Do grades count nowadays?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by rockdoc, Nov 12, 2005.

  1. rockdoc

    rockdoc MSIV
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Sorry in advance if this has been posted already (not really sure how to search previous threads here).

    I'm getting conflicting information from different sources whether med school grades in the basic science years count heavily or not. One the one hand, people have said that this is a way to make yourself stand out. And then I get a totally different perspective that says basic science years don't matter as long as you don't fail them, and that the clinical years are what counts.

    My school still utilizes the typical grading system (A-F), and I don't believe our grades are inflated. Only about 7 ppl get A's in each organ block, and so on. So far, I've been busting my butt to keep doing well. But I might not keep this up if my A is the same as someone else's C, if the basic science years indeed don't matter. I do like my sleep, after all...

    :sleep:
     
  2. MeowMix

    MeowMix Explaining "Post-Call"
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Messages:
    1,639
    Likes Received:
    11
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    it depends somewhat on which specialty you want to go into. For the vast majority of med students, it is really not important to get incredible grades in yrs 1 & 2; for us, that is a tiny fraction of what goes into the Dean's letter for your residency app. Do your best to learn the material, get a reasonable board score, do well on your rotations in years 3 & 4, and you will be fine. As you are learning, you can put a huge amount of time and effort into studying, and not necessarily get that A.

    There is a very nice guide online at
    http://www.meded.umn.edu/students/specialties/guide/index.cfm
    Click on the specialty of interest and see what they have to say about whether "Basic Science Honors" is important.

    For results based on actual research with residency program directors:
    Wagoner, Norma E. and J. Robert Suriano, "Program Directors' Responses to a Survey on Variables Used to Select Residents in a Time of Change," Academic Medicine, Vol. 74., No. 1, January, 1999, pp. 51-58.
    This is a very good analysis of what factors into residency selection; it's still the most recent analysis, and it's often quoted. Pre-clinical grades are low on the list of priorities.
     
  3. lattimer13

    lattimer13 good boy!
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    1,187
    Likes Received:
    7
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    just do your best so you know the stuff for step 1 wich is the big enchilada used to compare you against students from other schools when it comes time for residency application.
     
  4. tupac_don

    tupac_don Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2004
    Messages:
    881
    Likes Received:
    3
    Well they do matter and they don't. Class rank does matter, especially if you are going to really hot specialties like ENT, ophto, rad, plastics, derm. You gotta be top of the class, great scores on boards, ace your rotations. If on the other hand you wanna go to pretty much anything else you don't need stellar grades, but you still need to be top 1/2 of class.

    I would suggest to you, to try as much as you can and what you feel comfortable with. If you are killing yourself and not have a life just to get an A might not be worth it. But if you are working hard, but you are still getting A's with decent effort, I say do it by all means. Dont' not try just because you say oh I wanna do IM. It's quite common to change which specialty that you want to choose. So you dont' want to regrett it down the road. You are getting A's keep doing it.
     
  5. Law2Doc

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

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2004
    Messages:
    30,983
    Likes Received:
    9,864
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Unfortunately only half the class at a given med school can be in the top half of their class :confused: . I agree that you need to be tops to do the more competitive specialties. But bear in mind that half of the doctors practicing out there were in the bottom half of their class.
    I think the best advice is just to do the best you can at all stages of med school and the boards -- at the end you can decide amongst whatever options are still open to you.
     
  6. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
    Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2001
    Messages:
    9,050
    Likes Received:
    140
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Hi there,
    Your grades in pre-clinical largely determine your rank. Grades in the clinical years can be very, very subjective unless you school takes care not to allow that to happen such as weighting the shelf exam more than the clinical evaluations. USMLE Step I is a great leveler but will not make up for poor pre-clinical grades in a competitive specialty.

    Do your best consistantly and try to do the best you can on Step I. Your As do stand out more than Cs and as someone who DOES look at those transcripts for residency selection, I will invite people with As over those with Cs no matter what the USMLE Step I score.

    Do not let anyone fool you into thinking that any grade in medical school does not count. When you fill out that ERAS you will find out.

    njbmd :)
     
  7. rockdoc

    rockdoc MSIV
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Thanks so much to everyone who gave their input. I was getting really confused with all different views from people in my class that it was becoming disconcerting. I'm glad to hear from people who have more experience regarding this. As for the input from my peers that "grades don't matter," well, I'd just like to believe that they are misinformed, and had no bad intent for spreading wrong advice...
     
  8. yellowcat322

    yellowcat322 Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Medical Student
    At my school we have a true P/F system, so in a way grades really don't count at all. However, our deans said that they consistently see that the numerical grades of students during science years directly correlates with their grades on Step1. So I feel like by doing the best you can throughout the two years can really save your butt during the precious few months of studying for the boards. Now there are people who take this notion too far -- ostricize themselves from their peers and have no life whatsoever just to get that 98 on an exam (yes we have those ppl in a P/F school :confused: ). So don't have a breakdown trying to get all A's but don't be that class slacker either--it may come back to bite you and those precious hours of sleep you gained may not be worth doing your rotation in Alaska
     
  9. Mephisto

    Mephisto Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    2
    What about someone like me? My school is on an Honors/Pass/Fail system, where a vast majority of the kids pass and only the top Honor. A few might fail. There is no high pass. I am really having a hard time in anatomy, though I only now feel like I can study for it. I mean, I'm passing, no big deal, but I'm well below average. Im only honoring one other class this semester, the rest i'm missing the honor mark, but remain slightly above average.

    I feel like I am slowly adjusting to the workload and by next semester and next year, I will have it down pat enough to have a decent amount of honors on my transcript. But with my mediocre semester this term, am I closing doors already?

    Just to clarify, I don't know what i want to go into yet, but whatever it is, I'd like a fairly competitive location and a nice hospital (i.e. large city, (maybe somewhere in the northeast) in a university-based academic hospital, like HUP or UMD, or UChicago).
     

Share This Page