When it comes time to apply to medical school one thing that lots of premeds don’t think about is how the med school application services calculate their GPAs.
You are very aware of what your undergrad GPA is based on how your college calculates it. But med schools need to standardize how GPAs are calculated for the thousands of applications that roll in.
So, how exactly do med schools calculate your GPA?
We went through all the written details and made a simple guide that would help you understand if med schools recalculate your GPA and how they do it.
Do Med Schools Recalculate GPA?
Colleges can have different methods of calculating your GPA. For example, some colleges might give out 4.0s for an A- while others might give you a 3.7. Some colleges may even give you a 4.3 for an A+. So one might ask, do med schools recalculate your GPA?
The short answer is yes, med schools do recalculate your GPA into a standard AMCAS or AACOMAS cumulative and science GPA.
Most of the time your AMCAS or AACOMAS GPA is going to be very similar, if not exactly the same, as your college transcript. But depending on your unique circumstances, it could be significantly different.
How The AMCAS and AACOMAS Applications Calculate Your GPA
Both the AMCAS and AACOMAS med school applications are similar when it comes to calculating your undergraduate GPA. However, there are some nuances that we will go over here.
The AMCAS application for M.D. medical schools converts the standard letter grade you received as an undergrad into their GPA. They do include plus (+) and minus (-) grades as well. These pluses and minuses are counted as 3.7 and 3.3.
For example, A = 4, A- = 3.7, B+ = 3.3, B = 3.0, B- = 2.7, and so on.
If your school does 0.5s for pluses and minuses, this will be converted into the AMCAS 0.7 and 0.3 system.
The AMCAS has a total cumulative GPA that includes all your coursework, a BCPM GPA that includes the sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, and math), and an “all other” (AO) GPA.
Like the AMCAS, the AACOMAS application for D.O. medical schools calculates your cumulative GPA using an A, B, C, D, and F scale with “-”s and “+”s giving you a 0.7 or 0.3 for pluses and minuses.
For example, B = 3.0, B- = 2.7, C+ = 2.3, C = 2.0, and so on.
AACOMAS does also calculate AB, BC, and CD grades as 3.5, 2.5, and 1.5 respectively.
AACOMAS calculates a science GPA and a total GPA. All courses are imputed into the following categories which are organized into science and non-science GPAs.
- Behavioral Science (Non-Science GPA)
- Biochemistry (Science GPA)
- Biology/Zoology (Science GPA)
- English (Non-Science GPA)
- Inorganic Chemistry (Science GPA)
- Mathematics (Non-Science GPA)
- Organic Chemistry (Science GPA)
- Other Non-Science (Non-Science GPA)
- Other Science (Science GPA)
- Physics (Science GPA)
The science GPA will include all the courses under “science” while the total GPA will include everything. You can see examples of the specific courses that fit under each category here.
By the way, Medical School HQ also has a handy med school GPA calculator if you are curious to see how your grades are doing.
How Do Med school Applications Calculate Post Baccalaureate Coursework?
Post Baccalaureate GPA, AKA post-bacc GPA, is calculated into the undergraduate total GPA as well as in a separate post-bacc GPA.
This is great for students who want to increase a lower undergrad GPA because the total GPA will reflect everything.
Do Med Schools Count A+ On Your Application?
No, they do not. For all three med school application services (AMCAS, AACOMAS, and TMDSAS) the highest grade you can have is an “A” which is equivalent to a 4.0.
Therefore, if your college counts A+ grades as a 4.3 on the GPA scale, this will be lowered to a 4.0 on the med school application scale.
How Does The TMDSAS Calculate Your GPA?
The TMDSAS application for Texas medical schools has one major difference in calculating your cumulative and science GPA.
Basically, the TMDSAS ignores “-”s and “+”s. All grades are calculated strictly as an A, B, C, D, E, or F. Therefore, if you received a B+ in a class, this will count as a B. Conversely, if you received an A- in a class, this will count as an A.
If your grades have a pretty even distribution of minuses (-) and pluses (+), then your TMDSAS GPA shouldn’t be much different. If you have a bunch of A- grades, it could actually help your overall GPA. But if you got a bunch of B+ grades, it will ultimately hurt it.
Similar to the AMCAS and AACOMAS applications, the TMDSAS application counts both grades if you retook a class. Therefore the class you did poorly on and the class you took, later on, will count towards the overall GPA.
How Do Med Schools Calculate Grades From Colleges That Don’t Have “-” or “+” Grades?
This is not very common but some colleges don’t display minus (-) or plus (+) grades; they simply stick to the A, B, C, D, and F. In this case, the grades would simply translate into the equivalent letter grade on the AMCAS, AACOMAS, or TMDSAS application.
Even if your school displays percentages with the letter grade, med schools only see the letter grade so that’s what carries over.
Med Schools Can Also Look At Your Official Transcript
In addition to inputting all of your grades into the AMCAS, AACOMAS, and TMDSAS cumulative grade calculators, you also submit official transcripts from your undergrad to each application service.
Therefore, med schools will be able to look at your official transcript.
Granted, most schools are going to focus on the official application service GPAs. But if you were unfairly affected by the GPA calculation, you still have a chance to redeem yourself with the official transcripts.