This isn't very "Lebowski" like dude. I think you should help others in your class as much as you can so they can learn also. Have old exams/quizzes? Share the wealth and help your fellow student physician. Don't let them "go down with the ship." I am the biggest liberal on this board?
"Lebowski: Not a man, a way of life."
No where did I suggest that you shouldn't help out your fellow man. Of course you should. But heck, it's no one's job to convince people to acknowledge common sense. Since it's your opinion that it doesn't matter at all, I'm not going to argue with you. I'm just going to follow my own plan, you follow yours.
Not to mention, this topic has been discussed in about 2 dozen threads on SDN, you would think a search would turn that up.
And just by way of summary (in case this needs to be reiterated here again):
1) Yes of course grades matter. The extent to which they matter depend on the program and specialty. They are generally not as important in PD decisions as Step I & clinical rotations performance. But yes, they matter.
You can find little pockets of people & programs that "don't care" (because my brother's friend said a PD at Random Univ. Hospital EM program said he doesn't care), but to generalize, of course they care.
2) No applicant is a series of numbers.
Yes, you can overcome an unimpressive GPA/class rank. This isn't rocket science, it's common sense. Keep in mind that some programs don't have
to look beyond the numbers, though, because they have a million applicants just like you who have impressive numbers all around. Which are these? Man, the only way you can figure that out is by applying and seeing which ones still like you. Which brings me to #3...
3) Don't make a decision about what your CAREER for the REST OF YOUR LIFE is going to be based on one factor. Or two factors. Just make it happen.
Don't make excuses and don't try to justify unimpressive performance by writing it off as "it doesn't matter. Just go out there and show them what you've got, because if you really
are fit for the field or fit for the program, just being yourself will be enough. If you've got enough to make up for it, you'll match. The only way you'll know is if you try. Sure, test out the waters by talking to as many people as you can, but as far as "is _____ field still open to me" questions go, there's absolutely no way to answer that question other than with flimsy anecdotal support from random anonymous people with a million application factors you have no idea about. Just follow your heart man. Hopefully your heart shows you a view that makes the most of your potential, that pulls you to know what you want, to always do your best, and have no regrets as a result.
If you want to know the actual numbers, go look up Charting Outcomes of the Match. You'll see (among other things):
900+ U.S. seniors applied in 2006
25% of U.S. seniors who matched were AOA (usually depends on grades)
3% of U.S. seniors who didn't match were AOA
But...99% of AOA applicants matched
.......88% of non-AOA applicants matched
Average Step I for U.S. seniors who matched was 235
Only 7 people out of 300+ failed to match if they scored over 240
And it goes on. So what you're left with is you're stuck with interpreting these numbers and the anecdotal testimonies of whatever dozen people you hear from telling stories about people with a 2.0 matching Harvard rads or 4.0 260 having to scramble and "this PD said he doesn't care" and "yeah but this other PD says he really likes AOA" and blah blah blah. It's up to you to gauge where you stand, but in the end you have to just end up using all that melange of perspective to forge a solid plan that allows you to follow your heart.