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What best reflects science ability?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by docE15, Aug 6, 2015.

  1. docE15

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    Hello,

    Generally speaking, does sGPA or MCAT score better reflect scientific ability in an admission committee's perspective? Does one weigh higher than the other, or are they pretty much equal?
     
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  3. mimelim

    mimelim Vascular Surgery
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    What is "science ability"?
     
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  4. nwts

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    I think it kind of varies among the different schools. Just by looking at MSAR stats, you can see that some schools seem to value one a little more than the other.
     
  5. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring
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    MCAT.
     
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  6. docE15

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    From what I know thus far regarding medical school admissions, schools utilize "science ability" as a method to foresee future competence in medical school education? So I guess to rephrase, what do adcom's see as a better predictor of medical school success in an applicant, sGPA or MCAT?
     
  7. Lucca

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    In the sense that it is "heavier" the MCAT weighs more given that it is representative of a single day (which itself represents some time of preparation) of work rather than 3+ years of university coursework but counts for about 50% of our LizzyM score, the "metric" we like to throw around on this site.
     
  8. mimelim

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    Neither. They are used together along with cGPA, major, undergrad attended and course load to gauge one's academic prowess. The first question we ask is, will this person survive medical school and residency from an academic standpoint. There is no formula to compare the two. Individual adcoms will compute academic prowess differently in their heads.
     
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  9. Goro

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    Med schools are looking for people who will make good doctors and good medical students. You have to be the latter before you get to be the former.

    We are not looking for good scientists, but PhD and MD/PhD programs are.

    We do want people who understand the scientific principle. For example, to understand why bogus claims are in fact, bogus.

    Most MD schools have cGPAs = sGPAs, or the sGPA is 0.1 less than the cGPA. I attribute this to the nefarious effect of Organic Chemistry upon pre-meds.

     
  10. ElCapone

    ElCapone Don't Lawyer Me
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    :p

    [​IMG]
     
  11. docE15

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    Thank you for your input. I am asking because I have a degree with the word "science" in it. However, most of the classes do not count towards the BCPM GPA (Health Sciences degree). And I took the preliminary classes that do count towards the sGPA my freshman and sophomore years (bio I, physics, chem II, and I got out of the rest of the general sciences/maths via AP/IB--so no grade), when I was in a bad place in life. For junior and senior years, I received straight A's (got 100% average in Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry). Now I have a 3.52 sGPA and 3.73 cumulative but I've been getting 90-100 percentile averaged on my practice MCAT. Just wondering if the gap between my two GPA's would be a red flag?
     
  12. Goro

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    Not at all. Your sGPA is ~0.2 points lower than the median, but in no ways lethal. Upward trends are always good!


     
  13. docE15

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    Thank you so much! Your input is always so greatly appreciated.
     
  14. GrapesofRath

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    Honestly this science GPA is closer to 0.1 below the median. If memory serves correct the stats these days for MD matriculant GPAs are 3.69/3.63. Yours is a non issue.

    Particularly if you have an upward trend, being within 0.2 of both these GPA categories can definitely keep you in the running for MD when combined with a strong MCAT score and activities that are on part with what ADCOMs expect of an MD matriculant. I believe Goro calls 3.4 the floor for both science and cumulative GPA for MD purposes but even that is certainly not absolute in appropriate circumstances.
     
  15. nwts

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    I have a science GPA that is nearly identical to yours and I received 3 MD interview invitations before August 1. I think SDN tends to make people think that a 3.7+ GPA is absolutely essential for a remotely competitive applicant when realistically, there are many competitive applicants who have GPAs that are below that. Obviously the higher your GPA is, the better you look. However, a 3.52 science GPA is not going to get the door slammed in your face.
     
  16. GrapesofRath

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    IF your GPA is above a 3.5 it will rarely be the reason you don't get into medical school by itself with a smart list, particularly when there is an upward trend.

    To best answer the OP's question with the type of answer they are looking for this is very school dependent. You will find ADCOMs who don't think low MCAT scores are that big of an issue. There are schools like FSU and WVU with MCAT Medians below 30. There are schools like Penn State with 3.8/30 breakdowns. There are schools like Hofstra with 3.65/34 breakdowns.

