GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
3,803
Status
Non-Student
Double Degree: Physiology and Public Health, 3.6GPA/3.4sGPA (upward trend-->last 2 years/77 credits straight A’s

Some Questions I have:
1) Should I retake my MCAT (Honestly I’m so conflicted with my score, because it isn’t terrible, but I’m worried about any verbal cutoffs, and the possibility of doing worse). My stats are already borderline, but idk if I'm selling myself short or what
2) I just graduated this last spring with both degrees...but would it be worth doing some more Post-Bac classes DIY? (The most I could do is 12-17 credits by next spring and continue the upward grade trend for another full semester…but since my gpa is so saturated at most a full semester of straight A’s will probably only get me a 3.63ish/3.45-3.5science (but it's still a lot considering my 3.1/3.0 GPA's after soph year. I just want to add that I’ve pretty much exhausted the majority of my upper level science courses at my university as well (I did 4.5 years at my university to finish off both degrees)
3) Should I commit to another year off (waiting until summer of 2017 to apply?) and consider maybe doing the NIH post-bac, take more DIY classes, or maybe an SMP…or should I just roll with it and take my chances next cycle?
4) Any feedback greatly appreciated!
1) It's possible the 124 in CARs could cause problems. That converts to between a 7 and an 8 on the old scale. There's a big difference between the two. I wouldn't retake an 8 on the old test. I would retake a 7. If you have evidence/solid reason to believe you can do better this time around, it might be worth considering giving it another stab. But that's not absolute by any means or close to any definite yes. Unfortunately, there's no good way to determine how ADCOMs will look at a 124. There are people I know who have gotten II's with 124 in CARs but it's just very hard to say. For those who look at a 124 CARs the way they looked at a 7 on verbal on the old scale, that will be a problem for you.
2) If you have 5 semesters essentially of straight A work you don't need more post-bac work. Your not going to be applying to medium and top tier type of schools where the numerical value of 3.6/3.4 will hurt you alot. The upward trend you have has made it clear you have proven yourself academically. Nobody's opinion of you is going to change because you have 7 semesters of straight A work instead of 5 and you apply with a 3.6/3.5 instead of a 3.6/3.4.
3) Whether you want to work in the NIH is entirely your call. It can be a very good experience but people often overblow the value of those things for admission. Doing a research position like that isn't going to just dramatically uplift your chances because of the name NIH attached to it. What I'm getting at is you can be a perfectly viable candidate without doing something like that.

Your EC's look ok. If you can get some volunteer work with the less priviledged and less fortunate over the next year that will help your cause. Volunteering in a hospice, working with the less fortunate in different environments, basically getting you out of your comfort zone will help your case.

As is, your GPA is fine and your EC's aren't a problem either. I don't have a great answer for what to do with the MCAT: A 124 is kind of a grey zone for CARs. If you really feel like you have good reason to believe you can improve that score it might be worth taking again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: WedgeDawg

GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
3,803
Status
Non-Student
@GrapesofRath thank you for the feedback, your input is greatly appreciated!

With regards to my MCAT, I completely agree. I think realistically I could potentially raise my science scores a little bit higher, but I feel like with CARS it's just going to be another crapshoot for me, and I honestly don't feel completely confident about that section or my ability to improve it since I've exhausted almost all the resources out there (i did practically everything EK101, TPRH, AAMC stuff, etc.). I think given everything, if I just ran with my score do you think I'll have any success next cycle? or do you think I should take another year off to get things in order? I also agree with the NIH post-bac and I was a little iffy on committing to the program, especially since I'd rather keep continuing improving my clinical skills or just get a decent job before medical school (maybe in the public health arena?)

I realize re-taking the MCAT might be a little bit of a gamble, but if a higher score will open more doors for me, then I'd be completely down to consider that as a viable option, but if I decided to run with my score, how else could I possibly improve my application by next cycle without having to invest in a post-bac or SMP? As of right now, I'm still volunteering at my local hospital (every sunday), still with the diabetes and charity clinic (Wed, saturday's and fridays), working 3 times a week as a medical assistant for actual pay (also just want to add that this is an awesome experience as well. Doing a lot of hands-on clinical stuff including suture removals, wound care, assisting in excision/biopsies, taking down patient histories, etc.), might squeeze in a few more upper levels in the spring, and might consider a medical mission trip or two before the app cycle begins. At the end of the day, I feel like all I need is one acceptance, and thats all that matters. Any thoughts on this? or should I just continue what I'm doing and pray for the best?
Like I said I don't know how a 124 CARs is interpreted. If it will be looked at the same way a 7 in verbal was looked at by ADCOMs that's a problem. If it gets looked at more like an 8, I think you'll be ok though. Perhaps ask an ADCOM in the know about what they think about re-taking and if they can give specific input about how a 124 in CARs will be looked at rather than the generic "every ADCOM will interpret it their own way which can vary".

