MCAT -USMLE/COMLEX correlation??

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
20+ Year Member
Aug 3, 2002
Reaction score
So they say that the main reason why med schools want such high MCAT scores is cuz how a person does on the MCAT is a predictor of how they will do on the boards (USMLE/COMLEX). From your experiences I was wondering if you found this to be true. Because you see I am a very bad standardized test-taker. I took the MCAT 3 times to get a 26 on the last 2 tries despite the amount of studying I did and how prepared I felt. So I wanna know what I can do to ensure that when it comes time to take the boards I dont have to go through all that again.


ps- I am def. going to med school next year, not sure where but Ive been accepted at a few places, and am waiting to hear from some.

Members don't see this ad.
First of all let me commend you on starting to think about the Boards so early... I've seen quite a few fellow students coast through the Basic Sciences and try to cram for Step 1, only to put out a very mediocre performance.

That said, IMHO the best thing you can do now to prepare for the exam is concentrate on in-depth learning of the subject matter. "In-depth learning" is a concept I learned from Dr. Ben Carson's book... he expained it to mean a concentrated, detailed study of every aspect of every subject you study. At this stage, I think one should really focus on attaining a clear understanding of the subject matter, rather than a high-yield board review. There will be plenty of time for that later, and when the time does come, it will be just that... a review. Good luck :).
Anmol, do not be concerned.

The MCAT does correlate with how well you will do in medical school and with the USMLE, but I think it's a poor correlator.

My scores were similar to yours... despite this, I scored a 246/99 on step I. If one looks at MCAT data alone, I probably should be failing out of medical school. Instead, I'm doing rather well.

Keep studying! You can do it!
My take on the MCAT is that it is 90% reading comprehension -- you actually need very little bio / chem / physics knowledge. I would say it is more like the SAT in that it's difficult to study for and more representative of intelligence than knowledge (although knowledge never hurts). For the MCAT I think you need to practice a lot of questions just so that you're comfortable answering those type of questions and thinking in the way you need to think for the exam. The USMLE seems to be much more related to your knowledge base and not your intelligence. If you work very hard in your 1st 2 years of med school you can rock the boards, despite a suboptimal MCAT (IMHO). Don't expect 3 weeks of review to compensate for 2 years of lackluster studying... it won't work. I found that most of the questions on the USMLE were not coming from the short-term cram-fest before the exam, but from the long-term slow-and-sure knowledge of 2 years of hard work.

-endo (31, 252/99)
Members don't see this ad :)
Thanx everyone for the replies. I guess It's good that now I know, when I start school, I just gotta take everything seriously, and not strive to just "pass" when I can ace my classes. It's a long road ahead, but I cant wait to start. Once again thanx everyone!!

Happy Holidays

Oh and 1 more thing.... excuse me if this is an idiotic question, but... what the heck is IMHO?????