Lowest MCAT Score Accepted By Med Schools

March 18, 2024
6 min read


Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 10/13/23

Are you applying to med school with a below average MCAT score? Stick around! Here we’ll cover how to get into med school with a low MCAT score.

MCAT score got you down? Don’t worry, you’re not the first! Applying to medical school is a highly competitive, demanding and, at times, exhausting process. Throughout this turbulent time, it’s easy to let your MCAT score fall through the cracks. The MCAT is a challenging test, and although you can retake it, you may not have time to do so this year. So what can you do?

Well, there’s a few options. There are several medical schools that accept MCAT scores on the lower end. In fact, some medical schools don’t even require the MCAT at all! In this article, we’ll break down several options for med students with low MCAT scores. We’ve packed this article with all the stats you need to start applying to med schools without worrying about your score.

Let’s get started!

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What Is the Lowest MCAT Score Accepted By Med School?

The lowest MCAT score accepted by medical school is challenging to nail down because it varies greatly between institutions. For example, a more competitive school may not accept anyone with an MCAT lower than 512, while a less competitive one may have a minimum acceptable score of 472. So, your standard should shift according to your target schools.

Technically speaking, a low MCAT score would be anything below the national US average MCAT score, which is 506.5. That said, the national average may be considered to be a standard score for certain schools. So, what exactly is the lowest possible score to get accepted into med school?

There are few medical schools who accept students with an MCAT of lower than 490. If your MCAT score is dangerously low, you may be better off retaking the test or applying to no-MCAT medical schools. To know if your MCAT score is good enough for your target medical schools, take our MCAT pop quiz

List of Med Schools that Don’t Require the MCAT

There are certain medical schools that do not require the MCAT. Many schools outside of the US do not require the test, such as Caribbean med schools and certain Canadian schools. However, if you’re looking to stay in the US and not pass in an MCAT score with your application, there are plenty of options. Below is a list of US MD programs that do not have an MCAT requirement:

While each of the schools above offer MD programs that do not require the MCAT, you should still focus on fleshing out the rest of your application. No matter which medical school you apply to, you will be expected to understand all of the concepts that are on the MCAT, with or without submitting actual test scores.

If you intend to practice medicine in the US or Canada, it’s important to consider attending an accredited medical school. Although it may be tempting to apply to med schools with low GPA and MCAT requirements, they must still be accredited because it may be very challenging to get into a residency program and obtain licensure otherwise.

Can I Get Into Medical School With a Low MCAT Score?

Yes, it is possible to get into medical school with a low MCAT depending on the school and the strength of your other application materials. Below is a list of US medical schools with low minimum MCAT requirements.

Med schools with low MCAT requirements
Sources: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Howard University, Florida State University, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of New Mexico, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, West Virginia University, University of Kentucky, Eastern Virginia Medical School, University of South Dakota (Sanford), University of Washington, Medical College of Wisconsin, University of Arizona - Tucson, UNC Chapel Hill, Oregon Health and Science University, University of Kansas Medical Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Missouri, University of Utah, University of Minnesota

If none of these schools suit your fancy, know that you still have plenty of options. There are many med schools across the United States that accept students with low MCAT scores. If you have a strong application otherwise, and if you can justify your low MCAT score in an essay or in an interview, you still have a good chance of getting in at most med schools in the US.

It’s also important to note that you can retake the MCAT multiple times if you have a bad score. In one year, you can take the MCAT up to three times to try and boost your score. If you decide to try again, make sure that you’re improving your study methods. Take your time and go the extra mile by hiring an experienced MCAT tutor to ensure your scores will improve.

A seasoned MCAT tutor will take time to get to know which sections of the MCAT are most challenging for you, and which areas you need to focus on. MCAT tutors also help you to build a detailed study schedule to keep you on track and reach your goals before the test. Above all, our experts will provide you with insider tips to ensure you succeed.

Tips for Getting Into Med School With a Low MCAT Score

Getting into med school with a low MCAT is possible with hard work and dedication to your other application materials. Here are some of our top tips on getting into medical school despite having a below average MCAT. 

Lift Up Your GPA

Admissions committees know that one bad test score isn’t necessarily representative of your academic standing. Your GPA is a crucial part of your application, and you should focus on boosting it as much as you can to compensate for a low MCAT. To do so, you can hire a tutor, take extra credit, or retake some courses in the summer if necessary.

