Plenty of premeds look for medical schools that accept low MCAT scores after hearing about how hard the MCAT is or seeing how competitive medical school acceptance rates are. In this blog, check out the list of medical schools that accept low MCAT scores, plus tips on how to apply to medical school with a low MCAT.


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Article Contents
6 min read

List of Medical Schools that Accept Low MCAT What’s Considered a Low MCAT Score? How to Get Into Medical School with a Low MCAT Score How to Improve Your MCAT Score Conclusion & FAQs

List of Medical Schools that Accept Low MCAT

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What’s Considered a Low MCAT Score?

Any MCAT score below the 50th percentile is considered low and not as competitive. This means an MCAT score below 502 is generally a low score at even the easiest medical schools to get into. 

Very few medical schools have average accepted MCAT scores below 503, so if your score is below 502, consider retaking the MCAT to achieve a higher score.

Otherwise, you can apply to medical schools that don’t require the MCAT. Or, you can consider DO schools, since osteopathic medical schools typically have average accepted MCAT scores between 500-510.

However, this does mean your options will be more limited when it comes to getting into medical school. And, while you can still apply to medical schools with a below average MCAT score—provided you meet the minimum required score—it does mean your chances of acceptance will be a bit lower.

What is the Lowest Score Accepted by Medical Schools?

You’ll need a minimum score in the 490-495 range to be accepted into any medical school that requires the MCAT. Anything lower than 490 is very unlikely to be acceptable.

It should be noted, though, that very few test-takers score in this range. According to the data from the most recent years of MCAT test-takers, the average MCAT score for all med school applicants is around 506.3. But the average MCAT score of all medical school matriculants is 511.7!

Whether you’ve decided to retake the MCAT or are anxious about writing it in the future, chances are you will score higher than anticipated. Especially if you prepare yourself well ahead of time.

How to Get Into Medical School with a Low MCAT Score

Here are a few strategies you can use to tilt the odds of acceptance in your favor and offset a low MCAT score.

1. Apply to Osteopathic Schools or Caribbean Medical Schools

For the best chance of getting into medical school with a low MCAT score, consider applying to DO schools or Caribbean medical schools, since these tend to have more relaxed medical school requirements, including MCAT score requirements.

However, DO schools look for applicants who are passionate about this field, not just seeking low MCAT acceptance. You must demonstrate a strong interest in osteopathy, possibly requiring recommendation letters from DOs or shadowing experience. Failure to align with these requirements may hinder acceptance chances.

Applying to Caribbean schools also means the journey to becoming a practicing physician in the US or Canada will require some additional steps and may take a bit longer

2. Apply to Schools that Don’t Require the MCAT

You can apply exclusively to schools that don’t require the MCAT, as there are some in the US and a few medical schools without the MCAT in Canada. Or you can apply to medical schools with lower average MCAT scores where you’ll be a more competitive applicant. Note that the MCAT is a common DO school requirement, so applying only to DO schools isn’t a surefire way to avoid taking the MCAT.

Applying to these schools, though, isn’t a guarantee of admission. You’ll still need to meet all other medical school requirements and create a stellar medical school application.

3. Use Your Application Materials Strategically

You can offset a low MCAT score with a competitive GPA and an otherwise strong application. Even medical schools that accept low MCAT scores want to see that you’ve put thought, time and consideration into applying there. So make sure your medical school personal statementmedical school recommendation letters and extracurriculars for medical school are all strengths in your application.

Your medical school secondary essays can also be a useful tool to offset or explain a low MCAT score. Some schools offer applicants the opportunity to discuss difficult circumstances which affected their score, such as the AMCAS statement of disadvantage. Use every tool at your disposal to keep a too-low MCAT score from sinking your application.

4. Retake the MCAT

If you have time to retake the MCAT and you need a higher score to get into your dream program, it may be worth doing so to improve your chances and avoid medical school rejection. Be sure you know how many times you can take the MCAT, and research how your target school assesses multiple MCAT scores, since this may affect your application.

