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Most med schools give about 8-15% of their applicants an interview, and only about 20% of those get in, again this is a generalization. So, how many of those that applied were probably right around the median MCAT and GPA? Especially for top 20 school. Harvard has ~8K applicants! How many of those were probably between a 34+ MCAT and a 3.8+ GPA?


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Don't worry about other people man, focus on yourself! Neuroticism isn't worth its burden
 
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Ismet

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Most med schools give about 8-15% of their applicants an interview, and only about 20% of those get in, again this is a generalization. So, how many of those that applied were probably right around the median MCAT and GPA? Especially for top 20 school. Harvard has ~8K applicants! How many of those were probably between a 34+ MCAT and a 3.8+ GPA?


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A lot of them. What do you want schools to do about it? There are only so many seats.
 
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LizzyM

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Google AMCAS Table 25
You will see that the higher the stats, the higher the chance of admission somewhere.
You'll also see that about 43% of all applicants get in somewhere.
Also, your figure of 20% of the applicants who are interviewed get in is misleading... about 20% of those who interview matriculate, perhaps, but many schools make 2-3.5 offers to fill one seat because many of "the best" get multiple offers. If you interview, chances are 30-50% that you'll get an offer from that school.
 
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Goro

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Just because someone has a 3.4 and 33, doesn't mean they're "unqualified" for Harvard or any other medical school.



Most med schools give about 8-15% of their applicants an interview, and only about 20% of those get in, again this is a generalization. So, how many of those that applied were probably right around the median MCAT and GPA? Especially for top 20 school. Harvard has ~8K applicants! How many of those were probably between a 34+ MCAT and a 3.8+ GPA?


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LizzyM

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Just because someone has a 3.4 and 33, doesn't mean they're "unqualified" for Harvard or any other medical school.
But it does mean that, as a group, the applicants who have a 3.4/33 are less likely to be invited to interview than the population of applicants who have 3.9/38s
 
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Goro

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Exactly. There is a difference between unqualified, and noncompetitive. Very few people understand that we can ship the entire entering medical class of 2019 in the US to the moon, and the next 20,000 kids used to replace them will be just as good students.


But it does mean that, as a group, the applicants who have a 3.4/33 are less likely to be invited to interview than the population of applicants who have 3.9/38s
 
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Exactly. There is a difference between unqualified, and noncompetitive. Very few people understand that we can ship the entire entering medical class of 2019 in the US to the moon, the the next 20,000 kids used to replace them will be just as good students.

Last I heard was that it was entirely feasible for a 25 MCAT and an average GPA to do just as well as anyone else in medical school.

In my [short] anecdotal experience, I find that to be pretty true. At least in the pre-clinical sciences it seems that performance is more of a function of conviction to study, rather than raw aptitude. It is apparently a direct result of the "firehose" or "pancake" metaphors - the material in medical school isn't difficult, there's just a boatload of it.
 
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gettheleadout

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Exactly. There is a difference between unqualified, and noncompetitive. Very few people understand that we can ship the entire entering medical class of 2019 in the US to the moon, and the next 20,000 kids used to replace them will be just as good students.
With a class size that big, Moon University really needs a more diverse patient population!
 
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Last I heard was that it was entirely feasible for a 25 MCAT and an average GPA to do just as well as anyone else in medical school.


I find this hard to believe (granted, I haven't started med school yet). They may do just as well clinically, which is arguably what actually matters, but a 3.6/25 student has already shown they're not as good at studying masses of info than the 3.9/38 students. If you're really prepping hard for the MCAT and STILL only get a 25, something is just missing.
 
