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A Proposed Method of Calculating Probability

of Gaining Acceptance into a Particular Medical


School
RapplixGmed, (Hopefully) Future MD

March 5, 2008

1 Introduction

Here, I introduce a method that I nd personally useful to determine my


probability of getting into a medical school. The method has its aws and is
based o of many assumptions that may or may not be true. I have taken
signicant liberty with the mathematics and statistics, and this may or may
not result in massive distortion of the result. I created it only as an academic
exercise out of my own curiosity. However, I give it to you guys on SDN in the
hope that it may help you select the schools that you have the best chances at
so that you will have success in the medical application process. Please give me
feedback as I denitely hope to improve it in the future.
The basic idea for the calculation is that I create a modied LizzyM score
that includes a weight for science GPA. Then, I use a comparison between
your LizzyM score and the score for the school, normalize it with the standard
deviation to create a multiplier that is applied to the acceptance rates for your
school of interest. The chances for all schools you plan to apply to can then be
combined mathematically to give your overall chance of getting into any medical
school.

2 Data

You will need to nd current data rst. This is easily available from the MSAR,
US News, or AAMC's website.

1. Mean total and science GPAs for every school you are interested in (MSAR)

2. Median MCAT scores for every section except writing for each school,
which I will neglect (MSAR)

3. Number of people accepted and total number applied in your category (ie
in state or out of state) for each school (US News and World Report)

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4. National Standard Deviations for Matriculants for total and science GPA
and each section of MCAT (AAMC)

3 Assumptions

This is where I get to point out the massive aws of my calculations but due to
limited data, most of them cannot be helped.

1. All distributions are normal: This is an awful assumption since everybody


knows that it will be skewed since the high scores can only get so high but
theres plenty of space on the low end

2. The median MCAT scores for each section are equal to the mean: I'd
expect the median to be slightly higher than the mean by as much as 1
point because of skew but for simplicity, lets keep it this way.

3. The standard deviations of all stats for all schools are equal to the standard
deviations of stats for matriculants: Probably not a good estimate since
all schools dier from each other and from the national average but the
data just doesn't exist for every school.

4. An increase of one standard deviation by the modied LizzyM score com-


pared to the mean for a particular school approximately doubles your
chances of getting into that school: Wow, this is completely pulled out of
my behind but is based o of 8 minutes of eyeballing the graphs at the
beginning of the MSAR. This will also display saturation since doubling
your chances at 68% should not bring you over 100%!

5. Your probability of being accepted at one school is independent of your


probability of being accepted at another school: Very likely false because
if one school doesn't like your application, chances are, all of them will
not like it. However, this assumption makes calculations possible!

4 Calculations

4.1 Calculation of the Modied LizzyM Score


Its very hard to combine your statistics in a reasonable way and I think that
the LizzyM score does a good job. The reason that I didn't want to use the
LizzyM score directly is that I believe the science GPAs are weighed a little bit
more than total GPA in the process. The origional LizzyM score has the form
L = 10GP A + M CAT . I propose that the modied LizzyM score should have
L0 = (4GP A + 6sGP A) + M CAT
the form where the weighings are completely
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arbitrary. This value should be calculated for you LY ou and for each school Lx
you are interested in based o of their given data.

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4.2 Calculation of L' Standard Deviation
Here, I just use standard error propagation methods to nd the SD for L'. Given
thatL0 = (4GP p A + 6sGP A) + (V R + BS + P S), then
sd{L0 } = 16sd{GP A}2 + 36sd{sGP A}2 + sd{V R}2 + sd{BS}2 + sd{P S}2 .
This value turns out to be σ = 3.84 for 2007 data.

4.3 Calculation of Average Chances


Given that you are the denition of average for a school, what are your chances of
getting in? This should be as simple as dividing the number of accepted people
in your category (in state or out of state) by the number of people applying in
your category. Lets call this probability P¯x .

4.4 Calculation of the Saturation Curve


The multiplier should saturate meaning that if your chances of getting into a
school are already high, further increases in standard deviation above the mean
give diminishing returns. This ensures that percentages do not go over 100%.
P¯x
This done using an arbitrary saturation curve: M = 1.83 − 0.2+ P¯x
. This gives
the reasonable curve seen below:
Saturation Curve
1.9

1.8

1.7

1.6

1.5
Multiplier

1.4

1.3

1.2

1.1

0.9
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
Px

4.5 Calculation of Individual Chances


Once you have your LizzyM scores, run them through the equation! With every
increase in LizzyM score above or below the mean, your chances of admission

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have the multiplier applied to the average: Px = P̄x M (LY ou −Lx )/σ . This gives
you a rough estimate of your probability of being accepted to that school.

4.6 Calculation of Chances of Getting into Any Medical


School
You have your list of medical schools that you plan on applying to. What are
your chances of being accepted into at least one of them? Assuming indepen-
dence, this is equal to one minus the probability of not being accepted into any
Q
of them. Pb = 1 − (1 − Px ).

5 An Example!

Here are some schools that I am considering and I ran it through my equations
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with my stats (LMe = 79.8), VA Resident:

6 Conclusions

Alright, I have to admit that this probably does not give the most accurate
results. However, it is a very interesting tool to give a rough estimate of your

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admissions probabilities based o of your numbers and published statisitics of
each school you are interested in. It also gives a rough estimate of your chances
of being accepted anywhere so it can help you decide where you want to apply.
The major weakness I see in it is that it overestimates your chances of getting
into at least one school. I will try to nd a way around the independence
assumption if I can. Let me know what you guys think and I'll try to ne tune
this if I nd time.