petomed

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
178
47
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
MD-PhD's are the high rung concerning competitiveness. Can anyone speak to knowing someone who gained acceptance with a < 512 MCAT and/or < 3.7 GPA? How did the rest of their application resolve these crucial deficits? Is there any value added by having not just passion for research, but a vision and plan for the PhD?
 

petomed

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
178
47
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I see. Any takers if I ask the same but substitute the 512 for a 514?
 
Mar 22, 2020
229
550
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Have you taken the mcat? IMO no reason you can’t score a 520+ with adequate prep if you have adequate time. Also, yes I don’t think grades are end all be all for these programs. Most important thing is probably research LORs
 
Last edited:
About the Ads

petomed

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
178
47
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Have you taken the mcat? IMO no reason you can’t score a 520+ with adequate prep if you have adequate time. Also, yes I don’t think grades are end all be all for these programs. Most important thing is probably research LORs
I appreciate the reply Blackdoc. Are you speaking from experience or speculation? I have only taken the practice exams, which lead me to believe a 512 is within my reach. But I do mean 'reach', as in 'best case scenario'.

520+ is the 98th percentile. In my opinion, the 98th is made up of a continuum of two people at the bounds:

'extremely hard-working smart people' <----------> 'hard-working genius'

I'd venture to guess the 'extremely hard-working smart people' study on average twice as much as the 'hard-working genius' in order to perform at or near the same caliber. Sure, I could drop everything and study like the non-genius 98th. Lose my job, get divorced, never see my son. Sounds great but that's not the me of today or tomorrow. Maybe that will make me a lesser doctor, a less published researcher. So be it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Mar 22, 2020
229
550
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I appreciate the reply Blackdoc. Are you speaking from experience or speculation? I have only taken the practice exams, which lead me to believe a 512 is within my reach. But I do mean 'reach', as in 'best case scenario'.

520+ is the 98th percentile. In my opinion, the 98th is made up of a continuum of two people at the bounds:

'extremely hard-working smart people' <----------> 'hard-working genius'

I'd venture to guess the 'extremely hard-working smart people' study on average twice as much as the 'hard-working genius' in order to perform at or near the same caliber. Sure, I could drop everything and study like the non-genius 98th. Lose my job, get divorced, never see my son. Sounds great but that's not the me of today or tomorrow. Maybe that will make me a lesser doctor, a less published researcher. So be it.
Speaking from experience... got a 522 as a non-trad. Maintained a healthy work life balance while making sure I left no stone unturned in my prep.. it’s quality over quantity of studying
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

petomed

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
178
47
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Speaking from experience... got a 522 as a non-trad. Maintained a healthy work life balance while making sure I left no stone unturned in my prep.. it’s quality over quantity of studying
That's encouraging. When you approached those last six months before exam day, about how many hours each week would you say you were studying?
 

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 11, 2010
65,766
101,301
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Have you taken the mcat? IMO no reason you can’t score a 520+ with adequate prep if you have adequate time. Also, yes I don’t think grades are end all be all for these programs. Most important thing is probably research LORs
You're talking about achieving a 95th %ile score or higher. This is simply beyond scoring as such "with adequate prep."

OP, MD/PhDs are superstars, and so I don't think you're going to have much luck here. You don't need the PhD to do research as a clinician
 

petomed

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
178
47
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
You're talking about achieving a 95th %ile score or higher. This is simply beyond scoring as such "with adequate prep."

OP, MD/PhDs are superstars, and so I don't think you're going to have much luck here. You don't need the PhD to do research as a clinician
Thanks for the input Goro. I agree, you don't need the PhD to do research. But the PhD does a few very important things for you that a MD or DO alone will not. Taken collectively, it may be the case that these additional exposures will enable the MD-PhD's net contribution to the scientific community to be more over their career than the MD or DO without the PhD.

1) Compresses the time to publication learning curve if you've never published before, which I haven't.
2) Credentials you to the fullest effect, making you more likely to receive a R01 grant and run your own large research lab.
3) Puts you in the room, for several years, with other folks who's sole purpose is to move the scientific needle forward. I'm not sure how well this intrinsic networking asset can be measured but for the research I'm interested in, it is invaluable.
4) Gives you brick-and-mortar access to coursework you are deficient in that is applicable to the development of your research.
 
Last edited:
Jan 8, 2009
2,097
1,451
Dermatomicroscope
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Do you have publications planned before you apply?

One of my colleague's sons just got accepted to a program. Another program mentioned that it was odd he didn't have that many publications (he's been doing research since high school, but his lab just doesn't publish a lot).

You need grades, research, pubs, MCAT, shadowing, a good story, etc.

These programs are so ultra competitive.

You can do well on the MCAT. I did a PhD before med school. I was out from undergrad for 7 years and got a 520 (equiv). It can be done. I did a Kaplan course and took their practice tests like it was my job.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

petomed

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
178
47
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Do you have publications planned before you apply?

