MCAT or Master of Physiology

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by trunksvegeta, Jul 17, 2001.

  1. trunksvegeta

    trunksvegeta Senior Member

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    Hey guys,
    I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice regarding whether to study this upcoming Fall for the MCAT (which I have not yet taken) or begin a Master of Physiology program (already accepted for fall). I am 26 yrs old, never got around to taking the MCAT...my GPA is in the low 3's. Initially I thought that the Master of Physiology program would be really interesting and at the same time allow me to raise my GPA. However, the program is quite intense, and I could risk being in a worse situation than I started. On the other hand, if I study from now until April 2002 for the MCAT, at least I should be somewhat prepared for the MCAT. I'm worried that being enrolled in a Master of Physiology program will take up most of my time for the next 1yr and a half, leaving me barely any time to study for the MCAT...most likely forcing me to take the MCAT the following April. On top of that, I will be expected to complete the program. I'm having trouble deciding, would it be better to readmit myself into a second B.S. such as Microbiology and do well, while studying for this upcoming April's MCAT? or just stick with the Master of Physiology program, do well, then take the MCAT 2003 the following April and apply then? Confused....
     
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  3. kreno

    kreno Candy Man

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    Take a practice MCAT... AAMC V or something. If you do really well, then no need to study. If you're like me, however, and you need to put in at least a 1000 hours of studying in order to get a decent score... then wait 'til next april.
     
  4. mdhopeful

    mdhopeful Senior Member

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    hey there trunks. my advice is to get your priorities straight. i did a masters, realized i wanted to go to med school, and then took the mcat after my masters. that process took 3 years and now i am applying. if you want to be a doctor, then why get a masters? if you want to do research, then perhaps a masters is appropriate. if you want an academic experience that is medically related, want to boost your gpa, and improve your admissions stats, there is no full-proof method. i do know though, that there is debate about whether graduate gpa is considered more than post-baccalaureate gpa. my impression thus far is that post-baccaluareate grades are more important than graduate. for me it was worthwhile to do a masters because i plan to have a medical career in public health. however, as far as doing something to increase med admission stats, i think post-bacc courses or anything to boost the BCPM GPA is worthwhile. i do think it is a good idea to figure out what your priority is. good luck.
     
  5. Denilson

    Denilson Senior Member

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    well, i went through teh same dilemma...i chose to do a masters degree to boost my grades and then, half way through i decided to go for a phd too so i applied and got in..i started it after my MS and i'm finishing that up now after close to 5 years...was it worth it?...heck yeah, i learned more about biology and molecular biology in general than any of my uninteresting undergrad classes...in addition, it allowed to me to volunteer once a week for 2 hours at local inner city elementary schools and get a lot of publications...well, to make a long story short, i'm applying to MD And DO schools now and pretty comfortable witht he idea that i'll get in somewhere...you don't have to go through the same scenic route i took, but postbac programs helps you to appreciate the science behind medicine...also gives you time to participate in volunteer work which i didn't do in undergrad...hope this helps, but it's never too late to decide ina career in medicine...it also helps if your advisor is an md/phd...
     
  6. trunksvegeta

    trunksvegeta Senior Member

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    hey, thanks for the advice! Well, my priority is to get into medical school. The Master of Physiology Program is a non-thesis program, so I won't be doing any research whatsoever, unless I choose to do so. It is primarily a structured program of about 30 hrs which includes a variety of graduate level anatomy and physiology courses. Would it make a difference with adcoms if I was to go and get another B.S. to improve my stats and not pursue a Master's instead? It would take me just as long to get another B.S as it would to recieve a Master of Physiology degree. Only I woudn't be stoned to death for not finishing a 2nd B.S. What do you think guys? a 2nd B.S. (~20 hrs), or a Master of Physiology (~27hrs- and more difficult). I want to apply, but I'm worried that I would be wasting my time right now considering my stats aren't quite up to par. Another option is to just study like hell for the MCAT while taking about 6-9 hrs of Post baccalaureate courses (undergrad/grad science to boost GPA) this year..and take the MCAT in April..which is beginning to sound pretty good. Do adcoms care how many hrs of PBS classes one takes..or do they prefer those hours go towards a Master's degree? I was concerned that the adcoms would scrutinize 50-60+ Post Bacc courses on a transcript...thanks again
     
  7. mdhopeful

    mdhopeful Senior Member

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    trunks - my belief is that taking Post-bacc pre-med courses is a good idea b/c it allows you to boost your science GPA, also you get to choose your courses. for a grad program, there are a lot of courses you must take to get the degree. no matter what you choose to do, the MCAT is a very important test for med school admissions. so leave plenty of time to study. no matter how much you improve your gpa, if the MCAT doesn't come out right, then all that work might be wasted. if you are sure this is what you want to do, i would recommend taking is slow, focusing on the most important aspects, and going for it. I think it is the quality of the grades not the quantity. Good luck.
     
  8. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member

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    actually i was told the exact opposite of what mdhopeful suggests to do, that adcoms prefer to see you put in the dedication and commitment to finishing a graduate degree rather than just taking random courses.

    i was also advised to NOT pursue a masters in anything that i couldn't see myself doing as a career, in case med school *never* pans out. non-thesis masters programs in biology do help some people get into med school, but not everyone. and the people who don't wind up being accepted are now stuck with a graduate biology degree that didn't require any research and will thus hold much less weight in securing a job in the science field. so in many ways, unless you get into med school, it's a pretty useless degree. to be honest, if you go with the masters route, i would pursue a masters that requires research. i've never known anyone to NOT finish such a degree in two years--plus, in addition to taking coursework to raise your gpa, you could potentially put out some publications.
     
  9. trunksvegeta

    trunksvegeta Senior Member

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    thanks again everyone,
    well I'm still not sure whether I should pursue a Master's degree or to take just post-baccalaureate classes. I think I also heard somewhere that I shouldn't just take random courses. However, as for now, if I *was* to enroll into a Master's program this Fall, I'm not sure if doing research is my top priority. I do understand that a non-thesis degree holds much less weight than a thesis-oriented degree in terms of the job market, however, my main concern is trying to boost my gpa and to possibly get some studying in for the MCAT. Would I be that much at a disadvantage taking strategically chosen post-bacc courses and study hard for the MCAT, or would it be better to enter a Master's with a structured program to demonstrate that I can handle the courseload? I would really like to pursue option 1 considering I have not yet taken the MCAT, and I believe I will have sufficient time between now and next April to prepare for it....I just hope that taking post bacc courses over a Master's would not hurt me. What about a 2nd Bachelor's eg. Microbiology?..wouldn't neccesarily have to finish it like a Master's..and I can study for the MCAT. Thanks
     

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