Dec 31, 2013
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Hi, All -

I am a recent law school graduate in the very early stages of exploring a M.D. career path. I can't stress how new I am to this exploration, although the persistent thought and serious consideration have been in the back of my mind for years. At this moment, I am not committed to pursuing this career path until I have a lot more information. Which is why I'm here.... :)

My first question regards GPA calculation for medical school purposes. I've seen reference to a couple of types: cGPA and sGPA (or is it uGPA?). What the heck do these mean?

What I'd really like to know is: upon completion of a post-bac, how do medical schools calculate your GPA? Do they use some formula to blend your post-bac GPA with your college GPA? If so, what's that formula, or does it vary by medical school?

I'd also like to know whether a post-bac student who took an entry-level science class (say, biology) in college but was unhappy with his grade (C! ... sophomore year, lived in the frat house, don't ask!!) would be expected or allowed to take that same class in post-bac and receive a new grade or whether that C would have to count as the grade for first level biology with no chance of replacement by retaking the class.

Thanks!
 

LostinLift

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Jan 24, 2013
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c = cumulative, s = science (math/physics/chemistry/biology) u = undergraduate, g = graduate

GPA is determined by year in school shown on your application in sections as:

Freshmen
Sophomore
Junior
Senior
Post-Baccalaureate (if applicable)
Total
(Separate graduate GPA if applicable)

Overall undergraduate (aka cumulative) GPA is calculated using all these courses, post-bacc is simply another year (or more) of courses to add in the calculation. It is generally considered acceptable to retake any science course with a grade of C or below. For U.S. Allopathic M.D. granting schools, all your grades count toward your GPA. Osteopathic DO schools provide grade replacement.

It is rather easy to search for topics on these forums as people posting "simple" questions like these will be berated for not doing such. But I am desperately bored waiting for the pre-party to start tonight so there you go.
 
OP
L
Dec 31, 2013
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Thanks for the reply. As for the common questions - yes, I've noticed by way of previous forum searches that posters with common questions get taunted. Alas, I did a quick Google search and forum search for the desired topic and didn't find anything informative. Thanks for the heads up. ;)

Given that my undergraduate GPA is 3.4, I feel like a really good post-bac run and MCAT score would enable me to be competitive.

However, my law school GPA is significantly lower (3.18) because law school is a completely different animal. A 3.18 in law school is more like a 3.5 in undergrad, but based off what you're saying, that 3.18 would count as three-sevenths (3 out of 7 years total of undergrad+law school) of my overall GPA, which is what M.D. schools would use. That's not sounding so good. I am wondering if there are schools that consider the reality of law school GPAs.
 

areyounotentertaned

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while we're answering these type of questions, what does it mean when there is a letter after an MCAT score? The MDapplicants site have people list their MCAT scores when you filter by school. They all have letters
35R, 32Q, 33T, 29O, etc. What do these mean? I'm guessing it has something to do with how many times the person took the MCAT?
 

Reckoner

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Sep 27, 2011
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while we're answering these type of questions, what does it mean when there is a letter after an MCAT score? The MDapplicants site have people list their MCAT scores when you filter by school. They all have letters
35R, 32Q, 33T, 29O, etc. What do these mean? I'm guessing it has something to do with how many times the person took the MCAT?
The letter score was formerly used for the Writing Sample section of the test, with scores ranging from J (worst) to T (best). That section no is no longer a part of the test.
 
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gyngyn

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Graduate gpas don't matter much but all graduate grades are expected to be inflated.

As long as everything else is excellent, your law school grades will not be a significant barrier to acceptance.
 
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OP
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Dec 31, 2013
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NY
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Pre-Medical
Funny that graduate GPAs are expected to be inflated. As for anyone who's ever attended a good law school knows, there's a strict 3.0 bell curve, so anything above that is nothing to be ashamed of. OH, LAW SCHOOL.
 
