Med School Impression on Fixed Pass/No Pass Grading Course

Hi everyone,

I’m junior in college planning to apply for med school. Over the two years in college, I have taken 4 courses with P/NP grades, but only one of them was supposed to be in uniform grade (letter grade) and the other three were P/NP grading (where I don’t have a choice to obtain a letter grade). The one that I chose to take in P/NP was a Humanities course (took it for fun, then things went sideways). For the other three, two of them were half-credit Physics (Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, taken for fun) and one of them was a full-credit undergraduate research. The three fixed P/NP grading courses were taken over the pandemic, but the grading systems were P/NP regardless of the pandemic. Otherwise for grades, don’t know if this is important for evaluating this situation, I have a 4.07 GPA and have only As on my transcripts.

I guess my point is, will courses that are fixed P/NP grading (ones that I cannot ask for a letter grade) affect my chances? And how am I supposed to let med schools know about the school’s grading policy on a specific course especially when these are not written over the transcripts?

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience and knowledge! A little bit panicking right now, I didn’t know you are not supposed to take P/NP grading courses as a pre-med… That shows how well-informed I am…

Medical schools like to ensure you take all the core classes for credit that are required - 1 year of Physics, 1 year each of inorganic and organic chemistry, 1 year of biology etc. If you meet these requirements with full credit, any additional classes you took can be p/f.

If your GPA is out of a 4.0 (remember A+s dont count so that GPA is not real for medical school) then there is nothing to worry about since you dont seem to be deliberately doing p/f to hide bad grades.

AMCAS and individual medical schools have access to the official course catalogs of every college in the US. (The catalogs are in a national database.) If AMCAS or particular med school has questions about the specific grading options of your college (such as not offering the option of a grade in certain classes), they will check the database or send an inquiry to the Registrar’s Office of your undergrad.

There is also usually a question on med school secondaries that asks" Is there anything else you would like to tell us?" If you are concerned about how med school perceive the P/NP grades, this would be the place to address it.

As @texaspg states above–Any required med school pre-reqs must be taken for a letter grade or they will not be accepted as fulfilling admission requirements. However, some medical schools (but not all of them) are making exceptions for spring term 2020 courses taken under mandatory P/F grading.

AMCAS will recalculate your GPA using a standardized formula. A+ grades are equivalent to 4.0 so no GPA/sGPA can be higher than 4.0.

Furthermore, some individual med schools will recalculate your AMCAS GPA using their own proprietary methods.

@WayOutWestMom Interesting.

Any specific schools that state how they do their own recalculations?

@texaspg, IIRC Wayne State only looks at the last 60 credits earned (which is why it’s often recommended to re-inventors).

A handful of medical schools re-weight freshman grades so they have less impact in GPA calculations than do upper level grades.