Question regarding stats: mcat-25, gpa-3.9

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Jacky, Oct 24, 2000.

  1. Jacky

    Jacky Member

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    Hi everyone. I was hoping to receive some feedback on the likelyhood of getting in a US allopathic school with 7VS/10PS/8BS and 3.9 science/cum. I have good recs. and loads of volunteer exp. I realize that my verbal is low and my bio could use some work, but I was hoping if there were any success stories of those with similar stats able to matriculate. Do I have a chance if the rest of my app. is strong? Please, no bashing.
     
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  3. lizard

    lizard Member

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    I know someone who had similar numbers to you and applied last year (summa cum laude/25 MCAT). I don't know her exact MCAT breakdown except that she got an 11 in verbal, which means she got sometime like two 7s on her sciences. She applied to 18 schools, I'm not sure which ones, but she was a NY resident. Unfortunately, she did not get an interview to any one of these. But she also wasn't really driven to be a doctor and has decided to do something else. She said that if she really wanted to be a doctor, that she would just buckle down and retake the exam. I think it is still possible to get into med school with your numbers, if other parts of your application are strong, especially a state school, but I would really consider retaking the exam. There have been some great heroic stories of much improvement the second time around...you'll find them on this site. Good luck and hang in there.
     
  4. NUT

    NUT Member

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    Greetings,

    I, personally, don't think you'll find much difficulty attending a medical school. Here's why. Your GPA is stellar. Many pre-meds only dream of having a GPA that high. The national average for accepted students is around 3.54 with a S.D. of about 3.0 points. That means that most of the accepted students have gpa's between 3.2 and 3.8! Now...I can tell that your GPA is not the problem. But, your MCAT doesn't appear to be that devastating! Have you considered retaking the exam? That's an option. Overall, though, I don't really see a need because your overall numbers are good. Eventhough most schools would like to have a 30+ MCAT, they do accept some folks with lower. Remember that med schools consider you from every angle. Sure, GPA and MCATs make up a great deal of your package, but it doesn't tell the entire story! Also, I might add that you are a perfect candidate for Osteopathic Schools. I think they are a great opportunity to practice medicine in the field of your choice. Another plus about DO schools is that the adcoms look past the numbers and look at things like motivation and extra curriculuar activities more than sheer numbers! I feel that you'd be a strong candidate for admission to DO school as well. Anyways...this is not a DO forum, so I'll quit on the DO stuff. The bottom line is apply. If it doesn't work out the way you'd like, just retake your MCATs, do better, get involved in more activities during your one year layoff and re-apply! Many people gain admission after their 2nd or 3rd go-around. Be patient, have faith, and apply.

    NUT
     
  5. otis

    otis Junior Member

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    I'd retake to a) boost your score and b) show you are serious. I had a 24 first shot, and 27 second. I got accepted to an allopathic school 2 weeks after my second round of scores were in. ( I was wait listed ) My gpa was pretty good, and I did send a letter begging for admission (kinda) so maybe that did it, but I hope the fact that I endured and retook the test helped. Good Luck!

    ------------------
     
  6. NUT

    NUT Member

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    That's great Otis! Where did you finally end up? (What School?)What field of medicine are you interested in practicing after you're done with school?

    NUT
     
  7. Jacky

    Jacky Member

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    Thanks everyone for the encouraging messages! I greatly appreciate your time addressing my concern. You guys have pretty much agreed that I should improve my mcat which I guess is kind of a no-brainer. The only possible problem is that I've already taken the exam 3 times and I'm afraid schools will consider me a dead horse unless I improve significantly. (+5,6 points) That level of improvement would probably take me another year. (verbal improvement may take that long) I know, it comes down to the ol' how bad do you want it routine. I just wish they wouldn't focus so heavily on one ridiculous exam!!
     
  8. MSepo

    MSepo Member

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    "I just wish they wouldn't focus so heavily on one ridiculous exam!!"

