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Correlation between MCAT and Step 1?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by termiz, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. termiz

    termiz 2+ Year Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Hi all. Is anybody aware of a statistic relating students' MCAT and Step 1 scores?
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  3. xucardsfan08

    xucardsfan08 2+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2006
    There have been numerous studies.

    There is a correlation of ~0.72 for MCAT and USMLE Step 1 exam scores.
    OTOH, the correlation for GPA and Step 1 is only 0.48
    Combining GPA+MCAT, the correlation only goes up to 0.75

    Another study did MCAT, GPA versus cognitive ability. MCAT had a high correlation independantly of GPA of around 0.70 while GPA alone had only a correlation of 0.17!!!

    Moral of the story: Rock the MCAT.
    I dunno why people here say that GPA is more important so often. If you have a lower GPA but a high MCAT score, you have proven your ability. A high GPA but lower MCAT score indicates a good work ethic but not a more intelligent person.
    doctorleospaceman and ChillDawg like this.
  4. nockamura

    nockamura Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 10, 2004
    No, I'm sorry to say that "rocking the MCAT" does not prove your ability to perform in med school. I would say that work ethic is more important than test-taking ability as far as success as a med student is concerned. I wouldn't say that either GPA or MCAT is more important; they are both important components to judge abilities.
  5. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    I don't know if this was in the study you're referencing, but I thought I heard that the Step 1 correlation was most closely tied to Verbal score.

    This may be wishful thinking, since I did better in verbal than the others, but I thought I read that somewhere. Anyone confirm?
  6. RokChalkJayhawk

    RokChalkJayhawk Muck Fizzou 2+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    I think it's ALL bull****.
    Throwaway692015 likes this.
  7. crazy_cavalier

    crazy_cavalier T3-Weighted 7+ Year Member

    This is the correct answer :thumbup:
  8. Pansit

    Pansit 5+ Year Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Only the students with no confidence in themselves will worry about correlation statistics. If I got a 20 on the MCAT's and got accepted it does not mean I will do poorly on step 1. Only students that look at the correlation study and end up believing that they will do poorly who will end up doing poorly. It does not take a genious to get through medical school. If you dedicate yourself and work hard you should be fine. If someone came up to you and said that you have 10% chance of doing well on step 1 b/c of your mcat score, does that affect you negatively or does that motivate you to work extremely hard? The answer to that question will be the result in the end.
  9. GoLAClippers

    GoLAClippers Banned Banned

    Feb 26, 2007
    The science sections (PS and BS) test analytical and logical cognitive abilities and can be handled by those who are adept in these disciplines. The Verbal Reasoning (VR)section was implemented to test understanding of various subtleties involved in human communication and understanding. Unsurprisingly, it is the MCAT Biological Sciences score which most directly correlates to success on the USMLE Step 1 exam, with a correlation coefficient of .553 vs .491 for Physical Sciences and .397 for Verbal Reasoning. [2] Predictably, MCAT composite scores also correlate with USMLE Step 1 success.[3]
    The numerical scores from each section are added together to give a composite score. For example, if one's score on the physical, verbal, and biological sections were 12, 13, and 11, respectively, then the composite score would be 36. The score from the writing sample may also be appended to the composite score (e.g. 36S). The maximum composite score is 45T but any score over 30P is considered fairly competitive, as this is the average for matriculants to medical school.[4] Students preparing for the exam are encouraged to try to balance their subscores; physical, verbal, and biological scores of 12, 13, and 11 respectively may be looked upon more favorably than 14, 13, and 6.
  10. gary5

    gary5 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 24, 2003
    Hey GoLAClippers - you must be a night owl, because we seem to post at the same times...
  11. GoLAClippers

    GoLAClippers Banned Banned

    Feb 26, 2007

    I am usually busy studying, volunteering, socializing & working during the day time :)
  12. GoLAClippers

    GoLAClippers Banned Banned

    Feb 26, 2007
    I can't find the exact source on the net that explains how a GPA component correlates to Step 1 success. However, a SC med student told me once that "First Aid," a USMLE step 1 study book, claims that the best correlation that most studies have found is Science GPA + MCAT composite score. Most students that pass the Step 1 had at least 3.65+ Science GPA and 27+ MCAT. I guess if your Science GPA or MCAT is below that, you are less likely to pass.
  13. blargh

    blargh Banned Banned

    Oct 24, 2006
    the mcat is just part of a conspiracy to rob pre-meds of their hard earned money. $200 to take the test, $1500 to take a class, $40 per practice test, or even $3000+ for private tutoring... i didn't take a class and i still spent about $500 to take the stupid test.
  14. cleothecat

    cleothecat 10+ Year Member

    Feb 1, 2007
    I know several physicians hwo did terribly in their MCAT's but are successful ,effective and beloved physicians to thousands of patients.

