• Funniest Story on the Job Contest Starts Now!

    Contest starts now and ends September 27th. Winner will receive a special user banner and $10 Amazon Gift card!

    JOIN NOW
  • Site Updates Coming Next Week

    Site updates are coming next week on Monday and Friday. Click the button below to learn more!

    LEARN MORE

494 FL 20 days out :( should I wait a cycle?

itsallsmiles

Full Member
5+ Year Member
2+ Year Member
May 5, 2016
21
6
111
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hi everyone,

I took the sample AAMC and FL #1 and haven’t passed 500 in either. I feel like I have a pretty good application with some unique experiences, the last thing I was hoping could make it was this score which proved to be much more difficult than I thought.

i don’t understand why it’s this bad. I’ve been studying solely for the MCAT since mid May, and even before, during the school year, but it was hard. I went through almost all of TBR along with at least some end of chapter questions from each chapter. I also watched a good amount of Khan Academy and did questions.

I have a 3.7+ gpa so I didn’t feel like my content was lacking THAT much or that it would be this difficult to reach my goal score after this much time.

I just feel so so upset right now and don’t know what to do. Do you guys think it’s possible to improve a lot before July 23? Should I just see if I can cancel my test now and take another gap year?

thank you all
 
About the Ads

HouseJC

If nobody hates you, you're doing something wrong
2+ Year Member
Mar 22, 2019
427
525
116
New Orleans
  1. Medical Student
Yup, I agree with other posters. Aside from postponing, I suggest you explore why you are not performing well. Anxiety? Not used to standardized tests? Ae you burnt out since you said you've been studying since May and during school year?

Usually a <500 score indicates significant knowledge gaps. Did you do your majors in sciences? I'm not saying arts people would do bad, but just some food for thought.
 

MyOdyssey

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2015
1,427
939
166
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Take a gap year for sure.

What are your practice full length sub scores? Are certain sections giving you more trouble than others?

How many AMCAS qbank questions have you done?

Can you afford to take a comprehensive prep course?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
D

deleted896822

I’d take a gap year (I did)
If you can afford it, take an online course. I would steer clear of in person courses. I took the in person Kaplan course and it was some premed student Kaplan paid to basically go through a book with you. Similar to my experience with high school teachers, if you had any legitimate question, they couldn’t answer it and had to “get back with you later”

The online courses are taught by the same people that do their videos and they’re able to answer any questions on the spot in real time and with appropriate knowledge.
They’re also cheaper.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

GreenDuck12

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2014
2,107
2,270
226
  1. Medical Student
Hi everyone,

I took the sample AAMC and FL #1 and haven’t passed 500 in either. I feel like I have a pretty good application with some unique experiences, the last thing I was hoping could make it was this score which proved to be much more difficult than I thought.

i don’t understand why it’s this bad. I’ve been studying solely for the MCAT since mid May, and even before, during the school year, but it was hard. I went through almost all of TBR along with at least some end of chapter questions from each chapter. I also watched a good amount of Khan Academy and did questions.

I have a 3.7+ gpa so I didn’t feel like my content was lacking THAT much or that it would be this difficult to reach my goal score after this much time.

I just feel so so upset right now and don’t know what to do. Do you guys think it’s possible to improve a lot before July 23? Should I just see if I can cancel my test now and take another gap year?

thank you all


Too little time to see significant improvement. Take a gap year and postpone till September and use the next 2 months to prepare or take a gap year and test in January.

A sub 500 score indicates significant content gaps along with poor test taking strategies and/or time management issues. These things take time to address.

A couple thoughts:
- Khan Academy is geared towards passive learning which isn’t likely to Substantially increase your content mastery. You need active learning strategies: diagramming pathways from memory, writing summaries/stories of concepts, reactions, and pathways/trends. In short, you need to engage with the material more than taking notes while watching videos.
- TBR is an effective resource not because of their content review passages but because of their passage based end of chapter practice questions. You need to do them in the recommended intervals. Spaced repetition increases retention over longer periods of time.
- while doing practice passages, you need to develop strategies and a systematic process for approaching passages, questions, and answers. If you’re simply reading the passage/questions, you’re doing it incorrectly. This will carry over to test day. The more you reinforce your systems and strategies, the more you can go by habit on the MCAT and reduce the associated anxiety that comes with the high stakes test.
- your last month should be spent using AAMC materials exclusively. No other co pang matches the AAMC. There is a continuity in terms of how they phrase questions, structure answers, and present passages.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

itsallsmiles

Full Member
5+ Year Member
2+ Year Member
May 5, 2016
21
6
111
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Im looking into taking a course or getting a tutor. I have a very hard time concentrating so maybe trying to do it on my own isn’t the best. Does anyone have tips on which is better - course or finding a high scoring tutor? Or which company?

