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Which MCAT section is the most important?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by arana, Jun 24, 2002.

  1. arana

    arana Member

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    I've been hearing different opinions as to the importance placed on MCAT sectional scores by ADCOMs. Some peeps say verbal, others say bio and physical.
     
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  3. DOtobe

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    All through my undergrad all our premed advisor told us is verbal, verbal, verbal. I think verbal is probably the most important because it shows your level of comprehension, and with the other two sections you can pretty much spit out information you memorized and do decently on it.
     
  4. Mudd

    Mudd Charlatan & Trouble Maker

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    There are as many advisor opinions as there are advisors, so two things can be concluded:

    1) It varies with each school.
    2) Advisors are often blindly trusted when they really shouldn't be.

    The fact I trust most is this:

    For the last nine years, the verbal and biological science averages for students matriculating to medical school has been:

    1993 V 9.4 BS 9.5
    1994 V 9.4 BS 9.6
    1995 V 9.5 BS 9.8
    1996 V 9.6 BS 10.0
    1997 V 9.6 BS 10.1
    1998 V 9.5 BS 10.2
    1999 V 9.5 BS 10.2
    2000 V 9.5 BS 10.2
    2001 V 9.5 BS 10.1

    Every single year, biological sciences has been higher than verbal. If verbal was the most important (i.e.; the one they most used to screen applicants), then wouldn't the verbal reasoning scores be highest?
     
  5. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member

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    MUdd, not necessarily. Over all, the average bio score is higher than the average verbal score... so the average matriculated student's scores will reflect that.
     
  6. Mudd

    Mudd Charlatan & Trouble Maker

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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 relatively prime:
    MUdd, not necessarily. Over all, the average bio score is higher than the average verbal score... so the average matriculated student's scores will reflect that.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I agree in theory, so let's look at the data:

    According to AAMC numbers, every year from 1993 to 2001, the difference between the average matriculant BS score and average applicant BS score is greater than (or equal to) the average matriculant V score and average applicant V score.

    For instance, in 1998, the numbers were:
    Applicant V 8.8 Matriculant V 9.5
    Applicant BS 9.2 Matriculant BS 10.2

    You are right that BS scores are higher to begin with (probably because of the 13-15 maximum in V). But the data shows that the gap widens, albeit not by a huge amount. BS must be the more important score to more than half of the medical schools, otherwise the gap between applicant and matriculant scores would be greater for V.

    I guess I am tired of hearing about verbal being most important when the statistics point to BS. I still believe it is a myth propogated by MCAT companies to promote courses.
     
  7. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member

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    Mudd, again, not necessarily. The problem here is that students do not have balanced scores.
    Typically people who do well in verbal don't do as well in the sciences and vice versa.

    For example... suppose a student with a 10V 8P 8B is accepted as well as a student with a 8V 12P 12B and suppose two students with a 8V 10P 10B and a 7V 11P 11B are both rejected. The average score of the accepted student still comes out to be 9V 10P 10B. This average tells nothing of the weight put in the verbal score. However, looking at the individual scores, it looks like verbal is more important since ~ONE 10~ in verbal made up for TWO 8's in the sciences!! were as it took TWO 12s in the sciences to make up for ONE 8 in verbal.

    I'm not saying that this example is likely a representative of most medical schools... my only point is that looking at the average score accepted doesn't necessarily show which section is favored.

    :)
     
  8. This whole argument comes down to one thing: The people with the higher verbals WANT to believe that verbal is the most impt. The people with the higher bio scores want to believe that Bio is the most important. This argument is pointless and completely self-serving. The actual articles published in Academic Medicine point out that both have predictive capacity in your post-undergrad med education. So lets just end this....
     
  9. tatabox80

    tatabox80 Super-Duper 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 arana:
    <strong>I've been hearing different opinions as to the importance placed on MCAT sectional scores by ADCOMs. Some peeps say verbal, others say bio and physical.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Hands down, Writing Sample...
     
  10. Wahoo07

    Wahoo07 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 tatabox80:
    Hands down, Writing Sample...[/QB]</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Hehe, for sure. :D
     
  11. DOtobe

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    I was just telling you what my pre-med advisor told us. Don't kill the messenger! :D :p
     
  12. Mudd

    Mudd Charlatan & Trouble Maker

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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 relatively prime:
    Mudd, again, not necessarily. The problem here is that students do not have balanced scores. Typically people who do well in verbal don't do as well in the sciences and vice versa.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I apologize in advance, but I am a show me the fact type of person. Where are the statistical facts that show scores are not balanced? So much of the opinions flying around are based on rumors or surveys of one or two people. In looking at admissions data from some UC schools (their undergraduates that were accepted to various medical schools, I did not notice the high/low trend you mention any more than high/high.

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">For example... suppose a student with a 10V 8P 8B is accepted as well as a student with a 8V 12P 12B and suppose two students with a 8V 10P 10B and a 7V 11P 11B are both rejected. The average score of the accepted student still comes out to be 9V 10P 10B. This average tells nothing of the weight put in the verbal score. However, looking at the individual scores, it looks like verbal is more important since ~ONE 10~ in verbal made up for TWO 8's in the sciences!! were as it took TWO 12s in the sciences to make up for ONE 8 in verbal.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">The word suppose takes away validity in the discussion, because all I need to do is take your same paragraph and switch VR and BS to present an equally hypothetical support.

