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GPA and MCAT score correlation

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by HumbleMD, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. HumbleMD

    HumbleMD hmmmm...
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    We say it all the time to applicants with less than stellar GPA's: "kill the MCAT." Does anyone know how possible this is? I was looking for a correlation graph of GPA versus MCAT score, but all I could find was a study on correlation of GPA and MCAT scores with medical school performance (an interesting article in its own right, especially for people who claim they have nothing to do with success in med school).
    So, anyone have data, info, or a graph?
    http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/research/bibliography/shen001.htm
     
  2. Anastasis

    Anastasis caffeinated for safety
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    I'd be interested in that too. Seems like there area tons of people on SDN who have relatively low GPAs but just destroyed the MCAT. (UMP jumps to mind).
     
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  3. baylormed

    baylormed On the Search
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    I have no data to back this up (disagree if you may), but it seems to me like there would be a correlation the lower/higher the gpa is. For example, anyone with a <3.0 gpa will probably not do very well on the MCAT, while people with a 3.7+ have a better chance of doing well at it (30+). However, for those in between there might be a longer range of MCATS, from very low to very high, depending on how much time was put into studying and the general causes of the more "average" gpa.

    *Not that it's not possible to have an MCAT completely unrelated to your gpa. ;)
     
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  4. JohnMadden

    JohnMadden Political Refugee
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    As someone with a weak BCPM GPA, I think it's definitely possible to do well on the MCAT. However, it often requires a lifestyle/attitude change. Using the same level of commitment for the MCAT that was used while achieving a low GPA will probably not lead to a great score.

    Another factor is that some people are just good standardized test takers. Unfortunately, my undergrad experience did not include a single standardized test... That being said, I didn't go to class a whole lot anyway.
     
  5. Stolenspatulas

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    GPA is too entirely biased toward an individual major or school that a clean purpose for this correlation does not exist.

    For example, a 3.2 in Chemical Engineering at Caltech is very solid.... where as a 3.5 in Psychology at pretty much anywhere won't turn heads.

    From my experience, GPAs tend to suffer from science majors because of curves... and tend to be inflated in non-science majors because of the larger component of effort to determine grades. (I wonder if science majors tend to have better mcats...?)

    In my opinion, if someone can dominate the mcat then their GPA should not matter at all (for those that say GPA shows effort, dedication, work ethic... just think about the effort, dedication, work ethic it takes to rail the mcat).
     
  6. OP
    OP
    HumbleMD

    HumbleMD hmmmm...
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    Histograms! I thirst for histograms! Or at least a scatterplot. Seriously, no one can come up with anything? We know many of the explanations/excuses, but does anyone have some cold hard data? I swear I've seen a graph on it before, but google's doing me no good.
     
  7. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    don't forget that GPA is often difficult to bring up. If your first semester is a 2.0 it's going to be difficult to get it up high, but that doesn't mean you don't know the science well enough to do well on the MCAT
     
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  8. baylormed

    baylormed On the Search
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    I disagree. GPA shows stronger dedication over a longer period of time.

    Some people are lazy geniuses and many could probably ace the MCAT without even studying that much, but that doesn't mean they will make good medical students, where constant learning/studying is expected.
     
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  9. CaramelDlite

    CaramelDlite Academic Gangsta
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    GPAs at different schools often reflect different abilities so I don't think any data could be really reliable on this. Even when you look at highly ranked med schools vs. not so highly ranked med schools, they often have very similar GPAs despite wildly different average MCAT scores-and different undergrad universities that serve as feeder schools.
     
  10. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    I only have online access to that journal from 2000+.
     
  11. aspiring med

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    i personally wish MCAT was more impt. my BCPM GPA of 3.18 I feel has crippled me for life. even though all of the classes I took for it was done a whopping 4 years ago, I'm still being punished. :scared:

    then again i know there are those with awesome GPAs and commitment that can't get those MCATs up. so yeah...maybe schools should be nicer and let good MCATs compensate for low GPA, and vice versa.
     
  12. psipsina

    psipsina Senior Member
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    Yeah this is why an upward trend in a GPA along with a killer MCAT is necessary if applying with an overall low GPA, it shows that you learned what you were doing wrong and made an effor to improve over time. Suff happens and I think what really matters in the end is that you finally understood the core material necessary to move on to the next level of education, which is proven by a high MCAT score. If you worked your way back from a crapy GPA then that shows deidication often equal to someone who just had it figured out from the beginning, as the former requires an uphill battle of sorts. Stuff happens in peoples lives, people mature while in college, some colleges are harder, some majors are harder . . . all of these are reasons that the MCAT is weighted more heavily than GPA, but to abolish the GPA as a reference entirely is to take away an important piece of information about a candidate.
     
