drwannabe44

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So how similar are the usmle step 1 compared to the mcat...does the mcat really predict how one will do on step 1?
 

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drwannabe44 said:
So how similar are the usmle step 1 compared to the mcat...does the mcat really predict how one will do on step 1?
There is a marginal correlation but no similarlity. The MCAT covers the prereqs and verbal reasoning. The Step 1 covers the first two years of med school. So the Step 1 covers a ton more material and no informational overlap. I wouldn't consider yourself in good shape for the boards just because you got a high MCAT or in bad shape just because your MCAT was low.
 
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drwannabe44 said:
So how similar are the usmle step 1 compared to the mcat...does the mcat really predict how one will do on step 1?
Hi there,
Actually both tests ask you to take a body of knowledge and apply it to problems. The MCAT is more limited than USMLE Step I and is not generally a predictor of your USMLE Step I score though there is some correlation between your verbal score and Step I score.

njbmd :)
 

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njbmd said:
Hi there,
Actually both tests ask you to take a body of knowledge and apply it to problems. The MCAT is more limited than USMLE Step I and is not generally a predictor of your USMLE Step I score though there is some correlation between your verbal score and Step I score.

njbmd :)
correlation between MCAT verbal score and USMLE Step 1....NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooo :eek:
 

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I have heard somewhere that the VR section is a decent-at-best indicator of Step 1 success, most likely because (I'm assuming that) the Step 1 test has a lot of passage-based question in which efficient and critical reading are necessary to answer the question appropriately.

In terms of the other sections, the material is pretty much completely different.

Basically, every new test is a completely new ball game.
-Dr. P.
 

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So... med schools look kindly upon good verbal scores and make it a difference maker between acceptances/rejections?
 

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defrunner said:
So... med schools look kindly upon good verbal scores and make it a difference maker between acceptances/rejections?
I doubt verbal scores have enough impact to make or break an acceptance assuming that all other parts of the app are fine.

However, it seems that the verbal reasoning section is emphasized a bit more than BS and PS for a few reasons:

a. It's arguably the hardest section and most people score lowest on it
b. It definitely requires a lot of critical thinking....very much necessary for medicine in general
c. It seems like the closest indicator to Step 1 success
d. From the emphasis on essays to interviews, adcoms tend to put a lot of weight on one's ability to read and write effectively in order to enter med school

But with all that said, a low VR score certainly isn't a dealbreaker.

Those are the only big reasons I can think of for now.
If I said something misleading, feel free to correct me.
-Dr. P.
 

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defrunner said:
So... med schools look kindly upon good verbal scores and make it a difference maker between acceptances/rejections?
They look kindly but it won't be a big decision maker. If you have a 20 MCAT but 10 of those points are in VR, you are still SOL.
 
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Law2Doc said:
They look kindly but it won't be a big decision maker. If you have a 20 MCAT but 10 of those points are in VR, you are still SOL.
Haha that was funny... Yeah, I was asking because I have an unbalanced score myself. Even though it's a good score, my splits were 9 P, 14 V, 10 B (33 total). As I've outlined in other posts, I have an extremely low undergrad GPA, esp. in the sciences, so I was just curious as to how much weight verbal was given (for the ulterior motive of pointlessly trying to figure out how much the 14V in a good, but unbalanced MCAT score helps balance my GPA).
 

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defrunner said:
Haha that was funny... Yeah, I was asking because I have an unbalanced score myself. Even though it's a good score, my splits were 9 P, 14 V, 10 B (33 total). As I've outlined in other posts, I have an extremely low undergrad GPA, esp. in the sciences, so I was just curious as to how much weight verbal was given (for the ulterior motive of pointlessly trying to figure out how much the 14V in a good, but unbalanced MCAT score helps balance my GPA).
I'm following this thread between studying. :D

In my opinion, you will receive mixed results.
Ideally, you would want an MCAT score where the VR is the highest, but you would still have a solid PS and BS score like 11PS 11BS 14VR.

However, in your case, it seems that your P and B are a bit low, but your V is tremendous.

Therefore, I think it's hit or miss. Some schools want a well balanced applicant, but others reward those with an oustanding section (this is particularly the case in VR).

