Stats and chances... Give us a rank

Ok, so Im still new here and figure this thread will gleefully be cast into the depths of wandering OPM insights, but here goes.

Ive read alot of threads stating this or that about getting into med school and every once in awhile I run accross someones MCAT’s and GPA, and think OOOOh I can compare my stats and see how I stand up. Well then, since few of you fill out the bio section of the OPM profiles I thought Id let it be know: Whats your status and what are your stats… MCATs GPA masters PhD #of schools applied, #interviews, acceptances… Im really in the lower eschilon of candidates,

MCAT 24R (third round was only an essay score different than the second)

GPA overall 3.3 Sci 3.5,

3 BS degrees-- Psychology, Biology, Natural Sciences (emph in chemistry),

4+ years of research, an internship and a couple of project grants, some shadowing and 2-years non-medically related volunteer work, compounding pharm tech for a year… then time off to have lower back surgery and blamo here I am… Im a stepfather and husband, and the more I think of it the more I think this should have been in the intoduce yourself thread… but tell us about your story, so we all can gain insight, misery and/or relief from our friends and competition!!

BTW- Would love to hear from current med students as well…

Humbly Appreciative

I think that your MCAT score will be an issue. Yes, folks do get in with 24 but they are in the minority. You could always apply and see what happens…but my honest opinion would be to figure out WHY you are doing poorly on the MCAT and then prepare like a madperson and then take it. I have seen over and over many folks taking the MCAT w/o proper preparation. Some folks will need upwards of three intense months of preparation while others may get away with one month of prep. Some folks need 10 practice exams while others need 2. Find out what you need and go from there. Be realistic, do not attempt to study if you KNOW that you do not have time, and take TONS of practice exams. If this is your third time attempting this, you need to figure out why you are not scoring higher. Is it lack of knowledge? is it poor test taking skills? is it now enough time put into it?

Your scores are well within range for osteopathic medical school.

My friend had a 24 and he got accepted to PCOM and MCO’s 5 year option. Problem is he’s having trouble with the Step exams. Took Step 1 twice and is now on his 3rd go round for Step 2. Not sure if there is a correlation between doing well on the MCAT and doing well on the USMLE. He didn’t think so before med school but now he believes there is.

The MCAT is not the end of standardized tests for physicians. If you’re having problems get that straight first.

The MCAT has been clearly shown to be “predictive” of future problems on standardized exams…duh! However, as Croooz points out, it is not just matter of surmounting the MCAT. Many folks are challenged - some inordinately - by standardized exams. There is a special skill-set required to do well on them - it is NOT some sort of magic formula nor are people ‘born’ with a knack for them. Everyone must learn & develop those skills - it is just harder for some to do so vs other students.

That said, mastering standardized exams…I do mean mastering that style of exam…is a very important skillset to possess. As a physician, you will be taking large, high-stakes standardized exams for the rest of your professional life. The exams only become technically more in depth & the stakes even higher at each level.

My intent is not to discourage you or anyone else. But I have every intent of pointing out the reality in stark detail. It is far better to know, anticipate & prepare for this unending series of hurdles than to be blindsided.

So, do yourself an immense favor & focus on mastering this exam style - not just for the MCAT, but for the long-haul too.

Thanks for all your comments, I guess I should have mentioned that I did take Kaplan’s classroom prep course, took all 5 pre-tests, and 3 additional Kaplan tests, AND 7, 8 and 9 AAMC’s to get the timing and format down. My scores on the practice ranged from 25 to 32, (average around 29)… but all being told, that test was a fluke.

Having took the exam 3 times now, and scored 20"O", 24Q (10bio, 8Ver, 6Phy) on the second, and now the 24R (all 8’s), I guess that Kaplan diddnt really help-- though like I said that version was an obscure fluke (especially the bio section)!

But as a whole I do feel the MCAT does can predict success in med school, but from what I can tell the stats are a one sided correlation, comparing already above average scores to a mere 5% that fail IN med school does not adequately address the lower scoring majority-- for all you research buffs out there, thats an error in valididty called “regression to the mean” and is a shotty measure in that respect.

Ive heard many MS’s point out that although the USMLE step 1 is difficult, it is alot more straight forward, and preparing for it isnt as obscure as the MCAT… in fact my best friend (now an MSIII) scored a 27N on the MCAT, and diddnt even bother with US schools, yet he scored in the 96% on step 1, after attending Saba-- and will likely have his 1st pick residency .