I'm generally not big on re-taking 30+/508+ scores because a) Unless there is a really good reason to believe you'll do better, you like aren't helping yourself b) there's definitely a chance your score could decrease on the re-take(and nobody thinks they'll be the one who does worse the second time.....until they do) c) You really need a 514+ on the re-take to justify it. Getting a 510 or 511 on the re-take basically does nothing for you and could actually be a negative to your app(unless you really do considerably better on CARs next time around).

Any discussion about re-taking the MCAT has to involve looking at this data
https://www.aamc.org/students/download/271680/data/retestertotalscorechange.pdf

Historically, 37% of people in the past who re-took a 30-32, did 3+ points better on the retake which would justify a re-take. 23% did worse which is definitely not a good thing and 13% got the same score which is not ideal either. So those are really the odds you are facing. You have to be honest with yourself on how thoroughly you prepared last time. If you really rushed through everything and weren't disciplined, if you can fix your study habits it's more justifiable to re-take than someone who did everything in their power to study and exhausted all resources but only got a 30. In particular, CARs is the most resistant to change. I think you would want to aim for a 126-127 on the retake. Here are more key stats

https://www.aamc.org/students/download/271686/data/retestervrscorechange.pdf
41% of people who re-took the MCAT with a 7 in verbal did 2+ points better which is basically the cut off for definitely helping your app. 22% got an 8 which doesn't really do much to help. 36% did the same or worse which is definitely a bad thing.

For those who retook an 8
https://www.aamc.org/students/download/271686/data/retestervrscorechange.pdf

Only 31% did 2+ points better on the re-take. 43% did the same or worse.

So there's no great call here. Given that you don't sound all that confident about improving your CARs score, I'm somewhat inclined to say leave it as is. It sounds like a re-take is more likely to hurt you than help you.

Your EC's are fine. Just keep doing them. Perhaps add a couple more ways of serving the less privileged and underrepresented as you can never have enough of that and that's really what gets you the brownie points with ADCOMs, but your EC's are sufficient now where they won't really change your chances much.

Your school list is also by and large fine with probably some minor tweaks but that can come when you actually apply. I know it's probably not what you want to hear but there's really not ALL that much you can do to improve your odds the next year. The best thing you can do is if you devote significant time these next 6 months on reading and reading comprehension and you see a significant improvement in your verbal and CARs practice scores than your practice scores from the first time you took the MCAT, a re-take might be a solid plan. If you can come back here next June with a 514 on the MCAT and a 126-127 in CARs, your odds at those lower tiers will definitely be better. But that's a rather dicey proposition and like I said above, CARs scores really are hard to improve. The risk is a very real thing with the MCAT of doing more damage to your app and I can tell you pretty clearly now that if you re-take and get a 123 or lower in CARs that'll be a problem.

So there you have it. It's just really hard to give a definite answer on whether or not to re-take the MCAT in this spot unless an ADCOM like Goro tells you I think the CARS is too low I would retake.

I would at the very least try and identify what caused problems in CARs for you last time and see where your mistakes most commonly lied. If you can identify a clear weakness it might be worth coming up with a plan of reading a variety of literature for 2 hours or so a day for the next several months and starting to exhaust all good CARs passages you can find. That's where the idea of you have to be honest with yourself like I talked about earlier comes into play. If you didn't really practice much for CARs last time around then it's probably a good idea to go all in and give it another go on the MCAT. EK 101, TPRH Hyperlearning, old AAMC exams, new AAMC stuff, Next Step FL's, EK FL's for this exam are all very good CARs practice. If you've exhausted most of those resources, well then I'm alot more hesitant to recommend a re-take because frankly most other resources not listed there are pretty bad for CARs practice. But that's over 300 very solid practice passages and 1500+ questions right there; if you haven't touched most of it come up with a schedule where you do 2 or so a day for the next several months, spend at least 3X as long as you spend doing them analyzing every little part of them and logging your mistake and noticing trends, while also reading dense literature on the side for a couple hours and see if you find real improvement.
 

Faha

7+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2012
9,550
3,771
Status
Attending Physician
You do not need to retake the MCAT. Your list is good. Apply to all 20 and consider adding:
New York Medical College
Albany
Western Michigan
St. Louis
Creighton
Any new private MD schools that open in 2017 (Henricopolis, Seton Hall, Roseman, etc.)
 