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Funny that graduate GPAs are expected to be inflated. As for anyone who's ever attended a good law school knows, there's a strict 3.0 bell curve, so anything above that is nothing to be ashamed of. OH, LAW SCHOOL.
Medical school admissions committees know this. The reason that graduate GPAs are weighted differently is that for many graduate degrees (particularly those in the humanities/sciences), a "B" is the lowest passing grade and it is not unusual for many of these classes to have A-/A averages. As long as your undergraduate cumulative GPA and science GPA are high enough (do well in your post bacc), no one will care about your law school grades. I don't see it helping you, but I don't see it hurting you either.
 

mehc012

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Jul 9, 2012
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Thanks for the reply. As for the common questions - yes, I've noticed by way of previous forum searches that posters with common questions get taunted. Alas, I did a quick Google search and forum search for the desired topic and didn't find anything informative. Thanks for the heads up. ;)

Given that my undergraduate GPA is 3.4, I feel like a really good post-bac run and MCAT score would enable me to be competitive.

However, my law school GPA is significantly lower (3.18) because law school is a completely different animal. A 3.18 in law school is more like a 3.5 in undergrad, but based off what you're saying, that 3.18 would count as three-sevenths (3 out of 7 years total of undergrad+law school) of my overall GPA, which is what M.D. schools would use. That's not sounding so good. I am wondering if there are schools that consider the reality of law school GPAs.
Medical school admissions committees know this. The reason that graduate GPAs are weighted differently is that for many graduate degrees (particularly those in the humanities/sciences), a "B" is the lowest passing grade and it is not unusual for many of these classes to have A-/A averages. As long as your undergraduate cumulative GPA and science GPA are high enough (do well in your post bacc), no one will care about your law school grades. I don't see it helping you, but I don't see it hurting you either.
Your law school degree will NOT count towards 3/7 of your cumulative GPA; it will be counted entirely separately from undergraduate work and listed under 'graduate GPA'. Your cGPA will reflect all 4yrs of undergrad and any further undergraduate level courses which you choose to take during your postbacc.
 

Law2Doc

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Funny that graduate GPAs are expected to be inflated. As for anyone who's ever attended a good law school knows, there's a strict 3.0 bell curve, so anything above that is nothing to be ashamed of. OH, LAW SCHOOL.
Um no. First, I've, attended law school and many of the top programs inflated grades. Second, a curve around a 3.0 is technically already inflated as average on a true Bell curve should really be around a C. (ie with an ABCDF system the midpoint on a symmetric curve is C).
 
OP
L
Dec 31, 2013
17
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32
NY
Status
Pre-Medical
"Um" is not the friendliest way to begin addressing someone for the first time, ever, but let's put that aside. I'm sure you didn't mean anything by it, but come on, I'm just seeking information here, not looking to be talked down to. Especially since 1) my law school didn't inflate grades, it was a real 3.0 curve and if you want to PM me I can provide details on where I went to school and pull the info for you. First year average was a 2.93 in fact, due to a minimal variance around a 3.0 allowed in the law school's algorithm (the full details of which they keep secret or, at least, don't provide publicly). So, whatever some other law schools do, and whether they inflate grades or not, concerns me only inasmuch as any inflation by these schools would further the misconception that my school employed the same formula, which it didn't.

The scale is not ABCDF, because 1) my law school doesn't give D's, and 2) although F's technically exist (so I've heard, anyway), I've never known anyone to receive one. If a student actually deserves a failing grade, I'm pretty sure the law school gets involved. At minimum the class must be repeated as F's don't give credit. So, the scale is really ABC, except for the possibility that once upon a time someone got an F, but then, they have to repeat that class anyway in order to get credit, and I highly doubt any such unicorn would be factored into the bell curve as it would mess it up, and the grade is being counted towards fulfilling the student's credit, anyway.
 

prettyNURSEtoMD

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Jun 17, 2009
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Dallas, Texas
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Why do you want to be a doctor? You seem really "passionate" about your law school and the non-grade inflation and bell curves....but why? Why this change in career. I'm curious.
 

487806

Life of the Party!
Aug 9, 2012
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"Um" is not the friendliest way to begin addressing someone for the first time, ever, but let's put that aside...
Cool it with the attitude. Law2Doc is experienced in this matter and as much as you would want to rant on, arguing with him isn't a wise move. You're here to be informed, not to attack other members (especially those who know more than you do).

Hi, All -

I am a recent law school graduate in the very early stages of exploring a M.D. career path. I can't stress how new I am to this exploration, although the persistent thought and serious consideration have been in the back of my mind for years. At this moment, I am not committed to pursuing this career path until I have a lot more information. Which is why I'm here.... :)

My first question regards GPA calculation for medical school purposes. I've seen reference to a couple of types: cGPA and sGPA (or is it uGPA?). What the heck do these mean?

