The television show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? is a popular one. I suppose viewers like to see how much knowledge they have retained or forgotten in the years since their elementary school days.
The students at Western University College of Podiatric Medicine pulled a similar trick on their faculty at a class roast last year when they gave all of us a written test with questions from their exams of the first two years. These were really challenging questions from their systems’ classes that they took with the osteopathic medical students. It made me think about that television program.
How many of us could recall even our own systems classes and the minute detail we learned? Consider this. The classes that the Western University students are now taking are at a level that is preparing them to be able to sit for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or a similar exam.
The recent spate of applications from potential students is amazing and these students are prepared to meet those challenges successfully. The candidate pool that we are seeing now has a significant number of students whose Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores are in the mid-30s. If you do not remember, the top score on the MCAT is 45. Their grade point averages are equally impressive with science GPAs in the mid-3.0s. It is no longer unusual to interview a prospective podiatric student whose GPAs in science and overall are 3.3 and up. From my years in academic medicine, that has not been the case in the past.
It leaves the rest of us, the veterans of times past, to look around us and say “Would I have been admitted to podiatric medical school if I applied now?” What do you think your chances would have been?
It is a proud moment for those of us in education to see the rising GPAs and MCAT scores. For my colleagues out there in the real world, keep an eye out for this new generation of podiatric physicians and surgeons that will be coming your way very soon. They make us very proud in getting high scores and opting for podiatric medicine as a first choice. It is a different world entirely. Are we ready?