One of my colleague's sons just got accepted to a program. Another program mentioned that it was odd he didn't have that many publications (he's been doing research since high school, but his lab just doesn't publish a lot).

You need grades, research, pubs, MCAT, shadowing, a good story, etc.

These programs are so ultra competitive.

You can do well on the MCAT. I did a PhD before med school. I was out from undergrad for 7 years and got a 520 (equiv). It can be done. I did a Kaplan course and took their practice tests like it was my job.
Thank you for the response Dral. The company I work for has a business to run, so publishing our work into the ether, where our competitors live, is a pretty hard sell. However, I'm leading a research team right now for a certain project and plan to talk extensively about that on my application, as the methods involved are integral to the PhD I want to pursue. It may be possible for me to publish some of this new research, since it is methods-based rather than competitive knowledge. But doing so would require another year's delay of medical school.

I did a M.S. in mechanical engineering and my GPA was 3.84. Followed up with a diy post-bacc of biology I-II, orgo I-II, and biochem, landing a 4.0 for the five courses. If I were judged on these GPA's alone, I'd be in great shape. Unfortunately, my undergrad GPA of 3.55 brings the whole boat down. I did a thesis for my master's but never published, so I doubt that helps. I have a lot of volunteering hours (300+), good shadowing experiences, and hopefully a good story.

Very nice score! But again, I believe I will be at about a 512. I have no doubt I could score higher, maybe upwards of 516. But that will come at a cost to my family. Beyond that, I'm not sure it's a great precedent to set--for example, scoring a 520 if the work required for that score isn't sustainable (work-life balance). I have a suspicion that, if it requires me to wreck my life outside of medicine to score a 520, I will be entering a program that demands this same level of effort for the indefinite future. It may be the case that if I cannot score sufficiently high with a proper work-life balance, that I just don't have the smarts for the MD-PhD. And I'm ok with that, honestly.

The sentiment of the OP was 'are the stated MCAT and GPA insurmountable for MD-PhD adcoms?' Since the focus of this forum has thus far been 'hold on, there's no reason you can't score a 528', I venture to guess the stats from the OP are trending towards too darn low.
 
Last edited:
D

deleted1085158

OP, take a chill pill. If it's meant to be then it's meant to be.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

VaultArmitage

import pandas as pd
Feb 5, 2020
51
32
The Great Midwest Mountains
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I'm an applicant getting ready for this cycle and well it's not impossible to get into an MD/PhD program with those kind of stats it is certainly difficult. MD/PhD programs are some of the hardest graduate programs to get into. The most important thing considered in admissions is research, research, research. If you hope to overcome lower stats you need outstanding research. That doesn't *mean* getting published but that certainly helps. You need to be passionate about your research and be able to explain it well.

A word of advice, the MD/PhDs I've spoken to tend to look down on industry. While I don't necessarily agree, they consider it somewhat of a betrayal of the true nature of the PhD. I would really try to focus less on the industrial side and more on the research productivity and the procedural knowledge you have.

Best of luck!
 

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 11, 2010
65,766
101,301
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
A word of advice, the MD/PhDs I've spoken to tend to look down on industry. While I don't necessarily agree, they consider it somewhat of a betrayal of the true nature of the PhD. I would really try to focus less on the industrial side and more on the research productivity and the procedural knowledge you have.
That's interesting to read this because that's how my fellow grad students felt some 30 years ago when I was a PhD student. Nowadays, more PhDs go into industry than academia.
 

VaultArmitage

import pandas as pd
Feb 5, 2020
51
32
The Great Midwest Mountains
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
@Goro Interesting! My sample size is fairly small because it's been limited to academia so I would imagine there's definitely some bias there. I was going off mostly advice I had been given from current students or MD-PhD faculty. I would definitely be interested in the sentiment across a more representative group
 

petomed

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
178
47
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I'm an applicant getting ready for this cycle and well it's not impossible to get into an MD/PhD program with those kind of stats it is certainly difficult. MD/PhD programs are some of the hardest graduate programs to get into. The most important thing considered in admissions is research, research, research. If you hope to overcome lower stats you need outstanding research. That doesn't *mean* getting published but that certainly helps. You need to be passionate about your research and be able to explain it well.

A word of advice, the MD/PhDs I've spoken to tend to look down on industry. While I don't necessarily agree, they consider it somewhat of a betrayal of the true nature of the PhD. I would really try to focus less on the industrial side and more on the research productivity and the procedural knowledge you have.

Best of luck!
Thanks for the reply, those are great insights. I can understand that sentiment, all the PhD's I work with aren't able to publish due to the proprietary nature of their work. The translation is a loss of academic knowledge due to lack of publication.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
About the Ads

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.