Nevertheless, don't get your hopes up too much. An unbalanced MCAT score probably won't make up for an extremely low GPA (I'm assuming around 3.0 or below).

But the 14VR may be a wildcard, you never know.
-Dr. P.
 

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Dr. Pepper said:
I'm following this thread between studying. :D

In my opinion, you will receive mixed results.
Ideally, you would want an MCAT score where the VR is the highest, but you would still have a solid PS and BS score like 11PS 11BS 14VR.

However, in your case, it seems that your P and B are a bit low, but your V is tremendous.

Therefore, I think it's hit or miss. Some schools want a well balanced applicant, but others reward those with an oustanding section (this is particularly the case in VR).

Nevertheless, don't get your hopes up too much. An unbalanced MCAT score probably won't make up for an extremely low GPA (I'm assuming around 3.0 or below).

But the 14VR may be a wildcard, you never know.
-Dr. P.
Hey, it's better to be lucky than good, right? Hehe. No seriously, that's good advice and is about what I'm expecting. To be fair, I am in a master's program in the sciences at a very prestigious university, which I'm doing well in, so hopefully that'll help even more with balancing out my undergrad GPA (even though master's programs in general are notorious for grade inflation). We'll see; I've said all along that all I want is to just get to the interview stage. Hopefully that happens, because you never know.
 

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defrunner said:
Hey, it's better to be lucky than good, right? Hehe. No seriously, that's good advice and is about what I'm expecting. To be fair, I am in a master's program in the sciences at a very prestigious university, which I'm doing well in, so hopefully that'll help even more with balancing out my undergrad GPA (even though master's programs in general are notorious for grade inflation). We'll see; I've said all along that all I want is to just get to the interview stage. Hopefully that happens, because you never know.
With that MCAT and good results in a hard science masters, I'm sure some places will give you a look. Apply broadly, because you need to catch someone's eye.
 

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Law2Doc said:
With that MCAT and good results in a hard science masters, I'm sure some places will give you a look. Apply broadly, because you need to catch someone's eye.
Agreed. I applied to Hopkins (as my major reach haha, not expecting anything), UMaryland, Temple, Drexel, Loyola Stritch, UVermont, UMDNJ - Robert Wood Johnson, UMDNJ - New Jersey Medical School, NYMC. That's 9 schools (I'm from Jersey) and would like to apply to more but I can't afford to. Hopefully that's broad enough.
 

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defrunner said:
Agreed. I applied to Hopkins (as my major reach haha, not expecting anything), UMaryland, Temple, Drexel, Loyola Stritch, UVermont, UMDNJ - Robert Wood Johnson, UMDNJ - New Jersey Medical School, NYMC. That's 9 schools (I'm from Jersey) and would like to apply to more but I can't afford to. Hopefully that's broad enough.
I personally would up it a couple more. Keeping within that northeast/midatlantic region, you might want to consider adding in Jefferson and some of the manhattan or DC schools.
 

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Law2Doc said:
I personally would up it a couple more. Keeping within that northeast/midatlantic region, you might want to consider adding in Jefferson and some of the manhattan or DC schools.
Sounds like a great plan, but the thing to remember is that I really can't afford it. Rent, cell phone bill (yes, ironically enough), cable, utilities, etc. need to be paid first. It sucks being on my own sometimes. I'd love to add more but if I can only afford to do so a month from now, then there really is no point, because a guy with my stats isnt going to get a second look when the vast majority of the people apply to med school. I'm going to apply to DO in a month instead because that'll hopefully give me a slightly better chance of getting in somewhere.
 

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defrunner said:
Sounds like a great plan, but the thing to remember is that I really can't afford it. Rent, cell phone bill (yes, ironically enough), cable, utilities, etc. need to be paid first. It sucks being on my own sometimes. I'd love to add more but if I can only afford to do so a month from now, then there really is no point, because a guy with my stats isnt going to get a second look when the vast majority of the people apply to med school. I'm going to apply to DO in a month instead because that'll hopefully give me a slightly better chance of getting in somewhere.
I would think DO schools will drool over that MCAT. Not sure if I personally would give up on allo so quickly though.
 

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I have heard this alot from Kaplan folks. VR often predicts step 1 performance.

