“Admissions to medical school are difficult, but they are not complex.”
The point I’m trying to make is that although getting into medical school isn’t tough, completing the program is. When it comes to dunking a basketball, it’s one thing to know how to do it, but quite another to accomplish it.
Moreover, 60 percent of candidates to medical school fail to be accepted into any of the schools they applied to. In other words, the vast majority of candidates are turned down for admission. As a result, the admissions procedure leaves minimal leeway for a mistake, so you must reach your academic and extracurricular potential to the fullest.
Despite the importance of knowing medical school requirements (e.g., what classes to take), it is also critical to understand why medical school admissions committees expect you to complete certain coursework, achieve at a certain level, and participate in various extracurricular activities: to demonstrate your commitment to medicine, which includes the lifelong pursuit of academic knowledge, passion for promoting health, and desire to serve people.
“Admission to medical school is a challenge.
However, the process is straightforward.”
As a result, you may acquire a “checklist mindset” and, instead of developing a distinct “it factor,” you may just meet the criteria of your academic and extracurricular programs.
A list of key skills from the Association of American Medical Colleges is as follows:
- The ability to work well with others.
- It’s all about the customer.
- Personality traits
- sensitivity to other cultures
- Verbal exchange of ideas
- Confidence in your abilities:
- Self-responsibility and accountability to others
- Dependability and trustworthiness
- Adaptability and a willingness to learn
- Possibility of growth
- Competencies in reasoning and critical thinking:
- Inquiry-based reasoning
- Reasoning in terms of numbers
- Inquiry into the unknown
- Messages sent in writing
- Competencies in the scientific discipline:
- Systems of life
- Humans’ actions and reactions
You don’t have to be alarmed by this lengthy to-do list. There are no specific prerequisites for core abilities in medical school; rather, you may show them via the coursework and extracurricular activities you are already required to do.
According to these criteria, admissions considerations to medical school may be summarized:
a student’s grade point average (GPA) and medical college admission test (MCAT) score
Community service/volunteering/research are some of the extracurricular activities.
Leadership, compassion, thoughtfulness, and the ability to work well with others are all examples of these qualities.
Factors specific to the individual: cultural, economic, and geographic origins.
Your GPA and MCAT score, taken as a whole, show how well prepared you are for medical school. Medical school admissions committees consider GPA to be the most essential factor, however various institutions’ grading policies and reputations influence how it is interpreted. We don’t know whether a 3.7 GPA at Vanderbilt is the same as a 3.7 GPA at Penn State since there is no GPA translation chart.
However, a 3.6 GPA from UC Berkeley is more valuable than a 3.6 GPA from UC Riverside when it comes to applying to medical school since medical schools weigh the power and renown of your university.
Additionally, admissions committees take into account your total GPA as well as your scientific GPA, which consists of your BCPM courses. In general, students will have a somewhat better GPA in humanities classes than in scientific courses, reflecting the generally held belief that arts courses are easier to perform well in than science courses.
Because of the wide range of GPAs across applicants, medical schools administer the MCAT, a rigorous standardized test. The MCAT consists of four portions: Biology, Chemistry/Physics, Psychology/Sociology, and CARS (reading comprehension). The eight-hour testing day is comprised of these four components. It is evaluated on a scale of 472–528 with the 50th percentile score being 500. Two to four months of hard work and a lot of concentration on test preparation are necessary to succeed on the exam.
“What MCAT score do I need to get into medical school?” or “What MCAT score should I strive for?” are often asked questions by people I know. The answer is contingent upon your goals, academic performance, and extracurricular activities. The better your MCAT score, the more prestigious the medical schools you wish to attend. The better your GPA, the more protection it provides against a poor MCAT result. Similarly, admissions tutors will be less concerned about your MCAT score if you have a long list of extracurricular accomplishments, such as many research papers.
For students coming from other countries you may be permitted to sit the GAMSAT test as an alternative to the MCAT. All the advice given above relevant to the MCAT also applies to the GAMSAT as they are very similar tests. The best way to compare the two is by completing a Gamsat practice test under timed conditions. And as with MCAT the better your score the higher your chance of acceptance into a medical program.
Activities outside of the classroom
A high GPA and MCAT score aren’t enough to tell admissions tutors who the best candidates are, so they have to look at more than just the numbers.
Medicine, on the other hand, goes beyond the boundaries of science. To put it another way, it’s not just about how well you perform in scientific lectures and tests that matter. Adcoms use your extracurricular activities to get a sense of what you’re interested in, what kind of work you’re doing, and whether or not you’re a good fit for medical school based on what you’ve done in the past.