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  13. JohnMadden

    JohnMadden Political Refugee
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    MCAT Data broken down my major:
    http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/examineedata/sum2005.pdf

    Generally, I would imagine that most people's opinion's on this issue will be strongly correlated to whichever (GPA vs MCAT) is the stronger for them
     
  14. Funky

    Funky This space is for sale
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    i have an excel spreadsheet from maybe 3 or 4 years ago from my alma mater. it shows which school this person got accepted to with their mcat and their gpa. it also shows rejected applicants' stats

    one student who matriculated to jefferson, mcat 34 with gpa 3.37
    this person was the only person out of 45 rejected and 78 accepted with a very good mcat and a not great gpa. granted my college wasn't an ivy but i think those who score highly on the mcat with a not so great gpa are pretty rare.
     
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  15. Stolenspatulas

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    what i meant was GPA should not matter at all in terms of determining if a student is capable of handling medical school.

    GPA definitely does show constant learning/studying ability over a long period of time.... to me it mostly shows EFFORT.... but I think anyone going into medical school (even those with low GPAs) realize that they'll have to work much harder than they ever have.

    GPA is far too biased on course selection, major, school, etc ..... to show any clean and crisp judgment of someone's intelligence. (Hence the beauty of the MCAT!)
     
  16. baylormed

    baylormed On the Search
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    Definitely, MCAT should be decent. However, the suggestion that gpa could be discarded in its entirety I felt was a little too drastic. The gpa (and the trend of the gpa) does tell something about an applicant.
     
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  17. Stolenspatulas

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    it shouldnt be discarded entirely... but i think a low gpa shouldnt be held against someone who has a high MCAT... not that my opinion matters.... most schools probably weigh MCAT and GPA about the same.
     
  18. Lests55

    Lests55 Senior Member
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    wasn't there a bunch of stuff in the front of msar?
     
  19. JohnMadden

    JohnMadden Political Refugee
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    GPA could represent how good someone is at "working" the grading system.

    I can't speak as to which one is a better indicator of one's success in medical school, but the MCAT may be more valuable to ADCOMs only because its standardized. It's hard to make value judgments on every single applicant. Rampant grade inflation has reduced the value of the GPA.
     
  20. Kikaku21

    Kikaku21 Senior Member
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    No. I started a thread on this awhile ago. There are graphs that compare MCAT score with likelyhood of acceptance and GPA with likelyhood of acceptance, but there is no paired MCAT, GPA data. (The graphs show MCAT score on the x axis and then number of people on the y axis. Then there is a line for accepted somewhere and a line for accepted nowhere).

    HumbleMD is right we have no idea what the correlation between MCAT and GPA is. I tried to answer this question in part by downloading GPA and MCAT data from mdapplicants.com You can do a broad search and the cut an paste the data into excel. I found that there was a very very weak correlation between the two. Almost no correlation. When you create a scatterplot of the two, its a smear of points.... Granted, this is a small sample (and possible inaccurate), but I have not found anything else that can be used.
     
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  21. UnderdogMD

    UnderdogMD Blow the Whistle!!!
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    "GPA is far too biased on course selection, major, school"-Stolenspatulas

    Hell Yeah. Sadly, the damn system is flawed. Nothing however makes me happier than someone with a GPA greater than 3.7 and an MCAT <28. I revel in equalizers. I only want an equal playing field. If everybody went to the same university and took exactly the same classes with the same professors then yes, the GPA should count as much as the MCAT.

    "Generally, I would imagine that most people's opinion's on this issue will be strongly correlated to whichever (GPA vs MCAT) is the stronger for them"-JohnMadden

    Nothing generally about it. Reading these types of threads for the last three years this should be a fact. Even this reply is biased towards my strength.
     
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  22. Stolenspatulas

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    what would be more interesting is if you take out non-science (english, lit, etc) majors and engineering (bc they tend to have the least grade inflation) majors from the pool.

    im guessing there would be some sort of significant correlation for bio/chem/phy/''science'' majors and MCAT.
     
  23. baylormed

    baylormed On the Search
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    True, although I still think it says something valuable, and the trend matters.

    Is the 3.0 gpa consitently a 3.0 throughout every semester...or is it a 3.0 because the applicant went from a 2.5 their first year to consistent 3.5+ on latter semesters?

