It is a common feeling for premeds studying for the MCAT to wonder whether or not they’re intelligent enough to do well on the test and, by extension, to become a physician. Once study fatigue begins to set in, we worry if when we sit down to study for the MCAT, we are doing so in vain. We tend to wonder how much of our success on the exam is about innate intellectual capacity versus how well we can prepare. Students often attempt to answer this by estimating their own MCAT and IQ comparison. While predicting our success on the MCAT seems like a good idea, basing our predictions on IQ (intelligence quotient) alone may not be doing us any favors.
The Truth About the MCAT and IQ Comparison
Unfortunately, there is no data available to illustrate a significant, direct correlation between a person’s IQ and MCAT score. Studies that have examined the correlation between standardized tests in general and IQ generally conclude that IQ does not determine how well a person will perform on a standardized test. This is because there are so many different factors that can contribute to IQ, like nutrition or stress, for example. Likewise, there are many non-quantitative factors that contribute to a single test score. This is good news for those of us who don’t have an Einstein IQ and should give premeds everywhere one less thing to stress about.
Researchers are still concerned with personality and intelligence as it relates to the MCAT, however. In recent years, researchers have become much more interested in defining the relationship between emotional IQ and medical school performance. According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence (or EQ) is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It looks at a person’s ability use his or her emotions to apply them to critical thinking and problem solving. It is also concerned with how we use our emotions to affect the emotions of those around us. This information helps to explain why medical school admissions committees are putting more emphasis on evaluating applicants holistically by evaluating students beyond GPA and MCAT score. This information also helps to shed light on why the MCAT expanded in 2015 to test students on more than just science and reading topics.
IQ vs. MCAT vs. Med School Success
The median adult IQ is 100 (Albert Einstein’s IQ was 160). As mentioned in our posts about average MCAT scores, the average MCAT score for all medical school applicants is about 504-505, and hovers around 510 for matriculants. Despite what your IQ is, it’s still not a definitive indicator of the level of success you will achieve in your life. As premeds, we want to know our chances of success on the MCAT before we actually take the exam, but the best way to “predict” this is by preparing effectively.
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