MCAT

MCAT Sections: Average Score and Percentile by Section

Which MCAT section is the most difficult? What are the percentile breakdowns of MCAT scores by section? Read on to find out.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recently released 2019 data summarizing MCAT scores by section (2019 report, AAMC). In this post, we’ve compiled the data on MCAT section scores, compare average MCAT section scores between both test takers and admitted applicants, and provide MCAT score percentiles by section so you know where you stand among the crowd. Read our previous post on total MCAT score averages and percentile breakdowns.

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Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (CPBS)

What’s a good MCAT CPBS section score? The average C/P or CPBS score of all test takers in 2019 was 125.1, with a standard deviation of 3.0 points (AAMC). To put this in context, the average MCAT CPBS score of all applicants to medical school in 2019 was 126.3 with a standard deviation of 2.7 points (AAMC).  When looking only at accepted students matriculating into medical school, the average MCAT CPBS section score of accepted applicants was 127.7, with a standard deviation of 2.1 points (AAMC). In other words, the average person accepted into medical school in 2019 has an MCAT CPBS section score in the ~80th percentile among all test takers.

MCAT CPBS Section Score Percentiles

mcat-cpbs-percentiles
Score Percentile Breakdown of the CPBS Section on the MCAT
Section Score Percentile Rank
118 1
119 3
120 6
121 12
122 21
123 31
124 43
125 54
126 66
127 76
128 85
129 92
130 97
131 99
132 100

Data adapted from AAMC.

 

Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS)

What CARS score do you need on the MCAT to get into medical school? To answer this question, let’s The average CARS score of all test takers in 2019 was 124.8, with a standard deviation of 2.9 points (AAMC). This is the lowest mean among all the sections discussed, so there’s evidence pointing to the widely-held belief that the CARS section is the hardest section on the MCAT. In context, the average CARS score of all applicants to medical school in 2019 was 125.9 with a standard deviation of 2.7 points (AAMC).  Once again, when you narrow the scope to only accepted students matriculating into medical school, the average MCAT CARS score of accepted applicants was 127.1, with a standard deviation of 2.3 points (AAMC). In other words, the average accepted medical student matriculating in 2019 earned a CARS score in the 82nd percentile among all test takers.

MCAT CARS Section Score Percentiles

mcat-cars-percentiles
Score Percentile Breakdown of the CARS Section on the MCAT
Section Score Percentile Rank
118 1
119 2
120 7
121 13
122 23
123 35
124 48
125 60
126 71
127 82
128 90
129 94
130 98
131 99
132 100

Data adapted from AAMC.

 

Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems (BBLS)

The average B/B or BBLS score of all test takers in 2019 was 125.4, with a standard deviation of 3.0 points (AAMC). The average BBLS score of all applicants to medical school in 2019 was 126.6 with a standard deviation of 2.7 points (AAMC). The average MCAT BBLS section score of accepted applicants matriculating into medical school was 128.0, with a standard deviation of 2.1 points (AAMC). This means that the average person accepted into medical school in 2019 has a BBLS section score in the 84th percentile among all test takers.

MCAT BBLS Section Score Percentiles

mcat-bbls-percentile
Score Percentile Breakdown of the BBLS Section on the MCAT
Section Score Percentile Rank
118 1
119 2
120 6
121 11
122 19
123 28
124 39
125 51
126 62
127 74
128 84
129 90
130 96
131 99
132 100

Data adapted from AAMC.

 

Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior (PSBB)

The average P/S or PSBB score of all MCAT takers in 2019 was 125.6, with a standard deviation of 3.1 points (AAMC). This closely mirrors the average PSBB score of all applicants to medical school in 2019, which was 126.8 with a standard deviation of 2.7 points (AAMC).  Finally, looking at the average PSBB section score of accepted applicants was 128.3, with a standard deviation of 2.1 points (AAMC). In other words, the average person accepted into medical school in 2019 earned a PSBB score in the 81st percentile among all test takers.

MCAT PSBB Section Score Percentiles

mcat-psbb-percentile
Score Percentile Breakdown of the BBLS Section on the MCAT
Section Score Percentile Rank
118 1
119 2
120 5
121 11
122 18
123 26
124 36
125 47
126 59
127 70
128 81
129 88
130 95
131 98
132 100

Data adapted from AAMC.

Takeaways

Each section in the MCAT is important in determining your overall score. The data shows that the CARS section is the most difficult section, corresponding to the lowest average scores. However, the average scores and distributions for each section is roughly equivalent among students accepted into medical school, with performances in the 80th percentile. This suggests that it is important to be well-rounded and obtain competitive scores in all sections of the MCAT. Preparation for the MCAT is vital to achieving your ideal score, and resources like Pixorize can help you master the psychology/sociology and basic biology on the exam.

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