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gpa---->MCAT

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by hudsontc, Nov 22, 2002.

  1. hudsontc

    hudsontc Attending
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    Yet another correlative question.....

    I've seen people with high gpa's do remarkably bad on the MCAT and people with mediocre/poor gpa's do quite well. So, I'm curious. If you had a high gpa and did poorly on the MCAT...was it because you didn't prepare appropriately? If you had a low gpa and did really well...was it because you were simply scared into studying intensely for it?

    I have a 3.8 science gpa and have been wondering this as I'm going to be beginning prep for April 03' soon.

    One more thing. Does my gpa give any indication as to what my capability is on this test?
     
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  3. aquaboy

    aquaboy Surfer, sailor, swimmer!
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    It depends on your school and what kind of preparation you received in those undergrad premed classes. Some people with high GPA's have high GPA's because they work hard and succeed. When it comes to the MCAT some of those hard workers are not very good test takers and don't do well on it. Also some people with high GPA's think everything coems easy to them and don't prepare for the test. The MCAT isn't like other standardized exams and very few people can take it cold and do well on it. Don't let a high GPA lull you into a false sense of security. You have to study your butt off to do well on the test. GPA and MCAT scores do not show a good correlation in a lot of cases!!!!!!!:eek:
     
  4. ShortStuff

    ShortStuff a trueblue spitfire
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    I am one of those who has done fine in school and am a horrible test taker and did not so hot on the MCAT. I applied anyway and am waiting to hear about an interview I just had. I think alot of it has to do with how well you can explain you situation...if you have a history of being a poor test taker but high grades. etc. I think when it comes down to it. life really isn't judged in a testing situation and as long as you show that you are a good person, have an interest in medicine, etc. you will be fine. :)
     
  5. care bear

    care bear pink fuzzy user
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    hey. . . i have a pretty dang low GPA for a premed, but my MCATs were pretty good.
    i definitely got grilled about that in my first interview!
    i had explained a C in gen chem, and then my interviewer starts asking about why there is disparity between my performance in class vs. on the test.
    in my case, i really think it's cause of the school i go to.
    our avg. MCAT is abt a 31-32, and the avg. grade in sci. classes is set to about a b or b minus.
    so it make sense that if i do a little above the avg for my school in both areas, my grades would be about b plus avg while my mcats would be a little above the 31-32 range. . .
    but one is considered "bad", while the other is considered "good". argh!
    all that to say, i would definitely take into account what the trend tends to be at your school, can you find info like that at a premed office? and ask other ppl at your school who have done well what methods, etc they used.
     
  6. smilez428

    smilez428 Senior Member
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    I am one of those ppl with a high GPA (3.77 sci) and a low MCAT (27M). I don't know exactly what happened on the MCAT- I was really shocked at my score. I prepared TONS for the test- and I didn't do well. I think the Ugrad school has a lot to do with it. My school is pretty good- but they don't focus on "MCAT" stuff as much as they should in the "pre-med" classes.
     
  7. vivekap2007

    vivekap2007 cowtown indo hornet
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    I have a low overall gpa, average science gpa, and high mcat. I think it was because the classes I took cause of my major really prepared my well for the test and developed those all important critical thinking skills (though it killed my grades) Anyway, the great equalizer is how much work you put in; study a lot over christmas, spring break, and be sure to just work at least a little bit each week...and get the practice items from the AAMC (~$100)
     
  8. UCLA2000

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    not necessarily...ever heard of grade inflation/deflation?
     
  9. DoubleDoctor

    DoubleDoctor Ceder Dog's Daddy
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    My GPA and MCAT's were fairly comparable but I think that quality
    of undergrad classes and majors was more the key. Since I had a major in Biochem/micro/molecular from a school that has tough science majors, the MCAT material was really pretty much a review of very basic stuff that I had covered early in the process to get my degrees and that had been taught repetitively as review in upper level courses. I can't honestly say that I put much into studying but I did do a ton of practice tests that ultimately pointed out a couple of very specific weak areas like capacitors and optics (our prof had gotten behind and really just hit the highlights in these areas), but if I hadn't taken several practice exams then I probably would not have picked up that I needed to review these concepts.
     
  10. lll505

    lll505 Senior Member
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    I have a high science and non-science GPA and sub 30 MCAT --
    I attributed it to several factors -
    I was working full time and only prepared for a month and worked every Fri. nite before I took practice test - and the real one.
    Also, you never know what will happen to you on test day. I got woken up in the middle of the night and didn't sleep much and then had an awful test day - including having to go to the bathroom excessively b/c of a UTI

    Some times, people just have bad luck. I am pretty sure I'd do much better if I retook the test since I usu. do pretty well on standardized tests.

    Good luck w/ the April MCAT
     
  11. OneStrongBro

    OneStrongBro Senior Member
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    First of all, let's not over GENERALIZE. There are many people with high gpas with high MCATs and people with low GPAs with low MCATs.

    I think the CONTRIBUTING factor that could play a role is MOTIVATION. If one has a HIGH GPA, than Psychologically one doesn't have the DO OR DIE mentality of someone with a low GPA. Psychology plays a big role in this exam.

    Secondly, classes like bio and organic require a lot of memorization. It is easier to get good grades based on MEMORIZATION abilities. However, on the MCAT, the memorization of the concepts is an assumption of the test. The test measures critical thinking ability and reasoning. If one scores high on the MCAT, it shows high level of analytical ability.

    On the other hand, GPA is a function of work ethic and dedication.

    Think of the person with high GPA and low MCAT as someone that pushed to his limit. While, low GPA and HIGH MCAT means that the "potential" is there, but uncultivated(or unmotivated).