    I'm surprised that this is such prevalent attitude among so many of you. Contrary to what you'd like to believe, hard work does not always pay off. I'm sure you've all done your homework on this topic - there are people who've applied as many as 10 times to medical school without an acceptance!! Let's look at this objectively: you're an admissions committee and you've got about 20 times as many applicants as available spots in your class. Suddenly, in your eyes the MCAT is not one ridiculous exam; it's one of the few objective tools you have to distinguish between THOUSANDS of highly-qualified applicants.
    Look, Jacky, I'm sure you're a nice person and I don't want to discourage you; and the sincerity of your desire to aid people as a doctor is something only you can know. I know you typed no bashing and I certainly hope I'm not coming off sounding like that, because that's not my intent. But three times for the MCAT with the highest score being 25 (I'm assuming) is not going to be looked too favorably upon; especially if, so i hear, the schools average your MCAT scores. Not only that, but I don't think you even CAN take the MCAT more than three times without special permission from AAMC. Of course you have a chance, but whether it's a good chance is another thing altogether. I'm not saying quit trying, especially if you think you have the stamina and resources to keep doing so. But at least look at it more realistically and possibly give one of the countless other healthcare careers out there a try.
     
  9. MSepo

    MSepo Member

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    "I just wish they wouldn't focus so heavily on one ridiculous exam!!"

    I'm surprised that this is such prevalent attitude among so many of you. Contrary to what you'd like to believe, hard work does not always pay off. I'm sure you've all done your homework on this topic - there are people who've applied as many as 10 times to medical school without an acceptance!! Let's look at this objectively: you're an admissions committee and you've got about 20 times as many applicants as available spots in your class. Suddenly, in your eyes the MCAT is not one ridiculous exam; it's one of the few objective tools you have to distinguish between THOUSANDS of highly-qualified applicants.
    Look, Jacky, I'm sure you're a nice person and I don't want to discourage you; and the sincerity of your desire to aid people as a doctor is something only you can know. I know you typed no bashing and I certainly hope I'm not coming off sounding like that, because that's not my intent. But three times for the MCAT with the highest score being 25 (I'm assuming) is not going to be looked too favorably upon; especially if, so i hear, the schools average your MCAT scores. Not only that, but I don't think you even CAN take the MCAT more than three times without special permission from AAMC. Of course you have a chance, but whether it's a good chance is another thing altogether. I'm not saying quit trying, especially if you think you have the stamina and resources to keep doing so. But at least look at it more realistically and possibly give one of the countless other healthcare careers out there a try.
     
  10. Jacky

    Jacky Member

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    MSepo, please provide your motive for unloading such a pessimistic point of view? (were you shafted multiple times from the process?) My initial statement clearly mentioned that I was seeking feedback from those who encountered POSITIVE results. I'm (painfully!) well informed of the negative possibilities involved. Please think before you write. Your hope of imparting insightful commentary has failed, for I have heard your generic "words of wisdom" countless times before. As M1 has mentioned, there are a great number of variables affiliated with a committee's decision. Numbers do not adequately encompass one's candidacy. And you certainly would be foolish to assess mine (for you know nothing about me, aside from two numbers). Forgive me if I appear a bit defensive, but I was hoping this forum would deviate from some of the distasteful actions on other sites. In future postings, you would be wise to follow the form and tone requested. By the way, most schools DO NOT average scores or are very much concerned with the number of times the exam is taken. If you did your homework, you would have learned that showing improvement from consecutive MCAT administrations is what they look for. Whether or not someone acquires the skills by attempt #1 or #10 is really insignificant. Both situations result in the applicant having the desired skill.

    [This message has been edited by Jacky (edited 10-26-2000).]
     
  11. wooo

    wooo Senior Member

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    OK, here I go,

    Have you guys ever had a stats class? All I ever hear in this forum is that you better have at least a 30 to be competitive. HAVE YOU GUYS EVER SEEN A BELL CURVE?

    The average score on the MCAT for acceptance to medical school is 27. What does that mean? Do you people know how averages work?

