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MattD

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How did you get into medical school without taking the mcat?

<rant> This isn't directed at the OP, who was simply taking a route available to him, but I do NOT understand all these schools with admissions pathways that do not require students to take the MCAT. You HAVE to be able to pass a standardized test to get a medical license, and it's unfair for schools to allow students in who haven't gone through the MCAT weedout precisely because of that fact. They should be ashamed that they are potentially putting students into a position where they could spend 2 years of their lives and borrow huge amounts of money for tuition only to find themselves unable to progress beyond Step 1. </rant>

OP, as I noted above, you will not be able to dodge standardized tests for much longer, as you will NOT be able to find a path in which you don't have to take the USMLE. You may want to get in touch with your school's academic counselor for some tips on overcoming this problem. Other than the standardized test problems, your best advice is going to be to learn all of your material to the best of your ability. It really is that simple, the more you know the more likely you are to know the answer to a USMLE question. The test doesn't try to trick you, it's just a matter of knowing the fact they are testing you on. To identify high yield topics to focus on, first aid is pretty good, and you can refer to it throughout school to note the things that you should learn and NOT FORGET, as opposed to the volumes of things you'll learn and purge after the exam. When it comes time to study for step 1, there are tons of threads on how to prepare, I recommend first aid, highly rated review books for problem subjects (lippincott's illustrated biochem, micro made simple, etc), and a good qbank like USMLEWorld. Good luck to you!



BTW, get lippincott's for the biochem course as well. It rawks.
 

Monica Lewinsky

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In response to the above: Theres alot of US allopathic who never had to take the MCAT for various loopholes in the medical admissions system. The USMLE pass rate at allopathic schools is very high, so I really don't think its that big of a deal. If schools saw their non-mcaters doing bad on the USMLE then they'd probably alter the admissions standards for these students.
 
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DrFraud

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How did you get into medical school without taking the mcat?
When it comes time to study for step 1, there are tons of threads on how t prepare, I recommend first aid, highly rated review books for problem subjects (lippincott's illustrated biochem, micro made simple, etc), and a good qbank like USMLEWorld. Good luck to you!

I would recommend that you get USMLEWorld now and practice 10 or so questions a day in the subjecs or organ systems that you cover using the qbanks Tudor mode. It definitely wont hurt you and over time some of the important concepts that are tested will start to stick with you.
 

lankysudanese

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I have just started medical school. I am not a good standardize test taker what so ever. I did not write the MCAT. I am very very nervous about Step 1. My entire life i have scored subpar or average, not SDN average, but national average. I am a hard worker and that is why I am in med school. Any advice as I go through years 1 and 2? Specifically year 1.

We have an integrated curriculum. next semester we have micro, neuro anat, immuno, and ID.

if you never took the MCAT, then you must be basing your highlighted statement on the SAT/ACT/GRE or some other test which has an even lower correlation with Step 1 score than the MCATs do (and, in case you are no aware of this, the MCAT scores are somewhat correlated with Step 1 scores, but not very strongly). So all I would say is work hard to master the material in MS1 and MS2 without worrying about Step 1. I would NOT recommend focusing on Step 1 prep material (like First Aid, USMLEWorld or whatever), and spending a lot of time understanding the material from the main resources (lecture notes, reference books (Robbins etc)). That way, when you start your Step 1 prep, you are already somewhat comfortable with most of the material.
 

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...(and, in case you are no aware of this, the MCAT scores are somewhat correlated with Step 1 scores, but not very strongly)...
Ditto.

In my opinion, these two tests have nothing in common other than being standardized tests.

Someone may not have liked physics and organic chemistry, or english may not be their first language, or simply may have goofed off in undergrad and not do so well on the MCAT. However, this person may have buckled down in medical school and focused and might do just fine on step 1 (especially since "there's no orgo and physics" per se on step 1).

I don't think MCAT's predict anything about Step 1 scores, and furthermore, I don't think Step 1 scores predict anything about the competence of a person as a prospective doctor. (And I will continue to think this until someone shows me reliable statistics to prove otherwise).
 

MattD

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If the pass rate on Step 1 isn't significantly different between the two groups, then can't you say with some level of confidence that the MCAT doesn't matter?

No.

You should do some research on direct and indirect correlation, and how to practice deductive logic.

A) Having a high MCAT score isn't necessary to have a high Step 1 score. However, being a capable standardized test taker probably is.

B) Everyone who takes the MCAT and does well is probably a capable standardized test taker.