    Go figure!
  15. Pansit

    Pansit 5+ Year Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    I think more than anything the gpa is a good indicator of work ethic (academically) in undergrad. I strongly believe that if one is willing to work hard enough, put in the study hours, and make sure they understand the material they will get A's and at the least a B in all their classes. In my experience, the times when I didnt get the "A" was usually when I slacked off on studying or was overconfident and didnt focus. Now, if someone with a 3.2 gpa in undergrad all of a sudden became a very hard working student in med school, they would succede and do well just as easily.:thumbup:

    This is why gpa is not as good of a correlation b/c someone with a 4.0 could easily slack off in medical school and someone with a 3.0 could easily dedicate himself to study all the time.
  16. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    I wouldn't worry about it at the premed stage. The strongest correlation to Step 1 is your second year of med school grades. So get into med school, do well there, and you have a good shot at doing well on Step 1. Medicine is one of those fields where you always have to prove yourself, and Step 1 is yet another fresh challenge. If you did poorly on the MCAT yet get into med school, you can turn it around. If you did great on the MCAT, you have to work to keep at that level once in med school.

    It seems lately in pre-allo that many people want to rest on their laurels. There are threads that suggest that with a high MCAT they are set for the boards and there are threads that suggest that once in a top med school they are set for residency. You guys are going to learn the sad truth that nobody cares as much as some of those on this board once you get past this stage. Everything counts, but not as much as some folks on here think. You have to earn it every step of the way. No coasting on "indicators". Good luck. :)
  17. xucardsfan08

    xucardsfan08 2+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2006
    It isn't "test-taking" skills like the SAT/ACT can be. The MCAT is a unique test explicitly designed to predict medical school success. If you were a patient, would you want the guy diagnosing you who had to spend every waking hour of med school to learn the material or the guy (not implying laziness here, fyi) who is naturally intelligent and bright? I think I would take the smarter person over the work ethic...

    You all should actually do the research BEFORE you disregard evidence.:idea:
    AAMC Article on MCAT/GPA link and Med School Success
    Journal of National Medicine Association Article
  18. Pansit

    Pansit 5+ Year Member

    Feb 14, 2007
  19. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    May 30, 2001
    Gone Walkabout!

    The MCAT is pretty meaningless once you have been accepted into medical school. Whether you have a 45 or a 25, you are dead even with your classmates in terms of the tasks at hand.

    Your patients are not going to care about your medical school grades, USMLE or MCAT scores. They are going to seek you out because of your ability to practice medicine. They are not going to care about your "intelligence" but rather, how well you can communicate what they need in order to take care of the problem at hand.

    An absolute truth about medical school is,"What do they call the person who graduates last in his/her medical school class?" The answer is, "Doctor". Medical school is all about getting over "the wall". Some people clear by 8 feet and some people scrape on the way over but if you get over, you have cleared the wall.

    Success in medical school is about your day in and day out mastery of the task at hand. Most of your classmates are going to get the job done and those that don't usually get a second chance and do well.

    A high MCAT only shows how you were able to handle that test on that day.
    USMLE Step I is going to show the same thing. High scores on both tests are nice but neither are great predictors of anything.
  20. DoctorPLASTIC

    DoctorPLASTIC Banned Banned

    Mar 11, 2007
    They predict that you have a better chance a a top med school and a top residency!:p
  21. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Apr 30, 2006
    The Big Easy
    If anything, Id say the best predictors of your future as a doctor is your clinical evals from other doctors seeing you practice in the field, since I would imagine that being able to communicate clearly, concisely and effectively with a patient can probably carry you further than any exam can.
  22. SomeRandomName

    SomeRandomName 2+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2007
    Nathan R. Kuncel and Sarah A. Hezlett
    Science 23 February 2007:
    Vol. 315. no. 5815, pp. 1080 - 1081
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1136618

    A study demonstrating the correlation between standardized test scores and licensing exam scores, faculty ratings, citation count, research productivity, degree completion, qualifying exam score, graduate gpa, and 1st year graduate GPA.

