How do medical schools evaluate the different sections of the MCAT? This is a common question with an encouraging answer.
Let’s say you just took the MCAT, or you just got your scores, or you just took a practice test. Of course, if you’re like everyone else, you hope that the section that med schools give the most weight to is the section that you have the highest score in.
Well, good news, you’re right — kind of.
The AAMC Chimes In
Here’s the answer to the question, written by none other than the President and CEO of the AAMC, Dr. Darrell G. Kirch. “… some focus on training the next generation of physician-scientists and others seek to strengthen the primary care workforce. Because of this difference in focus, these institutions are likely to weigh the MCAT exam sections differently, according to their core mission.” (Source: AAMC.org)
Let me emphasize this point. Different Medical School weigh the MCAT differently. So there is no one-size-fits-all-medical-schools score on the MCAT. Makes a lot of sense, when you think about it.
OK, so the next logical question is, “How does each individual medical school weigh the MCAT on a section-by-section basis?” This info is a lot harder to gather, because the data is buried in admissions statistics and averages. If you understand how averages work, you know that an average can hide some valuable info.
Mission Statements and the MCAT
However, I think you can make some reasonable inferences based on the “core mission” of a medical school. Take Johns Hopkins, for example. It’s mission statement reads,
“As a measure of their competence, every graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will:
- Apply scientific principles and a multidisciplinary body of scientific knowledge to the diagnosis, management, and prevention of clinical problems.
- Understand the variation in the expression of health and disease through critical evaluation of biomedical research.”
Based on this, you can infer that a school like Hopkins is likely to place great weight on the science sections of the MCAT. Indeed, when you look at their recent matriculant data, Hopkins’ med students have a higher average science MCAT than, say, a school like University of Southern California.
So before you pick a particular medical school, read its mission very carefully. You’ll gain some decent insight into what type of applicant they might be looking for.
Next Step: Start Preparing!
Once you know what you’re facing, I suggest you begin a comprehensive review of all MCAT topics by enrolling in my Open Source MCAT Course. It’s totally free, and the course contains more than 350 hours of MCAT science review from the top universities in the US. Check it out now!