    What I will say is for the top 20 schools one whos GPA is just above the 10th percentile(3.65) but has an MCAT around the median (36-37) are often more advised by Goro and those in the know to take a stab at the big name schools than those with GPAs around the top 20 schools median or even a little higher(3.9ish) but MCATs closer to their 10th percentile(30-32). Have at that as you will.
     
  17. nwts

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    Agreed. I think since SDN users tend to have much higher GPAs and MCAT scores than the average applicant, people on here tend to get a little overly nervous about how their GPAs and MCAT scores look because all they see are all of the amazing applicants on SDN. I feel like I constantly see people on here saying things along the lines of: "I have a 3.5 GPA. Is it even worth applying?"
     
  18. GrapesofRath

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    I will say having an upward trend is very relevant for those in that kind of 3.5 range. A flat 3.5 looks quite different than a 3.5 where the past 2 years have been 3.75+ caliber work.
     
  19. Okazaki Frag Grenade

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    image.jpg
     

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  20. mimelim

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    I think that every applicant should ask the question, "Is it even worth applying?" Remember that of all applicants with a 3.5, only about 36% of applicants get in. Even with a 39+ MCAT, 78% get in. Of that 64% that didn't get in, more than half of them shouldn't have bothered applying. So yes, everyone with a 3.5 should ask themselves the question, "Is it worth applying?" with the added clause, "this year" for many of them.
     
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  21. nwts

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    I actually don't have much of an upward trend for whatever that's worth.

    I wholeheartedly agree. A 3.5 is by no means a great GPA, and it is significantly below the median. However, when I see people asking if the 3.5 alone will sink their application, it makes me kind of sad. I feel like a GPA has to be significantly lower than 3.5 to ruin an application single-handedly.
     
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  22. GrapesofRath

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    https://www.aamc.org/download/321518/data/factstable25-4.pdf

    Even those with 3.6-3.8(which is the MD matriculant GPA range) with a 30-32 MCAT(the MD matriculant range) only have a 65% chance of being accepted. That is just the nature of the game. Like I said Goro often cites 3.4 as the floor for MD schools and GPA's so 3.5 is not far off that territory.

    As mimelim wisely states there are never any gurantees. 3.4-3.6's with 30-32 MCATs who are white are 50-50 propositions statistically. "When asking is it worth applying" you have to deem what percent chance of being accepted is worth an application. Nobody is at 100%. If that threshold for you is 50%, then a 3.5/30-32 combination is perhaps enough to merit an application. If it is 75%, you will probably not like the situation you are in. If you believe a 30% is enough and are open to the philosophy of osteopathic medicine and practing through that as a possibility, then there is a strong chance you will find II's and be satisfied, either DO or MD with a 3.5 and solid MCAT score. But as said above it is always worth asking is it worth applying with the emphasis on this year.


    http://edge.studentdoctor.net/wamc/White_Applicants.png

    This chart while several years old(and hence perhaps inflates your odds by a few percent) is a better indicator of those with a 3.5 GPA(the range 3.4-3.6 is just too wide). Note the average MCAT for an MD with a 3.5 roughly gives you a 50-60% chance of admission per the chart. Nothing is guranteed(and you can argue those AAMC charts are inflated for your percentages).
     
  23. nwts

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    Again, I agree that an applicant has to look at the odds and determine if the odds are good enough to warrant all the work. My only point in all of this is that I wish that I didn't see so many people who seem to think that a 3.5 GPA is a death sentence by itself.
     
  24. mimelim

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    I'm not a fan of the wording, "chance of being accepted". Those tables don't tell you chances. They tell you about population statistics, the wording is specific. There are people with 3.5/32 that have a 90%+ chance of getting in. There are 3.8/39 applicants that have a <10% chance of getting in.
     
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  25. GrapesofRath

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    +1

    I got lazy + careless with my word choice and phrasing there. What you said is spot on; the number of variables influencing admission that can't be accounted for by a simple chart like this is endless.
     
  26. Goro

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    I really despise those charts because they do get skewed by the "lucky" schools like LSU, U KS, MCG, Mercer etc that heavily favor the home team in their stats and skew the GPAs and MCATs downward.

    One has to look at MSAR and at each individual school to get a better idea of chances. If your stats are below the 10%ile, it's not worth doing unless you have some "wow" factor to bring to the table. And the high up the pole you try to climb, the more competitive it will be. Someone with a a 3.6 GPA will be at the bottom of the pool for, say, Pitt or NYU.

