MCATs vs. med school performance

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    Does anyone know anything about the correlation between MCATs and med school performance? for instance, i was given a hard time when applying because of my mediocre mcat scores and am now doing well in med school. i am just wondering what the big deal was.


    I’m sorry to hear that you were given a hard time about your performance on a solitary nation-wide standardized test. Without seeking out any studies, I can safely say that the correlation between medical school success and MCAT scores is not all that great. Probably just like the SATs. It has been said that these types of one time exams are an attempt at evaluating grades from all sorts of colleges and universities around the country. For example, in some cases, getting an “A” at one institution is not the same as in another. Some universities grade classwork on an “curve system” thus limiting the amount of “A” students. Others will give out “A” grades to anyone who meets a set standard.

    As you can see, your performance in medical school is better than what the MCAT would have predicted. Thankfully, of course, an acceptance to medical school is based on many factors. I’m glad that you were given the chance!

    By the way, there was one medical school dean who told me that my record did not convince him of the ability to handle medical school (it was at the school I really wanted to attend and I talked to him when I was rejected). I ended up getting accepted at other institutions, graduated after having done just fine, passed the boards, etc…


    Supposedly, there has been studies done that correlate MCAT scores with level of performance on the USMLE Step 1. However, MCAT scores were NOT indicative of how well students performed in medical school or their effectiveness as physicians later down the road. Furthermore, the study population was of “traditional” applicants and specifically did not correlate well with older, female applicants. I guess programs are wanting something to use to guide selection with “standardized” numerical data. However, I believe entirely too much emphasis is placed on that awful exam.


    Man, if there is a correlation between mcats and the usmle, i am doomed! but then i thought usmle performance was due to how well you learned and understood in the first 2 years? so supposedly if i learn this information well, i should be alrgiht, right?


    I think the correlation between MCAT and USMLE isn’t that large, although I had heard that too.

    I think that it probably has nothing to do with intelligence and a lot more to do with how well you take standardized tests. If you are good at those, you would do well on both tests.

    IMHO your score probably depends more on how well you prepare, and whether or not you know the material. There’s only so much of an advantage that can be gained from knowing how to take a standardized test in a test that’s heavily content dependent. It’s not like the SATs, where it’s pretty much all just standardized test skills. The USMLE is supposed to measure what you know, not you “potential.” so I would imagine it’s a lot more geared towards the material.

    Maybe this forum should be changed to MCAT/USMLE and both could be discussed.


    I did REALLY well on the MCAT. Then I did mediocre course work the first 2 years of med school and passed Step I, although with no kind of impressive score. I did a little above average in 3rd year rotations, and I recently received my Step 2 scores, which were above average and a LOT LOT LOT higher than my step I scores.

    I had heard that the MCAT/USMLE correlation (at least at my school) is that people who get 25 or less on the MCAT are at higher risk of failing the boards. I don’t know if that is true, though, because plenty of the people in my class who failed on the first try were good students who I suspect had good MCATs. So I don’t know.


    The problem I have with standardized testing is that how a person answers can be influenced by socio-cultural factors. Med schools seem to tend to make generalizations that mexicans usually score in this percentile etc, so even if it is a lower score, it may be an acceptable range for that group. Other people can have the same factors into play and not be mexican or what may have you, and not be looked at as having a normal range because they are not a part of that ethnic group, and maybe a part of an ethnic group who usually scores higher, for example. Has anyone else heard something of this nature?
    I personally feel they should do away with that test, and go by all the other factors they consider. One can never tell the future, so why try to develop unrealistic methods to predict it? I took state boards for my RN, and it seems WAY different than the standardized tests. I took the minimal amount of questions and it ended, which means I well established my competence by the minimal amount of questions a person can get and I did poorly on my SAT’s. So I think the USMLE from what I have heard, is similar to state boards. It’s like comparing apples with oranges. But this is all just my opinion.

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