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MCAT to Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 Converter

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by Alec Palmerton, MD in MCAT, Plan

Frustrated you’re not performing as well as you were in undergrad? Curious to know what your MCAT score would translate to on the USMLEs? Most people remember their MCAT percentile and wonder why they aren’t scoring as well on the USMLEs. Usually, it’s because many people who take the MCAT don’t make it into US med schools.

For example, the average MCAT score for all test-takers between 2019-2021 was 501.6 (SD 10.8). However, the average MCAT for matriculants to US med schools was 511.9 (SD 6.6).

In other words, the 50%ile MCAT score for matriculants was at roughly 84%ile of all MCAT test-takers.

Med students – full of imposter syndrome – often feel they are underperforming on standardized tests compared to how they were doing before entering med school. And in a sense, that is true. However, their “underperformance” is simply because they are surrounded by people who on average did much better on standardized tests during undergrad.

MCAT Percentile Calculator for All Test-Takers, Applicants, and Matriculants

In this calculator, simply put in your MCAT score. You will see the equivalent percentile ranking for that score among all MCAT takers, all applicants, and US MD matriculants.

Example:

In this example, you can see an MCAT of 510 is the equivalent of 78.8%ile for all MCAT takers in 2019-2021, 65.5%ile for all med school applicants in 2021-2022, and only the 38.2%ile of actual matriculants.

Try It Out Yourself (Enter MCAT in “Search”)
PercentileMCAT All Takers (2019-2021)MCAT Applicants (2021-2022)MCAT Matriculated (2021-2022)
0.0%458
0.0%459
0.0%461
0.0%462
0.0%463
0.0%464
0.0%465
0.0%466
0.1%467
0.1%468
0.1%469
0.2%470
0.3%471
0.3%472
0.5%474
0.6%475
0.8%476
1.1%477
1.4%478
1.8%479
2.3%480
2.9%481
3.6%482
4.5%483
5.5%484
6.7%485
8.1%486
9.7%488
11.5%489
13.6%490
15.9%491
18.4%492
21.2%493
24.2%494
27.4%495
30.9%496
34.5%497
38.2%498
42.1%499
46.0%501
50.0%502
54.0%503
57.9%504
61.8%505
65.5%506
69.1%507
72.6%508
75.8%509
78.8%510
81.6%511
84.1%512
86.4%513
88.5%515
90.3%516
91.9%517
93.3%518
94.5%519
95.5%520
96.4%521
97.1%522
97.7%523
98.2%524
98.6%525
98.9%526
99.2%528
99.4%528
99.5%528
99.7%528
99.7%528
99.8%528
99.9%528
99.9%528
99.9%528
100.0%528
100.0%528
100.0%528
100.0%528
0.0%467
0.0%468
0.0%469
0.0%470
0.0%471
0.0%472
0.0%473
0.0%474
0.1%475
0.1%476
0.1%477
0.2%478
0.3%479
0.3%480
0.5%481
0.6%482
0.8%483
1.1%484
1.4%485
1.8%486
2.3%487
2.9%487
3.6%488
4.5%489
5.5%490
6.7%491
8.1%492
9.7%493
11.5%494
13.6%495
15.9%496
18.4%497
21.2%498
24.2%499
27.4%500
30.9%501
34.5%502
38.2%503
42.1%504
46.0%505
50.0%506
54.0%507
57.9%508
61.8%509
65.5%510
69.1%511
72.6%512
75.8%513
78.8%514
81.6%515
84.1%516
86.4%517
88.5%518
90.3%519
91.9%519
93.3%520
94.5%521
95.5%522
96.4%523
97.1%524
97.7%525
98.2%526
98.6%527
98.9%528
99.2%528
99.4%528
99.5%528
99.7%528
99.7%528
99.8%528
99.9%528
99.9%528
99.9%528
100.0%528
100.0%528
100.0%528
100.0%528
0.0%486
0.0%486
0.0%487
0.0%487
0.0%488
0.0%489
0.0%489
0.0%490
0.1%491
0.1%491
0.1%492
0.2%493
0.3%493
0.3%494
0.5%495
0.6%495
0.8%496
1.1%497
1.4%497
1.8%498
2.3%499
2.9%499
3.6%500
4.5%501
5.5%501
6.7%502
8.1%503
9.7%503
11.5%504
13.6%505
15.9%505
18.4%506
21.2%507
24.2%507
27.4%508
30.9%509
34.5%509
38.2%510
42.1%511
46.0%511
50.0%512
54.0%513
57.9%513
61.8%514
65.5%515
69.1%515
72.6%516
75.8%517
78.8%517
81.6%518
84.1%519
86.4%519
88.5%520
90.3%520
91.9%521
93.3%522
94.5%522
95.5%523
96.4%524
97.1%524
97.7%525
98.2%526
98.6%526
98.9%527
99.2%528
99.4%528
99.5%528
99.7%528
99.7%528
99.8%528
99.9%528
99.9%528
99.9%528
100.0%528
100.0%528
100.0%528
100.0%528

MCAT to Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 Converter

In this calculator, simply enter your MCAT score. The calculator will give you the equivalent USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 scores.

Instructions:

OMG, Will This Predict All of my USMLE Scores?!

Heavens, no. Rather, this is a simplified way of thinking about the equivalent USMLE scores for your MCAT percentile among matriculants, rather than all MCAT takers. In other words, if you were in the 80%ile of all MCAT takers who went to US MD schools, it would tell you the 80%ile scores for Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3. Similarly, if you were at the 25%ile of all MCAT takers who went to MD schools, it would calculate the equivalent USMLE scores at the 25%ile.

MCAT to USMLE Converter: Best Uses?

So what is the best use of this MCAT to Step converter? We might use it to set “stretch” goals for ourselves. Let’s say our equivalent Step 2 CK performance might be a 250 – we might know that 260 would be a good goal, and 230 might be selling ourselves short.

Or maybe we killed ourselves to do well on the MCAT and never want to go through something similar. We might lower our expectations of our performance on the USMLEs – or check out the following to learn how to study more efficiently.

Concluding Thoughts

Remember: your percentile on the MCAT is NOT likely to be the percentile on the USMLEs. Why? Because many of the people who take the MCAT don’t end up in med school. Instead, your score is ranked in comparison to the scores of the people who made higher scores on the MCAT.

Use this MCAT to USMLE calculator to estimate what sort of Step performance you might expect if you performed the same as when you were a pre-med.

Also, while MCAT scores correlate with USMLE scores, they are not deterministic. Many people “overperform” or “underperform” their MCAT. A lot will depend on how you prepare in the months years leading up to your USMLEs.

How does knowing your “equivalent” USMLE score make you feel? Better? Worse? No different? How useful or not useful is it? Let us know in the comments!

References

Note on calculations: these are based on normalized distributions based on the means and standard deviations for the populations of interest (all MCAT test-takers, all MD school applicants, and all MD school matriculants; as well as Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 test-takers). Percentiles for each MCAT/USMLE score were calculated. Then, MCAT scores for matriculants were graphed, and a linear regression was performed to find a best-fit line whose equation was used in the calculator for USMLE score equivalents.

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Want FREE Cardiology Flashcards?

Cardiology is key for impressive USMLE scores. Master cardiology from a Harvard-trained anesthesiologist who scored USMLE 270 with these 130+ high-yield flash cards. You’ll be begging for cardio questions - even if vitals make you queasy.

Subscribe
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