Im a science major, I did struggle a bit with science classes. I’d say I got As and half of them or a little more, and Bs in the other half.

ive been dealing with some life stuff lately so I’m sure that’s part of it too.
 

OchemOficionado

Full Member
Staff member
Volunteer Staff
5+ Year Member
Apr 25, 2016
1,759
2,508
276
  1. Medical Student
This was me a few years ago. I was impatient and convinced myself I would throw a hail mary the day of the exam. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. LISTEN TO YOUR FULL LENGTHS (especially the AAMC ones). I was forced to take a gap year and then address my first score in several interviews the next cycle. Don't do it. Listen to those advising you and not your emotions at this point. We know you really want it. We know you worked really hard. We know you don't want to wait any longer. With that said, you have to. Do it right the first time. If you can't get your money back, I suggest that you take it and void it. Just actually void it though.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

BTR41

MD class of 2024
2+ Year Member
Sep 11, 2019
95
214
116
  1. Pre-Medical
I used Kaplan the first time around. They were pretty useless ended up with a 506 and barely got MD acceptances. When I started studying for the MCAT again (was on MD waitlists), I used Altius. It’s expensive and I had to save up money for it. They actually help with standardized test taking. Since that’s where I lacked.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
About the Ads

itsallsmiles

Full Member
5+ Year Member
2+ Year Member
May 5, 2016
21
6
111
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Too little time to see significant improvement. Take a gap year and postpone till September and use the next 2 months to prepare or take a gap year and test in January.

A sub 500 score indicates significant content gaps along with poor test taking strategies and/or time management issues. These things take time to address.

A couple thoughts:
- Khan Academy is geared towards passive learning which isn’t likely to Substantially increase your content mastery. You need active learning strategies: diagramming pathways from memory, writing summaries/stories of concepts, reactions, and pathways/trends. In short, you need to engage with the material more than taking notes while watching videos.
- TBR is an effective resource not because of their content review passages but because of their passage based end of chapter practice questions. You need to do them in the recommended intervals. Spaced repetition increases retention over longer periods of time.
- while doing practice passages, you need to develop strategies and a systematic process for approaching passages, questions, and answers. If you’re simply reading the passage/questions, you’re doing it incorrectly. This will carry over to test day. The more you reinforce your systems and strategies, the more you can go by habit on the MCAT and reduce the associated anxiety that comes with the high stakes test.
- your last month should be spent using AAMC materials exclusively. No other co pang matches the AAMC. There is a continuity in terms of how they phrase questions, structure answers, and present passages.

thank you for the advice! I definitely think I didn’t do enough practice problems because I just felt like my content knowledge was so weak so I had to spend time on that. I think it took too long (and is still not enough ? :( )

i think I’ll just go for 2 gap years and maybe take 6 more months to study part time. I don’t want it to be too long that’s it’s ineffective but i really don’t think my mind can handle studying 8+ hours a day I’d rather spread it out if I can. Also I need to start working.
 

MyOdyssey

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2015
1,427
939
166
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Im looking into taking a course or getting a tutor. I have a very hard time concentrating so maybe trying to do it on my own isn’t the best. Does anyone have tips on which is better - course or finding a high scoring tutor? Or which company?

Im a science major, I did struggle a bit with science classes. I’d say I got As and half of them or a little more, and Bs in the other half.

ive been dealing with some life stuff lately so I’m sure that’s part of it too.

Companies give their course students access to higher quality and more question banks than is available to the public.

Take the online version of the course. I’ve heard good things about Altius and The Berkeley Review.

How are your CARS scores?
 

itsallsmiles

Full Member
5+ Year Member
2+ Year Member
May 5, 2016
21
6
111
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Companies give their course students access to higher quality and more question banks than is available to the public.

Take the online version of the course. I’ve heard good things about Altius and The Berkeley Review.

How are your CARS scores?

i didn’t know TBR had a course. I’ll look into that thank you.

i honestly haven’t studied CARS too much unfortunately. For some reason I just thought I would be good at it LOL. I did some Jack Weston passages in the middle of my studying and would get 1 or 2 wrong per passage usually. But I’m around the 126 range. I’d probably be able to bring it up a little with more with practice, building stamina especially, and finding the right strategy.
 

