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MCAT's true purpose

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by jubei0766, Dec 28, 2001.

  1. jubei0766

    jubei0766 Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    For those of you already in medical school...
    Is MCAT really a good predictor of how you will perform in the first 2 years(didactic portion) of medical school? I mean for example, if I happen to be someone with low mcat score but I get into medical school somehow, then am I really destined to perform poorly in the first two yeaers?

    Thanks for your advice. :eek:
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  3. Purifyer

    Purifyer Dr. Funk 7+ Year Member

    Nov 29, 2001
    I think you may be mistaking the MCAT for a crystal ball. But don't worry, I have 2 easy eays to tell the difference between the two. Ask yourself these questions; Is it crystal? and... Is it a ball?

    This question's kind of goofy really... ie. If you spend 23 years in a basement studying for the MCAT, then once you get into med, start taking large quantities of LSD and valium... I think the MCAT may not be a good estimate.
  4. Jeff698

    Jeff698 EM/EMS nerd 15+ Year Member

    Aug 11, 2000
    Salado, Texas
    While Purifyer seems to have forgotten the TRUE purpose of the MCAT (to inflict pain upon premeds and help out lazy adcoms), s/he nailed the answer to your question.

    The only other thing the MCAT seems to be a good predictor of is performance on other high-stakes, pain-inducing exams like the USMLE (especially step 1).

    BTW, I'll let you in on a little secrete that we're probably not supposed to tell anyone once we are in medical school...

    the only thing that sucess in medical school is directly related to is hard work and the ability to sit on your butt listening to lectures.

    Good luck!

    Take care,
  5. omores

    omores sleep deprived 10+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2000

    I was lucky enough to get sell-your-soul-for-them MCAT scores, but discovered that MCAT-type smarts aren't really all that helpful in medical school (much as I wish they were, for my life would be alot eaiser!) Having a lowish MCAT score certainly shouldn't make anyone feel doomed to mediocre performance in med school.

    The MCAT tests your ability (at least in theory) to take the concepts you learn in basic science courses and apply them to wordy, complicated problems. Doing well depends on your ability to discern the idea that is lurking beneath all the verbiage.

    Medical school, conversely, tests your ability to memorize fact upon fact upon fact upon fact upon fact upon fact upon fact upon fact upon fact upon fact ....
    It's sheer muscle you'll be using; there's no finesse involved whatsoever. In fact, it's possible to do well on basic science exams by simply being able to recite details -- it's not even necessary to fully understand what's going on. Stamina and self-discipline are far more important than brilliance here.

    The MCAT's true purpose (besides giving pre-meds something to panic about) is, I believe, more a convenient way of distinguishing one applicant from another than it is a measure of one's ability to do the work.

    ;) :rolleyes: ;) :rolleyes: ;)
  6. 12R34Y

    12R34Y 10+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2000
    I have to agree with Jeff698's comment. It is used to inflict pain on premeds!!!!!!!!! and to assist lazy adcoms.

  7. rubyness

    rubyness Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 4, 2001
    I believe that the true purpose of the MCAT is to make money for AAMC. Please--those essays--do they really show our writing skills? And don't get me started on verbal--what the hell was that? Cram in a passage as fast as your eyes can scan over it, then regurgitate all the details back, bubble in the answers and blur on to the next segment. If they really want to test reading comprehension, they should sit us down with 20 minutes and a bit of William Faulkner--then give us an essay to write about it. ;)

    The MCAT does nothing but prove how well you studied for it. It isn't a measure of much else--although I will say that the science parts are okay. This is coming from a humanities person.

    It's just one more hurdle that you have to jump--then it's over!
  8. Big Red Machine

    Big Red Machine Junior Member

    The MCAT is just one test. You really can't say that there is a correlation between MCAT and medical school success since it is basically comparing apples and oranges. The MCAT basically tests your ablity to take a test under A LOT of pressure. Medical School tests, from what I've seen in my 4 months so far, rote memorization. Every once in a while there will be something to think about, but about 99% is plain old memorization.
  9. chury

    chury Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 24, 1999
    Da Bronx

    Got 6 in verbal. (10 Physical and 9 Bio.)

    Now MS-2...Doing more than well. Actually I always score above the class mean. I could have ended up in some 3rd world country b/c of verbal. Luckily, I got one addmission.

    And there are so many people in my class that really do not deserve to be there. Well, some of them are already on a 5 year and 6 year tracks.
    Who knows, maybe they had high MCAT scores?
  10. vietcongs

    vietcongs Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2000
    kansas city, mo, usa
    my MCAT scores were as sorry as chury's, but i got into medical school on a prayer and i'm doing extremely well academically..which proves that the MCAT is a lowsy predictor of medical school performance..
  11. phd2b

    phd2b Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 24, 2001
    Perhaps the next logical question is:

    How well do your grades in Medical School predict your professional success?

  12. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Portland, OR
    <a href="" target="_blank">Research</a> has been done on these topics...
  13. Ibis

    Ibis Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 16, 2001
    Miami, FL
    Yeah, research by the company who produces and benefits from it. Of course, AMCAS is gonna advocate strong predictive value for the exam! :rolleyes:
  14. jaeida8

    jaeida8 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2001
    Harlingen, TX
    I don't think having a high MCAT score vs. having a low MCAT score predicts how you'll do in class. I think the MCAT serves as a way to level the field. In order to distinguish a 3.8 GPA from Harvard vs. a 3.8-4.0 GPA from your state university, you can look at MCAT scores. There are always people who were smart enough to go to Harvard who didn't go for personal reasons, so this is a way for that person to have a better chance. If med schools just looked at what university you went to, I think a lot of us wouldn't even be trying to get into med school.
  15. Sheon

    Sheon Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 1999
    Brooklyn, NY
    MCAT what the &#^$ is an MCAT? Once you start medical school you tend to rapidly forget these things. I would say the MCAT was a good predictor of how well you study (provided you didn't take a prep course).
  16. star23

    star23 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    MCAT is just a means to medical school. I talked about this with some of my classmates last semester, and MCAT scores do not necessarily predict academic success in medical school. Don't worry about your low score, if you get in just rejoice and then get ready to work your *&^ off - just like everyone else.
  17. Medical123

    Medical123 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Unfortunately, the MCAT can also serve as a weed out tool for otherwise highly qualified applicants. There are so many variables that can affect one's score such as personal illness, the illness or death of a family member, job responsibilities, etc. Most people will tell you that the MCAT has no relation to their performance in the first two years of medical school and certainly not on boards (after all, people with high MCAT's have been known to fail their board exams. Less emphasis needs to be put on this exam and more emphasis needs to be put on what the applicant himself has accomplished in his or her lifetime.
  18. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Portland, OR
    You can speculate all you want and discuss individual examples but that does not compare to competent research that is easy to do and shows that there is a strong positive correlation with MCAT and USMLE Step I scores.

    Here are some research articles I found:

    <a href="" target="_blank">Indianna University</a>
    <a href="" target="_blank">University of Florida</a>
    <a href="" target="_blank">St. Louis University</a>

    Not to mention the list of research I linked to before that has been published in Academic Medicine.

    Results are that there are strong positive correlations between MCAT score and USMLE Step I. That correlation is stronger than other variables including age, overall GPA, science GPA, etc. That is one of the reasons it weighs so heavily in medical school admissions. They want to admit people that will do well on the USMLE.

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