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What's more important MCAT or GPA?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by FullO'Beans, Feb 1, 2002.

  1. FullO'Beans

    FullO'Beans Junior Member
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    Hey guys. I have not been accepted anywhere yet, but I have just had one interview and have two coming up. Here are my stats:

    BA in Biology from University of Virginia
    MCAT's V:13-15 P:14 B:13 Total: 39-41
    GPA: 3.2
    Exceptional EC's
    Exceptional Rec.s

    I applied a little late, and I am starting to stress about how late I am interviewing. Should I be?

    Patrick
     
  2. none

    none 1K Member
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    Well, generally MCAT...but a lot of it has to do with how well you can explain your GPA at interviews and whether it's higher your first or last year of undergrad.
     
  3. dukeblue01

    dukeblue01 Senior Member
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    I must say from my experience with this process that GPA and really science GPA is more important than MCAT score. My MCAT is good (not quite as good as yours, Good God Man) but my GPA is higher. I have had enough interviews (including one at UVA) to know that if you have a great GPA and only normal MCAT scores you are much better off. MCAT shows you take tests well, can study for a month and do well. GPA shows you have the determination and dedication (or lack of) to work hard for years and have success. The latter is what medical school is like. Case in point. A friend of mine at school had a near 4.0 and 31 MCAT. She was accepted to all schools she applied to including Harvard and Columbia. So grades matter more. Also, with lower GPAs trend is really important. I went from 3.2s freshmen year to 4.0s my whole senior year. I think some schools gave me the benefit of the doubt because of this.
    How late did you apply? It is conceivable that you are just at the beginnning of your interview notices. Good luck to you.
     
  4. italianlove

    italianlove Senior Member
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    hey pat,

    They're both equally important; perhaps a little more attention is given to the MCAT, however. I think that if I had to choose between high MCAT/low GPA and low MCAT/high GPA, I would choose the former, just because it's a standardized test that "evens out the playing field" (though I don't totally believe this). You said that you applied late so I wouldn't worry too much about it...schools are behind and we still have some months left. I think that generally someone in your position with such a discrepancy between MCAT and gpa leads adcoms to ASSUME that you are an exceptionally bright/very good testaker, but were lazy in undergrad (unless of course you were taking graduate courses and you went to MIT where grade deflation was common). If you don't get in this year (which I think would be surprising, but stranger things have happened) then you probably know what the major reason was and what you've got to do (better gpa). Hope this helps, and good luck to you! Ciao.
     
  5. FullO'Beans

    FullO'Beans Junior Member
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    Thanks for the responses. My last four semesters I did really well (would have been a 3.5-3.6)except for one class where I had some problems with a professor (got a crappy D! in a science course to top it off).
    I am kinda bumbed right now because I just found out I was waitlisted (top 1/3, however -- which means I should get in [so they say]) at EVMS.

    Patrick
     
  6. dank

    dank Member
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    I feel your pain. From personal experience, it has got to be GPA, GPA, GPA!!! It can be a killer. I have seen people take the the MCAT twice, three, or even four times and get in, but once you wreck your GPA, I hate to say it, but it is really irreparable. I have a great MCAT, a great grad school GPA, 4 to 5 publications, and great letters. But that undergrad science GPA can definately put you in the whole. Hopefully the god of waitlists will shine upon me. However with a 3.2 and a 39-41 MCAT you should be able to get in somewhere. Try Tulane. I know a kid with a 3.2 and a 38 (12,13,13) on the MCAT that got in.
     
  7. AmateurChef

    AmateurChef Health policy consultant
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    I don't know if this is reflected in Admissions (I expect it is), but several AAMC studies have shown that the MCAT has a higher correlation with success on USMLE I than does GPA.

    Besides, GPAs can vary soooooo much depending on school and department.
     
  8. nebula7

    nebula7 Senior Member
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    It really depends on the schools you are applying to...some place more importace on mcat, others on gpa. At the school I interviewed at last, my 2 interviewers didn't even agree on which was most important! Some schools think gpa isn't a reliable indicator because of grade inflation, etc. But, at any rate, with your awesome mcat score I wouldn't worry...your gpa isn't bad and you went to a good undergrad school. :)
     
  9. Elysium

    Elysium Not Really An Old Beaver
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    I completely agree. I really think it's unfair to base the entire application on GPA. There are so many factors that effect it (both good and bad) and to me it's not all that indicitive of innate intelligence. I'm not saying that the guys with the killer GPAs should be punished or anything, but, my God, if you are scoring a friggin' 41 on the MCAT that should prove that you have every ability to do well in med school.
    I think we've all had experiences where we got screwed by a bad professor and watched our friends coast through the same course because they didn't have a maniac teacher.
    My point is this: I have every confidence you will get in! Your scores are awesome and the schools will see that!
     
