3.95 cGPA, 3.97 sGPA, 31 MCAT. Retake?

ChELover

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    Hey all,

    I just got my MCAT score back... I am totally devastated; I got 31 (11 PS, 9 VR, 11BS). My AAMC average was 35, and more like 36 if only later four exams (8,9,10, and 11) are considered. I was certain that I would get >34 on the mcat, but I guess that was not the case.

    I am trying to decide whether to retake the MCAT or not. I have a solid list of ECs, including hospital volunteering (>180 hrs), internship, research, and shadowing experiences (>40 hrs). I am thinking of applying broadly, mostly focusing on non top-30 schools (maybe one or two). So far, I was thinking of applying to these schools:

    University of Rochester
    SUNY Stony Brook
    SUNY Buffalo
    SUNY Upstate
    SUNY Downstate
    NYMC
    Albany Medical College
    Jefferson College

    Do you think I should retake the MCAT in order to apply to these schools? I am pretty sure I can bring my score up to 33 or 34...

    I will appreciate your sincere inputs! Have a good day!
     
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    Goro

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      If you want to apply to a higher tier, then a retake is called for. However, there are plenty of schools that you'll still be competitive for.

      If you're a NYer, I think you'll be fine at the schools on your list, as well as:


      University of Rochester
      U VT
      SUNY Stony Brook
      SUNY Buffalo
      SUNY Upstate
      SUNY Downstate
      NYMC
      Albany Medical College
      Einstein
      Rush
      Penn state
      Creighton
      Albany
      Rosy Franklin
      Drexel
      Temple
      Loma Linda (but read their list of don'ts)
      MCW
      St. Louis U
      Jefferson
      GWU
      Georgetown
      Tufts
      U Miami
      Wake Forest
      EVMS
      VCU
      All new MD programs, especially Hofstra and Quinnipiac
      Any DO program (NYCOM and TUCOM-NY are in your backyard)
       
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      ChELover

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        haha. With all honesty I should have included that information in my question
        If you want to apply to a higher tier, then a retake is called for. However, there are plenty of schools that you'll still be competitive for.

        If you're a NYer, I think you'll be fine at the schools on your list, as well as:


        University of Rochester
        U VT
        SUNY Stony Brook
        SUNY Buffalo
        SUNY Upstate
        SUNY Downstate
        NYMC
        Albany Medical College
        Einstein
        Rush
        Penn state
        Creighton
        Albany
        Rosy Franklin
        Drexel
        Temple
        Loma Linda (but read their list of don'ts)
        MCW
        St. Louis U
        Jefferson
        GWU
        Georgetown
        Tufts
        U Miami
        Wake Forest
        EVMS
        VCU
        All new MD programs, especially Hofstra and Quinnipiac
        Any DO program (NYCOM and TUCOM-NY are in your backyard)

        Thanks man! That is a great list!
         

        mrh125

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          dont you dare retake. you got over a 30, quit while you're ahead. there's always a chance if you retake your score can drop, especially in the pesky VR section, and then you'll be stuck explaining that.

          We all feel we can do better on the mcat the next after we get our scores back, but that's just the way the test is formatted.
           
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          ChELover

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            dont you dare retake. you got over a 30, quit while you're ahead. there's always a chance if you retake your score can drop, especially in the pesky VR section, and then you'll be stuck explaining that.

            We all feel we can do better on the mcat the next after we get our scores back, but that's just the way the test is formatted.

            yeah that's what I'm afraid of... I'm an ESL so verbal has been extremely challenging to me.
            If you had a 35+ average in practice, I might consider it, otherwise, you have good options available to you.

            I have a friend that got into tufts with a high gpa and a 30 mcat. She's not a URM (i knew someone would ask...).

            I usually score around or above 35, so I was pretty confident going into the exam. Coming out of the exam was a whole different story.

            What I think I'll do now is to apply this year with my score but still retake the MCAT... what do you guys think?
             

            mrh125

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              yeah that's what I'm afraid of... I'm an ESL so verbal has been extremely challenging to me.