    Also, what school/and what major is that gpa from? Is this an MIT grad with a 3.0? Or is it a State School grad/Sociology major with a 3.0?

    There are many factors into it, and I'm sure ADCOMS do their best weighing them (if not perfectly, I have confidence they at least try).
     
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  24. Kikaku21

    Kikaku21 Senior Member
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    One of the links in someones post above shows MCAT scores broken out by major. (Only means are given) Some majors have higher means that others. We can measure how much "higher" because we know the Standard deviation on any given section is about 2.5 points. (or something like that.. maybe its more like 2 points, but you get what I mean.)
     
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  25. OP
    OP
    HumbleMD

    HumbleMD hmmmm...
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    Oy.
    Now I didn't want this to denigrate into a GPA v. MCAT thread. I'm not asking which is more important, or which correlates more to an acceptance, I'm wondering if they correlate together. Do people with higher GPA's do better on the the MCAT? Yes, GPAs change by school, but there's still some consistency and meaning. As I said, I swear there was a graph on it that came with my results data. Anyone?
     
  26. JohnMadden

    JohnMadden Political Refugee
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    I haven't seen any data of the sort, but why doesn't AMCAS provide this data? They have all the data just sitting there somewhere.

    Anyone know somebody who works at AMCAS?

    For that matter, is there a correlation between Step 1 and Years 1-2 grades?
     
  27. notgettingin

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    I am wondering what everyone feels is a high MCAT score. Above 32? Above 33? Or 34+
     
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  28. QuantumMechanic

    QuantumMechanic Avatar=One of the Greats
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    ok here's some data...but its from all of my college's med school applicants from 2000-2005. small sample size and a poor representation since its a top 50 liberal arts college: take that for what its worth


    [​IMG]
     
  29. MSKalltheway

    MSKalltheway I got the magic stick
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    From my experience and statistics gathered from both Kaplan and Princeton Review, the answer is actually...no.

    Science majors tend to do the worst on average while those in the humanities (like english) tend to do better on the average. As long as you do fine in the pre-reqs, its just based on your ability to read, reason, understand sound arguments and make logical conclusions. Humanities majors just read all the time...cause they have to. That's what its really all about.

    I know a couple of Government and Politics majors who DESTROYED the MCAT.

    It is true though that depending on school and major, GPA definitely does not tell the whole story by any means.
     
  30. OP
    OP
    HumbleMD

    HumbleMD hmmmm...
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    Umm, your fantastically applicable anecdote aside, this chart straight from AAMC would like to say otherwise: http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/ex...ta/sum2005.pdf
     
  31. OP
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    HumbleMD

    HumbleMD hmmmm...
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    R value?
     
  32. searun

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    For those of us who have acceptances this cycle and will be starting medical school in August (or July), who cares? Why spend any mental energy thinking about this stuff. We are going to be med students in 5 or 6 months and then we will be inundated with so much stuff to learn in the next 4 years. So I am putting my brain on the relax mode for the next few months. I, for one, am not going to worry about MCAT/GPA correlations. I am glad I got admitted to a good school, I am going to Colorado to snowboard with my brother later this month, drift boat the McKenzie River in Oregon and flyfish for native trout later this Spring, hang out at the beach in June and then get ready for med school. And I damn well guarantee you, I will give no thought to the MCAT or GPA in the interim. I will walk into med school in August, refreshed and ready to go and kick ass.
     
  33. QuantumMechanic

    QuantumMechanic Avatar=One of the Greats
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    I'm not privy to that data set, but it is obvious that the R value is statistically significant.
     
  34. UnderdogMD

    UnderdogMD Blow the Whistle!!!
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    OP I sincerely apologize for getting your thread offtrack. But back to data tables. I swear I remember the MSAR correlating GPA with MCAT but alas I don't have mine on me. Someone please look at it.
     
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  35. Kikaku21

    Kikaku21 Senior Member
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    Um... how about becuase its interesting? A little curiousity can actually help you learn things.
     
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  36. Kikaku21

    Kikaku21 Senior Member
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    This cannot be that strong... Maybe .6? Certainly not .8
     
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  37. baylormed

    baylormed On the Search
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    Or because it distracts me from doing what I should be doing: studying for my upcoming exam. :D
     
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  38. Kikaku21

    Kikaku21 Senior Member
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    Yeah. That too.
     
