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JKT

Med School Gpa

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Hello, 

 

I am wondering if someone can shed light on the GPA required to get into med school in Ontario. I know that different medical schools have different GPA requirements and calculate GPAs differently, but what is the general GPA required. Also, I find it difficult to covert GPA into a percentage grade and I am finding various charts online. Can someone please shed light on this. Also, for individuals accepted into medical school, what GPA did you have? I would like to mention that I am a first year pre-med student.

 

Thanks!

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Generally speaking, the higher the better. I would advise you to look at each of the school's interview invitation pages to see. Having GPAs near 3.9 are a pretty good spot to be in. Some schools modify your GPA, so you might have a lower one but because they drop some courses, or only use your best two years, you have better chances if you had some bad years. Look at each school's admission websites too. Good luck!

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The one sentence shortcut is to aim for at least 85% or higher in every single course you take. No exceptions. 

 

If you follow that rule you will be basically competitive for every single school in Ontario. 

 

GPA is not like average in a key respect. Average measures performance. GPA measure consistent performance - that is  it actually measures two separate things at the same time that have to be achieved. It is general better to get say 85% in everything than 95% percent in most things and 75% in a few things. This means purely from a medical school point of view you are really focused on taking the right courses, and learning what you have to do get a high grade in them.

 

As you know each percentage has a corresponding GPA value out of 4. The relationship however is not linear - far from it. You are progressively punished more and more the lower the grade you get. 

 

If you are looking at those charts online for OMSAS you should also know that while the chart looks complex it is extremely likely that the bulk of the chart is meaningless as you will only be using a single column (usually column 3) which corresponds to your school. 

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The one sentence shortcut is to aim for at least 85% or higher in every single course you take. No exceptions. 

 

If you follow that rule you will be basically competitive for every single school in Ontario. 

 

GPA is not like average in a key respect. Average measures performance. GPA measure consistent performance - that is  it actually measures two separate things at the same time that have to be achieved. It is general better to get say 85% in everything than 95% percent in most things and 75% in a few things. This means purely from a medical school point of view you are really focused on taking the right courses, and learning what you have to do get a high grade in them.

 

As you know each percentage has a corresponding GPA value out of 4. The relationship however is not linear - far from it. You are progressively punished more and more the lower the grade you get. 

 

If you are looking at those charts online for OMSAS you should also know that while the chart looks complex it is extremely likely that the bulk of the chart is meaningless as you will only be using a single column (usually column 3) which corresponds to your school. 

 

While I agree that attaining a high GPA is essential for med school admittance, I'm not sure from a statistical point of view, GPA is truly a reliable estimator.  In terms of your general suggestion, while some depts or courses might give As for 85%, for others it might be 95% or even 80%.  The problem that I see is the variance associated with grades at the edges.  Sure - 95% and 75% are generally distinctive grades, but the difference between 82% and 87% can be from A- to A+ or 3.7 to 4.0 (or sometimes even narrower margins), which can have a substantial effects for GPA calculation.  GPA is known to be subject to inflationary pressure - e.g. Stanford historical data.  In the future, GPAs are likely to increase even further.  The "edge effects" will then increase even further, thereby increasing variance in the calculation.  A 4 point GPA scale is a 19th century US college invention - I think eventually other systems will have to be determined.

 

Edit: The associated grade distribution is just as important as the actual grade.  Currently, that info isn't being broadly collected or used (no reason it would be normal either).  

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While I agree that attaining a high GPA is essential for med school admittance, I'm not sure from a statistical point of view, GPA is truly a reliable estimator.  In terms of your general suggestion, while some depts or courses might give As for 85%, for others it might be 95% or even 80%.  The problem that I see is the variance associated with grades at the edges.  Sure - 95% and 75% are generally distinctive grades, but the difference between 82% and 87% can be from A- to A+ or 3.7 to 4.0 (or sometimes even narrower margins), which can have a substantial effects for GPA calculation.  GPA is known to be subject to inflationary pressure - e.g. Stanford historical data.  In the future, GPAs are likely to increase even further.  The "edge effects" will then increase even further, thereby increasing variance in the calculation.  A 4 point GPA scale is a 19th century US college invention - I think eventually other systems will have to be determined.

 

Edit: The associated grade distribution is just as important as the actual grade.  Currently, that info isn't being broadly collected or used (no reason it would be normal either).  

 

It may not be a completely reliable indicator - particularly as you point on the edge areas. With how important grades are now (and they simply weren't that important before relative to now) the pressure to increase grades is very high. We have various programs - all with different grade policies/expectations which makes GPA not standardized at all. Still for now it is what it is and it attempts at least to measure consistent performance. 

 

The only other obvious way to do it would be standardized testing - which removes grade inflation completely. That means the MCAT - a test that has other flaws ( and some identical ones for that matter - including ha edge issues, at least with how we apply it for cut offs). 

 

The real problem it probably that GPA is being used for two things as well - the first is to determine if someone has the academic ability to be a doctor. The second is as a quick screening tool to limit the applicant pool that needs to be considered. I really do believe there is a "definitely good enough" level to be a highly effective doctor and beyond that there is limited utility in being smarter in many different fields of medicine. At the very least other things that are much more important after that point are not really objectively measured (the CASPER is an attempt to do exactly that). 

 

At this point the rules are what they are of course - and thus knowing how GPA is computed and now to maximize it is extremely important :)

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It may not be a completely reliable indicator - particularly as you point on the edge areas. With how important grades are now (and they simply weren't that important before relative to now) the pressure to increase grades is very high. We have various programs - all with different grade policies/expectations which makes GPA not standardized at all. Still for now it is what it is and it attempts at least to measure consistent performance. 

 

The only other obvious way to do it would be standardized testing - which removes grade inflation completely. That means the MCAT - a test that has other flaws ( and some identical ones for that matter - including ha edge issues, at least with how we apply it for cut offs). 

 

The real problem it probably that GPA is being used for two things as well - the first is to determine if someone has the academic ability to be a doctor. The second is as a quick screening tool to limit the applicant pool that needs to be considered. I really do believe there is a "definitely good enough" level to be a highly effective doctor and beyond that there is limited utility in being smarter in many different fields of medicine. At the very least other things that are much more important after that point are not really objectively measured (the CASPER is an attempt to do exactly that). 

 

At this point the rules are what they are of course - and thus knowing how GPA is computed and now to maximize it is extremely important :)

 

I agree that there's no obvious alternative.  Quebec uses modified Z-scores, but as I alluded to, there's no reason to believe grade distributions are normal in individual courses.  GPA is being used as a proxy for determining the academically strongest students (who may or may not be the "smarter" students).  Still there's no reason why not to consider the distributions directly.  If the vast majority of students in Class A have As vs one student in Class B, then there's clearly a difference that is important to note (part of the motivation of Quebec's system). I agree that the MCAT has limited utility as well - same problem with other standardized tests.  

 

When McMaster changed its admissions policy and added CASPER, not only was it to select for non-cognitive skills but also to enhance accessibility to medicine.  Heavy reliance on GPA, when it's not necessarily an even playing field does not increase accessibility.

 

Edit: An interesting historical overview (and criticism) of grading systems

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