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What is a good GPA?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by QuikClot, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. QuikClot

    QuikClot Senior Member
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    Me: Science 3.55, non-science 3.65.

    You hear a lot of talk about a good GPA, but rarely does anyone spell out what exactly are the magic numbers. If I apply to elite institutions, is that GPA a red flag? Neutral? A modest plus?

    My MCAT seems like it could open some doors, but I worry my GPA is going to drag me down.
     
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  3. Daichi Katase

    Daichi Katase Senior Member
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    3.8+ great GPA
    3.6+ competitive GPA
    3.2+ still ok
     
  4. letmein!please?

    letmein!please? Senior Member
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    I think "good" is 3.7, maybe 3.6. 3.5 is "pretty good", depending on the context. I'll probably fall in the "pretty good" category (damn freshman grades! :rolleyes: )


    Of course, outside this crazy pre-med world we live in, I think 3.0+ is "good"
     
  5. tacrum43

    tacrum43 Behold the mighty echidna
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    Your GPA is just fine. Sort of like getting a 30 MCAT, it might be a little on the low end for the very top schools, but even there if the rest of your application is excellent, then you have a good chance.
     
  6. DropkickMurphy

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    If you're going for an ultra-competitive school (Harvard, Wash, etc) then you had better bring a GPA of >3.75 to even get in the door for an interview. Some schools are notorious for being "number whores" (Washington University being the prototypical example) but a general rule is the higher the better. But if you don't care where you get into a school, just that you get into an American school- then you should be fine with what you have now.
     
  7. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642
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    It's not a red flag, but like the other posters have mentioned, it's not as competitive as some other peoples. Consider also how many other factors come into play; we can't guess on what your chances at top tier schools are without knowing any trends in grades over your coursework, extracurriculars, clinical experience, research, etc.
     
  8. Jon Davis

    Jon Davis I killed the bank.
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    To be absolutely truthful, a high GPA means jack. It only is validated by a supporting MCAT score for adcoms to "believe" you GPA. For example (very rough estimate), a 3.8+ should have a 33+ score to be "credible". Don't get caught up in my example and the numbers, just understand the jist of what I am talking about.
     
  9. SeventhSon

    SeventhSon SIMMER DOWN
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    not necessarily true... this is why med schools tend to prefer applicants from "elite" schools, they have a better idea of what their GPA means.
     
  10. QuikClot

    QuikClot Senior Member
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    I'll just put myself out there and see what you think:

    39S (P14, V13, B12)
    Ed: BA English, MA English, MA literary and Cultural Theory, ACLS, PALS, PHTLS
    EC: ER volunteer, teacher, journalist, linguistics research
    Work: EMT-B times 3yr., paramedic times 2yr.s.

    I'm not fishing for compliments: I know the MCAT scores and the medic experience are good. But I've done only nine secordaries, all at elite institutions, and I wonder; is it enough?
     
  11. Jon Davis

    Jon Davis I killed the bank.
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    I agree, but what is the precentage of applicants from these "elite schools"? I dont want to generalize, but it is low compared to the rest of the pool.
     
  12. Jon Davis

    Jon Davis I killed the bank.
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    To tell you the truth, you never know. It is such a wacky system it is hard to judge exactly who will be successful and who wont. But you seem to be in a good position. Just apply and find out, since no one can tell you specifics.
     
  13. dz88

    dz88 Member
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    rsfarrell, how did you prep for the MCAT?
     
  14. gary5

    gary5 Senior Member
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    The average accepted medical student GPA is 3.5. If you're lower, you'll want an above-average MCAT to balance it out. Average accepted MCAT = 30.
     
  15. QuikClot

    QuikClot Senior Member
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    I took a Kaplan course, which I would recommend.

    I took O chem, bio, and phys in the year prior, and worked very hard.

    In all honestly, though, I think the only way to replicate my formula for standarized-test success would be to travel backwards in time, shed all social skills, and make reading your primary solace through twenty long years from 8 to 28.

    The MCAT is really a reading test. If you can read quickly, and get the nuances and subtle hints in what you've read, and quickly make deductions on the basis of same, you'll do well (and this is as true of bio and phys as it is of verbal). Also, in a lifetime of reading you pick up a lot of random facts about science and the world in general, which often show up on the MCAT.

    They say read "The Economist" and "The New York Times" but, frankly, developing good critical reading skills doesn't happen by punishing yourself for a few months with text outside your comfort zone. For me it happened organically, over many years. Kaplan helped a lot, but my first practice test was a 33. On the other hand, I didn't have my first steady girlfriend until I was nineteen. :scared: I hope this helps.
     
  16. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    You are probably quite competitive to get into a great med school with those stats, but I personally would have added a tenth, less "elite", school to your grouping just to increase the odds that you will be going someplace next year. While your science GPA is around the average for allo med school matriculants, bear in mind that at the so called elite schools, the average BCPM is likely a bit higher, so there will be applicants with numerical stats better than yours at all of the best schools. Your high MCAT and credentials probably get you over this hurdle, and into the interview at a lot of places. Just be sure to interview well.
     
  17. NapeSpikes

    NapeSpikes Believe, hon.
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    Hmm, I can't tell if you're joking or not, but regardless, that makes me sad--for you and for me, for opposite reasons. :(
     
  18. masterMood

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    rsfarrell, can you tell us what you did to study for the mcats since you obviously scored very high. How did you study long-term/short-term? Did you feel that you didn't need to study much to get that 39 score because you had a very good understanding of the pre-reqs?
     