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  39. searun

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    material that will help me become a better doctor. And will help my patients become healthier. I will spend zero time thinking about the correlation between MCAT scores and GPA. But if this floats your boat on a Friday night, think about it all you want. And make sure you put your pocket protector in your shirt pocket before you insert your ink pens. Otherwise you might have an embarrassing ink stain on your shirt, which will SCREAM "NERD" TO GIRLS WHO ARE IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO YOU.

    Seriously, if you get off on this stuff, then welcome to the STAR SHIP ENTERPRISE. AND AVOID THE KLINGONS, ESPECIALLY ON WEEKENDS.
     
  40. OP
    OP
    HumbleMD

    HumbleMD hmmmm...
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    Then why are you even posting anything?
    [​IMG]
     
  41. Kikaku21

    Kikaku21 Senior Member
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    Guess who figures out all of the biological pathways you are going to be memorizing, and the pharmacology that you will be memorizing, etc, etc.

    People with some intellectual curiosity. Otherwise known as nerds. Doctors should be thankful for nerds. Scientific inquiry and a sense of curiousity are the reason medicine exists. (Along with the desire to help the ill) I for one, am quite thankful for science.

    In anycase, good luck come August.
     
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  42. UnderdogMD

    UnderdogMD Blow the Whistle!!!
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    tsk. tsk. personal attacks :thumbdown: . Chill out man, its Monday night. And your best option would have been hitting the back button as soon as you realized this thread was cramping your internet-style.
     
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  43. MSKalltheway

    MSKalltheway I got the magic stick
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    I thought doctors and med students were, in large part, nerds :laugh:
     
  44. UMP

    UMP Recovered Under-Achiever
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    :confused: :rolleyes:
    am I the only one that doesn't find this to be an "end-of-the-world" event ? It's really the idiots who get embarassed by little things like that who get no play
     
  45. searun

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    It is about 10 pm on the West Coast and I am heading out for the evening for unknown but hopefully enticing adventures. Yeah, I respect nerds, you guys control the world. I concede. And HumbleMD, I respect you. I know you are really smart, obviously much smarter than me. But I just cannot think about this stuff, I just cannot devote any energy to MCAT/GPA correlation. Good night and good luck.
     
  46. OP
    OP
    HumbleMD

    HumbleMD hmmmm...
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    Thanks searun! Although it's not much of a compliment telling me I'm smarter than someone who can't even tell time (it's 10pm on the East coast, EST - 7pm by you, correct?). The question was mostly to try and give perspective to the "go kill the MCAT to correct your low GPA" advice that is quite popular on these boards. I will take the advice though - I'll quit procrastinating on SDN and get back the paper I've been putting off. I keep my partying for the weekend and work on Mondays.
     
  47. searun

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    It depends on whether or not you are traveling at the speed of light. Happy Presidents Day!
     
  48. gary5

    gary5 Senior Member
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    I'd say that there are 3 major factors that determine how well a person will do on the MCAT: intelligence (which is genetic), what they learned in undergrad, and what they manage to learn between now and when they take the MCAT. The first one cannot be improved and the second has already past, and so there is only one factor remaining that can be improved. You can even argue that the 3rd factor is dependent on genetics (ability to learn new material, motivation, ambition) and that the 3rd factor is also dependent on learning skills that a person develops during the previous 10 years.

    And so, a person with a low GPA (let's say < 3.0) is unlikely to kill the MCAT, and even if they do, their GPA already demonstrates that they do not perform consistently in an academic environment.

    Anyway, this is why adcoms rely so heavily on the MCAT. Doing well requires genetics plus many years of consistent learning, motication, and performance.
     
  49. SurgeonUFO

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    Less than stellar GPA: 3.4
    Pretty good MCAT: 36
     
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  50. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student
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    Medical Student
    My personal experience has been that there is *some* correlation between GPA and MCAT but there are enough variables that it is not a certainty.

    For example, the local university here is not considered an academic powerhouse, nor a feeder into the adjacent med school and they have people with 4.0 (bio majors) who couldn't crack a 30 on the MCAT. However, at my undergrad, which is known for its premed/bio program, people I knew who got above a 3.9 all got into top top med schools (Harvard/WashU/Duke/etc) scoring 33+ on the MCAT. However, the top students from both schools all tended to get into med school (barring no other nonacademic issues).

    But the general trend, judging on the students at my med school, is that most were pretty good students in college. Many were used to hitting those A's and studying pretty hard, and continue to do so in med school. There are a few exceptions that had poor GPA but they usually had something else to cover it (high MCAT/post-bacc/etc). Correlation? Yes. But not a hard one unless you put in other variables (same school/major/classes/etc).
     

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