    Besides, the reality is that a 10V, 8PS, 8BS would not be accepted to medical school in all likelihood.

    Also, I would argue that a 7-11-11 would have a greater chance of being accpeted than a 11-11-7, so again, I cannot buy into your supposition.

    The statistical reality is that you will find more 7-11-11's accepted to medical school than 11-11-7's. If verbal was truly the most important, this would not be the case.

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I'm not saying that this example is likely a representative of most medical schools... my only point is that looking at the average score accepted doesn't necessarily show which section is favored.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I agree that looking at the averages is not the perfect way, and it has many problems. But it the best method available, given that anything else is hearsay passed on from one group to another. AAMC data is the best information available.
     
  13. bruinkid

    bruinkid Senior Member

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    I agree with MUDD! After all, medicine is science, and double digit science scores are more important than a double digit verbal.
     
  14. DALABROKA

    DALABROKA Raider Hater

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    Lets face it, the admissions process is a crap shoot and conjecture about what score adcoms give the most weight to is never going to amount to much. In fact, the mean scores in any category don't tell us much about anything because these values are arbitrary. A more accurate way to view the scores is to look at the midpoint percentile rank for each individual score in each separate section. After all, we are all competing with each other to get into med. school, not the MCAT. I will post the midpoint values and let them speak for themselves. Once again, I'm not taking sides, just providing information that may be useful.

    Midpoint percentile ranks for multiple-choice sections.

    Score Verbal Physical Biological
    15 -- 99.9 99.9
    14 -- 99.6 99.5
    13 99.2 98.2 97.8
    12 97 94.7 94.6
    11 91.5 88.7 87.7
    10 79.6 77.8 75.1
    9 64.4 64.2 57.7
    8 50.6 48.7 39.7
    7 36.6 31.2 25.7
     
  15. PreMedAdAG

    PreMedAdAG I am so smart. S-M-R-T :)

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    dalabroka,
    Not to sound like an idiot, but how should i read that chart? is it the percentile.. and compared to whom and what year was this??? i think i'm just a little confused :)
     
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  17. DALABROKA

    DALABROKA Raider Hater

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    PreMedAdAG
    The chart came out scrunched up, but it will still work. Basically, the values to the right of each score are the percentiles of those taking the April 2002 MCAT who scored at or below the given value. For example, a scaled score of 8 in verbal has a percentile ranking of 50.6%. This means that 50.6% of the test takers scored at or below an 8 and 49.4% of test takers scored above an 8. A score of 9 puts you in the 64th percentile meaning that only 36% of the test takers scored higher than a nine in verbal. So on and so forth... These values mean allot more when you take into consideration that about 25000 people took the April 2002 MCAT. This means that about 12500 people got an 8 or better. Were as only 9000 people got a nine or better and only 5000 got a 10 or above. This also works the same for the other sections as well, ex. BI=8 P=39.7.
    Remember that these values are not exact, but are the midpoint of the percentile range given for each score (i.e., VR=8 percentile=44.2-57.0). I hope this helps.
     
  18. The Mysterious Stranger

    The Mysterious Stranger Senior Member

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    Some people argue verbal is more important than BS and PS because verbal tests your ability to think critically and analytically. Thinking critically is more important as a physician than pure memorization because a physician's duty is to diagnose and cure what is not readily seeable. I argue that the BS and PS sections also test one's ability to think critically but it is in a familiar context to the ave premed student. Whereas, verbal tests one's ability to reason in an unfamiliar context. I think it might be a moot point if you are strong in other areas of your application. It will balance out. I like this debate though because I am not convinced one way or the other and would like to know....
     
  19. laviddee

    laviddee Senior Member

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    i'm failing to see the whole point of this thread. is it just to make some people feel more comfortable that they did better in verbal or did better in bio???

    or is the point here for someone who's preparing for the mcat to focus on one over the other in the time remaining for the august mcat?

    for those that are preparing for the august mcat, don't concern yourself with which section is the most important- focus on getting the best score you can. period! dilly dallying about average mcat scores and what you think adcoms want in an mcat score takes focus away from the one thing you want to do - WHICH IS TO DO WELL ON IT ALL. The most important thing I learned when studying for the mcat was not to be satisfied with a 30 on the mcat. Why settle for that, when we should be trying to get a 39 or 40. I've found in life- that if we try to find the 'bare minimums' we need to succeed, and set our goals based on what others like 'ad coms' find important, then we really end up underestimating our potential.

    now if you're in a crunch for time, and you want the biggest improvement in the shortest amount of time, then yes, work on the sciences b/c you CAN improve it simply by increasing the knowledge base you have. but verbal-- it takes practice, speed, and learning to trustyourself. don't OVER THINK on verbal or you will do yourself more harm. but i still think there's plenty of time, and everyone should focus on verbal just as much as the sciences, b/c invariably it WILL help you in the science sections by improving your reading--.just practice verbal passages at night before you go to bed. read like 4-5 passages, finish each in less than 4 minutes- and then answer the questions WITHOUT going back to the passage. WORK ON READING quick yet reading THOROUGLY on the 1st time through.
     

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