Success in College vs. Success in Med School...correlation?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by calflowergirl, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. calflowergirl

    calflowergirl Member
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    Hi all!

    Quick question:
    Is there a correlation between your grades/MCAT score as an undergrad and your grades in Med School?
     
  2. merlin

    merlin Senior Member
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    i don't think so.
     
  3. skidmark

    skidmark Senior Member
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    This is a tough question. Since most people who get into medical school have undergrad gpa's at about 3.6 or above it would be diificult to actually do any better in med school. However, many do worse. Some of my classmates are having trouble adjusting to the feeling of not being able to makes A's anymore. As undergrads these people probably studied the night before in undergrad and aced the tests. This is not possible in medical school. As med students these students take awhile to adjust their study habits. I was lucky in that I knew right away that my study habits needed changing.

    FYI: our courses are grade A,B,C,F and we usually have a bell curve distribution with usually btwn 15-25 people making A's(depending on the course) out of 100.

    As far as MCAT, I would have to say (from my experiences and the people I know) that there is no correlation btwn grades and MCAT score. I didn't rock the MCAT (28) but I am in the top ten percent in my class. It all depends on how hard you study and manage your time.

    Honestly, it is not that difficult for most to make B's in my medical school as long as you study and keep up with the material. The difficulty comes in trying to make A's. To do so requires much much more effort and time studying. You basically have to decide if that much more studying to get an A is worth it.
     
  4. Bevo

    Bevo Radiology, R1
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    if there is a correlation, I think its a weak correlation. I did horrible at my 1st undergrad (where I got my degree). Better where I did my pre-med reqs, but no where near the grades Im getting now.

    My gpa has risen steadily for the past 5 semesters (from the end of my post-bacc work to present).

    I don't think its a reflection of my college work, just a change in my work ethic.
     
  5. ForceField

    ForceField Impervious
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    I think general trends would indicate that people who do well on GPAs and SATs, would do well on MCATs, and then well on USMLEs, etc. However, there's always exceptions to the rule. Overall, many of the people that are doing well at my medical school right now are those that were in post-bac programs, that essentially have already taken all the M1 courses through the post-bac programs. Ultimately, it will come down to work ethic though. Med school is all about discipline.
     
  6. jed2023

    jed2023 Senior Member
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    Come on guys. There is a correlation, although imperfect, between academic markers like GPA and MCAT scores and med school performance (at least for the first two years) and it has been shown repeatedly. This is precisely the reason they are used by admissions committees for screening purposes. It's also the reason that people entering med school with low stats are also, statistically, the people most likely to end up in academic trouble somewhere along the line.

    Anyone that has the inclination to look up this research can do so on the online journal, Academic Medicine. (Searching for articles is free but they charge to download most articles.)

    Having said that, there are many exceptions, in particular cases. Slackers, no matter how bright, are often passed up by classmates that just plain study more.
     
  7. skidmark

    skidmark Senior Member
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    Jed,
    Based on your reasoning the average gpa for a medical student after 2 years should be around 3.6. I don't know about others, but this is not the case for my school. Probably no more than 10 people in my class have ever made more than a handful of Cs as an undergrad. Yet, this past semester each course had over a quarter of the students (25) make C or worse. Four people even failed out. How many entering medical students do you know that failed college semesters?

    Yes, GPA and MCAT are used for screening applicants but they have little correlation to your grades in medical school. (USMLE scores are a different story, they actually do correlate w/ MCAT). What is the difference btwn a 3.5 in biochem from one school (lets say Harvard) and a 3.8 in microbiology from another (say LSU)? Answer: Not possible to answer. Your reasoning suggests that the guy from LSU will do better in med school the majority of the time. What is the formula?

    Bottom line: Med school is a whole new ball game. Most everyone entering aced college, but there is absolutely no way they are all going to ace medical school. Sure there are geniouses who will always do well, but for the rest it boils down to work ethic (you actually mentioned this).
     
  8. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    *Samoa timidly raises her hand.*

    And yet I'm nowhere near failing anything in med school. Plus the non-Honors grades are not the ego-bruising experience for me that they are for everyone else.
     
  9. ::Seabass::

    ::Seabass:: bringing burkas back!
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    first semester many people in my class had already taken 3, maybe even 4 of the classes we were now taking in med school. I have to study more this semester since there is more to keep up with, but my grades have jumped alot without really much more effort. this semester many have only taken maybe one or two of the classes we are covering. its interesting watching these people sweat a bit more and not doing as well since I hadn't had any of the classes and I'm a bit more prepared after first semester to cover the vast amount of info I've never seen before.

    I think grades correlate highly with work ethic except for maybe the 5-10 amazingly brilliant people in the class. The work ethic required for top grades is more than you can imagine till you start actually doing it.
     
  10. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    Yeah, first semester was a bunch of stuff I'd never even SEEN before. This semester I'm definitely working less and getting better grades. And doing other things besides study for required classes. My knowledge base is pretty much the inverse of everyone else's--the closer we get to 3rd year, the more of it I've seen before. So my most difficult semester is already behind me.
     
  11. jed2023

    jed2023 Senior Member
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    You've misinterpreted my statements left and right.

    This is a basic statistics issue. If you are going to try to make a predictive model, or equation, showing a relationship between two groups of data you have to account for the mean and standard deviation of each group. Med school means are not usually equivalent to undergrad means, so, ipso facto, any model will not predict such a result.



    As far as admissions, I think it's clear that a 4.0 from Podunk College isn't equivalent to a 4.0 (or probably even a 3.5) from an elite school, whether public or private. Selectivity of one's undergraduate school is usually factored into medical school admissions. This can be done by a model with different weights for different schools (1 to 5, or whatever) or it can be done (probably more commonly) by simply using judgement.

    As far as predictive value of academic markers (for predicting med school performance), you have a point. Models used by researchers should incorporate the difference in undergrad schools. But I haven't seen one that does. All of them just use straight GPA, which, despite being imperfect, does add to the R^2 value (proportion of variance explained by a linear regression model). Bottom line, GPA, even unadjusted for institution, does add predictive value.

    If you are really interested in this stuff, you should access the primary literature.
     

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