              I usually score around or above 35, so I was pretty confident going into the exam. Coming out of the exam was a whole different story.

              What I think I'll do now is to apply this year with my score but still retake the MCAT... what do you guys think?

              Practice scores =/= real mcat scores and I would not risk retaking a 30+ score. Apply this year, see what happens, and if you don't get accepted anywhere and the rest of your application is stellar/has no negative feedback, then consider retaking ONLY IF you can prove you can do better. retaking mcats is like playing with a fire and a lower score can close a lot of doors, especially since many med schools only take the most recent score.

              Also with verbal reasoning, Im a non-ESL and took the mcat twice and I went from a 11 which is like in the top 10 percentile down to a 7. verbal is the hardest section to improve in, and even if you use the same exact study techniques you may do worse.
               

              ridethecliche

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                I'm not sure how that would work, to be honest. I don't know if schools can see your new score if it comes out during the app. If you do worse, it would hurt you, but I wonder if your effort is better spent on secondaries and interview prep.

                Your gpa is very good, you scores a 9 in VR which isn't a death sentence, and you got an 11 in the other two sections. Honestly, you're not a bad applicant at all. Far from it, to be honest.
                 
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                Person0715

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                  The average of all the AAMCs are often very good indicators of your real scores +/- 2 points. If you think your 31 was a fluke, I'd retake. However, your current score isn't bad either. It depends on your goals. Is getting into a higher ranked school imperative for your future career?
                   

                  ChELover

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                    I'm not sure how that would work, to be honest. I don't know if schools can see your new score if it comes out during the app. If you do worse, it would hurt you, but I wonder if your effort is better spent on secondaries and interview prep.

                    Your gpa is very good, you scores a 9 in VR which isn't a death sentence, and you got an 11 in the other two sections. Honestly, you're not a bad applicant at all. Far from it, to be honest.

                    They wouldn't be able to see the new score - I am merely preppying for the worst case scenario. (that is, I want to be ready for the next cycle in case I do not get in anywhere) TBH I will be happy to go to a medical school!

                    The average of all the AAMCs are often very good indicators of your real scores +/- 2 points. If you think your 31 was a fluke, I'd retake. However, your current score isn't bad either. It depends on your goals. Is getting into a higher ranked school imperative for your future career?

                    Yeah, I would have been somewhat happy with 35+/-2... 31 was simply not expected. I have never scored that during my AAMC practice runs.
                     

                    3838

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                      Someone PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong because I'm not sure about this at all. The reason your score was lower is because I'm pretty sure they grade the MCAT on a curve. The scores you were getting on your practice tests was your raw score converted to a final score using the distributions during that year. If people were doing better on the MCAT you just took, you would've scored lower.
                       

                      Lamel

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                        If you're aiming for top schools, you'll have to retake. If not, then you are still solid to get in somewhere this cycle.

                        Someone PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong because I'm not sure about this at all. The reason your score was lower is because I'm pretty sure they grade the MCAT on a curve. The scores you were getting on your practice tests was your raw score converted to a final score using the distributions during that year. If people were doing better on the MCAT you just took, you would've scored lower.

                        No curve for the MCAT, just a pre-set scale.
                         
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                        ridethecliche

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                          If you're aiming for top schools, you'll have to retake. If not, then you are still solid to get in somewhere this cycle.
                          No curve for the MCAT, just a pre-set scale.

                          This.

                          Apply broadly, definitely keep your options reasonable and give @Goro a huge thanks for cutting down your need to do too much research.
                           

                          Greenberg702

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                            Hey all,

                            I just got my MCAT score back... I am totally devastated; I got 31 (11 PS, 9 VR, 11BS). My AAMC average was 35, and more like 36 if only later four exams (8,9,10, and 11) are considered. I was certain that I would get >34 on the mcat, but I guess that was not the case.

