The MCAT Results & What Are Percentiles?

The MCAT Results & What Are Percentiles?

If you’re reading this, you have probably just finished your MCAT and you’re waiting for the results. If so, then congratulations for making it this far! Waiting for results can be agonizing and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, I’ll shine a light on a few questions you might have at this stage.
The MCAT Results & What Are Percentiles
Bianca Villanueva

  ·  

March 21, 2024

TABLE OF CONTENTS

If you’re not waiting for your MCAT results, I invite you to continue reading, anyway. This article might give you some insight on what comes right after taking the MCAT. If you don’t know what the MCAT is, Lecturio has a few articles to explain the exam and its contents.

Before I talk about how you’ll get through this strange limbo between your exam and its results, I’ll answer a couple questions that many students like you tend to ask.

How long does it take to get MCAT results?

The official MCAT scores should be out 30-35 days post-exam. It sounds like a long wait, and it is. It’s a whole month of just waiting. That’s because the process of scoring and reporting your score is rigorous and AAMC ensures accuracy through various quality control processes.

How do I view my results?

To view your results, sign into your AAMC account. On the right side, there should be a button that says “Get Your Test Scores,” where you’ll be able to view your score.

Can I contest my scores or request for a recount?

You may request a rescore, wherein AAMC will reevaluate your test manually. However, like I mentioned earlier, they’re very careful with AAMC scores, so the likelihood of your reported score being wrong is quite low.

If you really feel like your score should be different, you can go to the AAMC site and submit a request through the MCAT Registration System. Afterwards, you’ll receive an invoice for a fee via e-mail. At the time of writing this article, the fee is around $65 USD, which you have to pay to complete the request form submission. Make sure to act promptly because you only have a maximum of 30 days after your score was released to make a rescore request.

The results of the rescore should be sent 3 weeks after it’s been received by the AAMC where they’ll either confirm your score or send you the corrected one.

What do the MCAT percentiles mean?

Many exams, instead of grading through raw scores, score you through percentiles. While raw scores do influence your percentile ranking, they’re also largely affected by the scores of others. Percentile scores are basically the representation of your score compared to a group of people. In the case of the MCAT, your score will be compared to the MCAT results of previous years’ test takers.

For example, if you get a percentile of 85, it means you performed better than 85% of the other test takers. This is not to be confused with a percentage score that shows how much of the test you got correct. In that case, a percentage score of 85% would mean that you got 85% of the highest possible score.

Every raw score has an associated percentile rank, and fortunately, they’re posted on the AAMC website. So if you’re aiming for a specific percentile rank (this usually depends on your school of choice) you will want to aim for its respective raw scores. They even have the percentiles for each section of the MCAT.

What can I do while waiting for the MCAT results?

Waiting for MCAT results can make anyone anxious. You’re like Schrödinger’s cat where you’re stuck in the uncertainty of passing or failing. It’s an uncomfortable limbo between excitement and dread until your results are finally released. Although you can’t alter your score now, you can utilize the wait productively. So during the whole month that you’ll be waiting, here are some things that I highly recommend doing before your results are out.

#1: Do the things you enjoy

Your pre-med program has probably kept you from your hobbies more than you would have liked. This is your chance to fill your time with the things you used to love. You can go back to working on your hobbies full-time to get your mind off things. You can even try something new. It’s your opportunity to really go back to discovering parts of yourself outside of being a doctor. You might even find something you want to do besides medicine.

Once the results come out, you’ll get back into the grind of school and won’t have as much time to do the things you want to do again, so take this time to just be yourself.

#2: Spend time with friends and family

During your undergraduate school and your exam review, you’ve probably had to turn down a lot of invites to go out so that you could study. It’s likely that this will also happen in medical school. Now, you have the chance to catch up with your loved ones and enjoy some precious time together that you previously missed and might miss in the future. Take this time to nurture your relationships with other people, and maybe even go out and get to know new people!

#3: Go on a trip

Going on trips during your short “break” can help take your mind off the MCAT results. You can use this time to discover a whole world outside of where you live. Traveling might help calm your mind and put things into perspective. Sometimes it’s good to take a step away from where you are and take a breather from everything. You can use those moments to think about your next steps and if they’re what you really want to do.

When you go on trips, you can kill two birds with one stone: you can try new things in a new town or country, and get to know new people. You can also go on trips with your friends and family. You won’t have the time to go on many trips once you enter medical school since it’ll demand a lot of your time and presence.

#4: Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst

I know I mentioned that you might want to distract yourself, but as the results are near, you will want to set your expectations and prepare yourself. Talk to your relatives and friends about their potential reactions to different outcomes and what you would prefer them to do. Plan your alternatives should your score be below the one you wanted. Contemplate at which percentile you would want to retake the MCAT.

Plan for the worst case scenario, but also acknowledge that you have done your best up until now.

Your best should take you pretty far, and if it doesn’t, then that means you can just do better next time. If you want to plan for the best case scenario, you can, but don’t get too excited because there is always the possibility that you scored worse than you thought. Don’t count your eggs before they hatch. But also don’t forget to use this time to celebrate. Finishing your MCAT, regardless of the outcome, is a milestone in itself and you deserve to be happy about it.

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