Why are standardized tests so important? Do they really reflect your abilities or capabilities? Do they really test what you need to know in order to become a physician? According to most medical school admissions committees, the answer is a resounding YES. How you perform on your MCAT says a lot about how you’ll perform in med school, in subsequent exams, and then later on as a medical professional.
Here are FOUR things your MCAT score can predict:
1. Grades in medical school
The MCAT tests skills that you will use in med school. If you do well on the MCAT, then it shows you have what it takes to excel in med school. And if you don’t do well on the exam…well…you do the math….
2. Scores on STEP exams
As you know, there are many steps and milestones before finally being able to practice medicine. Not only do you need to make the grade at school, but you need to pass your USMLE STEP exams. Research shows that those who do well on the MCAT are more likely to pass their STEP exams.
3. Likelihood of graduation in 4-5 years
You don’t want med school to drag on forever. It won’t bode well when it comes to applying for residencies, fellowships, and jobs, nor will it fare well for your self-esteem. The higher your MCAT score, the greater chance you have of finishing med school “on time.”
4. Ability to pass licensing exams on first try
The last thing that your MCAT score can predict is your ability to pass your licensing exam on your first try. When you’ve made it this far, you don’t want to push off practicing medicine any longer than you need to. Schools want their doctors to succeed out in the field as soon as possible; the higher your MCAT, the greater chances are that you’ll make your alma mater proud!
While it’s true that med schools shouldn’t (and don’t) use MCAT scores to fully determine the competitiveness of applicants, you now understand how these scores do play an important role in helping adcoms see how well you’ll handle med school, and beyond. And you can use this information to your benefit as well – if you don’t do well on the MCAT, you know that you need to boost your med knowledge, not just so that you can get into medical school, but so that you’ll excel at school and in the medical field later on.