution for the section scores is preferred.What is the easiest section on MCAT? ›
Not Preparing for MCAT CARS
MCAT CARS is often considered the easiest section of the MCAT since it does not test specific knowledge in any particular subject.
Currently, a score of 510 on the MCAT places you in the 80th percentile, which will require you to score in the top 20% of test takers. As such, getting a score of 510 or better is not easy, and will require some very hard work. This is particularly true given the caliber of students that you are going up against.
What percent correct is a 500 on the MCAT? ›
Attaining a score of 500 on the MCAT means you performed in the 53% percentile. An even distribution for the section scores is preferred.Is 510 a competitive MCAT score? ›
The Bottom Line. To be considered for acceptance at most medical schools, your MCAT score should be at least 510, and you should score no lower than 127 on each section.Should I retake my MCAT if I got a 510? ›
While going from 515 to 517 looks good, going from 498 to 502 looks great. So statistically speaking, unless you're already in the very highest tier of test takers, chances are that retaking the MCAT will result in a better score and will ultimately benefit your application.Is 508 MCAT easy to get? ›
A 508 is a good MCAT score if you scored a high, even distribution for each individual score. For example, a 127 (C/P), 127 (CARS), 127 (B/B), 127 (P/S) (508) is excellent. It shows medical schools that you passed every section of the exam.Should I retake a 512 MCAT? ›
Ultimately, deciding whether or not to retake the MCAT depends on your goals. For example, if you are aiming to get in to a medical school with an average matriculant MCAT score of 518 and you earned a 512, you will have to retake the MCAT to have a realistic shot at that medical school.Is a 512 hard to get on MCAT? ›
Attaining a score of 512 on the MCAT means you performed in the 88% percentile. An even distribution for the section scores is preferred.Is 506 MCAT accepted? ›
[12:00] Hitting 506-509 to 510 and Above
Then when you get to the 506-509 range, there's a significant jump in the acceptance rate at 46.2%. So, now you're well above the national average for MCAT scores, and that's likely to be accepted.
MCAT score ranges of 506 – 509: Apply to your state medical schools. Apply to a handful of additional allopathic medical schools and 15 – 20 osteopathic medical schools. MCAT score ranges of 510 – 514: Apply to your state medical schools and 25 – 30 carefully selected allopathic medical schools.Should I retake 511 MCAT? ›
If you were averaging 510-512s on your practice AAMC exam but scored much lower on test day, this is a good reason to retake the MCAT. The lower score is more likely due to nerves, pressure, lack of sleep, or sickness than lack of knowledge and ability.What is a realistic MCAT score? ›
A good MCAT score is generally considered to be 511 or higher, with no section score below 127. The MCAT, also known as the Medical College Admission Test, is a computer-based standardized exam designed to assess your potential as a medical student and doctor.
Does MCAT outweigh GPA? ›
Myth 2: A high MCAT score will make up for my low GPA, or vice versa. Fact: This myth is true at a certain level but only in extreme cases. For example, a student who has a 3.4 GPA (which would be considered a low GPA by premed standards) but a 519 MCAT has a decent chance of getting into an allopathic medical school.When should you void your MCAT score? ›
The AAMC allows test-takers to void their MCAT test at the end of the exam, in which case it won't be scored and medical schools chosen to receive the results will not see the test-taker's participation.Should you ever void your MCAT score? ›
If you believe it was because the test was harder than you expected, don't void. If you ran out of time because you misread the clock, got hung up on one question, or something else unexpected, then voiding may be a good idea. For these reasons, it's important to practice pacing well before taking the MCAT.