    27 is in the middle of the chart with it slowly tapering off in each direction. (I hate to sound so elementary, but you guys seem to need it brought down to your level.)

    This means that people below 27 get accepted as well as people above 27.

    This is an example, (bear with me if you have a grasp on this concept):


    MCAT SCORE
    Student 1 21
    Student 2 22
    Student 3 23
    Student 4 24
    Student 5 25
    Student 6 25
    Student 7 26
    Student 8 26
    Student 9 27
    Student 10 28
    Student 11 28
    Student 12 29
    Student 13 29
    Student 14 30
    Student 15 31
    Student 16 32
    Student 17 33

    total = 459 (divide 459 by the number of people in the sample, which is 17)

    Average MCAT score is 27

    Is that not amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    This is a revelation that people actually get into medical school with such a pitiful score!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This being said, you should be competitive for your state school or other non prestigious private schools.

    The rest of you people need to get a life!
     
  12. Jacky

    Jacky Member

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    Stick it to'em wooo!!
     
  13. MSepo

    MSepo Member

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    I was hoping that message would come off reading more realistic than pessimistic, but you don't seem to agree. For one thing, I don't HAVE a motive for sounding that way, because i wasn't trying to sound that way. I was perfectly aware that you were probably perfectly aware of the statistics - or as you put it "words of wisdom." But that being the case, why would you even bother with your original post then? Are you just looking for sympathy or some ray of hope? Suppose someone does tell you that they got in with a 16 and that's the highest score they've received after 13 tries. What conclusion can you possibly draw from that about YOUR chances? Anyway, did you even read the part about putting yourself in the admissions committee's shoes? I was just wondering why you refer to it as one ridiculous exam when you must obviously realize that it's the ONLY way for them to separate one guy from the next when they're pretty much alike in all other respects. You can call me foolish for assessing you by two numbers and yes, i know, it's unfair but it's exactly what the schools are going to do. And I don't NEED to know anything about you to make that claim if i know what the rest of applicant pool is like; so unless you've got a gold medal hanging around your neck from Sydney... Or do you claim that your desire to serve mankind is really that much greater than that of the geek who also has great recs, great patient-care experience, etc. but got a 36 on the MCAT his/her first time out; and gosh-darn-it why can't those silly admissions committee members see that?
    BTW,
    I certainly hope that my surgeon will have mastered his/her art after their 1st try and not their 10th try...
     
  14. MSepo

    MSepo Member

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    wooo:
    Whoever said that the MCAT distribution for acceptances was Guassian? I have never seen that anywhere. Just because the average is 27 (sic), doesn't mean that the acceptances are evenly distributed on either side. I suspect you're thinking of the total MCAT score distribution, not just the acceptances.
    In any case, the Gaussian you refer to isn't even the example that you use!! Assuming that medschool acceptances do follow the "bell curve," a crude example with a discrete distrubition SHOULD have looked like this:
    Score: # Accepted:
    21 1
    22 2
    23 3
    24 4
    25 5
    26 6
    27 7
    28 6
    29 5
    30 4
    31 3
    32 2
    33 1

    The avg. of the above distribution is still 27 but oh, my, there seem to be fewer people accepted with a 21 than there are with say a 26,27,28...You better re-take that STATS course, wooo. I hate to sound so elementary, but you seem to need it brought down to your level.


    [This message has been edited by MSepo (edited 10-26-2000).]
     
  15. doctorJ

    doctorJ Junior Member

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    BTW, for clarification purposes, the average MCAT score for matriculants for 1999 was, according to aamc, 29.7. In 1998, the average was 29.6. In 1997, 29.5. The average for APPLICANTS was 27.5 in '99. Given the significant delta, it seems then that one should not aim for what the average applicant did, but rather what the average matriculant did.

    [This message has been edited by doctorJ (edited 10-26-2000).]
     
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  17. wooo

    wooo Senior Member

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    The whole thought process used in my example was that if the average is 27 then there are people on both sides of the average mark.
    If people get in with a 40, then someone got in with a score lower than average. Sure, for every 40 there will probably be 6 25's and a 26 instead of one 14, but that being said, there are people getting in with scores below 27 or 27 would not be the average.

