MD vs. DO based on MCAT scores

Hi there!

Wondering if anyone can provide any advice. I just took the MCAT back in July along with a Kaplan course and received my scores a couple days ago. They aren’t nearly as high as I’d hoped. I got a 22O composite (9 BS, 8 PS, 5 VR). I’m really not happy with my VR score at all, but wonder if I should apply anyway, cuz everything else is pretty decent?

I will definitely be applying to DO programs, since I hear they don’t look at test scores as much. However, are there any MD programs that would even consider that score? My GPA is very good, I believe I have a 3.7-8 composite, and a 3.9 science. I also have a year of clinical experience working in a hospital. I am also a musician on the side.

Anyone have any advice? I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you!


Hiya Melissa–

Here are some very current figures relevant to your question… shows the median grades, science grades and MCAT (multiply x3 to get total scores) for all American allopathic schools-- entering 2008-09 freshmen. dow…

It’s my understanding that most schools, both MD and DO, like to see a minimum score of at least “7” in each category.

I also wouldn’t say that DO schools don’t look at MCAT scores as much. I think they consider the entire application package moe equally rather than more heavily weighing one part of it.


I really feel you. I know I have a very strong application in spite of my mCAT scores…However, I spoke with one of the admission deans and he says that they have had admitted scores as low as 18.

You can look at the specific stats of the school you are interested in on their website. Then, go speak to them and see what they have to say…

Good luck…

  • Jobusch Said:

I really feel you. I know I have a very strong application in spite of my mCAT scores....However, I spoke with one of the admission deans and he says that they have had admitted scores as low as 18.

Every med school in the US has "MCAT exceptions" admitted to each class, including schools like Hravard and Hopkins. I think the question an applicant has to ask themselves is if they are willing to add to already decreased odds of being admitted by playing the "I'll be the exception admitted to med school" game.

And not to be mean, but in the admissions game I haven't heard of a "it's strong but......" when applied to application packages. IMHO, a strong application includes everything especially MCAT's. However, the point needs to be made that NOT having a strong application doesn't preclude one's admission to med school which is a completely different story.

No matter where you apply, score of 22 on the MCAT is a red flag. The question that would come to mind would be, What happened on the MCAT if her GPA was that good?

You want to make your application as strong and competitive as possible, an MCAT of 22 is not very competitive. And you may have to retake the exam. The 5 in VR is concerning because this is the part of the exam that tests your critical thinking.

The decision though is yours to make in the end.

I have been lucky enough to meet and shadow a member of OHSU’s admissions committee and this is what their criteria are: 2.8/24 to received a secondary, which allows for individuals with otherwise exceptional applications. For the rest of us normal folks, a 27 is required with a 9 in each category in order to get an interview. However for out of state applicants the bar is set far higher, usually a 3.6/32 in order to get an interview. The cutoffs may be higher or lower at other schools, and our school is heavily weighted towards in-state applicants.

The lowest score I have heard of being accepted lately was a 21 at RVUCOM with a 6 verbal.

In theory, at least, one should look at DO schools vs MD schools because of an interest in Osteopathic medicine, rather than a belief that their numeric expectations aren’t as demanding.

That said, if you do plan to go the DO route, be sure you do your homework. You’ll want to (perhaps have to?) shadow an Osteopathic doc, learn about the techniques, and be prepared to answer “Why DO?” at your interviews.

Good luck with it!


Was it test anxiety? The MCAT is more a predictor of how you will do on Step 1 board exams as opposed to how well you will do in medical school. You will be taking standard exams for the rest of your career, so it is important that you understand where it is that you are having trouble. I realize that you said you did a Kaplan program, was it live or through a book? Based on your GPA is sounds as if you are having difficulty with the format of the questions. Are you applying for 2010 or 2011? If it is the later you have plenty of time to find out where it is you are having trouble and take it again. Just my two cents.