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baxt1412

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I find this hard to believe (granted, I haven't started med school yet). They may do just as well clinically, which is arguably what actually matters, but a 3.6/25 student has already shown they're not as good at studying masses of info than the 3.9/38 students. If you're really prepping hard for the MCAT and STILL only get a 25, something is just missing.

or this person is just better at standardized tests and went to a university or was in a department where grade inflation runs rampant.

too much to tell based on just two metrics. it's not a black or white process (unless you look at cutoffs)
 
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Mad Jack

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I find this hard to believe (granted, I haven't started med school yet). They may do just as well clinically, which is arguably what actually matters, but a 3.6/25 student has already shown they're not as good at studying masses of info than the 3.9/38 students. If you're really prepping hard for the MCAT and STILL only get a 25, something is just missing.
Some people just perform poorly on standardized tests. I studied far less and knew the material on the MCAT on a much more superficial level than many of my peers, but still excelled because I'm a damn good test taker. The same scenario often applies in college, which is largely about taking tests rather than applying a series of acquired skills. Your ability to treat real patients and integrate the skills acquired in medical school is far different from your ability to properly check boxes on test forms.
 
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Bovary

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or this person is just better at standardized tests and went to a university or was in a department where grade inflation runs rampant.

too much to tell based on just two metrics. it's not a black or white process (unless you look at cutoffs)

Some people just perform poorly on standardized tests. I studied far less and knew the material on the MCAT on a much more superficial level than many of my peers, but still excelled because I'm a damn good test taker. The same scenario often applies in college, which is largely about taking tests rather than applying a series of acquired skills. Your ability to treat real patients and integrate the skills acquired in medical school is far different from your ability to properly check boxes on test forms.

Good points, though I'm unsure what being "Good at standardized tests" actually means. Learning disabilities aside.
And whatever that skill of "being good at standardized tests" means, this discussion isn't about being a quality doctor, but about excelling in med school. There are a lot of standardized tests in, and after medical school, so the person who can't beat a 25 on the MCAT because they're "bad at standardized tests" seemingly lacks a fundamental skill necessary to do well in school, on the boards, etc.
 
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efle

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Last I heard was that it was entirely feasible for a 25 MCAT and an average GPA to do just as well as anyone else in medical school.

In my [short] anecdotal experience, I find that to be pretty true. At least in the pre-clinical sciences it seems that performance is more of a function of conviction to study, rather than raw aptitude. It is apparently a direct result of the "firehose" or "pancake" metaphors - the material in medical school isn't difficult, there's just a boatload of it.

Aren't mcat scores more important as step1 predictors for Med schools? Sure everyone 26+ is predicted to be able to make it through Med school, but a 26 and 38 are not equally likely to be competative for that selective residency.
 

Mad Jack

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Good points, though I'm unsure what being "Good at standardized tests" actually means. Learning disabilities aside.
And whatever that skill of "being good at standardized tests" means, this discussion isn't about being a quality doctor, but about excelling in med school. There are a lot of standardized tests in, and after medical school, so the person who can't beat a 25 on the MCAT because they're "bad at standardized tests" seemingly lacks a fundamental skill necessary to do well in school, on the boards, etc.
What I mean by "being good at standardized tests" is that I can excel in a multiple choice test with a minimal understanding of the material via process of elimination and understanding how tests are written, not through any inherent knowledge I possess. To give you an idea of why this is not entirely indicative of success in medical school, many of your exams are not standardized multiple choice tests. The anatomy practicals are generally fill-in-the-blank, which I'm horrible at, and many of your other skills are tested via simulated patient encounters, where you are scored on your ability to memorize procedures and interact with your simulated patient well. These are not skills that a GPA or MCAT score can assure you a potential medical student has. Your ability to do well on rotations has nothing to do with how well you can fill in bubbles. Finally, the boards were never designed to gauge how talented a physician is- they were designed to determine whether you possess the minimum ability required to be a physician. Higher board scores were never designed to be a selection tool, which is a reason that there has been talk of transitioning the USMLE to a pass/fail test. There is no proof that I know of that higher MCAT scores, board scores, or med school grades=better physician outcomes.
 

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MCAT scores have 0% effect on residency competitiveness.

And the correlation for MCAT and med school performance is a negative one...the worse you do, meaning <25, the greater the likelihood that one will fail boards or fail out of med school. A 28 will do just as well on boards as the 38.


Aren't mcat scores more important as step1 predictors for Med schools? Sure everyone 26+ is predicted to be able to make it through Med school, but a 26 and 38 are not equally likely to be competative for that selective residency.
 
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efle

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MCAT scores have 0% effect on residency competitiveness.