    One simple question. If the average is 27, how on earth can you say that a person does not have a good chance unless they score 30?

    I apologize for the over simplification of the "bell curve." Obviously your knowledge of statistics is far superior to mine.If you have the time to explain something to such an ignorant person as myself, I would love to hear your explaination of how only above average matriculant scores get accepted. It reminds me of JFK's famous statement,(paraphrased quote) "I will not rest my presidency until every American has an above average income." If you have time, explain Kennedy's statement too. You both seem to have a firm grasp on stats.


    I would like you to defend your statement as to why a person with a 25 should consider other fields.

    [This message has been edited by wooo (edited 10-27-2000).]
     
  18. doctorJ

    doctorJ Junior Member

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    I would like to reiterate that the average is NOT 27.5. The average for MATRICULANTS, which is want we all presumedly would like to become is 29.7. Call it a minor discrepancy, but a 2.2 delta represents a nearly 7.5 percent difference. I imagine that a t-test would indicate that this represents a significant difference. Applying the SD for MATRICULANTS of 1.9+1.7+1.7 = 5.3 (as given on the aamc website for the mcat) gives a one SD range of 29.7+/- 5.3, or 24.4 through 35.0. One SD range in a normal distribution predicts that 68.26% of the population falls within this range. So while a 25 falls within this range of one SD from the mean, I sure would feel a lot more comfortable if my score were more firmly planted nearer the mean, or better yet, the top.

    I would encourage the original poster to retake the test. But certainly would not encourage anyone to give up because of the results of one test. Some peope don't test well. As for the surgeon first try analogy, it seems a bit oversimplified and simple.
     
  19. ferrocenec

    ferrocenec Junior Member

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    People, please...let's not be so obssessed with the numbers!!
    In fact, I see NO statistical meaning in MCAT scores. What's important is not whether there is a correlation between the numbers and the acceptance rate, but whether there is a correlation between the numbers and if the person is going to be a good doctor. Don't you think the med. school will consider that as well? Obviously, if a person failed to master organic chemistry, for example, which is somehow shown thru the scores, I'd worry if he/she can fully grasp the concept provided in the med.school and science journals.
    However, I have never ever seen one objective statistical report showing the relevance between the quality of the doctors the school produced and their MCAT scores.

    Since most doctor's "bad records" are concealed within their own community, we really just have to believe the admission office as we believe in GOD--a high MCAT score will represent a good doc. Sometimes, GOD works in mysterious ways.....=D
     
  20. ask698

    ask698 Member

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    Jacky,

    I don't have any success stories for you, but I went to a presentation a while back that may shed some light on your chances. The people at the presentation, one of whom was on the admissions committee at NU or U of Chicago, said that the four major things medical schools look at are GPA, MCAT, clinical/research exposure, and leadership in extracurricular/work experiences. However, they also said that you can be somewhat deficient in any one of the four things and still be competitive for medical school admission if you are stellar in one of the remaining three areas. Thus, based on their comments I would say that you have a good chance at getting in somewhere if the rest of your app is strong as you indicated. Hope this helps.

    Tony
     
  21. wooo

    wooo Senior Member

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    DOCTORJ

    POINT TAKEN. INSPITE OF MY MISTAKE ON THE ACTUAL AVERAGE, I AM GLAD YOU UNDERSTOOD THE POINT.

    JACKY,

    I KNOW OF SEVERAL PEOPLE THAT HAVE MADE IT INTO MED SCHOOL WITH SCORES LOWER THAN THAT. THAT BEING SAID, I KNOW OF SOME WITH HIGHER SCORES THAT DID NOT.

    [This message has been edited by wooo (edited 10-27-2000).]
     