    MCAT to STEP 1 correlation (just says "licensing exam" so maybe this figures in STEP 1 and 2, or STEPs and board scores): ~0.64. Also strongly correlated with med school academic performance (~0.6). Notably, no other standardized test comes close to this high of a correlation (with the exception of the "MAT" for qualifying exam (~.58).

    Conclusion of Study: "Standardized admission tests provide useful information for predicting subsequent student performance across many disciplines ...
    Results from a large body of literature indicate that standardized tests are useful predictors of subsequent performance in graduate school, predict more accurately than college GPA, do not demonstrate bias, and are not damaged by test coaching. Despite differences across disciplines in grading standards, content, and pedagogy, standardized admissions tests have positive and useful relationships with subsequent student accomplishments."
  23. Anastasis

    Anastasis caffeinated for safety Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Agreed. And I think the same thing can be said about GPA. No one cares that you had a 4.0. They only care how hard you work now that you're in med school. At least that's my perception.
  24. Stolenspatulas

    Stolenspatulas 2+ Year Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Its a correlation people, and a strong one at that.

    No one is saying there are no exceptions to the rule....remember, its a correlation, NOT A RULE.

    I also agree with an above poster that implied that one with a low MCAT should not take these evidences to heart and seek a self-fulfilling prophecy and do poorly. Also, one with a high MCAT should not take these evidences as meaning you'll rock the USMLEs automatically.

    But please, remember its a correlation. No one is saying that someone with a 27 on the MCAT can't rock the boards. I bet its happened numerous numerous times (its just a lot less likely to happen compared to someone with a 35 MCAT, etc).
  25. RokChalkJayhawk

    RokChalkJayhawk Muck Fizzou 2+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2006

    Thanks Man! You just changed the way I view life!
  26. Mortal_Lessons

    Mortal_Lessons H.Perowne 10+ Year Member

    Aug 15, 2006
    New England
    As one poster mentioned above, I too have heard that the Biological Sciences section of the MCAT is most closely correlated to USMLE Step 1 success. It makes intuitive sense that this is the case. After all, the Step 1 is a bunch of multiple choice questions centered around biological systems. This intuition also leads me to believe that the Verbal Reasoning section is the least correlative (sp?) with Step 1 success. The Step 1 isn't testing how well you can interpret the author's intentions; it is testing how well you understand the biological systems.
  27. soeagerun2or

    soeagerun2or Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2006
    You missed the point. Ability to do well in medical school matters about as much as Ralph Nader in a presidential election. As long as you pass your classes, Step 1 is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing in determining residency.

    Yes, MCAT has the strongest correlation to Step 1 (aside from NBME practice exams). If you do well on the MCAT you will likely do well on Step 1. This is not guaranteed though.
  28. danielmd06

    danielmd06 Neurosomnologist Physician 7+ Year Member

    Sep 9, 2006
    The best thing you can do to have alot of options for residency is do well on the USMLE Step I, which has not been shown to correlate particularly well with MCAT, or undergraduate GPA.

    The best thing you can do to prepare for USMLE Step I is to do well in your medical school classes.

    Best wishes.
  29. Chinelo


    Aug 19, 2015
    I definitely agree with you. Just because you score high on the exams does not necessarily mean that you will be a very good med student and do ell on the USMLE. It is very sad to say that most med schools just look at numbers and not by holistic approach.
  30. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor Moderator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Nov 4, 2011
    Alta California
    All of us need to show the LCME that we use a broad range of parameters to choose matriculants, consistent with our institutional goals.
    You do realize that you bumped an 8 year old (dead) thread...
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  31. Goro

    Goro Faculty 7+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2010
    Somewhere west of St. Louis
    How well one does in med school is a direct correlation to how well one does on Boards.


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