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What do MCAT scores "truly" determine?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by kobe8, Oct 8, 2001.

  1. kobe8

    kobe8 Member
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    As we talk about the importance of stats in medical school admissions, I am left to wonder what our MCAT scores really determine. Do these scores really predict our potential as a medical student or do they simplify the admissions screening process? What's really the difference between 8's across the board and 12's? Will your board scores be higher? Do higher MCAT scores say that you will be a better doctor or that you are more deserving of the chance? Your comments please.
     
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  2. md2be06

    md2be06 Senior Member
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    According to an AAMC study, students who score less than a 24 on the MCAT have difficulty passing the USMLE. Another study was done where they believe to have found a correlation between verbal reasoning scores and performance in the clinical years. I guess since med schools feel they can teach you the science, this is why they stress VR over the other two sections. I don't really know if I buy it, after all this the AAMC, same organization who came up with the idea behind AMCAS. In my opinion, the bottom line is that it's up to the individual. If you truly want to become a physician, then you will work your butt off to pass the USMLE, ragardless of whether you have a 24 or a 42 on the MCAT. Of course, the individual with the 42 probably won't have to study nearly as hard. We all took the SAT/ACT in high school, not because we wanted to, but because we needed to in order to get into college. Same thing goes for the MCAT and med school admissions. There has to be some standard against which all applicants can be measured, and GPA isn't acceptable due to the wide ranging levels of academic standards throughout the nation. The SAT, ACT, MCAT aren't perfect exams, but they're necessary.
     
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  3. VC15

    VC15 MS4
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    I've heard that that the only section with any sort of correlation to medical school performance is the VR section, and that would be for the pre-rotation years. However, I suppose it's sort of understandable that they want to see that you do know something about science before accepting you. It also serves as an equalizer to compare people from different undergrad institutions and programs. And at least at some schools, it saves them time because they can choose not to read a person's application if his or her MCAT doesn't reach whatever standard...
     
  4. none

    none 1K Member
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    It verifies, or brings into doubt, the value of your GPA.
     
  5. doepug

    doepug Senior Member
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    My understanding is that the MCAT is intended to correlate with a student's performance in the first year of medical school. However, this correlation is notoriously poor. That's why Hopkins didn't require MCAT scores until we joined AMCAS, 2 years ago.

    Cheers,

    doepug
    MSII, Johns Hopkins
     
  6. kobe8

    kobe8 Member
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    According to what I have read, the VR scores have demonstrated a direct correlation to board scores. Appareantly, step II or III (I am not sure which) is set up like VR where you have to read a passage. However, on the boards the passages are about a medical cases where you have to figure out the problem/s and answer the questions at the end.
     
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  7. slptodoc

    slptodoc Senior Member
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    kobe8,
    I have to tell you, I've often asked what the true value is in these types of scores but I know they have to have something to weed out people.....
    But, my experience is one that shows that the score doesn't have a thing to do with how well you will do professionally......
    My ACT score was not good, so I went into college on "probation". I did very well in school and my clinicals.
    My GRE score was not good and yet I have accomplished 2 masters degrees with very good "comps" scores and did quite well with my "board exams". I've done well in my career due to hard work, dedication and the constant reminder that EVERYDAY holds something new to learn!!

    I love what I do and hope to further my love for medicine as a physician. I'm confident that I'll do well if given the chance.....
    But, I'll just have to wait and see....
    If my scores are not what they need to be, I'll take it again! The goal is worth the fight!
    Good luck to you!
    L :)
     
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  8. kobe8

    kobe8 Member
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    I agree. My concern is that there are alot of individuals out there like yourself who should not be passed up for someone else who fits "their formula". But what's the solution? Is there a better way to find the best physicians?
     
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  9. andi11

    andi11 Member
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    It is unfair to base a significant amount on your future on one day of testing. However (and I think that there is stuff posted on the amcas website about this) there is supposedly correlation between how people perform on MCATS and how they do on the national certifying exam to become an MD. It's so irrelvant - the correlation is like 0.0000000000001232%. Thats what they base our future on. Hope this helps. :rolleyes:
     
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  10. USeF

    USeF sunny L.A.
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    ahhh, a topic I have great interest in: Medical Education. Must admit, I am one of those freaks that reads Academic Medicine regularly in the library along with Harper's, popular science, Maxim and Stuff [you guys know what I'm talking about]

    Anyway, here's an abstract from an article:

    Academic Medicine 73: 1095-1106 (1998)
    ? 1998 Association of American Medical Colleges


    Evaluating the predictive validity of MCAT scores across diverse applicant groups

    JA Koenig, SG Sireci and A Wiley
    Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC 20037-1127, USA. [email protected]

    PURPOSE: To examine the predictive validity of MCAT scores, alone and in combination with other preadmission data, for medical students grouped by race/ethnicity and sex. METHOD: This study included two samples: 1,109 students who entered in 1992 any of the 14 medical schools participating in the MCAT Predictive Validity Study; and all 11,279 students who entered medical school in 1992 and took the USMLE Step 1 in June 1994. Criterion measures included each student's cumulative GPA in the first two years of medical school and his or her pass/fail status on Step 1. Differential predictive validity was examined by comparing prediction errors across racial/ethnic and sex groups. For cumulative GPA; residuals were compared, and for Step 1, classification errors were studied. RESULTS: The patterns of prediction errors observed across the groups indicated that, on average, (1) no difference between the sexes in prediction errors was evident; (2) performances of the three racial/ethnic minority groups tended to be overpredicted, with significant findings for Asians and Hispanics; and (3) Caucasians' performance tended to be underpredicted, although the magnitude of this underprediction was quite small. When USMLE Step 1 scores were the criterion for success in medical school, the majority of errors were overprediction errors. CONCLUSION: The authors caution that although MCAT scores, alone and in combination with undergraduate GPA, are good predictors of medical school performance, they are not perfect. The authors encourage future research exploring additional predictor variables, such as diligence, motivation, communication skills, study habits, and other relevant characteristics. Similarly, they indicate that high grades and Step 1 scores are not the only indicators of success in the medical profession and call for studies examining other important qualities, such as integrity, interpersonal skills, capacity for caring, willingness to commit to lifelong learning, and desire to serve in underserved areas.
     
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  11. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member
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    If this were true, then people who scored low would have an easier time getting into their own university's med school (for the med school would know exactly how easy/hard a given GPA is to obtain). Clearly, however, this is not the case. As others have said above, the MCAT is just another weedout mechanism that is the result of a tremendous number of applicants for very few seats.
     
  12. doctorperez

    doctorperez Jesus was a dissident
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    Very well put rxfudd


    Dr.Perez
     
  13. audeo

    audeo Senior Member
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    Various personal qualities such as leadership, interpersonal skills, diligence, and others may better indicate the future performance in medical career. The only problem is that they are hard to quantify. It is hardly possible to rank the students in these terms and accept them. Therefore, medical admissions would resort to other qualities more easily measured, academic capability in particular, which has a direct and indirect relationship with MCAT and GPA. Just imagine medical application process without MCAT and GPA. A lot of people would find it even more challenging since the admission process is going to be even more random and subjective.
     
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