And the correlation for MCAT and med school performance is a negative one...the worse you do, meaning <25, the greater the likelihood that one will fail boards or fail out of med school. A 28 will do just as well on boards as the 38.
What now? MCAT does not correlate significantly with step1 and step score does not affect residency competativeness?
 

Mad Jack

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What now? MCAT does not correlate significantly with step1 and step score does not affect residency competativeness?
Schools aren't generally selecting who they think will do the best on the Steps. They're selecting who they believe will best match their school's mission.
 

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Just to clarify, my post saying a 25 will do just as well as anyone else was in the realm of passing. So not necessarily doing equivalently on exams and board exams, just passing them both and going on to become physicians.

MCAT scores have 0% effect on residency competitiveness.

And the correlation for MCAT and med school performance is a negative one...the worse you do, meaning <25, the greater the likelihood that one will fail boards or fail out of med school. A 28 will do just as well on boards as the 38.

This has some validity, but is not entirely true. There is certainly some correlation, but it is rather weak.

Are my MCAT scores predictive of my USMLE and medical school performance?
Much as the USMLE Step 1 score is an important variable in the residency application process, the MCAT score is given important weight in the medical school application process. Medical school admissions officers are faced with the daunting task of determining which students are the most qualified, comparing applicants from different institutions of different quality and grading schemes. The MCAT is meant as an objective and consistent means of comparison, though other factors are certainly considered in the medical school application process.

A 2007 meta-analysis evaluated the relationship between the MCAT and medical school performance. There was a small to moderate correlation of MCAT performance with performance during the preclinical years, with the r value equal to roughly 0.39. There was also a correlation of certain subtests with preclinical performance, particularly the biological sciences subtest. The correlation was less strong between MCAT performance and performance during the clinical years. The writing subtest of the MCAT was shown to have no correlation with either performance during the preclinical years or the clinical clerkships.

A small to moderate correlation was also found between MCAT and USMLE scores, with r values ranging from 0.38 to 0.60. This correlation was highest for USMLE Step 1. Among the different MCAT subsets, the highest correlation was found for the biological sciences and verbal sections. There was near zero correlation between the writing subtest and USMLE scores.

Reference
Donnon T, Paolucci EO, Violato C. The Predictive Validity of the MCAT for Medical School Performance and Medical Board Licensing Examinations: A Meta-Analysis of the Published Research. Academic Medicine 82(1), January 2007, 100-106.

Source: https://www.usmleworld.com/Step1/step1_facts.aspx

Schools aren't generally selecting who they think will do the best on the Steps. They're selecting who they believe will best match their school's mission.

At most schools I certainly think there is a good mix of both. There are exceptions, of course. I know schools that are preferential toward applicants who won't murder their boards, simply because they prefer applicants to stick to rural and family medicine - this would support the "mission" statement you made. But upper tier schools certainly select toward aptitude.
 

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Schools are generally selecting who they think will do the best on the Steps. They're selecting who they believe will best match their school's mission.
I think this depends on the school, pretty sure.places like Washu are looking for people who will "murder the boards" as one of their primary goals.
 

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I think this depends on the school, pretty sure.places like Washu are looking for people who will "murder the boards" as one of their primary goals.

Yep.

WashU may just be looking for the next Nobel Laureate to add to their list of famous alumni. This allows funneling more research funding and continuing their notoriety as a prestigious university.

On the other hand, Podunk State University may actively select toward applicants who are more likely to practice family medicine in a rural region of Podunk State, USA.

It's rather intuitive.
 

efle

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NoDakDost: 15849741 said:
Yep.

WashU may just be looking for the next Nobel Laureate to add to their list of famous alumni. This allows funneling more research funding and continuing their notoriety as a prestigious university.

On the other hand, Podunk State University may actively select toward applicants who are more likely to practice family medicine in a rural region of Podunk State, USA.

It's rather intuitive.
And yet i bet youll never get a Podunk adcom to say anything of the sort
 

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And yet i bet youll never get a Podunk adcom to say anything of the sort

They have no reason to. But it's implicit in their mission.