  19. QuikClot

    QuikClot Senior Member
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    One other thing to add, on reflection. Physics was my weakest subject at the outset, and it seemed like the order of the test (Phys, 10 minute break, VR) meant that a poor Phys performance took me out of my game for Verbal. (With bio less is less of a problem, because you have a big gap between the end of VR and the start of bio to re-focus).

    This is bad, because everybody get most VR questions right; to get a good score you need to perform at a high level, and it helps to be confident and in a good mood.

    For the last three weeks before the MCAT, 80% of my time was spent on Phys.

    For me, finishing Phys with time to check answers and feeling good about my work set me up for success in VR.
     
  20. QuikClot

    QuikClot Senior Member
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    I added a little addendum to what I wrote above -- maybe that will be more helpful.

    I studied very hard for three weeks prior to the test, and pretty hard for three months prior, but a lot of people who studied much harder didn't do as well. I also wouldn't say I understood the pre-reqs especially well. I think what helped my was critical reading ability and critical thinking.

    I'm a bad memorizer. Claudistics and A&P lab were kinda a misery for me as a result. For something to stick with me, I have to understand how it fits into the system -- how it relates to the whole. I think the MCAT is hard on people who live by a good memory. MCAT thinking is about piecing together best guesses based on partial information. I'm not sure how learnable that is in the short term.
     
  21. masterMood

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    How did you develop your critical reading ability and critical thinking? The usual information is read NY Times and The Economist but what do you think made a difference?
     
  22. QuikClot

    QuikClot Senior Member
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    That's what I was saying above:

    To develop critical skills, I would recommend reading everything you lay your hands on, starting yesterday. Start with stuff you like to read and push your comfort zone. If you like Tom Clancy, switch to John La Carre. If you enjoy the Harry Potter books, pick up Tolkien. If you like romance novels, read Jane Austen.

    I think the hard part for a lot of people is; you have to be into it. You have to be asking questions and making connections all the time. For me -- and there are other ways to succeed, I know -- the path to the MCAT led through a love of reading, a love of stories. As an undergrad I took philosophy and history and lots of English (my major).

    I don't know if this helps, because I don't know if it can translate into a good study plan. I don't even know if it would help people whose personalities and talents are different. All I would say is that critical reading isn't about passage mapping or a big vocabulary. It's about the love of reading -- about making connections and enjoying making those connections.
     
  23. Jon Davis

    Jon Davis I killed the bank.
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    I think these points are absolutely valid. Say what you will about my opinion. This test does not cater to people who haven't practiced critical reading. I tried so hard to improve and not much was gained. I am the conventional "scientist" type. It truly is a critical thinking exam, not an exam based on knowledge. Its kind of disheartening because I have worked my butt off to get the GPA, worked hard to build up my solid ECs, and all the other scuttlebutt necessary but my MCAT doesn't reflect it. Say what you will but adcoms want numbers, first and foremost. However, I do believe that once I'm in medical school I will have a platform to build myself up and prove myself as a good physician.
     
  24. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    Maybe. :p It's enough if you get in.....but that's the tough part. I would recommend that anyone put in some schools that aren't top 20, even if they're 4.0/40 with publications and more. You're trying to get all of your eggs in a small basket, and there's no way of knowing if it will work.
     
  25. SearsTower

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    You bastards and your snazzy "elite" schools. I pity the school foolish enough to accept me.
     
  26. docsuz

    docsuz Junior Member
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    You have a great app but with your science GPA you should definitely add some non-elite schools to be safe. It is never a good idea for anyone to limit themselves to that. I would add at least 5 in the mid range. It's too risky otherwise.
     
  27. pallcare

    pallcare Member
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    rsfarell, have you gotten interviews at these places? I'd imagine if you've gotten several interviews at this point, like 6/9 or so, you're in really good shape to get into at least one
     
  28. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    No, this isn't true. Yes, some schools like Wash U have a high AVERAGE for their students' MCAT and GPA, but many people do get interviewed and even admitted having one or the other number lower than the school's average. If the MEDIAN numbers at Wash. U. are 3.9 and 37, then half the people must be below that. (median = the middle number) But you are probably right that it will be difficult to get an interview or acceptance if BOTH your MCAT and GPA are several standard deviations below the median for the school. Conversely, having a GPA and MCAT that are both higher than a school's average will not guarantee you an acceptance or even an interview. It seems to me that the schools have a pretty specific idea in mind of the kinds of students that they want, and if you don't fit that, they'll reject you regardless of your stats. Of course, your stats also have to meet some bare minimum that is known only to them so that they don't question your ability to hack it in school.

    This is true in my experience as well. I don't have tons of humanities students, but the few I've had do tend to score very well on the MCAT. (If you've ever tried to argue a point with a philosophy major, their facility with arguments won't come as a surprise to you. :smuggrin: ) Physical science majors (engineering, computers, math, physics, chemistry) also do fairly well on the whole. Biological science (especially "pre-med") majors tend to do the worst as a group, although some individual students do very well.

    For anyone who would like more advice about studying for the MCAT (including how to develop critical thinking skills), feel free to visit the MCAT Study Questions subforum. You can also post questions there.
     

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