  22. Hmmrstrength

    Hmmrstrength Member

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    ferrocenec,

    You seem really bitter. Obviously, the test, although not fool proof, correlates with intelligence, and to state the obvious, intelligence is an asset in the medical profession. I hate the MCAT, as do most who have taken it, but can you honestly tell me you know anyone you consider less than intelligent who received 36+? I don't think you can. Their are individuals who are extremely bright who for some reason or another don't do well on the test.

    Possibly, the person who initiated this topic is one of them. As an ADCOM, the test provides me a way of seeing who is intelligent with a straight up score. The exceptions are the hard part and if the ADCOM does not want to even bother exploring, your out of luck. My bet is that other than the top 30 or so schools, many ADCOMs do explore the individuals with contrasting MCAT scores and near perfect GPAs. To the original poster, you have a chance, but I advise taking the test again.
     
  23. MSepo

    MSepo Member

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    OK, wooo, first of all we' re still working on the assumption that the MCAT score of all matriculants is, in fact, a "bell curve," - aka Gaussian aka A*Exp[-a x^2] - the validity of which assumption I'm not even certain since, as I typed earlier, I have never actually seen the actual (discrete) distribution. All they give is a mean and maybe SD. I don't however question the validity of the "bell curve" for ALL MCAT scores since it's probably a pretty good approximation. Probably best to show you a graph (i hope it comes out correctly) that is very likely a good representation of the actual data:

    -------------**-----------------
    ------------*--*----------------
    ----------**----**--------------
    ---------**------**-------------
    ------***--------##**-----------
    ---****--------#----#**---------
    -**---------###--------**-------


    In the above graph you've got an ordinate of MCAT scores, and for the abscissa all applicants are represented by *, and all matriculants represented by #. The peak for applicants happens to fall in the middle at say, 27, and that just happens to be the mean because it's a symmetric distribution. Notice I represented the matriculants by a "bell curve" as well, just to keep things simple; however it's highly unlikely that it actually is one (maybe it is, but it doesn't matter because WHATEVER shape the matriculants' distribution takes, its mean will still be higher than 27 (as doctor] kindly pointed out)). As any fool can plainly see (sorry, that's not an insult, I'm just a big "Groo" fan), the two graphs intersect at the higher scores (imagine that!), and you have in fact, a MUCH greater difference between the number of test-takers and # accepted as the scores go lower - THAT's how on earth I can say that a person does not have a good chance unless they score >= 30 (all else being equal, of course) - and incidentally, I don't recall ever saying that before. In fact, I never said that "only above average MCAT scores get accepted" either but if you accept my graph then you can explain to yourself why one improve one's chances by raising their score (again, all else being equal), although it is OBVIOUS that people with lower scores do get in - a fact which I also never disputed. Please understand, I'm really not trying to discourage anyone but I never took this to be a commiseration forum, I figured people went out to the local bars to do that. I am at loss to understand why people who want to become doctors can't take a little dose of reality. Here's a little more reality that people seem to forget: the hard part is not getting INTO medical school; the hard part is getting THROUGH medical school. And I'm not going to defend "my" statement that people w/25s should consider other fields. I never typed that, so if you're referring to my original post, it would behoove you to go re-read the last two sentences, which are themselves not negative statements. They're actually quite neutral. Please read my posts fully before you misquote me.
     
  24. MSepo

    MSepo Member

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    BTW, to those who are recommending that people re-take the MCAT after having taken the test 3x already: This is taken directy from the AAMC website:

    "You must apply for special permission to take the MCAT if you have attended three or more MCAT administrations since 1977 (whether or not the test was completed and/or answer documents were voided). Individuals who sit for the MCAT should be preparing to apply to a health professions school.

    Your request should include evidence of intent to apply to a health professions school (e.g., a completed application, letter of rejection, or letter from a medical school or advisor), which must accompany the registration materials. This documentation is required each time you wish to retest. Such requests will be reviewed and permission confirmed in writing prior to the test date."

    Obviously, it's easier said than done. Also, anyone care to explain to me the statement that the admissions committees do not care how many times you've taken the MCAT as long as you show improvement? That's quite contrary to everything I've heard and read.


     

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