Saying, "We select less qualified applicants for the purpose of fulfilling our school's mission" probably does not sound good to the taxpayers who fund these programs.
 
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Mad Jack

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I think this depends on the school, pretty sure.places like Washu are looking for people who will "murder the boards" as one of their primary goals.
They have more than enough candidates that will do well on the boards. They're selecting for people that are both personable and have the leadership qualities necessary to excel in specialties. Board scores won't get you past the interview at a competitive place if you're socially awkward and completely lack leadership potential.
 

Mad Jack

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They have no reason to. But it's implicit in their mission.

Saying, "We select less qualified applicants for the purpose of fulfilling our school's mission" probably does not sound good to the taxpayers who fund these programs.
"Less qualified" is subjective. There is, as has been stated previously, no proof that lower scores will result in poorer outcomes. If they have the qualities you care about, and those qualities happen to not be high grades or excellent MCAT scores, then they are meeting your qualifications in a manner better than a person with higher scores, and are thus by definition more qualified.
 

Mad Jack

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They have no reason to. But it's implicit in their mission.

Saying, "We select less qualified applicants for the purpose of fulfilling our school's mission" probably does not sound good to the taxpayers who fund these programs.
To further illustrate the point, "we select the highest scoring and highest GPA applicants available, none of which will ever practice in an area of need within our state, and the vast majority of which will become highly paid specialists that relocate to big cities after having their education subsidized by your tax dollars" doesn't sound very good to taxpayers either. Hence mission.
 
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NoDakDok

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They have more than enough candidates that will do well on the boards. They're selecting for people that are both personable and have the leadership qualities necessary to excel in specialties. Board scores won't get you past the interview at a competitive place if you're socially awkward and completely lack leadership potential.

That's implying that high numbers are in any way associated with social capability. I can assure you there's not an ounce of validity to that. The vast majority of applicants across the board in medical admissions are perfectly sociable and have a vast arrangement of leadership qualifications. There's a give-and-take. WashU and the like are going to focus on applicants who have the aptitude to do profound things because that is their mission.

"Less qualified" is subjective. There is, as has been stated previously, no proof that lower scores will result in poorer outcomes. If they have the qualities you care about, and those qualities happen to not be high grades or excellent MCAT scores, then they are meeting your qualifications in a manner better than a person with higher scores, and are thus by definition more qualified.

I agree, it is subjective. But if you actively target lower stat applicants to fit your mission and announce that I don't think the majority of the population is going to see it that way. To a normal person, numbers are the most objective measurement of qualified. There's a reason they omit things that sound bad, like this.

To further illustrate the point, "we select the highest scoring and highest GPA applicants available, none of which will ever practice in an area of need within our state, and the vast majority of which will become highly paid specialists that relocate to big cities after having their education subsidized by your tax dollars" doesn't sound very good to taxpayers either. Hence mission.

No one said you had to select the higher objective measure applicant. But there should be a give-and-take at every level, like with WashU and the numbers vs. personality example. If you actively dismiss applicants solely by their numbers at any point then you're losing applicants that may both have the aptitude to do exceptional things and the desire to practice in places like Podunk State, now making them even less likely to want to practice there.

Edit: Considering the low correlation between MCAT, Medical School performance, and Board exams, I'd be interested to see the numbers behind what specialties and practices the MCAT/GPA qualifications are correlated with. I would not be surprised if it was pretty low, making that assumption (e.g., high stat = leaves state and specializes) rather unfounded.
 
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Mad Jack

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That's implying that high numbers are in any way associated with social capability. I can assure you there's not an ounce of validity to that. The vast majority of applicants across the board in medical admissions are perfectly sociable and have a vast arrangement of leadership qualifications. There's a give-and-take. WashU and the like are going to focus on applicants who have the aptitude to do profound things because that is their mission.



I agree, it is subjective. But if you actively target lower stat applicants to fit your mission and announce that I don't think the majority of the population is going to see it that way. To a normal person, numbers are the most objective measurement of qualified. There's a reason they omit things that sound bad, like this.



