The Perfect MCAT Score: What You Need to Know

June 11, 2024
6 min read


Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

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

Reviewed: 4/25/24

Wondering how to get a perfect MCAT score? Read on for information, tips, and frequently asked questions about achieving a high score on the MCAT.

The MCAT is notoriously challenging for many aspiring med school students. If you’re in pursuit of a career as a medical professional, you’ll know that getting into the med school of your dreams requires hard work; a high score on the MCAT doesn’t hurt.

The MCAT requires thorough knowledge and understanding of foundational principles in physics, biology, chemistry, and behavioral psychology. Students who take the MCAT are often advised to start studying at least three months before taking their test. 

While most aspiring med school students aim to achieve a good score to meet admission standards, some might want to go above and beyond and aim for an impressive MCAT score. Read on to learn more! 

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What is a Perfect MCAT Score?

The highest possible MCAT score a person can achieve is a 528, this means scoring a 132 in each of the four sections. The four MCAT sections are graded on a scale of 118 to 132. This means that your combined score across all sections could fall anywhere between 472 and 528.

The first three sections contain 59 questions each, and the final section contains 53 questions. So, if you receive a raw score of 50 on one section, your score might be converted into a scaled section score of 129. Note that the conversions can vary annually since the MCAT’s content may change or differ slightly in terms of difficulty. 

Infographic outlining the MCAT sections and explaining how they are scored

How Hard is it to Get a Perfect MCAT Score?

Students who took the MCAT scored an average of 501.5 on the test. However, matriculating students scored an average of 511.9 on the test. Regardless of which med school you’re hoping to attend, you’ll find that having a competitive MCAT score at or above this average would place you in good standing at many schools.

With that said, the AAMC doesn’t release concrete numbers on how many students achieve an excellent MCAT score, but this graph shows that few test-takers achieve the highest MCAT score of 528. 

Graph showing a summary of mcat total scores

Source: AAMC

In fact, students who scored 524 or higher on the exam are considered in the 100th percentile, meaning they scored higher than all other test-takers. With all these points considered, getting a perfect MCAT score is challenging but not impossible.

5 Tips on How to Get a Perfect MCAT Score

Now that we’ve discussed what constitutes a perfect score, we’ll discuss how to get a 528 on the MCAT. 

1. Have a Plan

As with any test, it always serves to have a plan. Especially with the MCAT, you’ll want to create a plan ahead due to the density of the material it covers. One way you can do this is by creating an MCAT study schedule. 

In doing this, you can determine your timeline. Knowing how much time you have to study before you schedule your test is essential to maximize your score. As you do this, consider your daily life to ensure you have enough time to study and balance your other responsibilities. 

While it’s recommended to give yourself at least three months to study if you’re aiming for a perfect MCAT score, it would be best to start studying more than three months before your scheduled MCAT date.

2. Know What to Study 

Knowing what to study is crucial for getting a perfect MCAT score. Having a good understanding of how the test is broken down can help guide your focus. 

The MCAT is a standardized multiple-choice test. The test is based on your knowledge and understanding of foundational concepts required to successfully get through med school. 

The four sections of the MCAT are: 

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  3. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behaviour 
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning

Each section is broken down as follows: 

MCAT Section Discipline Foundational Concept
Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems First-semester biochemistry (25%)
Introductory biology (65%)
General Chemistry (5%)
Organic Chemistry (5%)
Foundational Concept 1 (55%)
Foundational Concept 2 (20%)
Foundational Concept 3 (25%)
Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems First-semester biochemistry (25%) Introductory biology (5%)
General chemistry (30%)
Organic chemistry (15%) Introductory physics (25%)
Foundational Concept 4 (40%) Foundational Concept 5 (60%)
Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behaviour Introductory psychology (65%) Introductory sociology (30%) Introductory biology (5%) Foundational Concept 6 (25%) Foundational Concept 7 (35%) Foundational Concept 8 (20%) Foundational Concept 9 (15%) Foundational Concept 10 (5%)
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Foundations of Comprehension (30%)
Reasoning Within the Text (30%) Reasoning Beyond the Text (40%)
Critical Analysis and Reasoning in the MCAT is in the form of passage-based questions with the following focus:
Humanities (50%)
Social Sciences (50%)