Dr. Pepper said:
I have heard somewhere that the VR section is a decent-at-best indicator of Step 1 success, most likely because (I'm assuming that) the Step 1 test has a lot of passage-based question in which efficient and critical reading are necessary to answer the question appropriately.

In terms of the other sections, the material is pretty much completely different.

Basically, every new test is a completely new ball game.
-Dr. P.
 

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akaz said:
I have heard this alot from Kaplan folks. VR often predicts step 1 performance.
Anyone know a source for this? This discussion came up on SDN last week, and the articles found on Pubmed all seemed to say that VR was a good predictor of Step 2, but nothing was found mentioning Step 1. I personally would guess it applies to step one as well.
 
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Since we are talking about how things are seen, I ask this:
I got a 13VR 11PS 10BS and an S in writing. Does that S mean anything on the whole? Am I more competative than a 34P realistically. OR, how about a 35 O?
I ask because it seems obvious, but I hear that the writing score often gets overlooked.
Also, I don't mean to hijack the thread, but with a 3.00 flat and that MCAT score, do ya think I'll get a second look? (interview?) Sorry to bother ya, but I'm kinda lacking faith as I start filling out secondaries and sending in big checks. The primary came as a single one (22 schools though) so I could deal better with it...
I don't think I'm compleatly out of place cause me and the OP share kind of the same stats
And i wish ya all the luck in the world too!
 

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drwannabe44 said:
So how similar are the usmle step 1 compared to the mcat...does the mcat really predict how one will do on step 1?
Not at all.... the MCAT involves some level of reasoning. While the same can be said of Step 1, you have WAAAY more info to know for it. A chunk of step 1 questions are just straight up knowledge of certain facts. The rest of them are often "2 step" questions where you need to know a fact you learned during med school, and then apply it to figure out the answer. If you dont know the fact, you're screwed... if you dont know how to apply it, you're also screwed.
 

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Law2Doc said:
Anyone know a source for this? This discussion came up on SDN last week, and the articles found on Pubmed all seemed to say that VR was a good predictor of Step 2, but nothing was found mentioning Step 1. I personally would guess it applies to step one as well.
Hi there,
Lot's more reading on Step II CK than Step I but you really need to be pretty sharp for both. I don't think that having a high verbal and low everything will make you a shoo in for medical school. It really is THE WHOLE APPLICATION and some subjective stuff (did they like you on the interview?) thrown in for good measure. Add a whopping dose of how the wind is blowing and you have the perfect formula for getting in.

njbmd :)
 

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chewsnuffles said:
Since we are talking about how things are seen, I ask this:
I got a 13VR 11PS 10BS and an S in writing. Does that S mean anything on the whole? Am I more competative than a 34P realistically. OR, how about a 35 O?
I ask because it seems obvious, but I hear that the writing score often gets overlooked.
Also, I don't mean to hijack the thread, but with a 3.00 flat and that MCAT score, do ya think I'll get a second look? (interview?) Sorry to bother ya, but I'm kinda lacking faith as I start filling out secondaries and sending in big checks. The primary came as a single one (22 schools though) so I could deal better with it...
I don't think I'm compleatly out of place cause me and the OP share kind of the same stats
And i wish ya all the luck in the world too!
I've had an adcom tell me that the writing sample only gets noticed at at his school if it's "unusually low" (he didn't elaborate). So no, an S is not going to give you an advantage over a P or an O. No one cares unless you tank it.
 

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njbmd said:
Hi there,
Lot's more reading on Step II CK than Step I but you really need to be pretty sharp for both. I don't think that having a high verbal and low everything will make you a shoo in for medical school. It really is THE WHOLE APPLICATION and some subjective stuff (did they like you on the interview?) thrown in for good measure. Add a whopping dose of how the wind is blowing and you have the perfect formula for getting in.

njbmd :)
Thanks, but I'm not particularly worried about getting in these days :laugh:. I'm just curious if anyone knows the source of the often said statement that verbal reasoning is positively correlated with Step 1.
 

