How Do Med Schools Use Your MCAT Scores and GPA?
If you have taken the MCAT, or you are considering taking the test in order to begin your education in medicine, then you may be confused by the MCAT GPA correlation. This article is about the criteria that medical schools use to evaluate the candidates who apply for admission, particularly MCAT scores and GPA.
Admission Criteria for Medical Schools:
As per the AAMC (the Association of American Medical Colleges), the medical schools in the USA differ in the criteria they use to determine whom to admit and whom not to. In general however, the medical schools require a candidate to submit his/her MCAT score, and also to have completed a year each in Physics, Biology, English and two years in Chemistry (through organic chemistry). The MCAT is the Medical College Admission Test that examines the candidates who aspire to gain admission to a medical school. Most of the medical schools in the USA require a candidate to submit MCAT scores. Obviously, the higher your MCAT score, the better your chances are of getting into a medical school. But apart from MCAT GPA also plays an important role during the admission process. Other things to focus on are any work experience you may have related to the medical profession, any research work you may have performed, and the interview.
MCAT Score and GPA:
A question that is sometimes in the mind of a candidate is about the MCAT GPA correlation, that is, how are the MCAT score and the GPA related to each other? Is it possible for a really good MCAT score to make up for a poor GPA score, or vice versa? The answer to the MCAT GPA riddle is that it is quite unlikely that a medical school (especially one of the top rated ones) will accept a candidate who has either of these scores at the lower extreme of the scale. For instance, a GPA less than 3 is usually not considered sufficient for a medical student. For example, as per the Medical School Admission Requirements book (this book is available at the official AAMC website), 2008-2009 edition, the students who were accepted at the University of Alabama School of Medicine had an overall GPA median of 3.79, a science GPA median of 3.77 and an average MCAT of 10P. Another example is of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, where the accepted students had an overall GPA median of 3.67, a science GPA median of 3.59 and an average MCAT of 10P.
You need to do some research on medical schools and make a shortlist of the schools you would like to join. You can go through the admission criteria of the students admitted to these medical schools in the past. This will give you a good idea of the scores you yourself will need. If you have already taken the MCAT and your score is not satisfactory, you can consider taking the MCAT again. You could take prep classes if you did not do so before. MCAT prep classes are conducted by experts in the field and they give good advice, tips and strategies to improve your MCAT score. You could also try taking more practice MCATs. Once you have improved your score in the practice tests, you could then register for the actual MCAT. This might significantly improve your chances of gaining admission to the medical school of your choice.
Other Criteria for Admission to Medical Schools:
Getting admitted to a medical school is not just about the MCAT GPA correlation. There are other criteria also. If you feel your MCAT score is not high enough to get you admitted into the school of your choice, you can try to tip the balance in your favor by focusing your efforts on the other criteria used by medical schools. For instance you could add to the hours of work experience you have. You can spend time in volunteer work at your local clinic or hospital. Another good strategy is to prepare well for the interview. You can anticipate and practice the questions that may be asked. You could request a friend to conduct a few mock interviews for you and help you to increase your confidence levels. Even if your MCAT GPA scores are not high, you may still have a chance of finding a school that is satisfactory to you.
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