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MCATS and step 1 correlation

momworriedmomworried Registered User Posts: 711 Member
I'm curious if there's a direct correlation. Just read a thread on SDN of a med student complaining of his low step 1 score. 222. He said he had to overcome a low MCATS score (low 30s) when applying to med schools. Does low MCATS score leads to low step 1 and vice versa? I know some people are really smart but are just bad standardized test takers. Can this problem be overcome? This kid on SDN said that he pretty much studied day and night.

Replies to: MCATS and step 1 correlation

  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,709 Senior Member
    edited July 2016
    MCAT has some limited predictive validity for passing the USMLE, but MCAT is not destiny.

    A lowish MCAT does NOT predict a low (or failing) USMLE; conversely a high MCAT does not guarantee a high STEP 1 score.

    This 2007 paper is a meta-analysis of 23 studies of the relationship between MCAT scores and USMLE scores.
    The Predictive Validity of the MCAT for Medical School Performance and Medical Board Licensing Examinations: A Meta- Analysis of the Published Research
    The MCAT—as a total score and subtests— has small to medium predictive validity of performance in medical school during both the preclinical and clinical years. It is somewhat better at predicting performance on medical licensing exams, accounting for 44% of the variance overall on the USMLE Step 1 and 19% on the USMLE Step 2.

    http://www.internationalgme.org/Resources/Pubs/Donnon et al (2007)%20Acad%20Med.pdf

    This study is from 2015--
    Does the MCAT predict medical school and PGY-1 performance?
    MCAT scores were weakly to moderately associated with Step 1 scores. MCAT scores were not significantly associated with Step 2 clinical skills Integrated Clinical Encounter and Communication and Interpersonal Skills subscores, Objective Structured Clinical Examination performance or PGY-1 PD evaluations.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25850120

    If you look at Table A.2 in this AMCAS document, you'll see that nearly every med student (>98%) who has a MCAT score of 24 and above will eventually pass their STEP 1 exam.

    Using Scores From the Old MCAT Exam In Selecting Medical Sudents

    ~~~~~

    I read that student boo-hoo-hooing on SDN. The student is looking for excuses for his Step score and has an elitist view of medicine. (He's too good to be "wasted" in primary care and only wants to do ENT.)

    I have zero sympathy for him/her. If he/she has a "bad" STEP score they have only themselves to blame.
  • almostdonewithhsalmostdonewithhs Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    Also, don't look to SDN for advice. There are few things that could be helpful(secondary apps) but a lot of people on there just want to flaunt their high scores.
  • texaspgtexaspg Forum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Posts: 16,694 Forum Champion
    There are some schools like Baylor and WashU which try to accept people with high MCATs because they claim some of their internal data has shown them a correlation. Baylor currently has the highest step 1 average at 245 or so and when D went for her interview, they mentioned a correlation (I don't think any other school did that).

    OTOH, WashU and Penn do have high MCAT averages and also high Step 1 scores. However, Baylor MCAT average is much lower, they are predominantly (75%) Texas in state, and still managed to have a very high Step 1 score. So they have managed high step scores despite lower starting point for MCAT averages which kind of makes you wonder if there is a real correlation.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Registered User Posts: 16,184 Senior Member
    " I know some people are really smart but are just bad standardized test takers. " - I cannot see being really smart and good / bad test takers influence the Step 1 score. The Step 1 score depends much more on prep than any other test scores. People who are planning to apply to the very selective specialties, study more. However, everybody study much much more than for the MCAT. You cannot rely on being smart or a good test taker when preparing for Step 1. It is not that uncommon to study about 14 hours / day for the duration of about 7 weeks for Step 1. You can afford maybe couple days off, but not much more than that. Besides absorbing the material, there is a goal of developing the brain stamina, ability to be highly focused for the very long duration of time the same idea as for physical training.
    I have seen some correlation tables, but I do not remember where. One thing is good about Step 1 - no Verbal / Reading section. It is good for those who usually bomb this section. It makes Step 1 even more related to how hard one prepares.
    If comparing one medical school to another, one should check how many apply to the very selective specialties at each school. The higher number will reflect the higher Step 1 score. For example, there are may be only 2 applicants to Derm in one school while there are 9 of them or so every year at another. The second school is more likely to have higher number of Step 1 high scorers.
    222 is prohibitive for some selective specialties, but it is OK for others.
  • Jugulator20Jugulator20 Registered User Posts: 1,433 Senior Member
    “I cannot see being really smart and good / bad test takers influence the Step 1 score. The Step 1 score depends much more on prep than any other test scores.”

    In general I don’t think students who got as far to be able to sit for Step 1 are bad standardized test takers, but I believe that people can have bad days. And since students are quite aware of the importance of Step 1, maybe struggling with the first few questions they see on their screen can just set in motion anxiety/stress that plays with their head in a negative way for rest of day. I know it’s a silly analogy but you see it happening to the best golf pros in the world from time to time. It’s hard to say a golf pro hasn’t prepped, but they go out and make a couple of bad swings early in the round and they just can’t put it out of their head for the rest of the round. The next day they come out and shoot 8 under par.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,212 Forum Champion
    I would suspect there is a correlation. Those who scored highly on the MCAT would seem to be more likely to score highly on Step 1.

    But there will be exceptions. My son didn't study AT ALL for the MCAT and only did one practice test ...and he did it at 9pm the night before his MCAT (God that was a mighty wine year!). Needless to say, he scored in the lowish 30s. But...he learned his lesson and did study for Step 1 and scored very well...don't remember exactly, but I think 256? I know it was in the mid 250s. I'm just guessing but I would suspect that many others scoring in the mid 250s probably had MCAT 35+

  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,709 Senior Member
    I'm just guessing but I would suspect that many others scoring in the mid 250s probably had MCAT 35+

    And you would be wrong. But my dataset is quite small.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,212 Forum Champion
    edited July 2016
    Lol....two???


    Anyways....I said I guessed "many"....not "most" or "all". ;)
  • texaspgtexaspg Forum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Posts: 16,694 Forum Champion
    I know someone who scored 32 or 34 in MCAT but 260+. The 32 was scored to meet a BS/MD requirement and not with an intent to apply.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Registered User Posts: 16,184 Senior Member
    I know there is some conversion table because I checked it after D. got her Step 1 score. As suspected, she did a bit better on Step 1 than the MCAT. It was "suspected" for one reason - the absence of the Verbal / Reading section on the Step 1. Verbal has been her lowest on ALL standardized testing, not only MCAT. That is why I think that Step 1 is more correlated to the level of preparation than any other standardized testing as all these stupid passages about economy, business and current events are out of the window. Those are the topics that are totally foreign to my kid, everybody has something that they do not like. When I mentioned "the level of preparation", keep in mind that everybody prepares very very hard for the Step 1. Your future sooo depends on this one score and you have only one chance to take Step 1. So, the difference might be between studying 10-11 hours / day and 14 hours / day.
    texaspg, it makes sense to me. My D's bs/md requirement was only 27, which relaxed her to the point that she was able to get 35. She did not get 260+, but her Step 1 score was plenty enough to match to her first choice in very selective specialty. So, while her difference was not as big, as 34 / 260+, the trend was still upwards.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,212 Forum Champion
    <<<
    The 32 was scored to meet a BS/MD requirement and not with an intent to apply.
    <<<


    Yes, that would be an instance where the person was capable of a higher MCAT, but just didn't put in the effort/study.
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