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In the top 1%: MCAT success

4:10 PM  Nov 14th, 2017
by Erin Frey ’18

Lydia Payton ’18 and Kenan Bakri ’18 were two of roughly 70,000 students who took the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) in 2017. But with both students scoring in the 99th percentile, these two Flyers were standouts among medical school student hopefuls.

“During the exam, I felt unsure about many — or even most — of my answers, so I was very surprised when I saw my score. However, I did my best to stay confident and tried not to worry too much,” Bakri said.

In preparation for the exam both students took Kaplan courses, invented their own study methods and relied heavily on their notes from the classroom.

“I think the most beneficial thing I did was take the hardest classes and teachers available. By doing this, I learned the material best in the moment rather than having to teach myself important concepts later on,” Payton said.

According to Kathleen Scheltens, director of the pre-med program, only two other UD students have scored in the 99th percentile in the last 10 years.

“This score makes the students attractive to the most competitive medical school programs. Of course, schools focus on “holistic” applications, so students also need a strong GPA, excellent co-curricular experiences and a good orientation to medicine/healthcare,” Scheltens said.

Bakri knew he wanted to go into something medical related in high school but didn’t know medical school was for him until he took a physiology course his junior year where he learned, in detail, how the human body works and could directly relate what he observed while shadowing a doctor at an urgent care in Cincinnati.

Payton on the other hand had always thought she would major in art. Her grandfather taught visual art and art history at the University of Louisville and his paintings were always on display in her childhood home. It wasn’t until she had hands on experience volunteering that she had known she found her calling.

“After I started shadowing and volunteering at a hospital, I realized I could make a more physical and daily impact in the lives of others through medicine rather than art,” Payton said.

Both Bakri and Payton are unsure of where they will attend medical school as the interview process is still moving forward, but being a part of the top 1 percent doesn’t hurt their chances of landing the school of their choice.


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