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Do Caribbean Medical Schools Require an MCAT?

About 85,000 students take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) annually, hoping to obtain a high score that will land them a spot in a top MD or DO school and program. However, those taking it must score between 125 and 132 points on each of the test’s four sections or get total scores of 500 to 528 points for top-of-the-curve placement.

But what happens if your score falls within the 400s and rejection letters are piling up from US schools? Rather than give up what could be a promising career in the medical field, consider expanding your options to Caribbean med schools, some of which don’t require MCATs for application or admission. Saint James School of Medicine in Anguilla relays what to consider with this alternate path below.

What Are MCATs?

In the states, MCATs and MCAT prep are vital for medical school admissions, testing students on the following concepts:

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

These categories analyze your understanding of complex concepts alongside your writing, thinking, and problem-solving abilities. Your score ranks you among other test takers, helping top medical schools decipher your ability as a medical student and future doctor.

Still, while this has stood as a necessary measure for almost 80 years, what should you do if you’re a poor tester or have positive aspects that could make up for one negative test grade? Your best option may be a Caribbean medical school that overlooks a below-average MCAT score and subpar GPA.

Why Should You Consider a Caribbean Med School if You Have Low Scores?

If it’s your dream to work with patients by helping them recover and finding cures for existing and future diseases, you probably don’t think it fair for one exam to make or break all you’ve worked to achieve. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to since you can opt for a more lenient and less competitive environment.

Roughly 18% of all international medical graduates (IMGs) and 4.5% of all currently licensed American doctors completed their studies abroad in Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, and other Caribbean regions. With over 80 medical schools spanning these countries, and many, like the Saint James School of Medicine in Anguilla, offering MD programs, you can become one of the bunch with a second chance.

Should You Still Send in MCAT Scores if You Have Any?

Since Caribbean schools place a low emphasis on the MCAT exam, it’s not necessary to submit your MCAT score with most applications abroad. Even medical schools that may ask for it won’t penalize you for a score below 500. Some of the top Caribbean medical schools that look at GPAs and MCAT scores include the following:

  • St. George’s University School of Medicine
  • American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
  • Saint Jame School of Medicine
  • Ross University School of Medicine
  • Trinity School of Medicine
  • American University of Antigua

These medical schools have an average GPA between 3.15 and 3.5 and a typical MCAT score of 472 to 498, proving they widely accept scores far lower than the US.

However, if you’re proud of your MCAT score while your GPA and other criteria lack appeal, send it in even if it’s optional to balance out your application, and these schools will place you at the top of their acceptance lists.

What Caribbean Schools Do Require

While you may be home free with your low MCAT score, there are other requirements you must consider or pass to become a licensed healthcare professional.

First, look into the school or regional agency’s ECFMG accreditations. If the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) hasn’t supplied one, you cannot apply for or receive an ECFMG certification after your second year. All international and foreign medical graduates require this as proof of optimal training to move forward with the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).

After getting into a school with ECFMG accreditations, focus on raising your GPA. More importantly, you must pass your USMLE with high scores, especially for the Step 1 exam, which sets you on the right path for optimal M3 and M4 rotations. Proper rotations help third- and fourth-year students conduct hospital and clinical clerkships to gain hands-on experience.

Saint James School of Medicine | A Leading Medical School in the Caribbean