Over all this MCAT, being the last paper and pencil admin of the MCAT last August, and having spent all the time and money to take the Kaplan course made this a final go ahead effort; well the whole thing was pretty foul-- I was really considering voiding the scores altogether, and probably should have- in retrospect. But its not all a loss, Im applying now and will proove my dedicaiton, if necessary yet another go with the MCAT if things fall through, though Ive been pretty much been assured that Ross and Saba will take my money, and among DO schools I fair well .

Sorry to be so long winded… this was supposed to be a spot for folks to spout their stats, and give us all a compass to find where we’re at. Cheers

A few things maybe worth adding to this thread.

  1. I found (and find) the USMLE to be more difficult than the MCAT. Doing well on the MCAT science sections means going back to first principles and mainly memorizing (for orgo, phys and chemistry anyway) the process of solving problems rather than the answers themselves. Doing well on the USMLE Step 1 (a little less so Step 2) means the memorization of a much larger body of non-first-principle sort of facts. Some people find this considerably easier than the first-principle sort of test, but I find it considerably more difficult. This makes med school difficult for me in a way that I might not have totally predicted from my MCAT. The point is, your mileage will vary.

  2. Though I think the correlation of stats to admissions can be helpful, and it can be helpful to figure out how to improve your score, the more important question in your case is what you do with the scores you have until you can figure out something that will truly transform your relationship to this test (like a new medicine, a new diagnosis, whatever).

  3. The MCATs are a screening tool. Beyond that it’s your story, your CV, your interactions with interviewers that really count the most. So your task now is to find the schools that won’t screen you out with those scores. And then figure out how to tell your story in a very compelling and interesting way. This is a quirky process. I got into three schools, including the one that’s ranked higher on the US News and World Report list than the one I most wanted to go to. But that one didn’t take me, and the highest-ranked school did. I didn’t even get interviews at several others. You can’t look at the US News and World Report rankings and figure out why that was. The actual reasons have more to do with whether interviewers liked me and, probably, whether people on the admissions committee thought my story was “wierd” or “interesting.”

  4. If you feel like your test day performance is much lower than you’d expect then there are a couple of other roads to go down. Getting yourself evaluated for learning disabilities might be helpful–there may be some differences in how your brain processes tests under pressure that you can learn how to get around if you understand what you’re doing and why it doesn’t work. If anxiety symptoms like racing heart, shaking hands, are distracting you, a beta-blocker like propranolol might be something to consider. If what folks in recovery sometimes call “negative self-talk” (ie talking smack about yourself to yourself), or anxiety, or depression are affecting you, it might be helpful to meet with a therapist or psychiatrist to talk through these barriers and your options for dealing with them. When there is a real difference between practice performance and test day performance I think you have to look down this road at least a bit.

    As for stats, ever since pre-med days when this web forum was just an email list (and I walked to MCAT prep class in the snow for three miles, had to chop firewood to keep myself warm while I studied o chem, and had to burn my completed chapters in order to give me the light I needed to read my next chapters)–ever since that time and to this day, I’ve kind of made a point of not revealing my stats. I think everyone goes through a phase of getting obsessed with them, because it’s hard not to, but it’s also important to remember that these stats are not who you are, and represent a kind of moral and psychological danger to all that is good in you, all the parts of you that have nothing to do with those stats.

    Looking up other people’s stats and getting obsessed with your own is kind of like constantly googling an ex and thinking over the breakup all the time–it’s part of a mourning process. That’s OK; mourning is good when we don’t get what we hoped for. But don’t mistake it for strategy. Your strategy is to be the best you can be, and limit your relationship to those stats to knowing that stats are important and finding out from published statistics and advisors where your stats mean you should apply to medical school–and, if you think it’s important, following steps like the above in #4.

    Beyond that, in my opinion, comparisons to other people’s stats are no more helpful than comparing yourself to your ex’s new girlfriend or boyfriend. And worrying about stats that you now can’t do much about is like constantly going back to an old relationship and wondering if it could have gone differently. If you’ve ever been dumped and left for someone else then you’ll probably know what I’m talking about. Well, the MCAT dumped you after flirting with you and promising you so many wonderful things in the future; then the MCAT got back together with you, then dumped you again, and then got back together and dumped you again. Clearly this is becoming an abusive relationship. I’m not going to say flat-out that it won’t work next time, but I suspect that at some point you will need to get out, and take what you can from it to go forward.

    Good luck