MyOdyssey

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2015
1,427
939
166
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
i didn’t know TBR had a course. I’ll look into that thank you.

i honestly haven’t studied CARS too much unfortunately. For some reason I just thought I would be good at it LOL. I did some Jack Weston passages in the middle of my studying and would get 1 or 2 wrong per passage usually. But I’m around the 126 range. I’d probably be able to bring it up a little with more with practice, building stamina especially, and finding the right strategy.

I believe TBR's course is only in person and only offered at select locations in CA.

Jack Weston is terrible for CARS. Finding good CARS passages (ones that don't teach bent, convoluted or flat out incorrect logic) is difficult.
 

itsallsmiles

Full Member
5+ Year Member
2+ Year Member
May 5, 2016
21
6
111
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I believe TBR's course is only in person and only offered at select locations in CA.

Jack Weston is terrible for CARS. Finding good CARS passages (ones that don't teach bent, convoluted or flat out incorrect logic) is difficult.

yes i just saw that :/ I will look into the ones available online.

Do you have good recommendations for CAR? I saw a lot of mixed reviews about it when looking through forums.
 

MyOdyssey

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2015
1,427
939
166
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
yes i just saw that :/ I will look into the ones available online.

Do you have good recommendations for CAR? I saw a lot of mixed reviews about it when looking through forums.

I suggest reading this thread by a company called Testing Solutions in its entirety. It lays out the good, bad and ugly of CARS resources:

I took Testing Solutions’ Bootcamp and followed their guidance on other 3d party CARS resources. They helped.

You’ll get much better CARS materials from companies to practice on if you take one of their courses.

There are some who say actual old LSATs available for purchase on the LSAT website.

The best materials are AMCAS questions. Order all of their materials.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

itsallsmiles

Full Member
5+ Year Member
2+ Year Member
May 5, 2016
21
6
111
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
What are you using to study for the P/S section?
I decided to use TBR and KA for the sciences.
And just rely on The KA doc and AMCAS resources for P/S.
For CARS I was a bit lost but I will definitely work harder at that these next few months. I’m thinking of getting UWORLD (I originally wanted to purchase it but just felt overwhelmed with trying to complete TBR questions) and will look at the link above !

i think I realize now that I really didn’t have time to do much practice questions even though I planned to because it just took me so long to review content. And unfortunately my content probably still isn’t so good based on my scores. I think I’ll take a good few more month to study. Hope I see better results.
 

MyOdyssey

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2015
1,427
939
166
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I decided to use TBR and KA for the sciences.
And just rely on The KA doc and AMCAS resources for P/S.
For CARS I was a bit lost but I will definitely work harder at that these next few months. I’m thinking of getting UWORLD (I originally wanted to purchase it but just felt overwhelmed with trying to complete TBR questions) and will look at the link above !

i think I realize now that I really didn’t have time to do much practice questions even though I planned to because it just took me so long to review content. And unfortunately my content probably still isn’t so good based on my scores. I think I’ll take a good few more month to study. Hope I see better results.

The 300 page P/S outline is good.

UWorld tests content knowledge but doesn’t help with the tough passage based questions. UWorld’s CARS isn’t good.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
About the Ads

JSD2

Full Member
Jul 2, 2019
87
190
41
  1. Pre-Medical
I'm not going to say it isn't possible to significantly increase your score in 3 weeks, but it isn't easy and for most people is way more anxiety than it is worth. I went from a first FL score of 502 to a consistent 511/512 (I know that's not an impressive scored compared to many others on this forum, just trying to show that decent improvement is possible) in about that time through using Khan Academy (I hadn't taken any physics courses so KA was good for learning the basic principals for the first time) and the AAMC Q banks. Everyone learns differently, I have always learned best by taking boatloads of practice questions because I'm much better about remembering things I got wrong (and why they were wrong) than I am memorizing facts from content review resources. If you've been studying since May and have seen minimal improvement then it is probably time to reevaluate why you are having trouble. How is your focus when taking the exam? Are you (understandably) having a lot of anxiety? Is decoding the questions a problem? etc. Don't take the exam until you feel reasonably confident that you can get around the score you want, otherwise you're wasting your time and money (as well as negatively impacting your mental health) for something that will be more manageable at another time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

itsallsmiles

Full Member
5+ Year Member
2+ Year Member
May 5, 2016
21
6
111
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hi everyone,
I've been talking with some people and they made me consider taking it late august or maybe even early September. Im planning on spending what I need to spend on a good tutor. Some people are saying I may be okay applying then this cycle. Would you guys agree or strongly disagree with this? I would really prefer not to have 2 gap years.
 

