Old MCAT to New MCAT Conversion | Complete guide5 min read

Goodbye to the old, welcome the new. The white lab coats made a few changes from Old MCAT to New MCAT in 2015.

You may have sat for the old MCAT and now plan to write the new MCAT. If so, you need to compare your strength from back then to now.

Here we’ll show you how the Old MCAT to the New MCAT Conversion is done, including the appropriate MCAT percentiles for those scores so you can know where you stand.

What is the MCAT?

The Medical College Admission Test, better known by its abbreviation – MCAT, is a standardized multiple-choice exam introduced and administered annually by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).

It aims to examine a candidate’s ability to apply knowledge from their premedical studies to questions in four different areas, emphasizing critical thinking.

The exam format has undergone several iterations, but in 2015 it was revised to include the following four sections: 

  • Critical analysis and reasoning skills 
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems 
  • Psychological Behavior, social and biological

Old MCAT to New MCAT Conversion: When did the Change Happen and Why?

If you are applying for medical school, you are most likely familiar with the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test), one of the primary medical school requirements for DO and MD programs in Canada and the United States. 

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The test has since evolved into the newest MCAT, introduced in 2015.

But, the method of scoring has changed. The duration of the MCAT has changed. The MCAT sections have changed. In all, it has become more difficult and more competitive. 

To make the exam more indicative of the current state of medicine, research, and medical education (which has evolved dramatically since 1991), the new MCAT was established.

In current medical school, medical students are offered early exposure to practical aspects of their discipline than older students, and there has also been quick growth in medical research and knowledge.

The exam has gone from being limited to specific disciplines to being broader and having greater applicability in the real world.

MCAT is used for all applicants to medical schools in the United States and some international medical schools. 

Read this: GRE vs. MCAT (Meaning, Similarities, Differences, Scores)

Old MCAT to New MCAT Conversion: Here is Why are you Should be Interested

A simple reason you should be interested in the Old MCAT to New MCAT Conversion is that it shows how most medical schools compare the students who took the old MCAT with the students who took the new MCAT. 

Another reason you should be interested in knowing how the Old MCAT to New MCAT Conversion of scores is done is if you are still new to understanding the differences between the old MCAT and the new MCAT scores.

Old MCAT to New MCAT Conversion: Changes

To get a broader understanding of how the Old MCAT to New MCAT Conversion scoring has changed, let’s break down the old MCAT versus the new MCAT: 

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Old MCAT: 

  • Three sections comprising of multiple-choice questions
  • One writing section 
  • Each section has scores ranging from 1 to 15, bringing the total test score to 45. 

New MCAT: 

  • Four sections consisting of multiple-choice questions 
  • No writing sections 
  • Each section carries scores ranging from 118 to 132; bringing the total score to fall within the range of 472 – 528

Old MCAT to New MCAT Conversion:

MCAT Sections: 

The MCAT initially started with three sections: 

  • Verbal
  • Biological Sciences 
  • Physical Sciences 

Amendment of 2015 MCAT includes these four sections: 

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations Behavior
  • Critical analysis and reasoning skills.

MCAT Duration: 

The duration of the MCAT has been extended from about 5 hours to 7 hours 30 minutes to accommodate the additional knowledge to be examined. 

MCAT scoring System: 

The old MCAT was rated on a scale of 3 to 45, with an average MCAT score of 25.2. In each section, you could earn anywhere from 1 to 15 marks. 

The new MCAT is rated on a 472 to 528, with an average score of 500. In each section, you can earn from 118 to 132 marks.

Believe it or not, many people still don’t know how the MCAT total scores and section scores are interpreted and are more settled with “old scores”.

As a result, many people, including admissions officers, are looking to interpret the new scores according to the old model.

Bare it in mind that if you are applying to medical school, most medical schools will consider MCAT scores that are two years old.

Some will even go as far as entertaining scores that are up to 3 years. Therefore, old MCAT scores will not be considered by the wide majority of US medical schools.

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Old MCAT to New MCAT Conversion: Understanding how Percentiles apply to MCAT

It isn’t easy to talk about MCAT scores without having to refer to the percentiles that place you against other MCAT candidates: 

Why do Percentiles Matter 

The main reason for a percentile is to compare a candidate’s performance to other candidates taking the MCAT.

With MCAT, there are losers, winners, and then most candidates who fall in the middle of the bell curve.

You could say that the percentile comparing one candidate to other candidates is more important than that candidate’s score. 

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When choosing which medical schools to apply to, remember how your MCAT scores compare to those of other candidates and test participants, your average score, your section scores, overall scores, and the percentile scores of those enrolled in the same schools as you.

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