If you have a low MCAT and a low GPA, getting into medical school will be very challenging. By lifting up at least one of these numbers, you can demonstrate that you are still capable of understanding the necessary concepts for medical school.

Explain Your Low Score

Most schools have an optional essay that allows students to describe any part of their application in more detail. This is an excellent place to be honest and address your low MCAT score. Being open about your circumstance and why your score is low is an excellent way to demonstrate maturity and self awareness.

Explaining your score also gives you an opportunity to explain how you intend to improve moving forward. A willingness to learn and grow from your mistakes is an admirable trait, and can work in your favor on your application!

Focus on Your Essays

Your essays are the piece of your med school application that really allows your personality to shine. This is where you can take time to craft the story of your personal journey and career goals. Demonstrating your passion for medicine through writing excellent med school essays can significantly boost your chances of acceptance.

Consider Bulking Up Your Extracurriculars

Don’t gloss over your extracurriculars! If you’re wondering how to make your application stronger, consider signing up for internships, gaining more relevant work experience, and volunteering to boost your overall application. Showing that you have broad interests and are capable of balancing your schedule looks great on a med school application. 

Hire a Med School Admissions Coach

Hiring a seasoned medical school admissions coach can help you to improve every aspect of your application while keeping you focused and motivated throughout the process. At Inspira, our team of coaches is packed with former admissions committee members and doctors who know exactly what med schools want to see. 

If you have a below average MCAT score, an admissions coach can help you to strengthen your other materials and boost your chances of acceptance to your dream schools.

FAQs: Lowest MCAT Score Accepted By Medical School

Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the lowest MCAT score accepted by med school, and how to get into med school with a low MCAT score.

1. What Is Considered a Low MCAT Score?

Generally speaking, anything below the average MCAT score in the US of 506.5 would be considered a low score. That said, a low MCAT score completely depends on your target schools. 

The lowest MCAT score accepted by med school mainly depends on the schools’ standards. To get an idea of what MCAT score is good enough for the schools you are applying for, take a look at the average scores of their incoming class. 

2. Is It Possible to Get Into Med School With a Low MCAT Score?

Even though a low MCAT score can make it more challenging to gain acceptance into medical school, it is certainly not impossible. Med school admissions committees are known to take a holistic approach to application evaluation, and consider each component you submit including your GPA, extracurriculars, work experience, and essays. 

3. Can I Get Into Medical School With a 503 MCAT Score?

Although a 503 MCAT score is on the lower end, it is far from being the lowest MCAT score accepted by med school. If you have a 503 MCAT score, you should focus on improving other aspects of your application such as your GPA and essays. If your target schools are highly competitive, retaking the MCAT is always an option.

4. Can I Get Into Med School With a 495 MCAT Score?

A 495 MCAT score is below the national average and is likely to make getting into med school quite challenging. If you have a 495 MCAT, consider retaking the test or applying to medical schools that are known to accept students with a low MCAT. 

There are also plenty of schools that do not require the MCAT, however, you should still make sure to improve other areas of your application. Even though a 495 MCAT can create a significant hurdle, it is still possible to overcome it. Don’t give up!  

5. Can I Get Into Med School With a 490 MCAT Score?

Earning a 490 MCAT score is significantly below the national average and can present difficulties in gaining admission to medical school. If you received a 490 on the MCAT, you should consider retaking the exam or applying to medical schools known to accept applicants with lower MCAT scores. 

Additionally, there are many schools that do not require the MCAT, but it's crucial to focus on enhancing other areas of your application. Although obtaining a 490 MCAT score may be a significant obstacle, it is still possible to overcome it with perseverance and determination. Do not lose hope and keep pushing towards your goal.

Final Thoughts

A low MCAT score can make getting into med school more challenging, and you should work harder on the other pieces of your application to compensate. That said, gaining acceptance into medical school with a below average MCAT is not impossible. Keep in mind that medical school admissions committees always take a holistic approach when considering applicants.

If you have a low MCAT, focus on improving your GPA, boosting your extracurricular activities, beefing up your resume with research experience, shadowing, and/or internships. You should also do your best to write memorable essays, as this is an excellent way to boost your profile. 

Retaking the MCAT is also always an option. Going to med school is a big decision, so it’s important to take your time and aim for schools that you can really see yourself going to rather than only considering programs that accept low MCAT scores. Slow and steady wins the race!

Good luck!

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