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What Does the MCAT Really Measure?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by Pursuing MD, Dec 2, 2002.

  1. Pursuing MD

    Pursuing MD Senior Member
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    Besides being an entrance exam for medical, osteopathy (DO), & podiatry school, what other purpose does the MCAT serve?

    Does it measure intelligence, test-taking abilities, how well you study, etc.? Or is it just another weed-out-process?

    I'm interested in reading what everyone thinks?
     
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  3. lattimer13

    lattimer13 good boy!
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    another hoop...

    i'm sure everyone has their own perception of the MCAT, so you're likely to get a bunch of different responses
     
  4. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
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    First year performance in medical school.
    Supposedly (according to another thread) the verbal correlates with USMLE step 2/3 while bio and phy correlates with USMLE step 1/2 or something like that.


    MCAT probably measures intelligence, test-taking ability, how well you study, knowledge of science, writing and reading ability; but it is not the definitive test in any of these.
     
  5. Camden772

    Camden772 Senior Member
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    The MCAT is a "measure" of only one thing: how well you take the MCAT. That is, in and of itself, the MCAT is really an indicator of nothing other than how well you did compared to other people who took the MCAT.

    However, there is a "correlation" between high MCATs and board scores and preclinical grades in medical school (from what I've read there doesn't seem to be much of a correlation between MCATs and clinical grades). But the MCAT is not a "measure" of how well you will do on boards and in your first two years, instead it's simply a test that, along with other things, serve as an indicator of someone's potential to do well in medical school and on boards.

    Do some people with high MCATs flunk out of med school? I wouldn't be surprised. Do some people with below average MCATs rock their classes and boards? Yes. But on the whole, people who do well on the MCATs (especially when they have also performed well academically) have a higher likelihood of performing well in medical school.

    But unfortunately there is no really effective predictor of one's medical school performance, so MCATs should be, and usually are, considered with other criteria. It is a very imperfect system, but unfortunately medical schools probably believe that it's still better than just relying on grades and interviews.

    I guess I basically agree with Gleevec, but I'm just being nitpicky about semantics. The MCAT is only a "measure" of one's ability to take the MCAT. But it does tend to "correlate" with intelligence, test-taking ability, how well you study, knowledge of science, writing and reading ability etc. It is an imperfect tool that is probably relied on too much, or at least given too much weight, by adcomms. But I have no way of knowing that.

     

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