Intro:

If you don't want to waste a lot of time, the below puts forth a very rough estimate that a 4.0 from a state school is worth approximately a 3.25 from a top top school. A priori, I think this gap sounds a bit large (I'd pin it around a 4.0 = 3.4 or so), but read through if interested...

Methodology:

I looked at 6 'top' schools chosen at random (ie, I didn't look at their scores and then choose them...these are just six of the schools I perceive to be among the top): Amherst, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, Yale. This group is large enough to create a good sample size, but small enough for me to complete the project in under an hour (I don't have much of a life, but I'm trying to hold on to the bit I do

).

I also took 6 random schools that aren't bad schools; they're just large state schools whose classes might be conceived as easier: Florida State, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Rutgers, Tennessee, Texas A&M. Plus, I have special ties to all these schools, so that's why I chose them

.

And, yes, this test is subjective by my personal decision on 'top' schools with tougher academics and schools where classes might be a little easier.

I then went to mdapplicants.com and took the mcat and gpa for each person from the top schools and entered those into a spread sheet. I calculated the MCAT/GPA ratio for each person, and then took the average of that ratio for the entire group, as well as the standard deviation. I repeated the process for the state schools.

Results:

The ratio for the top schools was 9.91 with a standard deviation of 0.93. That means that a normal candidate at a top school will have an MCAT score of 9.91 X GPA. About 75% will score within 3 points of that figure. This means that, _on average_, a top school student with a 3.5 GPA will average just under a 35 MCAT (9.91 X 3.3 = 34.7). About 75% will score between a 32 and 38, with a couple more being on the lower side of that scale.

The ratio for the state schools was 8.238, with a standard deviation of 1.05. Just as it is with the top school figures, this means that a student from a state school will have, on average, an MCAT score of 8.238 X GPA, and that about 64% will score within three points of that score. This means that, on average, a state school student with a 3.5 GPA will score about a 29 (28.8), and that about 64% will score between 26 and 32 (again, with a couple more students on the lower end).

Now, we can also take a gander at what a 4.0 at a state school approximately means at a top school...

Let's start multiplying 4.0 by our state school ratio: 8.238. This gives us: 32.952, which is the rough estimate of the MCAT score for somebody who gets a 4.0 from a state school. Comparatively, by dividing 32.952 by 9.91 (the top school ratio), we find out that a student from a top school who scores a 32.952 would have a GPA of about 3.25.

Caveat:

Yeah, there are a couple points I glossed over for the sake of not spending an entire afternoon on this (I've already spent an hour because I'm really slow at entering numbers). You may say that state schools or top schools get better test-takers in relation to their grades, but I'm making the assumption that tests in school and the MCAT are similar enough, that the grades are actually a good predictor. Or it may be possible that once students get to top colleges, they just decide to slack off. Who knows.

In any case, take it with a grain of salt, but I think it's worthwhile and interesting data/information.

Smittyballz said:

I was wondering if there is a ranking system used to measure how hard a school is in order to weigh out one's grades. Example Harvard 3.0 compared to small state school 3.8. Which one is better or are they equal???