  10. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member
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    adcoms do look at the whole package (for some schools it includes your undergrad campus, example: Dartmouth). but i think GPA is more important because it is a 4 year thing. it doesn't matter if higher MCATS correlate with a higher Step score if you don't really need a higher Step score (if you are going into a relatively noncompetitive residency or go to a med school that wants you to do primary care) or if the difference is negliable or can be repaired with research or volunteerwork in medical school.
    i had an average MCAT, 30, and still got 22 interview invitations and at decent schools. they looked at everything.
     
  11. EMDrMoe

    EMDrMoe Senior Member
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    I apologize in advance - I didn't read any other posts because I feel very strongly about this topic. MCAT is more important than GPA. Definitely.

    If you have questions as to why I think so, other than my stats, please send a private message.

    Undergrad Graduation 1995.
    GPA 3.23, Sci GPA 3.03, MCAT 11, 12, 13, P

    Interviewed October 15th, accepted November 1st.

    Good luck!!!
     
  12. toobsllik

    toobsllik Member
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  13. UCLA2000

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    I would have to say that the MCAT was more important because of the possibility of grade inflation. Plus a high gpa at a lower tier school wouldn't be nearly as impressive as a high mcat from someone at a lower tier school.

    However from your post it appears that you're asking a different question..."can a high mcat score make up for a low gpa?"

    The answer is yes it can. Don't expect a higher tier school to give you much attention, but you should have pretty good luck at lower schools, and may get a few middle level schools to give you some love.
     
  14. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member
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    I think it depends on the school and the "whole package" and both GPA and MCAT are weighed pretty heavily regardless of what everyone thinks should be.
     
  15. Mr.D

    Mr.D insipidus maximus
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    I would say BOTH are important - but in terms of the GPA, I would believe that schools look more closely at trends rather than the cummulative
    score. If you started with strong grades they
    expect your to maintain the momentum, on the
    other hand, if you started on a bad foot (like
    yours truly), then they really want to see a dramatic turnaround. Of course, the undergraduate school you attend and the difficulty in your schedule is also taken into account in factoring your overall GPA. The MCAT, since it's a nationally standardized exam, is then used to compare you with other applicants and determine
    whether your grades are a bonafide represenation of yourself (eg. A's in the sciences should correlate with double digits) or whether maybe you took easy classes and received A's by virtue of a low MCAT score in the pertinent disclipline
    (eg. A' in physics and chemistry and an 8 or a 9 on the MCAT).
     
  16. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by ATC2MD:
    <strong>I apologize in advance - I didn't read any other posts because I feel very strongly about this topic. MCAT is more important than GPA. Definitely.
    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">'definitely' is wording it a little strongly. whether GPA or MCAT matters more really depends on the school and what else you may bringing to the table. some schools don't care what your MCAT score is if you have a weak GPA, and vice versa. what i have noticed watching older friends apply to med school is that, overall and in general, those with strong GPAs but weaker MCATs have a LOT more luck in the process than those with outstanding MCATs but lower GPAs. you can always retake the MCAT and shoot for a higher score but it is much more difficult to undo a low GPA. i had always been told that GPAs are evaluated in light of the school where it was achieved and that MCATs are the 'great equalizer' and can thus compensate for a low GPA, but on a personal level, i haven't found this to be the case AT ALL. but again, it really depends on the med school and how they view MCATs in relation to GPA and how much other factors are valued over these objective stats.
     
  17. rikkitikki

    rikkitikki Member
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    I believe that similarly to undergrad admissions it is the combinztion and the school. SOme schools that get a great many applicants may do some arbitrary cutoffs with respect to both gpa and MCAt. Also many schools do not like what they would consider underachievers ie high test scores lower GPA. The upward trend is a definite plus or an expainable "bad" semester or year which changes the whole picture. Even if you have a great GPA though some schools (especially those who are more "marginal" in terms of reputation will be reluctant toaccepth people with low MCATS because of the alleged correlation with the Step exams. You should definetely get in somewhere-but if you were a really late applicant it may only confirm the suspicion that the lowish GPA has something to do with work habits or procrastination, (another frowned upon though frequent character trait of many,, including me)
     

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