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chewsnuffles said:
Since we are talking about how things are seen, I ask this:
I got a 13VR 11PS 10BS and an S in writing. Does that S mean anything on the whole? Am I more competative than a 34P realistically. OR, how about a 35 O?
I ask because it seems obvious, but I hear that the writing score often gets overlooked.
Also, I don't mean to hijack the thread, but with a 3.00 flat and that MCAT score, do ya think I'll get a second look? (interview?) Sorry to bother ya, but I'm kinda lacking faith as I start filling out secondaries and sending in big checks. The primary came as a single one (22 schools though) so I could deal better with it...
I don't think I'm compleatly out of place cause me and the OP share kind of the same stats
And i wish ya all the luck in the world too!
No doubt man, all it takes is one. Whatever happens, happens. I'm sure you'll get a second look though, because I've gotten some positive feedback (not just from SDN, but from my undergrad premedical committee) about the MCAT and what I've done since graduation. But if I were you, I'd merely make my goal just to get to the interview stage really (because that's what my goal is). Once at the interview, we are on equal footing with everyone else and from that point on, whatever happens is on us to nail it down. So if we screw up the interview, at least we know we've had the chance.

Don't worry about hijacking the thread haha; you and I are probably the only ones on SDN discussing the merits of our particular stats :D

As for the writing, I don't really know how much emphasis is placed on it; I think they just want to make sure you know how to write, basically. The first time I took the MCAT, I got a 25 S and then got a 33 R. So basically I know that I can write decently enough, but it definitely is not something to bank on at all. My advice: disregard your writing score and just focus on making the secondaries as good as you can make them. The good thing about your MCAT is that you know you don't have to worry about that or making up for it (which some people do). With your writing ability, I'm sure you pulled off a good personal statement as well. I don't know if this is true or not, but I've read through a few threads that said that a low GPA can be better compensated by a strong MCAT than a low MCAT can be by a strong GPA. Of course, the obvious caveat is just how low you can go with the GPA, haha.

My point is, what you've done is now in the past. Focus on what you can do in the present and in the future, because that's all you can do. You can't change your grades and I can't change mine. For better or worse, it's there for everyone to see. Just go all out and don't worry too much about the writing section/grades. If you get rejected based on your grades, then oh well. Can't help it; it'll happen to me and a lot of other people get rejected based on different things.

Kick some ass, and this goes for all of you. Just focus on the now, not on the past. That's what my philosophy is with this.
 

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defrunner said:
I don't know if this is true or not, but I've read through a few threads that said that a low GPA can be better compensated by a strong MCAT than a low MCAT can be by a strong GPA. Of course, the obvious caveat is just how low you can go with the GPA, haha.
LOL, I havn't found out the answer to that question yet, but I'm sure if I try hard enough...

Yeah, I hear constantly contradicing info on if a low MCAT or low GPA is worse. I'm just going to leave it at they are both bad, but not nessesarily damning (unlike cheating, or previously failing out of med school)

As for our good writing scores, I'm actually a terrible writer and had to enlist the help of a hundred monkey's chained to typewriters to write my PS (or about 10 very kind editors from the SDN)
I'm just a good arguer I think, although if Law2Doc ever wants to he can own me in that field...
 

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chewsnuffles said:
LOL, I havn't found out the answer to that question yet, but I'm sure if I try hard enough...

Yeah, I hear constantly contradicing info on if a low MCAT or low GPA is worse. I'm just going to leave it at they are both bad, but not nessesarily damning (unlike cheating, or previously failing out of med school)

As for our good writing scores, I'm actually a terrible writer and had to enlist the help of a hundred monkey's chained to typewriters to write my PS (or about 10 very kind editors from the SDN)
I'm just a good arguer I think, although if Law2Doc ever wants to he can own me in that field...
Haha, leave me to my own delusions of grandeur. If I say that a low GPA can be overcome with a strong MCAT, then don't dash my dreams by telling me otherwise. In this case, ignorance is bliss. :thumbup:

But yes, obviously I would rather not have bad grades. I'm just trying to help rationalize it and put a positive spin on it (after all, it did make me into a better student in the end). For my own benefit, of course.

I feel you on the PS. I actually got a friend from undergrad who I hadnt talked to in a year review my statement; he was really harsh on my PS (he just finished his first year in DO school) and he made it much, much better. Needless to say, I owe him a case of Guinness the next time I see him, as well as a few shots at a bar or two or three. If anything gets me in, it's the personal statement and if anything made my personal statement better, it's him. Sometimes, I get a little cocky about my writing (because nationally recognized authorities recognized my greatness in writing) but it's very humbling when people rip apart what you write and say how it's worse than trash, haha. How even calling what I write 'trash' is a disservice to the trash world.

