is there such thing as "not being smart enough for a carrer in medicine"?

intuition

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just wondering because as much as I want to become a doctor...I honestly don't feel smart enough, as evidenced by my grades:(:(
 

twick121

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i hate to say it, but yes, yes there is...there is a reason why it's so selective
 

Quadratic

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Climberak

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Trust me, grades are not a sole indicator of intelligence. I know a few 4.0 students that are, quite honestly, dumber than some B students. The reason why they get straight A's is because they study on the weekends while the B students go out.

I think getting good grades is more of an art than a science. You have to learn to get a feel for the professor and what kind of questions they'll ask. Trying to memorize everything they say simply won't work.
 

SaveThisLabRat

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Seriously, judging by your last couple of threads, your screenname should be LowSelfEsteem.
 

172858

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dear OP:
but of advice from past experiences - if you're looking for sympathy, empathy, or understanding, this ain't the place...
 

coldweatherblue

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I think that most people have enough mental capacity to do the work of a physician. Whether or not they develop their mind throughout childhood, adolescence, and adulthood to think logically and critically enough to pass the exams required to become licensed is another matter entirely. Dedication and work ethic play huge roles as well.

However, I may only think that way because I've been conditioned to be politically correct and accepting of different forms of intelligence besides book smarts.
 

tmatt

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dear OP:
but of advice from past experiences - if you're looking for sympathy, empathy, or understanding, this ain't the place...
This is correct.

However, OP, if you're looking for neurotic, narcissistic, number-crunching, say anything, do anything premeds, then you HAVE come to the right place.

Welcome!
 

paranoid_eyes

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i hate to break it, but medicine isn't exactly the most intellectually taxing field. all you really need is average intellect and persistence. however persistence is essential. you can be a genius and fail at medicine if you're lazy. it also takes a certain personality type (the whole point of ECs).

OP: trust me, if you can make it into college, you have the brains. just keep working hard. as you start getting a little success in your classes, your self esteem will go up (exactly what happened with me: started off doubting myself, but now im confident that with hard work it'll be possible)

you can do it!
 

FenderHM

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i wouldnt look at it as smart enough versus not smart enough. med school doesnt require a high IQ, just hard work. same thing as undergrad. i would definitely say some people arent cut out for med school. if you have trouble studying a lot med school mmight not be for you.. doesnt mean youre not smart. in fact, the way med school tuition,, malpractice insurance rates, and shrinking md salaries are going, you might be smart to not go to med school
 

Character

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op, its like you just accidentally cut yourself and are bleeding while out at sea, then you jump into the ocean to ask sharks for medical care.....your problems are better served elsewhere.
 

Character

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we've just found SDN's "Ted"
 

xrevision

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Im going to say you need above average intelligence.
 

Begaster

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I don't know whether or not you are smart enough, but the people who are saying that medicine is not an intellectually taxing field are wrong. There are few fields on this planet that can match medicine in its intellectual rigors. At the end of the day, you need to be able to memorize massive quantities of facts, understand widespread concepts, and be able to critically think at a moment's notice.

When it's all said and done, the average IQ for doctors is going to be among the highest of any profession.
 

brianmartin

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Don't forget about the real question here. What IS intelligence?

There's a reason xNTx types are over-represented in medicine. The NT personality can easily handle abstract concepts and that is basically what you need to do in medicine. Some specialties may be more suited for sensing types, such as surgery. It all depends on your individual strengths.
 

pride4jc727

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On the contrary, my pre-med advisor puts it out there that medicine most of the time is very routine. At first, it is not so because you are learning the little nuisances that it becomes a bear at first. Eventually, after a time you get used to it and it becomes rather simple. He also says that the Dr. House type problems we see on TV are few and far between. What do you guys think? I would tend to disagree with this because in surgery, things can be routine but you cannot be careless. Plus, there are things sometimes that lie out of our control that procedures have the possibility of going awry.
 

LikeClockWork

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On the contrary, my pre-med advisor puts it out there that medicine most of the time is very routine. At first, it is not so because you are learning the little nuisances that it becomes a bear at first. Eventually, after a time you get used to it and it becomes rather simple. He also says that the Dr. House type problems we see on TV are few and far between. What do you guys think? I would tend to disagree with this because in surgery, things can be routine but you cannot be careless. Plus, there are things sometimes that lie out of our control that procedures have the possibility of going awry.
They have the possibility of going awry, but from what I understand, once you hit your stride in your surgical career, you may do dozens of appendectomies (sp?) before one of them actually goes south. The same with knee replacements, tommy-johns surgeries, etc. etc. You get routine in-and-out surgeries many times. Granted, if you're a brain or trauma surgeon things are less routine.
 

vicinihil

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just wondering because as much as I want to become a doctor...I honestly don't feel smart enough, as evidenced by my grades:(:(
yes. Average American IQ is 98...average American doesn't get into med school. You can work extremely hard, but if you need to work extremely hard in ugrad just to get a C, then you probably aren't cut out for it. That's why there are weed out classes in ugrad to discourage those that might not hack it.
 

mdgator

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You don't have to be a genius to be a doctor, but you do have to be intelligent. Those who say that a person of average intelligence can cut it in medicine, IMO, have a skewed take on what "average" is. You have to be considerably above average just to get in med school, and we haven't even entered the really intellectually taxing stage of our careers. I would say it takes someone with a relatively high IQ to be able to effectively process the copius amounts of information that we will be demanded to process throughout medical school and much of our careers.

