MCAT solid predictor of medical school success

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 14, 2005

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Medical College Admission Test scores, not undergraduate grades, are the best way to tell who is prepared for the academic rigors of medical school, according to a study by the Assn. of American Medical Colleges published in the October issue of Academic Medicine. They are also very strong predictors of how students will score on all three steps of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination, the study found.

Students applying to medical school have been taking the MCAT in its current form since 1991. This study followed first-year classes from 14 medical schools in 1992 and 1993 through residency to see to what extent MCAT scores supplemented undergraduates grade point averages in predicting success in medical school.

While the MCAT was a strong predictor of how students would perform, there was a lot of room for variation, according to researchers.

For example, differences in school missions might contribute to how predictive MCAT scores and GPAs are of students' success at individual schools. Those seeking to train researchers are likely to reward students differently than those seeking to produce physicians for rural and underserved areas, the researchers said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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