MCAT versus GPA The Never Ending Battle!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Olsen, Jun 20, 2001.

  1. Olsen

    Olsen Member

    Jun 17, 2001
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    Hello helpful premeds! Another query about GPA versus MCAT. If you look at UCLA's medical scientist web site the #1 thing they consider is GPA. I imagine, though, if one has a high GPA and low MCAT the admins have to do a double take. And what about the reverse, low GPA and High MCAT?


    Which of these two do you think would be accepted?

    GPA: 3.85
    MCAT: 26


    GPA: 3.35
    MCAT: 37

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  3. Hopkins2010

    Hopkins2010 Banned

    Nov 5, 1999
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    They would take the second one, especially for MD/PhD admissions.

    Now if the first MCAT was maybe around a 30 or so, they might take the first applicant.

    Just my opinion
  4. fishtolive

    fishtolive Senior Member

    Apr 22, 2001
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    i asked a doctor the same thing and he said, as sad and unfair as it may be, the mcat is the only way they can level the playing field and judge all applicants on the same, don't discount the importance of an mcat.
  5. 0099900

    0099900 Senior Member

    Jun 19, 2001
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    Here is an exerpt pertaining to they way Ivy league adcoms view the MCAT and GPA.

    "We see many applicants with excellent grades and references but low test scores. Our perception is a diligent, hard-working student who is probably performing at 100% capacity. These students are probably not brilliant or insightful, just diligent.

    MCAT scores are the true equalizer in the admissions process. They back up all of the other evidence in your folder and either support or contradict it. They show your mastery of the material and are an indicator of the strength of your university and professors. Poor performance on them shows you are not competitive with other applicants who aced them.

    We often hear complaints such as "I don't do well under pressure" or "I panic taking timed tests". We are not sympathetic to this. A medical school curriculum requires four years of timed-testing and high competition: students using a "poor tester" excuse are simply not competitive. The best way to become proficient at test-taking is to practice, practice, practice, Know the material well before the test. Learn the test instructions by heart. Take several practice tests under controlled test conditions. Familiarity will breed comfort with the process and increase your likelihood for a good score.

    Bottom line:

    1) MCAT scores are more important that your class ranking or GPA.
    2) MCAT scores are more important than faculty recommendations.

    This is true for all of the Ivy schools because they all use an Academic Index (AI)when screening applicants. There are only three special cases where the "normal rules" don't apply.

    1) Legacies
    2) VIP
    3) URM recruiting

    As for the calculation of AI, the majority of the formula is derived from your MCAT scores. The remaining variables are your SGPA and your CGPA. I don't want to sound mean, but please don't ask me what the AI formula is because I won't tell you. All I can say is that a perfect AI = 23 and competitive applicants usually have AI's ranging from 16 - 23.


    Personally, I don't think it's fair that the MCAT is weighted so heavily at these schools .... but what can you do?
  6. lilycat

    Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 12, 2000
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    Attending Physician
    Well, I think the example originally given was a little too extreme -- change that first MCAT score from a 26 to a 28, and it becomes a more interesting scenario. My boss last year was an interviewer for a med school in the "top ten" -- in the course of the year, I heard about all the applications that came through our office -- the one thing they all had in common were extremely high GPA's -- I think the lowest was a 3.8. The MCAT's varied wildly, but I think the lowest was a 29, although there were several in the 30-31 range. There are a lot of people on adcomms who believe that some people just do not take standardized tests well, but can still be good doctors. Thus, they'll tend to weigh the GPA more heavily. However, that was just my experience with one school.
  7. MDgonnabe

    MDgonnabe your royal travesty

    May 26, 2001
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    Along these lines, don't some schools try to level the GPA playing field by ranking schools and their academic programs? I doubt that a 3.85 from Harvard would be looked at the same was as a 3.85 from a random community college etc. Also, I can't help but wonder how they factor in coursework because the AMCAS also had those check boxes with "honors" courses or "repeated" courses or whatever. Any experiences with this?

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