Studies of average IQ by profession show physicians either at or near the top of the list, with an average IQ, if I remember correctly, of near 130.

OP, to answer your question, yes there is such thing as not being smart enough for medicine. But as others have said, grades are not always an indicator of your level of intelligence, (although they are important when it comes to getting into med school). Also, I think many of us, at one time or another, have questioned if we are "cut out for it." Keep your head high, work hard, go after medicine if it is what you love, but have a backup plan in case things don't work out.
 

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Honestly, yes.

With the volume of material you'll be facing in med school, if you have to spend time struggling with concepts the rest of your class is picking up easily you will find yourself buried. It's easy to say that you can always put in more effort, but the people that say that don't realize that there just isn't enough time in the day to spend much more time than everyone else is.
 

45408

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i hate to break it, but medicine isn't exactly the most intellectually taxing field. all you really need is average intellect and persistence.
Which of course means that half of the population, which is below average, could not cut it.

Medicine is not intellectually taxing? If medicine isn't intellectually taxing, what is? Go ahead and throw out the token PhD in mathematics or engineering, but I think this thread is simply full of pseudo-humility. Some of you guys are under some kind of mistaken impression that med schools simply consists of memorizing a huge list of facts and then you're done, but it's more than that. If you're a biology major or similar, med school will easily be just as difficult as any class you've ever had.
 

student12x

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Statistically medical students have high IQs. But this is due to the fact that people just aren't willing to put in ridiculous amounts of effort to reach their goals. If you had average intelligence, and had to study 100+ hours a week to get straight A's would you? Probably not. Would you rather die at the age of 60 just so you can become a doc? Probably not.
 

bsax007

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Yes, there are people that aren't smart enough for med school.
 

8744

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i hate to break it, but medicine isn't exactly the most intellectually taxing field. all you really need is average intellect and persistence. however persistence is essential. you can be a genius and fail at medicine if you're lazy. it also takes a certain personality type (the whole point of ECs).

OP: trust me, if you can make it into college, you have the brains. just keep working hard. as you start getting a little success in your classes, your self esteem will go up (exactly what happened with me: started off doubting myself, but now im confident that with hard work it'll be possible)

you can do it!
This is the conventional wisdom of many on SDN but it's not true. I have worked at jobs in every level, from fast food to medicine, and not only are most physicians the smartest people I have ever met but the job is beyond the abilities of people with average intelligence. Let's not get silly here. Persistence is important and it does take certain personality traits (which are not revealed by extra-curricular activities at all as pre-meds do these because they are de facto necessary and not for any altruistic reason) but memorizing, understanding, implementing, and communicating about medicine is not for the average.

Quit selling yourselves short. People of average intelligence become mid-levels and that's the truth of it. This idea that you don't need to be smart is just egalitarian agit-prop.
 

Perrotfish

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Medicine is not intellectually taxing? If medicine isn't intellectually taxing, what is? Go ahead and throw out the token PhD in mathematics or engineering, but I think this thread is simply full of pseudo-humility. Some of you guys are under some kind of mistaken impression that med schools simply consists of memorizing a huge list of facts and then you're done, but it's more than that. If you're a biology major or similar, med school will easily be just as difficult as any class you've ever had.
And even when it is memorizing a huge list (Anatomy Practicals and Pharmacology), how is that not intellectually taxing? Most people just can not absorb that much information that quickly.
 

8744

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I don't know whether or not you are smart enough, but the people who are saying that medicine is not an intellectually taxing field are wrong. There are few fields on this planet that can match medicine in its intellectual rigors. At the end of the day, you need to be able to memorize massive quantities of facts, understand widespread concepts, and be able to critically think at a moment's notice.

When it's all said and done, the average IQ for doctors is going to be among the highest of any profession.
****ing-A, bubba.
 

8744

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On the contrary, my pre-med advisor puts it out there that medicine most of the time is very routine. At first, it is not so because you are learning the little nuisances that it becomes a bear at first. Eventually, after a time you get used to it and it becomes rather simple. He also says that the Dr. House type problems we see on TV are few and far between. What do you guys think? I would tend to disagree with this because in surgery, things can be routine but you cannot be careless. Plus, there are things sometimes that lie out of our control that procedures have the possibility of going awry.
Nope. He's wrong. On almost every shift I get a diagnostic puzzle that if we don't figure out somebody else will. And just because it's routine doesn't mean it's easy. Routine to me is horrifically complex to you. On my first ICU rotation as a medical student I was terrified and ignorant. Everything was a challenge. As an intern I was still scared. As the senior resident in the units I know what I'm doing and patients that would previously give me fits of agony are hardly worth commenting on now.
 

fisko82

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You have to be considerably above average just to get in med school [...]
I agree with most of your post. I think it's difficult to complete med school and beyond if you're a dummy. However, I think just about anyone can get into med school (exceptions: convicted felons, mentally ******ed, etc.).