What I'd really like to know is: upon completion of a post-bac, how do medical schools calculate your GPA? Do they use some formula to blend your post-bac GPA with your college GPA? If so, what's that formula, or does it vary by medical school?

I'd also like to know whether a post-bac student who took an entry-level science class (say, biology) in college but was unhappy with his grade (C! ... sophomore year, lived in the frat house, don't ask!!) would be expected or allowed to take that same class in post-bac and receive a new grade or whether that C would have to count as the grade for first level biology with no chance of replacement by retaking the class.

Thanks!
All those questions could be answered with a simple search. Postbac GPA is included as part of your undergrad GPA, and your law school GPA is counted differently. All med schools use the AMCAS grade calculation approach (a spreadsheet is out there somewhere by a search), so you can calculate your GPA. MDs don't replace grades (they average them), DOs do.
 
OP
L
Dec 31, 2013
17
0
32
NY
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks, Agent B. If you think that simply pointing out that beginning a conversation with someone with an "Um no" is attacking someone, we should just agree to disagree. Thank you for the advice and info.
 
OP
L
Dec 31, 2013
17
0
32
NY
Status
Pre-Medical
Why do you want to be a doctor? You seem really "passionate" about your law school and the non-grade inflation and bell curves....but why? Why this change in career. I'm curious.
I am not passionate about my law school non-grade inflation and bell curves any more than I ought to be, am I? Considering the drastic career change I am contemplating and my GPA's relevance to getting into med school, I obviously want to understand how med schools view law school GPAs and whether they know of or even care about the fact that while one school may grade inflate, another may not, while one school may have a certain type of grading system, another may have one quite different. That might explain the source of the care, especially since some members have commented that grad/professional schools often grade inflate, which leads me to believe this may be an across-the-board assumption for adcoms or the medical community. Hope that helps.
 

prettyNURSEtoMD

7+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2009
1,031
736
Dallas, Texas
Status
Pre-Medical
I am not passionate about my law school non-grade inflation and bell curves any more than I ought to be, am I? Considering the drastic career change I am contemplating and my GPA's relevance to getting into med school, I obviously want to understand how med schools view law school GPAs and whether they know of or even care about the fact that while one school may grade inflate, another may not, while one school may have a certain type of grading system, another may have one quite different. That might explain the source of the care, especially since some members have commented that grad/professional schools often grade inflate, which leads me to believe this may be an across-the-board assumption for adcoms or the medical community. Hope that helps.
No that doesn't help. I just want to know why you want to be a doctor since you're a recent law school graduate. I understand your questions about GPA and excuse me for thinking you are passionate about your degree, it's a drastic change and I'm just genuinely curious. I'm a career changer myself so I'm just wondering. But if you don't feel like answering I dig that too.. But your law school grades have no relevance but I think you got your answer on another thread you posted! Nevertheless good luck and I hope you see humility along the way!
 
Nov 15, 2012
41
2
Indiana
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm curious about the reason for the career change too, especially if you made it to the finish line! Also here is my two cents about applying to medical school and grades. If you can explain your undergrad transcripts, and you can show improvement then you'll probably be good. For example: you don't have a 4.0 undergrad gpa, because you weren't planning on going to medical school at the time (explanation), which will be obvious from your law degree, but your post-bacc transcripts shows a 3.7 (improvement). Secondly, SDN is a good source for information, but it is not holy law. The people on here are not representative of the entirety of the medical field, but only a small facet of it. Check multiple sources for a better picture of what the medical application process is like, cause it varies a lot. Also if you haven't done so already, contacting an academic adviser would probably be the best thing you can do to get the most realistic picture and most reliable information (usually).

I don't have any experience with grade inflation in grad school, but I dated this guy once who was a medical student, and he had a little brother in law school. And it seemed like (to him) the first two years of medical school are comparable to his first years of law school... So good luck doing that again! And I'm sure the adcoms realize that law school isn't easy, and a 3.1 is probably good. So don't stress about what you can't change, and look towards improving what you can. :)

The other thing I wanted to mention is that SDN is part of the internet. People are ruder on the internet, and on this site, you get a lot of very smart people with very big egos. However, if you're contemplating going into medicine, you should probably get used to people talking down to you for a while. There are a lot of people in the world who will think they know more than you or be out to make you look foolish.
 
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