I love arguing. Hopefully there will be people out there willing to argue with me.
 

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defrunner said:
But if I were you, I'd merely make my goal just to get to the interview stage really (because that's what my goal is). Once at the interview, we are on equal footing with everyone else and from that point on, whatever happens is on us to nail it down.
I agree with Teera that this isn't necesarily true. Many people who have had horrific interviews are accepted while others who have stellar interviews are waitlisted or even rejected. I know it feels that once you have the interview, it's all equal (and this is probably the case with some schools), but your profile will always be observed and scrutinized. With that said, understand that the interview is still an integral part of the whole process, and an outstanding interview has tipped the balance towards an acceptance.

defrunner said:
My point is, what you've done is now in the past. Focus on what you can do in the present and in the future, because that's all you can do. You can't change your grades and I can't change mine. For better or worse, it's there for everyone to see.
:thumbup:
-Dr. P.
 
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Dr. Pepper said:
I agree with Teera that this isn't necesarily true. Many people who have had horrific interviews are accepted while others who have stellar interviews are waitlisted or even rejected. I know it feels that once you have the interview, it's all equal (and this is probably the case with some schools), but your profile will always be observed and scrutinized. With that said, understand that the interview is still an integral part of the whole process, and an outstanding interview has tipped the balance towards an acceptance.


:thumbup:
-Dr. P.
Depends on the school. Many schools actually do use the policy that they only invite folks to interviews if they are acceptable and thus make the interview the only game in town - the single most important part of the application process. Some schools will even tell you at the interview that everyone who got there is now deemed equal. As such, you can beat out people with objectively better stats than you with a much stronger interview, and those with stellar stats can crash and burn for being too lukewarm. (I know many many instances of both these examples). Those schools that give out interviews before reading files, or give everyone in-state an interview, obviously don't do this. But don't take the interview lightly or as a formality. The same folks who think the interview is just to weed out the crazies, or otherwise take it lightly, tend to end up back in the waitlist pool. There are a few SDNers with unbelievably high stats who don't get in each year due to the interview hurdle.
 

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Not at all.... the MCAT involves some level of reasoning. While the same can be said of Step 1, you have WAAAY more info to know for it. A chunk of step 1 questions are just straight up knowledge of certain facts. The rest of them are often "2 step" questions where you need to know a fact you learned during med school, and then apply it to figure out the answer. If you dont know the fact, you're screwed... if you dont know how to apply it, you're also screwed.
Yeah 2-step for example:

1. Recognize the clin pres is an absence seizure.
2. Pick ethosux as the appropriate agent for treatment.

If you don't know it's an absence, and you don't know ethosux is a treatment for absence, then you are so screwed. You either know it or you don't, you can't reason your way out of it.

Though many of you may think a question like this to be a giveaway, it's not if you didn't study your psych.

I had a not so good study profile in medschool and emotional turmoil. Had an MCAT closer to 40 than 30 but only got an average step 1 score.
Surprisingly though still matched at one of the best programs in my field (moderately competitive) and am doing great as an intern, whatever that means for standardized testing.
 

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defrunner said:
Agreed. I applied to Hopkins (as my major reach haha, not expecting anything), UMaryland, Temple, Drexel, Loyola Stritch, UVermont, UMDNJ - Robert Wood Johnson, UMDNJ - New Jersey Medical School, NYMC. That's 9 schools (I'm from Jersey) and would like to apply to more but I can't afford to. Hopefully that's broad enough.

i'm in a similar situation (13V, 9, 9 MCAT and some grade issues) and applying to a lot of the same schools as you (also limited by finances and wish I could apply to more). Hopefully we'll see each other on the interview trail! :luck: to you. Someone's gotta recognize our genius, right? :cool:
 

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According to the MCAT people, your SAT verbal score has the highest correlation with your STEP 1 score. Is that why some secondaries ask for your SAT score? Penn state does...
 