                            I am trying to decide whether to retake the MCAT or not. I have a solid list of ECs, including hospital volunteering (>180 hrs), internship, research, and shadowing experiences (>40 hrs). I am thinking of applying broadly, mostly focusing on non top-30 schools (maybe one or two). So far, I was thinking of applying to these schools:

                            University of Rochester
                            SUNY Stony Brook
                            SUNY Buffalo
                            SUNY Upstate
                            SUNY Downstate
                            NYMC
                            Albany Medical College
                            Jefferson College

                            Do you think I should retake the MCAT in order to apply to these schools? I am pretty sure I can bring my score up to 33 or 34...

                            I will appreciate your sincere inputs! Have a good day!

                            I'd retake. A 35 AAMC average demonstrates that you're capable (and highly likely to score at that level). Your 31 is clearly an outlier. With your GPA, a 35+ would open up all doors including top 20s. Personal anecdote: my sisters fiance had a 3.95+, great research, great ECs, ... and a 32 MCAT. He was devastated, ended up retaking, got a 38 and is now at Yale on a 75% tuition scholarship. If he hadn't, he probably would have ended up taking out 200 K in loans to go to SUNY. Dream big bud ... and get studying!
                             

                            RJGOP

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                              If you want to apply to a higher tier, then a retake is called for. However, there are plenty of schools that you'll still be competitive for.

                              If you're a NYer, I think you'll be fine at the schools on your list, as well as:


                              University of Rochester
                              U VT
                              SUNY Stony Brook
                              SUNY Buffalo
                              SUNY Upstate
                              SUNY Downstate
                              NYMC
                              Albany Medical College
                              Einstein
                              Rush
                              Penn state
                              Creighton
                              Albany
                              Rosy Franklin
                              Drexel
                              Temple
                              Loma Linda (but read their list of don'ts)
                              MCW
                              St. Louis U
                              Jefferson
                              GWU
                              Georgetown
                              Tufts
                              U Miami
                              Wake Forest
                              EVMS
                              VCU
                              All new MD programs, especially Hofstra and Quinnipiac
                              Any DO program (NYCOM and TUCOM-NY are in your backyard)
                              Yeah, plenty of those are great schools still, especially St. Louis University, Creighton and Georgetown. Good Luck.
                               

                              mke520

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                                They wouldn't be able to see the new score - I am merely preppying for the worst case scenario. (that is, I want to be ready for the next cycle in case I do not get in anywhere) TBH I will be happy to go to a medical school!



                                Yeah, I would have been somewhat happy with 35+/-2... 31 was simply not expected. I have never scored that during my AAMC practice runs.

                                If you feel like rolling the dice a bit and retaking the MCAT then go for it I guess. If I were you I'd take the stats I have now because they are good enough to get you into a solid program. A buddy of mine had a 3.9+ GPA, scored a 29 on MCAT first time around and then on second MCAT scored a 37. Even with his 3.9+ GPA and 37 MCAT he got rejected from all the top 20s and ended up only getting accepted to our state MD school. He had a solid app and only got 1 interview from a top 20 school. So just because you have a 3.9+ and a 35+ MCAT doesn't guarantee that you'll get into a top program. If you retake the MCAT and do worse than a 30 then you could've just blown your shot at a solid MD program. I think you should stick with your score, but if you want to go for it then by all means go for it.

                                ...btw I wouldn't bank on scoring in the mid 30s just because you can score that on the practice exams, the practice exams are easier and much less stressful to take. I was scoring very high on the practice exams and ended up scoring less on the real thing but still very good
                                 
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                                ChELover

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                                  Thank you all for answering my questions sincerely! I have decided to move on and apply based on the list provided by @Goro (Thanks man!). I will, however, retake the MCAT in December or January in case I don't get in anywhere this cycle.
                                   