Source: The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)

In addition to these sections, you’ll also be tested on your scientific inquiry and reasoning skills throughout the MCAT. This is classified into four different skills:

  • Skill 1: Knowledge of Scientific Principles
  • Skill 2: Scientific Reasoning and Problem-solving
  • Skill 3: Reasoning about the Design and Execution of Research 
  • Skill 4: Data-based Statistical Reasoning

As you begin studying for the MCAT, create an outline of what’s expected in each section. Focus on learning and understanding content as opposed to memorization. To get a perfect MCAT score, you’ll also want to know how to apply foundational concepts and skills to any question.

3. Practice!

Once you understand the content, practice and review it consistently. It’s integral you allot an equal amount of time at the start to go through each section thoroughly. This will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses. 

Once you’ve pinpointed the areas you find challenging, you can alter your study schedule and take more time to review them later. You should also get more comfortable with the format. You’ll be taking the test for 7.5 hours total, with 10-minute breaks between each section. The breakdown of the MCAT is as follows: 

MCAT Section Time Allotted
Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems 95 mins
Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems 95 mins
Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behaviour 95 mins
Critical Analysis and Reasoning 90 mins

4. Go Above and Beyond

Achieving a perfect score on the MCAT is an extraordinary feat. If your goal is to be one of the few who achieve a 528 each year, you’ll have to go above and beyond with your study regime. Consider the training schedule of a high school athlete compared to an olympic athlete. You will simply have to put in more time and effort than the average student.

Consider taking time off from work or school before taking the test to solely focus on your study schedule. Treat studying like a job - take MCAT practice tests as often as possible and devote all of your attention to your studies at least once a day. This isn’t necessary for every student by any means, but achieving a perfect 528 requires more time and energy than usual. 

5. Hire an Expert

One of the easiest roads to MCAT success is by consulting a knowledgeable MCAT expert. Hiring an MCAT tutor can help you create your study schedule, stay organized, focus on the most relevant material, and achieve a great MCAT score. On top of that, it can be helpful to have an expert by your side to answer questions and support you through the process. 

FAQs: Perfect MCAT Score

Below, we’ll answer some FAQs to answer any lingering questions you might have.

1. Has Anyone Gotten a Perfect Score on the MCAT?

Though getting the highest score on MCAT is a challenging feat, some prospective med school students have gotten a perfect score. The highest possible MCAT score is 528.

2. How Rare is a Perfect Score on the MCAT?

A score of 528 on the MCAT places you in the 100th percentile of individuals who have taken the test. Based on the AAMC’s Summary of MCAT Total and Section Scores, we can approximate that 0.020% of individuals managed to achieve a perfect score on their MCAT.

3. How Many People Get a Perfect MCAT Score? 

It’s difficult to pinpoint precisely how many people achieve a perfect MCAT score, but the number is small—likely in the double-digits among tens of thousands of test-takers. 

4. How Many Questions Can You Miss on the MCAT to Get a 520?

Because the highest score on the MCAT is 528, you can only miss a handful of questions to get a 520. Since the MCAT is scaled and the difficulty of each test varies slightly, the exact number of questions you can miss to achieve a 520 may fluctuate from one exam administration to another. 

However, generally speaking, missing around five to seven questions out of the total number of questions on the MCAT would typically result in a score of 520. 

Final Thoughts

As you start studying for the MCAT, it's essential to set a goal to help you keep your focus. While a perfect MCAT score is rare, it’s possible to attain. With this said, a perfect score on the exam isn’t the standard when submitting a competitive med school application. 

It’s essential to remember the importance of your current academic performance, extracurricular activities, and volunteer experience. Remember, your MCAT score, while important, complements the rest of your application. We wish you the best on your medical school journey!

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