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MiesVanDerMom said:
According to the MCAT people, your SAT verbal score has the highest correlation with your STEP 1 score. Is that why some secondaries ask for your SAT score? Penn state does...
I think at some level, all you are proving is that smart people who read well do well on tests.
Most med schools don't care about SAT scores, so clearly not a lot of people put much stock in this. The best correlation to how you do on Step 1 is going to be how hard you study and how well your med school does in preparing you. Mostly the former.
 

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akaz said:
I have heard this alot from Kaplan folks. VR often predicts step 1 performance.

Keep in mind that Kaplan also believes in the Turkey-Tryptophan-Makes you Sleepy myth and still think that fetal circulation & respiration are on the MCAT.
 

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ADeadLois said:
Keep in mind that Kaplan also believes in the Turkey-Tryptophan-Makes you Sleepy myth .
There is some science to this actually. See:

Nutr Neurosci. 2005 Apr;8(2):121-7.
Protein source tryptophan versus pharmaceutical grade tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for chronic insomnia.

Hudson C, Hudson SP, Hecht T, MacKenzie J.
Biosential Inc., 1543 Bayview Avenue, Suite 346, Toronto, Ontario M4G 3B5, Canada. [email protected]

BACKGROUND: Intact protein rich in tryptophan was not seen as an alternative to pharmaceutical grade tryptophan since protein also contains large neutral amino acids (LNAAs) that compete for transport sites across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Deoiled gourd seed (an extremely rich source of tryptophan-22 mg tryptophan/1 g protein) was combined with glucose, a carbohydrate that reduces serum levels of competing LNAAs which was then compared to pharmaceutical grade tryptophan with carbohydrate as well as carbohydrate alone. METHOD: Objective and subjective measures of sleep were employed to measure changes in sleep as part of a double blind placebo controlled study where subjects were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (1) Protein source tryptophan (deoiled gourd seed) in combination with carbohydrate; (2) pharmaceutical grade tryptophan in combination with carbohydrate; (3) carbohydrate alone. SUBJECTS: Out of 57 subjects 49 of those who began the study completed the three week protocol. RESULTS: Protein source tryptophan with carbohydrate and pharmaceutical grade tryptophan, but not carbohydrate alone, resulted in significant improvement on subjective and objective measures of insomnia. Protein source tryptophan with carbohydrate alone proved effective in significantly reducing time awake during the night. CONCLUSION: Protein source tryptophan is comparable to pharmaceutical grade tryptophan for the treatment of insomnia.

PMID: 16053244 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


A tryptophan-rich protein diet efficiently restores sleep after food deprivation in the rat.

Minet-Ringuet J, Le Ruyet PM, Tome D, Even PC. UMR INRA/INA P-G, UMR physiologie de la nutrition et du comportement alimentaire, Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon, 16 rue Claude Bernard, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France.

Sleep depends on the quantity and quality of the diet. Several studies have shown that food deprivation results in a reduction in sleep duration. It has also been demonstrated that in the newborn, the supply of certain essential amino acids improves sleep through their action on the synthesis of specific neurotransmitters. The aim of the present study was to test if the quantity and/or quality of dietary protein could improve the recovery of sleep during re-feeding after caloric deprivation. Sleep parameters were compared in rats fed ad libitum, food restricted during 4 days, or reefed isocalorically after food restriction with three dietary regimens varying in terms of the amount (14% versus 30%) or quality (milk protein or alpha-lactalbumin) of protein. The results showed that sleep recovery, in particular slow-wave sleep, was improved in rats re-fed with alpha-lactalbumin. This result confirms the close relationship between feeding and sleep and suggest that alpha-lactabumin could be used to improve sleep in adult submitted to nutritional disturbances such as food restriction, shift work, Ramadan. Copyright 2003 Elsevier B.V.

PMID: 15196801 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


The role of tryptophan in fatigue in different conditions of stress.

Castell LM, Yamamoto T, Phoenix J, Newsholme EA.