C) Some people who enter medical school without taking the MCAT would have done well on the MCAT if they HAD taken it.

D) Some people who enter medical school without taking the MCAT would have done poorly, if they had poor test taking skills

If you allow the premise that C >>> D, then

E) Most people who enter medical school without taking the MCAT will do comparably to people who did take the MCAT on Step 1, HOWEVER;

F) Members of group D may have significant difficulty doing well on Step 1.

Given point F and given the point that medical school is extremely expensive and time consuming, and given the fact that passing Step 1 is necessary to obtain and/or utilize your medical degree, I argue that:

G) It is unjust and contrary to the ethical tenets of beneficence and non-maleficence to allow admission to medical school without taking the MCAT, as you are allowing some people to waste a large amount of resources when that person could have easily been warned against doing so.


I don't think Step 1 scores predict anything about the competence of a person as a prospective doctor. (And I will continue to think this until someone shows me reliable statistics to prove otherwise).

I tend to agree with this, as I know some students who failed the Step who were excellent clinically. However, a minimum Step 1 score is still required to be allowed to practice medicine, so it is what it is.
 
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G) It is unjust and contrary to the ethical tenants of beneficence and non-maleficence to allow admission to medical school without taking the MCAT, as you are allowing some people to waste a large amount of resources when that person could have easily been warned against doing so.

It's "tenets." "Tenants" are people who rent property.

And the rest of your post was ridiculous, especially since the MCAT is a poor predictor of Step I score, and Step I in turn does not predict clinical performance at all.

As usual, Monica Lewinsky was correct.
 

MattD

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It's "tenets." "Tenants" are people who rent property.

And the rest of your post was ridiculous, especially since the MCAT is a poor predictor of Step I score, and Step I in turn does not predict clinical performance at all.

As usual, Monica Lewinsky was correct.

Touche, and to think I hate mixing up words.

However, my post isn't ridiculous. You just didn't pay attention to what I was saying, because your above (poorly developed) counter-argument does not even address my point. If you disagree with my argument, please tell me which point you disagree with and why.

And please note that at the end of that post I specifically say that I agree that Step 1 scores do not correlate particularly well with clinical performance. So I don't know what your point is there.

I'm glad you're sweet on Monica though.
 

harrisonIM

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i'm probably one end of the spectrum. i'd recommend using review books asap. only textbook u might want to pick up is robbins, but some will even say no to that. if u think your school does a good job teaching, use your class notes then review books to drive home key concepts and facts.
 

JeffLebowski

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This question is asked pretty much weekly on SDN.

No, there's really no reason to start studying focused on Step 1 at all until 1/2 way through M2 year. Learn the material well the first time for courses, this is by far by far by far by far the best prep I feel like I had for Step 1. Learn it well the first time through, then when you're reviewing for Step 1 (it should be review at that point), it will go much easier and you'll hone the info to the point of mastery. You can't use review books before you learn the info. If you start highlighting etc. review books too early (i.e. M1), you'll likely just waste time and money because if your highlighting preferences change or you want the new edition, it's useless. I mean there's a few that are pretty good as course supplements (BRS Physio & BRS Path), but if your class has decent course notes go with those. Master it for your course exam and later, believe it or not, it does come back fast.

If you read through SDN for a while you'll find a treasure-trove of stories about being average before Step 1 & creaming Step 1. Your score on Step 1 is almost entirely a function of three things:
1) How hard you studied the material for coursework
2) Whether you used the "must-use" review materials well (FA, USMLEWorld, BRS or RR path)
3) Your work ethic during the 6 months preceding the exam

Note there's nothing in there about being particularly smart or having a track record of doing well on standardized exams or starting Step 1 prep earlier than everyone else.
 

Knicks

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.......... You can't use review books before you learn the info ..........
Sadly, that's what I'm doing with pathology. :(


If you read through SDN for a while you'll find a treasure-trove of stories about being average before Step 1 & creaming Step 1. Your score on Step 1 is almost entirely a function of three things:
1) How hard you studied the material for coursework
2) Whether you used the "must-use" review materials well (FA, USMLEWorld, BRS or RR path)
3) Your work ethic during the 6 months preceding the exam

Note there's nothing in there about being particularly smart or having a track record of doing well on standardized exams or starting Step 1 prep earlier than everyone else.
Nicely put. :thumbup:
 

GMDMD

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I don't think Step 1 scores predict anything about the competence of a person as a prospective doctor. (And I will continue to think this until someone shows me reliable statistics to prove otherwise).

