Out with the old, in with the new. The folks in the white lab coats had made some changes to the MCAT in 2015. Your MCAT scores have been released and, in addition to needing to brush up on your Psychology and Sociology, the scoring system has been changed, requiring a sort of informal MCAT score conversion to better understand how your scores compare.
Why do you care?
Well, an easy answer is that it shows us how most medical schools compare students who have taken the old MCAT with students who have taken the new.
The less easy answer? Stacking your scores up to your annoying cousin Steve who still brags about his admittance to Harvard’s med school in 2005. Nobody cares, Steve.
If you’re still new to understanding what differences lie between the old MCAT to the new MCAT scores, look no further than our quick guide to the primary differences in the section scores and total score conversion:
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Old MCAT to new MCAT Conversion Basics:
To understand how the scoring has changed for the new 2015 MCAT and beyond, let’s break out the old MCAT in comparison to the new MCAT:
- 3 sections of multiple choice
- 1 writing section
- Score in each multiple choice ranging from 1-15; a total score of 3 to 45
- 4 sections of multiple choice
- No writing section
- Score in each multiple choice ranging from 118 – 132; a total score of 472 – 528
The MCAT has changed a lot over the years. Learn what the MCAT stands for and some of its history to gain a better appreciation for this test.
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What this means:
Although the numbers seems much more intimidating on the new MCAT, it’s important to understand that both the old and new MCAT scores have a range of 15 (1-15 on the old scale and 118-132 on the new). The AAMC says it is “impossible” to convert old MCAT scores to new scores, but here at TPN, we don’t live by the rules. We’ve rolled up our sleeves and put together an MCAT score conversion chart that does a pretty darn good job at estimating your old MCAT to new MCAT scores (but don’t tell the AAMC on us):
Old MCAT to New MCAT Conversion Chart
OLD MCAT SCORE NEW MCAT SCORE PERCENTILE
39+ 523+ 100
38 521-522 99
37 519-520 98
36 518 97
35 517 96
34 515 94
33 513-514 91
32 512 88
31 509-510 83
30 508 79
29 506 73
28 504 67
27 502-503 61
26 500-501 55
25 499 49
24 497-498 43
23 495-496 37
22 494 32
21 492-493 27
20 491 23
19 489-490 19
18 487-488 15
17 486 12
16 485 10
15 484 8
14 483 6
13 482 5
12 480 3
11 479 2
10 478 2
9 477 1
8 476 1
7 (or below) 475 (or below) 0
How the Old MCAT Percentiles Compare to the New MCAT Percentiles
It’s hard to talk about MCAT scores without mentioning the percentiles stacking you up against your competition:
Why Percentiles Matter
Why do MCAT percentiles matter? The answer is simple; to compare us against everyone else taking the test. Gone are the days where everyone gets a trophy. With the MCAT, there are winners, losers, and then everyone else who falls in the middle of the bell curve. One could say that the percentile comparing you against the other test takers is actually more important than your score itself.
How Percentiles Work
The percentile measures how well your score compares to others who took the test. The percentile does NOT measure the percentage of questions you answered correctly. Let’s take this percentile example:
98th percentile: 98% of all test takers received the same score or lower. Simply put, a 98th percentile means that you are in the top 2% of all test takers.
Although there are big differences in content that is being tested between the old and new MCAT, you should understand that the importance of a high score and landing in the top percentiles remains equally important. Here’s a short timeline on MCAT percentiles.
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