Want to Be a Doctor? Major in Physics

Somebody at work had printed out a table of MCAT scores by major, compiled by the AIP. I couldn’t find it on the web, but I found the original source, and made my own version of the relevant bit. This shows the average numerical scores on the three sections of the MCAT test for students majoring in biological and physical sciences (shortened to “biology” and “physics” for the table), for students who applied to med school, and students who got into med school:


The results are striking. Not only did the physics applicants do better than the biologists on the physics portion of the test, as you would expect, they scored better on all three sections– including the biology section. You might say that this is just because there are five times as many bio applicants, and thus more weak students, but even when you get rid of the weak applicants, and just look at students who got into medical school, the biologists barely manage to pull even, and get absolutely stomped on the physics part.

The acceptance rate for physics majors was correspondingly higher–almost 51% compared to 46% for biology majors. I think the lesson here is clear…

(Of course, we’ll just gloss over the fact that math and statistics majors had better scores than either biology or physics majors… They’re a tiny fraction of the sample, and can safely be ignored. Yeah, that’s the ticket.)

(What’s even more interesting is the fact that the lowest scores of the lot belong to students in dedicated pre-med tracks– at least, that’s how I’m interpreting “Specialized Health Sciences.” That’s mildly surprising to me.)