University Department of Biochemistry, Oxford, UK. [email protected]

Tryptophan is the precursor for the neurotransmitter 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), which is involved in fatigue and sleep. It is present in bound and free from in the blood, where the concentration is controlled by albumin binding to tryptophan. An increase in plasma free tryptophan leads to an increased rate of entry of tryptophan into the brain. This should lead to a higher level of 5-HT which may cause central fatigue. Central fatigue is implicated in clinical conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and post-operative fatigue. Increased plasma free tryptophan leads to an increase in the plasma concentration ratio of free tryptophan to the branched chain amino acids (BCAA) which compete with tryptophan for entry into the brain across the blood-brain barrier. The plasma concentrations of these amino acids were measured in chronic fatigue syndrome patients (CFS) before and after exercise (Castell et al., 1998), and in patients undergoing major surgery (Yamamoto et al., 1997). In the CFS patients, the pre-exercise concentration of plasma free tryptophan was higher than in controls (p < 0.05) but did not change during or after exercise. This might indicate an abnormally high level of brain 5-HT in CFS patients leading to persistent fatigue. In the control group, plasma free tryptophan was increased after maximal exercise (p < 0.001), returning towards baseline levels 60 min later. The apparent failure of the CFS patients to change the plasma free tryptophan concentration or the free tryptophan/BCAA ratio during exercise may indicate increased sensitivity of brain 5-HT receptors, as has been demonstrated in other studies (Cleare et al., 1995). In post-operative recovery after major surgery plasma free tryptophan concentrations were markedly increased compared with baseline levels; the plasma free tryptophan/BCAA concentration ratio was also increased after surgery. Plasma albumin concentrations were decreased after surgery: this may account for the increase in plasma free tryptophan levels. Provision of BCAA has improved mental performance in athletes after endurance exercise (Blomstrand et al., 1995, 1997). It is suggested that BCAA supplementation may help to counteract the effects of an increase in plasma free tryptophan, and may thus improve the status of patients during or after some clinically stressful conditions.

PMID: 10721121 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
 

defrunner

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MiesVanDerMom said:
i'm in a similar situation (13V, 9, 9 MCAT and some grade issues) and applying to a lot of the same schools as you (also limited by finances and wish I could apply to more). Hopefully we'll see each other on the interview trail! :luck: to you. Someone's gotta recognize our genius, right? :cool:
Exactly! Don't worry about the amount of schools you apply to; nothing we can do about our finances at this time. Whatever happens, happens for a reason. I guess I'll take Law2Doc's advice and apply to more allopathic schools within a month if I can, and then a few DO schools (instead of ruling out any more allopathic schools at all and only applying to DO schools, due to my reasoning that with my stats, I really don't have a chance if I apply at the normal time of the application stage when there are many more thousands of applicants to compete against for allopathic slots). Hopefully we'll see each other; I'm sure that all of us will be following where we go for interviews; if we're interviewing at the same school on the same day, maybe we can go hit up a bar the night after the interview's over. This goes for anyone here.

Good luck to you too! Don't worry too much and just do your best; make the schools you apply to reject you, instead of you rejecting them by not putting forth your best effort from this point on. Your goal should be not only to get the interview but also to have no regrets about anything you have done during the application cycle ("what if's" and such). You should say to yourself, after the last interview, "There was really nothing more during the application cycle that I could have done any better. I feel good." Also, be mentally prepared for the worst, which is that everyone says no so that you can be prepared to reapply next year. I'm cautiously optimistic and thinking positively, but I am mentally prepared for the very real possibility that I won't get in anywhere. So if I need to reapply next summer, I am willing to do that, and by then, I will have a stronger application with more EC's, more LOR's, more grades as I graduate from my master's program, and more money that I save up for application fees to apply to more schools. My point is, whatever happens, happens for a reason and things will turn out well in the end. After all, if things haven't turned out well in the end, then it's not the end yet.
 

medgator

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MiesVanDerMom said:
According to the MCAT people, your SAT verbal score has the highest correlation with your STEP 1 score. Is that why some secondaries ask for your SAT score? Penn state does...
The kind of questions you'll see on step 1 relate to the basic pharmacology and pathophysiology of the human body.... and how well you can apply the information on your own. How that can even remotely relate to answering questions about some 500 word passage is beyond me. I dont see the correlation in the least. If you've got good verbal reasoning skills, youll do well on the MCAT verbal section. If you know the crapload of information from 1st and 2nd year of medical school, then youll do well on Step 1.
 

defrunner

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medgator said:
The kind of questions you'll see on step 1 relate to the basic pharmacology and pathophysiology of the human body.... and how well you can apply the information on your own. How that can even remotely relate to answering questions about some 500 word passage is beyond me. I dont see the correlation in the least. If you've got good verbal reasoning skills, youll do well on the MCAT verbal section. If you know the crapload of information from 1st and 2nd year of medical school, then youll do well on Step 1.
This is what the verbal reasoning section tests. You just answered your own question.
 