No one said you had to select the higher objective measure applicant. But there should be a give-and-take at every level, like with WashU and the numbers vs. personality example. If you actively dismiss applicants solely by their numbers at any point then you're losing applicants that may both have the aptitude to do exceptional things and the desire to practice in places like Podunk State, now making them even less likely to want to practice there.
I never said social skills were inversely correlated with high scores, just that spa have more than enough applicants in the 32+ bracket, beyond which the scores become marginal when compared against the intangibles.
 

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I never said social skills were inversely correlated with high scores, just that spa have more than enough applicants in the 32+ bracket, beyond which the scores become marginal when compared against the intangibles.

I certainly don't believe WashU considers 32+ a marginal bracket, and to go from there based on intangibles. Maybe 37+. But certainly not 32+.

Schools like Mayo, yes. WashU with nearly a 39 median MCAT? Absolutely not.
 

Mad Jack

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I certainly don't believe WashU considers 32+ a marginal bracket, and to go from there based on intangibles. Maybe 37+. But certainly not 32+.

Schools like Mayo, yes. WashU with nearly a 39 median MCAT? Absolutely not.
I'm talking about most schools, you are talking about WashU. You can't use one outlier as your prime example, that's just ******ed.
 

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I'm talking about most schools, you are talking about WashU. You can't use one outlier as your prime example, that's just ******ed.

This whole thread had been talking about specific programs. You can't suddenly switch to a generalization to make yourself sound correct.

I imagine very few schools actually consider 33 the point of intangibility. Generalizing all medical schools is pretty worthless because for how shockingly similar missions appear, individual schools are quite the opposite.

You should also probably not call potential colleagues ******ed, even if you believe that.
 

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Valid enough, alas, that herds of medical school deans, both DO and MD, believe it and prioritize high MCAT scores (among other things.) Hence, AZCOM's new policy of not interviewing people with an MCAT of 28 or less. We'll see how long that lasts.


This has some validity, but is not entirely true. There is certainly some correlation, but it is rather weak.
 

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Valid enough, alas, that herds of medical school deans, both DO and MD, believe it and prioritize high MCAT scores (among other things.) Hence, AZCOM's new policy of not interviewing people with an MCAT of 28 or less. We'll see how long that lasts.


This has some validity, but is not entirely true. There is certainly some correlation, but it is rather weak.

When you have so many qualified applicants you could throw 3/4 of them in the garbage and still field a competitive class you start rejecting people for reasons that are less than logically justifiable.

Not that you aren't aware of this.
 
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Goro

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There are only so many competitive candidates in AZ, and three other medical schools as well.

When you have so many qualified applicants you could throw 3/4 of them in the garbage and still field a competitive class you start rejecting people for reasons that are less than logically justifiable.

Not that you aren't aware of this.
 

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There are only so many competitive candidates in AZ, and three other medical schools as well.

Fair point. I'm not aware of the applicant pool of AZ in particular, but if they constrict their admissions to in-state only and also restrict heavily based upon numbers I can see that becoming an issue. Cutting the pool to an MCAT of 28 gets rid of well over half of the applicants. The more you do so makes the process more and more of a numbers game, which doesn't necessarily improve the quality of your class if your prospective student pool becomes limited.
 

Goro

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Concur.
Fair point. I'm not aware of the applicant pool of AZ in particular, but if they constrict their admissions to in-state only and also restrict heavily based upon numbers I can see that becoming an issue. Cutting the pool to 28 gets rid of well over half of the applicants. The more you do so makes the process more and more of a numbers game, which doesn't necessarily improve the quality of your class if your prospective student pool becomes limited.
 

ridethecliche

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Oh good. I was wondering when we were going to have this conversation again.
 
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johnnytest

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So for the top 20 schools with median mcats of 36+ why do they value high MCAT scores compared to scores a few points below but still above a 30, i.e. 31-32?

Assuming balanced scores, how does a 36 scorer benefit a school more than a 31 scorer. Besides the obvious being a better test-taker, performing better under timed conditions, etc, what does a high scorer provide to those top 20 schools. I can't imagine the curriculum being more difficult at top 20. I mean I imagine the amount of information presented at low/mid tier schools must be exactly the same as a top 20 institution. For top 20 undergrads I can understand why high SAT scores are desired. MIT is a great example. I took one look at a fluid dynamics course on OpenCourseWare and I was baffled by how advanced the course was. I had already taken a fluid dynamics course so I knew the concepts but the math and thinking involved in that MIT course blew me away. So what? Is Harvard med school's curriculum immensely harder than Drexel's?