    Then, again I fell into my own caveat of overgeneralization.

    BOTTOMLINE: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, AND whatever happens with your scores. So be it. You have a great buffer with a terrific GPA. DON'T FORGET TO NAIL THE VOLUNTEERING(shows humanitarian trait), AND SHADOWING a physician(adds credibility to the question "why do I want to be a doctor") and you should be fine. Good Luck.


    P.S.

    Truth be told. Not all of us have the ability to score as 30+ on the MCAT. That doesn't mean you are inferior( b/c MCAT is not an exact science to gauge future medical aptitude). This is just a fact of life. We must accept our limitations. This is maturity. One last thing, if the median med student MCAT is a 30. Than half the students have less than 30 on the MCAT.

    Take home message, don't lose sleep over it. Just study your *ss off come january.
     
  12. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    I've got to disagree with OneStrongBro. Undergrad classes are not just about memorization, and if yours are then you are in a bad program or at a bad school. I had a high science GPA and a high MCAT, and I think the MCAT was a result of the classes I took -- because I didn't prepare any. All of my "preparation" was my previous 3 years of college.
     
  13. OneStrongBro

    OneStrongBro Senior Member
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    Diogenes, my post specifies that organic and bio requires memorization. Are you disagreeing with this claim.

    Or are you arguing that GPA is NOT a function of work ethic and dedication.

    Notice that nowhere does my post specify that all undergrad classes require memorization.

    THIS IS A GREAT VERBAL REASONING EXAMPLE FOR THE MCAT. Notice that the above assumption is false. I never claimed that all undergrad classes require memorization.

    One more thing, I think Diogenes will agree since he scored high on the MCAT. N=1 as a sample size does not mean that one can logically prove that UNDERGRAD experience plays a role in MCAT performance.
     
  14. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    You want to flame we can flame, smart guy. Your verbal reasoning needs work too. I didn't say all undergrad classes either, and the bio and organic classes required for med school are undergraduate courses. Bio and organic require MORE than memorization, which was the point of my post. And thought I may be N of 1, I have 5 or 6 friends with GPAs +/- 0.1 of mine and MCAT +/- 2. They all took classes at the same school I did and 4 of the 6 of us didn't prep. Is it causation? Maybe not. But I bet there are more high/high and low/low GPA/MCAT combos than there are inverse relationships.
     
  15. DoubleDoctor

    DoubleDoctor Ceder Dog's Daddy
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    I think that the point Diogenes is trying to make is that yes, certain courses like bio and organic do require a lot of memorization but there is no way at the college that I attended that you could even hope to pass these courses based on the ability to memorize material. Yes, it definitely helps but the exam questions always involved the absolute need to be able to critically think and reason given a certain environment or set of variables etc.

    I totally agree that the MCAT tests your analytical abilities and I guess, in a round about way your motivation. I agree that GPA is usually a function of dedication and work ethic because it is over a long period of time and requires you to give up things that you may want to do in order to do well over a long period of time.

    I have a friend that is a Comp Sci major that actually called me the other night and wanted a bunch of us to get together and LAN but I had an exam the next day. Come to find out, he had a big exam (1/3 of their total grade) the next day in one of his comp sci classes (that he had not studied for and admitted that was going to be a bear) yet he was making the choice to stay out til 1-2AM playing computer games. He was a little offended when I told him straight up that I don't go out before exams, I have to study. It really made me think because I really felt sorry for him earlier when he was complaining about his GPA being 2.0 and he hoped it didn't drop any further or he was going to be on academic probation. I had actually offered to help tutor him so that he could try to pull his grades up. Needless to say, sometimes "you do reap what you sow".

    Although, like anyone, I was worried about how I would do on the MCAT, after taking it, I realize that some of it was unfounded because my undergrad education and majors more than prepared me for the test. I think most people stress out way too much about this exam and sometimes overstudying can kill you. I know sometimes when I overstudy then I start reading too much into the question worrying about the one time in a million that the usual isn't true and then I end up screwing myself up.

    Of course, all this is only partly relevant because each person and their experiences and hardships are unique and nothing holds true for everyone. Like anything else, everyone is just speaking from their experiences and there is no right or wrong answer.
     
  16. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    so diplomatic, DoubleDoctor.... nice post.
     
  17. scootad.

    scootad. Senior Member
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    I think its interesting how people want to distinguish between academic endeavors that require memorization vs. those that emphasize conceptual/analytical thinking. But if you really think about it, ALL courses require memorization; there is no such distinction in reality between memorization and concept. In order to do well in any course and demonstrate true understanding of concepts, one MUST first memorize key concepts and facts. In fact, this is how all human beings learn; its how are brains are wired. The greater the number of times we are exposed to certain ideas, they automatically get incorporated as memories in our brains that we go back to when needed. There is no shame in admitting that pre-med courses require memorization. Every academic pursuit does!

    As a side note, I believe the true measure of mastery of material is long term vs. short term memory. If one can memorize and truly understand a concept for the exam and forget it the second one finishes the exam, that doesn't mean the person didn't truly understand the concept. It just means he/she wasnt exposed to it a significant # of times to have the memory converted to long term. True academic intelligence IMO is the ability to convert short term memory to long term memory with the least number of requisite exposures. e.g. what really impresses me is if someone can remember a major law of physics 10 years after taking his last physics course. Now thats "true intelligence."
     
  18. JScrusader

    JScrusader Senior Member
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    How can you be a bad test taker, standardized or not, and still have a high GPA? I still don't understand how people rationalize a low MCAT score by claiming they test poorly.
     

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