Scottish Chap

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drwannabe44 said:
So how similar are the usmle step 1 compared to the mcat...does the mcat really predict how one will do on step 1?
Good test takers tend to stay good test takers but, like anything, you'll have outliers at either end of the STEP1 bell curve. I have friends with low scores on the MCAT and outstanding USMLEs and others with >34 on the MCAT and average/below average on STEP1. The MCAT really punishes people who may otherwise have a lot of knowledge but read passages slowly........
 

medgator

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defrunner said:
This is what the verbal reasoning section tests. You just answered your own question.
Not really..... a verbal reasoning test expects you to extract the information from a paragraph and use it to answer a question. No previous information is required. The information you have to apply on Step 1 are concepts which require a basic understanding of pathology and physiology (some of the concepts in physio involve reasoning, but the vast majority of medical knowledge is just straight up memorization). And don't forget--- a chunk of step 1 questions have no application at all (i.e. bacteria causing a disease, drug for a condition, gene involved in a syndrome etc.)
 

defrunner

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Right... I mean, I may be talking out of my ass (especially considering I'm not even in med school yet) but my impression of step 1 after perusing this site is that it's a test in which you obviously have to do massive studying (i.e. memorization) for but you also need to know how to apply the concepts that you read on the exam, which is what VR tests. That's the point I was making and could be a reason why the rumor is that med schools place an emphasis on VR. They can always teach you the sciences and you can always study something long enough to memorize it, but it's a lot more difficult to teach you how to analyze, interpret and infer something from what you read.
 

tulanensis

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AAMC keeps tabs on MCAT and USMLE 1 correlation...Dean of admissions of a med school told me that the major finding is that an MCAT of 23 or below corresponds to a 90% chance of failure on USMLE 1. Beyond that, not much info can be gleaned. Good MCATers get bad USMLEs and vice-versa.
 

Scottish Chap

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tulanensis said:
AAMC keeps tabs on MCAT and USMLE 1 correlation...Dean of admissions of a med school told me that the major finding is that an MCAT of 23 or below corresponds to a 90% chance of failure on USMLE 1. Beyond that, not much info can be gleaned. Good MCATers get bad USMLEs and vice-versa.
That statistic makes no sense. Does that then mean if you score 24+, your failure rate drops from 90% to 5%? If nothing else, look at the average MCAT score for osteopathic schools and, while the STEP1 pass rate is lower than for allopathic schools, I promise you that they do not have a 90% failure rate.
 

Law2Doc

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tulanensis said:
AAMC keeps tabs on MCAT and USMLE 1 correlation...Dean of admissions of a med school told me that the major finding is that an MCAT of 23 or below corresponds to a 90% chance of failure on USMLE 1. Beyond that, not much info can be gleaned. Good MCATers get bad USMLEs and vice-versa.
I agree with scottish chap. The correlation isn't particularly impressive in either direction. If you got into a med school and did well there, you have a decent chance of passing the boards, MCAT notwithstanding. Once you finish the MCAT, and get admitted, this stat becomes a thing of the past -- don't spend too much time patting yourself on the back or kicking yourself. At that point the MCAT is ancient history. It's a whole new ballgame, with everybody starting at zero.
 

AmoryBlaine

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Speaking as someone who did well on both tests, I think they are VERY different.

The MCAT is not really a knowledge test. If you learned all the facts in that big Kaplan review book you were pretty much set, and even so most of the questions had to be answered with info gleaned from the passages. I would posit that a good test taker could break 28 on the MCAT w/o even reviewing basic science (assuming that he/she had had the science classes in the past).

Step1 is almost completely a knowledge test. You can't "game" it. If you don't have a large database in your noggin you are in trouble. It is also a test that can be failed, the consequences of which are much more far reaching than if you do poorly on the MCAT...


Talking to my friends I have seen alot of interesting disparities between MCATs and Step1 scores. I know the sample size is small but a 90th percentile on the MCAT does not at all guarantee a 90th percentile on boards.
 
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