One of our former students took this route, and was successful after his second attempt:

“I was aiming for over 510 [on the MCAT] but initially scored 497. After a month off, I prepped for six more months, improving to 510 nearly a year later. I found managing filler words and maintaining a professional demeanor challenging but improved with practice and feedback, valuing the mock interviews for their realism and helpful critique.” – Kannan, Former BeMo Student


Here are more tips on getting into medical school with a low MCAT

How to Improve Your MCAT Score

MCAT Strategy #1: Know What’s on the Test

Knowing what is actually on the MCAT, how it’s organized and what to expect is the first step to conquering it. Find out how long the MCAT is, what the high-yield MCAT topics are, how many questions are in each section and how much time you’ll have to write it. This is all important information that will inform your study sessions and preparation. Essentially, once you become familiar with the test, it will be much easier to start breaking it down into manageable sections.

MCAT Strategy #2: Start Preparing Early

The answer to when to start studying for the MCAT is: as early as possible. Give yourself as much time as you can to learn the ins and outs of the test’s format and content and to stockpile MCAT study resources. Starting early also means you’ll have more leeway if you decide to retake the test or if unforeseen circumstances come up.

MCAT Strategy #3: Create a Solid Study Plan

To start studying for the MCAT, we recommend trying an MCAT diagnostic test to help focus and refine your study plan. We recommend between 4-6 of intense MCAT studying. Create a detailed study plan for every week you spend studying for the MCAT, and implement proven MCAT study strategies. You may need to dedicate more time to subjects that aren’t your strong suit:

 “I focused on high-yield strategies [during my MCAT prep]. I knew that because I didn’t come from a science background, that science subjects would require my greater focus. I worked with an in-person prep company in my hometown.” – Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The AAMC has several great practice resources for test-takers! Once you have a general application timeline and MCAT study schedule nailed down, you’ll know when you should take the MCAT, too.

MCAT Strategy #4: Seek Out Expert Help

Acing the MCAT on your own is doable, but having some experienced help in your corner is a big bonus. Take a look at an MCAT tutor or MCAT prep course as just some of the options available to your for MCAT prep help. You can certainly learn how to study for the MCAT on your own and make use of free study resources, but getting some expert MCAT prep might make the difference between a good score and a great score.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, your decision of whether to apply to medical schools that accept low MCAT scores shouldn’t only be based on solely on the average accepted MCAT scores and requirements. This can be quite limiting, and you may end up applying to medical schools that aren’t the right fit. Don’t be afraid to explore all your options and remember that your MCAT score isn’t everything. It’s possible to get into a medical school that seems out of reach, even with a low MCAT score. Research, do your due diligence and consider getting some expert advice from a medical school admissions consultant before you start applying.

FAQs

1. Are there any medical schools that accept low MCAT?

Yes, some DO and MD schools and Caribbean med schools accept lower MCAT scores.

2. What is the lowest MCAT score accepted to medical school?

Med schools typically look for 490-495 at a minimum, but higher scores significantly improve chances of acceptance.

3. Are there any medical schools that don’t require the MCAT?

 Yes, numerous US and Canadian med schools don't require the MCAT.

4. Are the medical schools that accept low MCAT good?

 Yes, many DO schools offer top-tier education; although we caution applying to non-accredited Caribbean schools.

5. Should I retake the MCAT if my score is too low?

If your score isn’t competitive, you may opt for a retake for better chances of admission. 

6. Can a high GPA offset a low MCAT?

 Yes, a strong GPA can offset a low MCAT, but may affect top school chances.

7. What is the ideal MCAT score?

 Competitive: 511+, Good: 505-508; Below 502 is generally poor.

8. Should I still apply to medical school with a low MCAT score?

Yes, you can still apply; but you may have to explore options, retake the MCAT, or apply to MCAT-free schools.

9. How do I recover from a bad MCAT score?

 Consider a retake, focus on schools accepting low MCAT, and work toward strengthening your application.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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