Another question, when these adcoms at top 20 institutions go over applications, I imagine one of the first things they may review is the MCAT score. So, if someone at Stanford is reading apps and they come across an applicant with a 31, what is their initial reaction? Do they just go "ehh" and basically set themselves up to be disappointed with the rest of the app? Versus reviewing an applicant with a 37 and suddenly being excited to read the rest of the app? I understand the rest of the app can make/sink any applicant regardless of mcat score. But, I'm just wondering how adcoms initially react. I know whenever I read on SDN someone has an MCAT score of 36+, my eyebrows go up, and I am impressed. But, that's because I've been conditioned that way, particularly because of SDN's notion that the higher the score the more qualified the applicant.
 

Goro

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This is something my learned colleague @LizzyM will have some insight into.

So for the top 20 schools with median mcats of 36+ why do they value high MCAT scores compared to scores a few points below but still above a 30, i.e. 31-32?

Assuming balanced scores, how does a 36 scorer benefit a school more than a 31 scorer. Besides the obvious being a better test-taker, performing better under timed conditions, etc, what does a high scorer provide to those top 20 schools. I can't imagine the curriculum being more difficult at top 20. I mean I imagine the amount of information presented at low/mid tier schools must be exactly the same as a top 20 institution. For top 20 undergrads I can understand why high SAT scores are desired. MIT is a great example. I took one look at a fluid dynamics course on OpenCourseWare and I was baffled by how advanced the course was. I had already taken a fluid dynamics course so I knew the concepts but the math and thinking involved in that MIT course blew me away. So what? Is Harvard med school's curriculum immensely harder than Drexel's?

Another question, when these adcoms at top 20 institutions go over applications, I imagine one of the first things they may review is the MCAT score. So, if someone at Stanford is reading apps and they come across an applicant with a 31, what is their initial reaction? Do they just go "ehh" and basically set themselves up to be disappointed with the rest of the app? Versus reviewing an applicant with a 37 and suddenly being excited to read the rest of the app? I understand the rest of the app can make/sink any applicant regardless of mcat score. But, I'm just wondering how adcoms initially react. I know whenever I read on SDN someone has an MCAT score of 36+, my eyebrows go up, and I am impressed. But, that's because I've been conditioned that way, particularly because of SDN's notion that the higher the score the more qualified the applicant.
 

crossfit4lyfe

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Valid enough, alas, that herds of medical school deans, both DO and MD, believe it and prioritize high MCAT scores (among other things.) Hence, AZCOM's new policy of not interviewing people with an MCAT of 28 or less. We'll see how long that lasts.


This has some validity, but is not entirely true. There is certainly some correlation, but it is rather weak.

I love how they started doing this, but still had me pay the secondary fee. crooks (my mcat is 28)
 

LizzyM

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So for the top 20 schools with median mcats of 36+ why do they value high MCAT scores compared to scores a few points below but still above a 30, i.e. 31-32?

Assuming balanced scores, how does a 36 scorer benefit a school more than a 31 scorer.



It is all about bragging rights. It might be a fraction of USNews rankings too which makes it an easy way to climb in the rankings.

If 6 inches is enough, why does 8 or 9 seem so much better to some people?
 
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Lamel

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It is all about bragging rights. It might be a fraction of USNews rankings too which makes it an easy way to climb in the rankings.

If 6 inches is enough, why does 8 or 9 seem so much better to some people?

So the top schools are size queens?
 
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Doudline

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It is all about bragging rights. It might be a fraction of USNews rankings too which makes it an easy way to climb in the rankings.

If 6 inches is enough, why does 8 or 9 seem so much better to some people?

*-*

(Anatomically, more like 4 inches tbh.)
 
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FutureOncologist

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I had a 3.68 cGPA and got an interview at Hopkins and Stanford.
 
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