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                                  capnncrunch

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                                    If I were you, I'd study again. Take some new practice AAMC tests. If you're still scoring higher, then schedule a retake and take a year off before applying (if you're so adamant about getting into a top 20). Honestly though, an MD is an MD regardless of where you go. If you're going to retake, do it for the financial aid more than the school choices. I was in the exact same situation as you - same split even. You would be surprised at the amount of punch a mid-tier school has. I know a guy that went to my IS school that is in a JHU residency. At this level of education, you don't need to try and prove yourself. I figured I'd rather save the money I'd spend retaking and applying broadly by applying Early Decision at my ~30k/year tuition IS school than spend the money to chance getting a better score to chance getting into a top 20 and hope I get some large financial aid package for a 75k/year private.

                                    Trust me, I thought long and hard about this. Good luck though if you need anyone to talk to about it, message me.
                                     

                                    ChELover

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                                      If I were you, I'd study again. Take some new practice AAMC tests. If you're still scoring higher, then schedule a retake and take a year off before applying (if you're so adamant about getting into a top 20). Honestly though, an MD is an MD regardless of where you go. If you're going to retake, do it for the financial aid more than the school choices. I was in the exact same situation as you - same split even. You would be surprised at the amount of punch a mid-tier school has. I know a guy that went to my IS school that is in a JHU residency. At this level of education, you don't need to try and prove yourself. I figured I'd rather save the money I'd spend retaking and applying broadly by applying Early Decision at my ~30k/year tuition IS school than spend the money to chance getting a better score to chance getting into a top 20 and hope I get some large financial aid package for a 75k/year private.

                                      Trust me, I thought long and hard about this. Good luck though if you need anyone to talk to about it, message me.


                                      Yeah. I think I'll retake the MCAT no matter what; at least I want to prove myself that I can do better, although $275 is a hefty price for an ego boost. I'll start studying for it as soon as I'm done with my secondaries...

                                      One quick question: If I got the high score on the MCAT after retake, can I use that info to get more financial aid from schools that I'm accepted to?
                                       

                                      capnncrunch

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                                        Yeah. I think I'll retake the MCAT no matter what; at least I want to prove myself that I can do better, although $275 is a hefty price for an ego boost. I'll start studying for it as soon as I'm done with my secondaries...

                                        One quick question: If I got the high score on the MCAT after retake, can I use that info to get more financial aid from schools that I'm accepted to?
                                        Have you submitted? If so, did you indicate a future MCAT? I'm not sure if they'll accept it if you said you weren't going to retake and then retake. Otherwise, I think they will.
                                         

                                        Lamel

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                                          With everything being said, I'd like to add something.

                                          If you're going to retake in January, and end up with a 35+, but then are accepted to a lower tier school, will you regret the decision that you didn't wait and apply with the 35+ score to try and have a shot at more schools? Think about this.

                                          I believe you will still be accepted somewhere, your stats are solid. But think about your personal goals. You don't want to end up in a situation where you want to reject an offer just to try again (like a few people who have posted on pre-allo).
                                           

                                          ChELover

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                                            With everything being said, I'd like to add something.

                                            If you're going to retake in January, and end up with a 35+, but then are accepted to a lower tier school, will you regret the decision that you didn't wait and apply with the 35+ score to try and have a shot at more schools? Think about this.

                                            I believe you will still be accepted somewhere, your stats are solid. But think about your personal goals. You don't want to end up in a situation where you want to reject an offer just to try again (like a few people who have posted on pre-allo).

                                            Thanks for your input. Honestly, prestige of the med school is not an important factor to me. As capnncrunch said, MD is an MD, and I don't think going to less prestigious school would negatively impact my chance at "good" residency programs. (Please correct me if I am wrong!) One more thing is that I don't want to go to top tier school because I do not wish to compete with those who had crazy high GPA and MCAT.

                                            In summary, I'll be happy to go to any medical school, preferably to one of my instate schools. I am just sad that my stat is not good enough for those schools... and that's why I initially considered retaking the MCAT.
                                             

                                            ChELover

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                                              That being said, I have compiled a list of schools combined with Goro's suggestions. Please let me know what you guys think! If it wasn't obvious, I am a NY resident.

