Average MCAT Score + GPA for Medical School

April 4, 2023

average MCAT scores

Whether you’re researching the best pre-med programs or the top medical schools for your dream specialty, chances are you’ve come across the dreaded Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Just like other standardized tests such as the LSAT or GMAT, it tends to get a bad rap because of its perceived difficulty and the weight it carries in medical school admissions. How will I learn everything there is to know about medicine? How will I focus for so many hours? What if I fail the exam over and over again? Questions like these may already be plaguing your mind, and you don’t even know what the exam entails. Unfortunately, the MCAT does live up to its negative reputation. It is an exam that requires dedicated preparation and consistent studying if you hope to even approach the average MCAT score

Before you start panicking, there is good news! It’s an exam that you can successfully prepare for through consistent studying. The key is understanding the MCAT’s role in your medical school application.

What is the MCAT?

The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice, and computer-based assessment that nearly all U.S. medical schools require in order for students to apply. Typically, students take it in the same year they’re applying to medical school. Overall, the MCAT tests the problem-solving and critical-thinking skills you possess as a prospective medical student. The questions are broken down into four distinct categories:

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  3. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

The MCAT was first administered in 1947 by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Since then, the exam has been modified several times, most recently in 2015 when its standards were overhauled.

Notably, the exam duration was lengthened from five hours to nearly eight hours. (Don’t worry, you get several breaks!) In addition, there is no longer a writing sample section, increasing the number of multiple-choice sections from three to four. The sectional and total scoring ranges are also different.

What is a Good MCAT Score?

This hot-topic question is an extremely popular one to type into Google, but it doesn’t necessarily have a clear-cut answer! The MCAT scoring system is a little complicated at first glance. Let’s break it down:

In total, the exam contains 230 multiple-choice questions that are split up among four sections. Sections one, three and four have 59 questions each, while section two contains 53 questions. You aren’t penalized for guessing or getting wrong answers, so the final raw score of each section is just the number of correct answers added up.

Then, each raw sectional score is converted to a scaled score ranging from 118 to 132. So, if you got every question right on the exam, your total score would be 528 (the highest you can achieve). Your raw score is then scaled to a set of MCAT score percentiles, which range from less than one percent to 100 percent. For example, if your total score is 514, then you would rank in the 88th percentile for all students who took the MCAT the same year. It is important to note that the percentile ranks do shift slightly from year to year.

According to the AAMC, the average total score was 506.5 and the average total GPA was 3.62 for the 2022-23 exam cycle, comprising over 55,000 medical school applicants. Based on this year’s score percentile chart, a total score of 506 translates to the 65th percentile. Meanwhile, the average MCAT score for those who enrolled in medical school was 511.9, or between the 80th and 83rd percentiles.

So, is the national average a “good” score?

That really depends on the school you’re applying to. Many medical schools don’t have a minimum MCAT score requirement, but their average applicant scores tend to be on the higher side as shown in the tables below. They generally hover around the 80th percentile or above.  Schools that do maintain a score minimum range from 490 to 507, which is just above the national average.

If you have your eyes set on a top medical school, a “good” starting score would probably be 509 (the 74th percentile in the 2022-23 exam cycle). Remember, the below scores are averages, so there are admitted students who scored both above and below the mean! Every practice exam you take, the more likely you are to reach your target score.

What is the Average MCAT Score at Top U.S. Medical Schools?

As illustrated by the variety of highly-ranked schools below, average MCAT scores fall into a general range of 507-528. These listed schools are just a handful of excellent medical institutions that offer respected research and industry-specific opportunities. Make sure to click on each of the schools for more statistical information about their most recent cohorts!

Northeast – Average MCAT Score

School Average MCAT Score Average GPA
Harvard Medical School 520 3.9
NYU Grossman School of Medicine 522 3.96
Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons 508-528 3.44-4.0
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 521 3.94
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania 511-528 3.63-4.0


School Average MCAT Score Average GPA
Duke University School of Medicine 519 3.9
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine 508-528 3.5-4.0
Emory University School of Medicine 514 3.7
University of Florida College of Medicine 514 3.79
Wake Forest University School of Medicine 511 3.76

 Midwest – Average MCAT Score

School Average MCAT Score Average GPA
Washington University School of Medicine 520 3.86
Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine 521 3.94
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine 520 3.92
University of Michigan Medical School 513 3.78
University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine 507-528 3.3-4.0


School Average MCAT Score Average GPA
Baylor College of Medicine 518 3.81
University of Texas Medical Branch 511 3.8
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston 512 3.86
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center 509 3.8
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center 516 3.88

West – Average MCAT Score 

School Average MCAT Score Average GPA
UCSF School of Medicine 515 3.87
Stanford University School of Medicine 518 3.89
University of Washington School of Medicine 511 3.75
UC San Diego School of Medicine 515 3.77
Keck School of Medicine of USC 517 3.8

How Important is a Good MCAT Score?

This is the million-dollar question you’ll be asking yourself after taking your first practice MCAT. Most likely, the score you receive won’t be the one you anticipated or hoped for. You might even fail it! But again, don’t worry! It’s going to take many, many practice exams to achieve the score you have confidence in. You just have to continue trying your best up until the day you take the real exam.

In the grand scheme of things, the MCAT score is a critical part of your application, but it’s not the sole determiner of whether you’re admitted or not. Just like your undergraduate college applications, there are numerous factors that demonstrate your past, current and future success as a student and eventual medical professional. There’s your coursework, your work experience, your relevant extracurricular activities, your letters of evaluation, your personal statement, your supplementary essays, etc.

The medical school admissions process is a holistic one, as should your preparation for the MCAT. Try to avoid viewing the exam as just a hard test you have to score well enough on to get into medical school. Multiple scientific studies have shown that your MCAT score correlates with how you perform on the U.S. Medical Licensure Exam (USMLE), which you take in order to officially become a licensed doctor.

Average MCAT Score – What’s Next?

If you’re not ready to take the MCAT any time soon, you can use these average scores to inform your future decisions about your academic and career goals. For example, you may look at these scores when considering BS/MD programs, early assurance medical programs, or even the top feeder universities to medical school. These programs don’t require you to take the MCAT to be admitted as an undergraduate. Instead, they help you better prepare to take the exam than you would on your own.

However, if you’ve already got your MCAT date circled in red on your calendar for later this year, it’s time to buckle down and get your ducks in a row. Creating a study schedule is really important for staying organized and covering all the possible topics that may show up on the exam. Set flexible deadlines and plan out practice exams to prevent yourself from becoming overly stressed out in the weeks leading up to the big day.

Either way, the most important thing to remember is that your MCAT score is just one part of your medical school application!