     
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  27. GrapesofRath

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    I generally agree I'll just add a couple things.

    Well the thing is the way it is now days with more and more schools you could almost say half the states in the US are "lucky". That's not an exaggeration either. Go through MSAR and you'll see tons of state schools with IS biases and low 10th percentile stats and lower median stats. I've never considered where I am from PA, one of the lucky states, but even now within the past 5-10 years with the addition of TCMC, PA has a school with IS bias that interviews 40% of IS applicants. We tend to look at schools like Kansas as the exception not the rule; not sure if I am comfortable saying that anymore. There are still varying degrees of "luckiness" (ie Mississippi and North Dakota have it luckier than say those from the Chicago region) but times have changed and there are more lucky schools than one might think. Keep in mind very favorable schools for IS applicants aren't always the most obvious ones. You'll see many schools that might take only 80% IS but where the applicant pool is overwhelming OOS(like TCMC as an example). This only adds to the list of favorable states.

    Furthermore, I've read in the past I don't believe Texas schools are included in that AAMC data which is as IS bias of a state as you could get to skew data(that could have changed in the past 5 years) and that those charts only take the higher MCAT score for multiple MCAT attempts and don't average them.

    Now, there are perfectly other valid reasons for saying those charts are inflated. But like mimelim said it varies by person; ie I don't think someone with a nice upward trend with a 3.5 and 33 caliber MCAT with diverse EC's isn't a long shot for an MD school(which you might think if you thought those charts were wildly inflated). Likewise, we see all the time 3.8/37 applicants with no clinical exposure or volunteering ask what there chances are; their odds are much lower than what the chart states. Context as always is everything.
     
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  28. Goro

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    Spot on as usual, Grapo.

    I'd like to clarify that when I refer to "lucky" states, I'm specifically referring to schools with a mandate to favor IS applicants.

    Some states, like CA, are "unlucky" for OOS because of the huge supply of talented ISers. I think PA and IL are examples of others.

    Another thing to keep in mind that that the %s from the AAMCAS tables may have small N's.

    So I always urge SDNers to calculate their chances by careful attention to MSAR Online, school by school, with extra attention to the Acceptance Information page.


     
  29. GrapesofRath

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    What you are saying is correct but to me the real lucky states aren't necessarily the ones with mandates to only accept IS applicants.

    A school like Brody with a strict IS bias only accepts around 150 applications out of 920 spots. Likewise Southern Illinois only accepts 140 out of 1200+ applicants(although a good bit of those applicants never had a chance being from northern Illinois). Mercer gets over 1100 applications for 100 spots or so and I believe only accepts 180. Medical College of Georgia interviews around 36% of applicants which while relatively high isn't anything extraordinary.

    The REAL lucky ones are the ones that favor IS but don't only take IS. Why? Because most of their applications as a result don't come from IS and that's what makes the competition easier for the IS people. To me the REAL lucky states(aside from Texas) are the obscure ones that don't have tons of applicants. Nebraska, Kansas, WV, Iowa, Missouri, Misissippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nevada, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, TN, SC, Oklahoma, NM type of states(I probably missed 1-3). These are where the schools that boost 60% IS applicant interviewed type stats. The thing is these states combined only take up 15% of applicants from the US who apply to med school, so in some ways you could argue they alone necessarily don't really skew the AAMC table all that much. But alas, we're getting ahead of ourselves I just wanted to point out that the states that are truly lucky are the ones people often overlook.
     
  30. Goro

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    I'll bet that Brody and SIU get many of those apps from clueless OOS pre-meds.

    Just look at the lists people come up with in the WAMC forum!


     
  31. GrapesofRath

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    I would agree with you 99% of the time on that but actually in this case

    https://www.aamc.org/download/321442/data/factstable1.pdf

    Brody legitimately won't allow clueless people to apply to their school; their school name doesn't show up on the online application unless you list NC as residency!

    SIU only has 3% OOS applicants. Now the real question with them is how many of those applicants are clueless Chi-town people who don't realize SIU caters for the southern part of the state. It's probably a fair amount but still a) SIU is still probably fairly competitive b) the number of people eligible for SIU really isn't that high(Southern Illinois isn't exactly home to booming metrapolis's).
     
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