The MCAT is just one of the principal elements used when considering whether a person should be admitted into medical school. However, getting a high score doesn’t necessarily mean you’re on your way to becoming a great doctor.
So, what are the factors that show how well a potential medical student may do as a medical student? Here are some stats.
MCAT’s Impact on Medical School Success
Stats from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) show that in 2018-2019:
- Students who enrolled into medical schools averaged 511.2 on the MCAT
- 98% of students who scored between 510-513 on the MCAT advanced from first year to second year med students
- 94% of those scoring between 498-501 progressed from first hear to two year medical students
Does a medical students grade-point average (GPA) determine med school success? AAMC worked with 18 different medical schools to measure how well around 1,000 students performed. According to the study, MCAT scores were more of an impactful predictor of medical school success than GPA.
Please check out the study for more details: Using MCAT Data in 2019 Medical Student Selection
Military Medicine published another study which shows that MCAT can be predictors of early med school success. But by the time students start their residencies, MCAT scores were not much of a predictor of future success from that point. The 2015 report found that these scores are not predictors of how well a student will perform clinical duties as a first year resident.
Please check out the study for more details: Does the MCAT Predict Medical School and PGY-1 Performance?
What’s the Purpose of the MCAT?
The MCAT evaluates a person’s intellectual knowledge and ability to take in more at a manic rate as a medical student. However, there are competencies required to become a great doctor that no standardized test can measure, including:
In 2015, the exam was redesigned to help ensure that people entering medical schools also have basic understandings of behavioral science and social science. It’s important to include those who may perform low on the MCAT, but possess many other characteristics that can bring value to the healthcare system to the candidate pool.
According to the AAMC study mentioned above, MCAT scores and GPAs are given great weight when determining medical school eligibility. But there are other qualities that lead to success as practicing physician. These are characteristics med schools also look for in potential candidates, such as:
- Leadership skills
- Volunteer work
- Community service
- Interview results
- Extra-curricular activities
So, in the end, your MCAT score may be a predictor of how well you’ll do during your first year of medical school. But it does not directly affect your long-term success as a med student, during your residency or as a practicing physician.