                                              University of Michigan
                                              University of Rochester
                                              SUNY Stony Brook
                                              Tufts
                                              SUNY Upstate
                                              SUNY Downstate
                                              Einstein
                                              U Vermont
                                              SUNY Buffalo
                                              NYMC
                                              Albany Medical College
                                              Rosalind Franklin
                                              Temple
                                              Jefferson
                                              Georgetown
                                              Eastern Virginia Medical

                                              Oakland University
                                              Rush
                                              Penn state
                                              Drexel
                                              Medical College of Wisconsin
                                              GWU
                                              Virginia Commonwealth Univ
                                              Quinnipiac Univ
                                              The Commonwealth Medical College

                                              Considering:
                                              Wake Forest
                                              U of Miami
                                              Hofstra
                                              St. Louis

                                              I'm considering Wake Forest and Hofstra due to their rather high median MCAT (33), and U of Miami and St. Louis due to location.
                                               

                                              Greenberg702

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                                                Thanks for your input. Honestly, prestige of the med school is not an important factor to me. As capnncrunch said, MD is an MD, and I don't think going to less prestigious school would negatively impact my chance at "good" residency programs. (Please correct me if I am wrong!) One more thing is that I don't want to go to top tier school because I do not wish to compete with those who had crazy high GPA and MCAT.

                                                In summary, I'll be happy to go to any medical school, preferably to one of my instate schools. I am just sad that my stat is not good enough for those schools... and that's why I initially considered retaking the MCAT.

                                                You might not have to compete with "crazy high GPAs and MCATs" but you better make damn sure you're one of the best at a low tier school. With low level competition come higher expectations.
                                                 

                                                ChELover

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                                                  That being said, I have compiled a list of schools combined with Goro's suggestions. Please let me know what you guys think! If it wasn't obvious, I am a NY resident.

                                                  University of Michigan
                                                  University of Rochester
                                                  SUNY Stony Brook
                                                  Tufts
                                                  SUNY Upstate
                                                  SUNY Downstate
                                                  Einstein
                                                  U Vermont
                                                  SUNY Buffalo
                                                  NYMC
                                                  Albany Medical College
                                                  Rosalind Franklin
                                                  Temple
                                                  Jefferson
                                                  Georgetown
                                                  Eastern Virginia Medical

                                                  Oakland University
                                                  Rush
                                                  Penn state
                                                  Drexel
                                                  Medical College of Wisconsin
                                                  GWU
                                                  Virginia Commonwealth Univ
                                                  Quinnipiac Univ
                                                  The Commonwealth Medical College

                                                  Considering:
                                                  Wake Forest
                                                  U of Miami
                                                  Hofstra
                                                  St. Louis

                                                  I'm considering Wake Forest and Hofstra due to their rather high median MCAT (33), and U of Miami and St. Louis due to location.

                                                  Anyone?
                                                   

                                                  ChELover

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                                                    Your list looks good. Why U of M in particular?

                                                    That's where I go to school, and I know someone with very similar stats as mine who got in there (granted, she was also an instate student). But my MCAT score makes me want to not apply there right now...

                                                    What do you guys think of the school I'm considering - should I add more from there? Should I take out any reach schools (like michigan, rochester, turfs, and einstein?)
                                                     

                                                    Greenberg702

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                                                      That's where I go to school, and I know someone with very similar stats as mine who got in there (granted, she was also an instate student). But my MCAT score makes me want to not apply there right now...

                                                      What do you guys think of the school I'm considering - should I add more from there? Should I take out any reach schools (like michigan, rochester, turfs, and einstein?)

                                                      I'd leave in Tufts, Rochester, and Einstein (they're not stats-heavy). Sub out U of M for Case, Emory, and Mayo (or just add them if cost isn't an issue).

                                                      Btw, congrats on such a high GPA at a tough school.
                                                       
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