I know how shocking that sounds (especially if you're a person who has yet to gain admission anywhere), but it's really not that far fetched. Think about it: getting into a US MD school can be challenging, but there are schools out there that'll take people with dismal numbers just to fill their class up and some schools in the carib that'll take you so long as you have a deep wallet and a pulse. Granted, these places aren't ideal for many that are applying from this particular forum, but they're med schools nonetheless.

disclaimer: I am not in anyway saying (or trying to say) that by going to aforementioned places, you'll be an inferior physician. I'm just saying there are alternative routes to becoming a doctor, is what I'm saying (I think).
 

WellWornLad

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For what it's worth, here's the most quantitative figure I could find in 3 minutes of googling:

http://www.dianahsieh.com/images/blog/iq-prof-men.gif

This figure is just for men - I didn't see MD on the female version, so I guess they couldn't find the requisite 30 female MDs to include on the chart. In any case, MDs are impressively higher in this study than other professions - it's hard to interpret the values without a ruler, but it looks like average IQ is about 120, with a range of 105 - 135.
 

student12x

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Considering that the average person doesn't even go to college( btw the average person has an IQ of 100.), a 120 isn't that high. Most of my friend have IQs around this #.
 

WellWornLad

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Considering that the average person doesn't even go to college( btw the average person has an IQ of 100.), a 120 isn't that high. Most of my friend have IQs around this #.
I'm not sure how the average person's college habits implies that an IQ score of 120 isn't high.

In any case, it should be mentioned that the SD for IQ is 15, meaning that an IQ of 120 essentially puts you in the top quarter of the population. To say that isn't high would be a tad elitist, IMHO.
 

GreenShirt

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There's different types of intelligence. Some people are very talented in the humanities while others excel at the sciences, for example. Medicine requires the later type of intelligence. If you find that science classes are your weakness, you may be able to get through medical school by brut force work, but you may be happier doing something that taps into your talents.
 

searun

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I guess the really smart people go to law school. I imagine that you have to be really smart to argue anyside of an issue, depending upon who is paying you.
 

student12x

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] I'm not sure how the average person's college habits implies that an IQ score of 120 isn't high.
@ WellWornLad. I read it somewhere that the average college students' IQ is around 120. I'm not being elitist. I'm just saying that premeds shouldn't worry. If they were smart enough to get into college, then they should be smart enough to make it to med school. Given effort of course.
 

Tutmos

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...However, I may only think that way because I've been conditioned to be politically correct and accepting of different forms of intelligence besides book smarts.
I have to tell you this was really honest and quite impressive to admit it, good sense of self.
 

DoctorRx1986

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Now that people are bringing up IQ, let's all get off our high horses and humble ourselves! BY FAR, the most INTELLIGENT HUMAN BEING IN HISTORY, who could easily get through medical school in a matter of months, is William James Sidis. Look him up. He is believed to be the most intelligent person in history, with an estimated IQ range of 250-300. How many standard deviations is that above the "average" IQ? Between 10-13 standard deviations. This man could truly put each one of us down in terms of intelligence and could breeze through medical school all the while feeling everyone else is a "slow" learner. Hell, I wish my IQ were that high...but instead, I have a mediocre 125. :thumbup::cool::D
 

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Now that people are bringing up IQ, let's all get off our high horses and humble ourselves! BY FAR, the most INTELLIGENT HUMAN BEING IN HISTORY, who could easily get through medical school in a matter of months, is William James Sidis. Look him up. He is believed to be the most intelligent person in history, with an estimated IQ range of 250-300. How many standard deviations is that above the "average" IQ? Between 10-13 standard deviations. This man could truly put each one of us down in terms of intelligence and could breeze through medical school all the while feeling everyone else is a "slow" learner. Hell, I wish my IQ were that high...but instead, I have a mediocre 125. :thumbup::cool::D
Yeah, but could he see why kids love cinnamon toast crunch?
 

nonesuchgirl

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Now that people are bringing up IQ, let's all get off our high horses and humble ourselves! BY FAR, the most INTELLIGENT HUMAN BEING IN HISTORY, who could easily get through medical school in a matter of months, is William James Sidis. Look him up. He is believed to be the most intelligent person in history, with an estimated IQ range of 250-300. How many standard deviations is that above the "average" IQ? Between 10-13 standard deviations. This man could truly put each one of us down in terms of intelligence and could breeze through medical school all the while feeling everyone else is a "slow" learner. Hell, I wish my IQ were that high...but instead, I have a mediocre 125. :thumbup::cool::D
Hey, speak for yourself. :cool:
 

loganhayes

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Grades are not an accurate indicator of intelligence. But the effort to get the grades probably is. For example, if you only study for one hour for a bio final exam yet still get a B, compared to those who study for 2 weeks and get an A, I must say you're pretty smart.

In medicine, persistance is key. Lots of memorization requires persistance... unless you have a photographic memory, which most of us don't. Intelligence obviously helps, but without persistance, I don't think any of us will get far.
 

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