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What is the lowest ACT/SAT score he should have to consider himself a premed student?

mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 63,354Registered User Senior Member
edited April 2010 in Parents Forum
I know that ACT/SAT test scores don't tell all, but since the pre-med student will have to take a MCAT exam, the ability to test well will be an issue.

So, what ACT or SAT (M+CR) score would you say is the lowest a pre-med student should have?


I'm asking this because I've seen kids here on CC say that they have an ACT 24 or lower and they want to be pre-med. With such an ACT (or equivalent SAT), I wonder if they have what it takes to do well enough with a pre-med curriculum and to score high enough on the MCAT.

I realize there can be some exceptions...such as a student who went to a poor high school, so his ACT score is more of a reflection of that. In such a case, a student could "catch up" in college and do well.

However, for the average kid from an avg high school, what is the lowest ACT/SAT score he should have to consider himself to be a realistic pre-med student?
Post edited by mom2collegekids on
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Replies to: What is the lowest ACT/SAT score he should have to consider himself a premed student?

  • menloparkmommenloparkmom Posts: 8,223Registered User Senior Member
    OP, you may want to also post this question on the pre-med forums.
    Pre-Med Topics - College Confidential
  • QwertyKeyQwertyKey Posts: 4,590Registered User Senior Member
    I can tell you that at Michigan, which has an average ACT score of 29 (in the arts and sciences school, where most of the pre-meds are), there are plenty of people who mistakenly think they are pre-med. I can assure you, they would not be going to med school in the future.

    I would think someone hoping to go to med school should aim for a 29/30+ but I don't think a minimum is a worthwhile limit to place. Hard enough to place minimum ACT to get into specific undergrad schools. Trying to place a minimum ACT to get into a general type of graduate school... impossible.
  • limabeanslimabeans Posts: 4,746Registered User Senior Member
    The goal of pre-med is to get into medical school. And to do that, the student is evaluated on a combination of the MCAT score and gpa. Here's an interesting discussion about how the SAT or ACT equates to the MCAT score.
  • starbrightstarbright Posts: 4,660Registered User Senior Member
    Another opinion here: these are not IQ tests, or even necessarily fixed measures of how well one can take standardized tests.

    Not to mention, one should assume that different factors play into different SAT and MCAT scores, not just aptitude. SAT may be more reflective of HS curriculum, motivation, maturity, practice; MCAT scores factor in college curriculum, new level of maturation (people have different trajectories on maturation), the quality of their undergrad coursework and time spent in college, etc.

    Even with equal preparation, motivation, and environmental enrichment (which often is not the case), one can do very well on one type and not on the other. I have seen this over and over and over again for example with students taking the GRE vs. GMAT- high on one, not hot on the other. We see similar things happen sometimes with ACT vs. SAT (which really should be more comparable than say ACT and MCAT).

    I think it would be foolhardly to discount aiming for med school based on an SAT score, and I think everyone should have a back up plan in the event that med school does not end up being realistic.
  • toblintoblin Posts: 1,862Registered User Senior Member
    Since Med schools supposedly do not care about ones undergrad major, what exactly does the MCAT test purport to measure?
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 63,354Registered User Senior Member
    ^^^^

    Even though you don't have to major in a specific major, pre-med students are supposed to have taken a prescribed list of math, physics, bio, and chem classes, therefore I imagine their knowledge in those disciplines would be tested on the MCAT.



    The goal of pre-med is to get into medical school. And to do that, the student is evaluated on a combination of the MCAT score and gpa

    True...which is why the ability to test well would be important, hence my question.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 63,354Registered User Senior Member

    I think it would be foolhardly to discount aiming for med school based on an SAT score,


    As I said, there can be exceptions, but I do have my doubts when I hear of students with average test scores planning on pre-med. I know how hard organic chem can be (ugh, memories...LOL) and physics, so I don't think it's foolhardy to wonder how most ACT 24's would do in those classes. An ACT 24 is in the 75th percentile. Maybe I'm wrong, but I would think an MD would more likely be in the top 10 percent.
  • QwertyKeyQwertyKey Posts: 4,590Registered User Senior Member
    I think premeds also have to take English classes (or at least an English class).
  • limabeanslimabeans Posts: 4,746Registered User Senior Member
    @mom2collegekids, I have no idea of the statistics on this, but I have heard over and over again that many students begin college thinking they want pre-med only to drop out later, especially after their organic chem class.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 63,354Registered User Senior Member
    From another thread:

    but I know that in my daughter's vet school program most successful applicants had ACT composite scores in the 29-36 range, and that's a lot higher than the 75th-80th percentile.

    I believe it. That's what I'm thinking. A 29 ACT is in the 94th percentile.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 63,354Registered User Senior Member
    I think premeds also have to take English classes (or at least an English class).

    Gosh, I think all college students have to take an English class or two unless their school has no core curriculum or they allow AP english to suffice.


    @mom2collegekids, I have no idea of the statistics on this, but I have heard over and over again that many students begin college thinking they want pre-med only to drop out later, especially after their organic chem class.

    I agree! I'm wondering if the % of those dropping is much higher amongst students who started with sub 90 percentile SAT/ACT scores and much lower amongst students with 90+ percentiles.
  • Dad_of_3Dad_of_3 Posts: 1,860Registered User Senior Member
    Depends on which schools. I know some extremely successful physicians who have a DO degree and this track is significantly less competitive for a standpoint of scores.
    As an example take a look at this Gannon/LECOM program:
    Gannon University :: Fact Sheet LECOM 3 4
  • GA2012MOMGA2012MOM Posts: 5,129Registered User Senior Member
    Sorry if this doesn't come across well, sometimes I'm not good at articulating things.

    Even if a 29 is in the 94th percentile of ACT takers, it would not necessarily mean that person would be likely to score in the 94th percentile of the MCAT. The MCAT has a small self-selecting group that most likely started out with much higher ACT/SAT scores to begin with.
  • QwertyKeyQwertyKey Posts: 4,590Registered User Senior Member
    "Gosh, I think all college students have to take an English class or two unless their school has no core curriculum or they allow AP english to suffice."

    Well, for Michigan Engineering I don't have to take English, and I bet there are many engineering schools like that too. There are some premeds in engineering here doing Biomedical Engineering.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 63,354Registered User Senior Member
    Because of Toblin's question, I thought I'd post this from my son's school....

    Although specific admissions requirements vary, most medical schools require the courses listed below. Most of these courses should be completed in the freshman and sophomore years.

    Courses Credit Hours
    BSC 114:115 or BSC 118....... 4 gen bio I or honors
    BSC 116:117 or BSC 120....... 4 gen bio II or honors
    CH 101 or CH 117................ 4 Gen Chem or honors
    CH 102 or CH 118 ................4 Gen Chem II or honors
    CH 231.............................. 3 Or Chem I
    CH 232.............................. 3 Or Chem II
    CH 237.............................. 2 Or Chem I lab
    CH 238.............................. 2 Or Chem II lab
    PH 101, PH 105, or PH 125.... 4 Physics, Physics w/ Cal, or honors
    PH 102, PH 106, or PH 126.... 4 Physics II, Physics w/ Cal II, or honors
    MATH 125 or MATH 145 ........4 Calculus or honors

    These are the minimum recommended pre-med classes that my son has to take. He's majoring in Chemical Engineering, but also has to make sure the above are all included. Because of his major, he'll have more bio, chem and math classes than above. However, a student who is majoring in say - English - would have to make sure to add these classes because many aren't required for a regular English major.
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