So do you think it's just a coincidence that all of the people who match into derm, ent, radonc, etc who have 250 board scores also seem to be the same people who honor all of their 3rd year rotations? Because isn't the latter the best predictor or prospective doctoring ability?

I don't believe a 250+ score guarantees anything. But it is certainly easier to excel when you have a good knowledge background and quick thinking ability to build upon.
 

Knicks

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So do you think it's just a coincidence that all of the people who match into derm, ent, radonc, etc who have 250 board scores also seem to be the same people who honor all of their 3rd year rotations? Because isn't the latter the best predictor or prospective doctoring ability?

I don't believe a 250+ score guarantees anything. But it is certainly easier to excel when you have a good knowledge background and quick thinking ability to build upon.
That's what I meant.
 
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However, my post isn't ridiculous. You just didn't pay attention to what I was saying, because your above (poorly developed) counter-argument does not even address my point.

Yes, your post was totally ridiculous. Your claim that it is "unjust" to admit people to medical school without the MCAT is so absurd it really doesn't merit serious discussion, especially when you concede the MCAT's lack of predictive power in the same post. The part that was so over the top that I had to respond was when you named specific ethical principles (beneficence and non-maleficence) in reference to the MCAT. I laughed heartily when I read that.
 

MattD

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Yes, your post was totally ridiculous. Your claim that it is "unjust" to admit people to medical school without the MCAT is so absurd it really doesn't merit serious discussion, especially when you concede the MCAT's lack of predictive power in the same post. The part that was so over the top that I had to respond was when you named specific ethical principles (beneficence and non-maleficence) in reference to the MCAT. I laughed heartily when I read that.

Ok I'll admit it was over the top, although it was meant to be overly formal to make a point. And you ARE missing my point. I'm not saying that a high MCAT score predicts a high Step 1 score. What I'm saying is that a LOW MCAT score could be a symptom of a critical deficiency in the ability to succeed on standardized-style tests. By allowing people to bypass the MCAT you are basically allowing them to enter a very expensive, stressful, time consuming program of study during which you will be REQUIRED to perform well on just such an exam. The MCAT is a very sensitive (it will pick up all the standardized-test incapables), although perhaps not very specific (it will also pick up people with poor knowledge base, people who didn't study, people who had the flu, etc) way to screen for people who should not be allowed into medical school FOR THEIR OWN GOOD. I'm NOT arguing that a single low MCAT should weed people out of med school (and I think you think that I am...) What I AM saying is that multiple low MCAT scores, especially when correlated with high grades, would likely be a good predictive screen for people who may never be able to obtain a license due to their standardized test issues, despite perhaps being at the top of their classes academically. I'm not the only one who feels this way, FWIW I know one director of admissions at a U.S. medical school who shares this exact opinion.
 
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Ok I'll admit it was over the top, although it was meant to be overly formal to make a point. And you ARE missing my point. I'm not saying that a high MCAT score predicts a high Step 1 score. What I'm saying is that a LOW MCAT score could be a symptom of a critical deficiency in the ability to succeed on standardized-style tests.

Thanks for being a little more reasonable. I do think I understand your point. One problem is that the relatively poor predictive value cuts both ways: there are people who do poorly on the MCAT and still do well on Step I.

I think it's important to keep in mind that not all standardized tests are alike. The MCAT is much closer to being an IQ test, while Step I (at least from what I've read and heard) is much more knowledge-based and therefore amenable to improvement through work.

(This is pretty bad for the smart-but-lazy folks like me, but I think it might be true.)
 

Terpskins99

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I have just started medical school. I am not a good standardize test taker what so ever. I did not write the MCAT. I am very very nervous about Step 1. My entire life i have scored subpar or average, not SDN average, but national average. I am a hard worker and that is why I am in med school. Any advice as I go through years 1 and 2? Specifically year 1.
For right now, just continue to study hard and make sure you learn everything correctly the first time through. That's the most important preparation for boards at this stage.

As you approach second semester of year 2, then you should start thinking about a more formal approach towards getting ready for boards (i.e. surf SDN, taking kaplan, buying review books).

If you really feel you need something, you can purchase First Aid which is a skeleton of all the material you need to master for Step 1. I recommend getting a slightly older copy, since it'll be cheaper: 2006 or 2007. When you eventually do get into full board prep mode, you can then buy the most recent edition (I don't really think this is necessary, but plenty of people will recommend you do that... buying brand new review books is pretty much a huge money scheme).
 
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