OP
itsallgood92

itsallgood92

2+ Year Member
Mar 8, 2015
287
158
Status
Pre-Medical
You do not need to retake the MCAT. Your list is good. Apply to all 20 and consider adding:
New York Medical College
Albany
Western Michigan
St. Louis
Creighton
Any new private MD schools that open in 2017 (Henricopolis, Seton Hall, Roseman, etc.)
Thank you @Faha and @GrapesofRath. I think based off both of your advise, maybe it might just be best to roll with my score and play the probability game next cycle, and if things really go south then maybe reconsider re-taking the mcat instead of considering a high-stakes attempt next spring or january. I think for now, given I still have around 8 months until the next cycle opens up, I can at least pack on more meaningful experiences and just make sure my application and secondaries are in on time and as early as possible. I honestly still feel a little uneasy about my MCAT score, but at the same time I feel like I just have to focus on the things I have versus the things I don't have and hope at least one school will give me a chance to prove myself.
 
Last edited:

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,543
78,726
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
NO!
1) Should I retake my MCAT (Honestly I’m so conflicted with my score, because it isn’t terrible, but I’m worried about any verbal cutoffs, and the possibility of doing worse). My stats are already borderline, but idk if I'm selling myself short or what

It won't hurt you to get the sGPA up. But you can do this while applying next cycle.
2) I just graduated this last spring with both degrees...but would it be worth doing some more Post-Bac classes DIY? (The most I could do is 12-17 credits by next spring and continue the upward grade trend for another full semester…but since my gpa is so saturated at most a full semester of straight A’s will probably only get me a 3.63ish/3.45-3.5science (but it's still a lot considering my 3.1/3.0 GPA's after soph year. I just want to add that I’ve pretty much exhausted the majority of my upper level science courses at my university as well (I did 4.5 years at my university to finish off both degrees)


I think that you should try one app cycle to see how it shakes out before applying. You're fine for ANY DO school, BTW, start with PCOM, VCOM and LECOM.
3) Should I commit to another year off (waiting until summer of 2017 to apply?) and consider maybe doing the NIH post-bac, take more DIY classes, or maybe an SMP…or should I just roll with it and take my chances next cycle?

I suggest the following:

Rush

NYMC

Creighton

Albany

Rosy Franklin

Drexel

Temple

Loma Linda (but read their list of don'ts)

MCW

St. Louis U

WVU

Jefferson

Creighton

Tulane

Loyola

U Miami

Wake Forest

EVMS

VCU

Oakland-B

Western MI

Any DO program

Your state school(s).
 
  • Like
Reactions: itsallgood92
OP
itsallgood92

itsallgood92

2+ Year Member
Mar 8, 2015
287
158
Status
Pre-Medical
NO!
1) Should I retake my MCAT (Honestly I’m so conflicted with my score, because it isn’t terrible, but I’m worried about any verbal cutoffs, and the possibility of doing worse). My stats are already borderline, but idk if I'm selling myself short or what

It won't hurt you to get the sGPA up. But you can do this while applying next cycle.
2) I just graduated this last spring with both degrees...but would it be worth doing some more Post-Bac classes DIY? (The most I could do is 12-17 credits by next spring and continue the upward grade trend for another full semester…but since my gpa is so saturated at most a full semester of straight A’s will probably only get me a 3.63ish/3.45-3.5science (but it's still a lot considering my 3.1/3.0 GPA's after soph year. I just want to add that I’ve pretty much exhausted the majority of my upper level science courses at my university as well (I did 4.5 years at my university to finish off both degrees)


I think that you should try one app cycle to see how it shakes out before applying. You're fine for ANY DO school, BTW, start with PCOM, VCOM and LECOM.
3) Should I commit to another year off (waiting until summer of 2017 to apply?) and consider maybe doing the NIH post-bac, take more DIY classes, or maybe an SMP…or should I just roll with it and take my chances next cycle?

I suggest the following:

Rush

NYMC

Creighton

Albany

Rosy Franklin

Drexel

Temple

Loma Linda (but read their list of don'ts)

MCW

St. Louis U

WVU

Jefferson

Creighton

Tulane

Loyola

U Miami

Wake Forest

EVMS

VCU

Oakland-B

Western MI

Any DO program

Your state school(s).
Thank you @Goro ! I haven't researched DO schools a lot yet, so I'm not too familiar with the programs, but I am open minded. At the very least, I might just take your advice, try one cycle and apply to the g-town SMP simultaneously as a fallback and reapply to both MD and DO if it comes to it. Thanks again for all the input, it is greatly appreciated. For now though, I guess i'll just keep doing what I'm doing, and I guess I'll be back here in June before the next cycle starts.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro

GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
3,803
Status
Non-Student
I should not while I'm usually hesitant somewhat to recommend SMP programs because of how risky they are and how rigorous they are, someone with a 4.0 their last 2-3 years of college is the type of person who has a reasonable chance of doing well in them. If you do well in an SMP like Georgetown with your stats you really are looking like you are in a favorable position to land an acceptance somewhere.

And yeah, if Goro is telling you don't re-take the MCAT, don't retake.