Med Ed

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2015
3,454
12,805
176
  1. Attending Physician
Hi everyone,
I've been talking with some people and they made me consider taking it late august or maybe even early September. Im planning on spending what I need to spend on a good tutor. Some people are saying I may be okay applying then this cycle. Would you guys agree or strongly disagree with this? I would really prefer not to have 2 gap years.

"Prefer" has got nothing to do with it. Take the MCAT when you have good evidence that you will post an acceptable score. Taking it prematurely and getting a subpar score will simply box you into a situation that is not enviable.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users

itsallsmiles

Full Member
5+ Year Member
2+ Year Member
May 5, 2016
21
6
111
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
"Prefer" has got nothing to do with it. Take the MCAT when you have good evidence that you will post an acceptable score. Taking it prematurely and getting a subpar score will simply box you into a situation that is not enviable.
Thank you I totally agree. I definitely won't take it until my AAMC practice tests are where they should be. I was just making sure if this 'ideal score' is there, comes August, would still be smart to apply?
 

ciestar

All grown up!
7+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2013
8,068
11,400
226
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Hi everyone,
I've been talking with some people and they made me consider taking it late august or maybe even early September. Im planning on spending what I need to spend on a good tutor. Some people are saying I may be okay applying then this cycle. Would you guys agree or strongly disagree with this? I would really prefer not to have 2 gap years.
Disagree. Your score will be back end of September. That’s too late.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

gonnif

Rule One: Take a Breath
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
23,829
40,419
276
The Big Bad Apple
  1. Non-Student
Hi everyone,
I've been talking with some people and they made me consider taking it late august or maybe even early September. Im planning on spending what I need to spend on a good tutor. Some people are saying I may be okay applying then this cycle. Would you guys agree or strongly disagree with this? I would really prefer not to have 2 gap years.
Strongly Disagree.

I am always utterly astounded by supposedly high achieving students who assume a self-imposed timetable for applying, do not understand the process well enough to realize how much time they need to complete finishing prereqs, MCAT prep, and filling out in a highly polished way, the AMCAS Primary Application and 10-25 additional secondary applications, the reality of the chances and competition that getting an acceptee truly is

Applicants look at this as “when is the latest” they can submit, when they need to be looking at how to optimize their chances. Applying with a rushed, late MCAT and AMCAS, all of which is fully under your control, is a way to be rejected and reducing your chances on the next cycle as a reapplicant

Timing, Scheduling, and Priority
1) applicants need to be as fully prepared for the MCAT as possible and need to spend near 100% time, energy and focus prepping for this as the score will stay with you forever. Frankly, applicants shouldnt be planning AMCAS until they have completed the MCAT.
2) applicants need to have a well-written, highly-polished AMCAS is needed to get an interview and they should be spending near 100% time, energy and focus on getting this done.
3) trying to do both the MCAT and AMCAS at the same time risk doing badly on both, not to mention coursework if you are in classes
4) Applicants need to have MCAT complete prior to application season starts and you should go prep another 2 months and take MCAT in Sept for next cycle

Here is my reasoning in outline form of what applicants should prioritize

Applying to Med School means:
*Illuminating your positives
*Minimizing your negatives
*Optimizing your chances with timing
*Reducing your risks
*Efficiency in doing your application
*Being the strongest first time applicant

The MCAT:
*Is weighted as much as GPA
*Should be considered at least a 6 credit course in time and work load
*Will stay with your forever
*Risk should be reduced by having the prereqs completed and sufficient time, energy, and focus to do well on it once
*should prepped for and completed prior to working on AMCAS

Filing out the Applications:
*is the AMCAS primary and 10-25 supplemental applications
*that need to be coherent, concise and compelling
*completed with high quality and in a highly polished way
*Has lengthy transcript entries, ECs and many, many multiple essays
*Should be considered a nearly full-time job from mid-May thru at least early September

*Be completed early in the cycle as to give applicants the most optimal timing

The data on applicants include:
*15 is the average number of applications
*40% with 3.8 GPA or higher dont get an acceptance
*60% with 3.6-3.8 GPA dont get an acceptance
*20% with MCAT 517 or higher dont get acceptance
*nearly 50% of matriculants get a single offer of acceptance
*So nearly 1/2 of acceptees have a 7% acceptance rate
*about 60% of matriculants took a gap year

Therefore in priorities:
*Complete prereqs and focus on GPA before attempting MCAT
*Put nearly 100% time, energy and focus into MCAT for 6-12 weeks or more. Complete the MCAT before starting AMCAS, optimally before the application cycle begins
*Put nearly 100% of time, energy and focus into the actual applications
*Begin application prep weeks or months before they open (Jan of application year)
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 5 users
About the Ads
This thread is more than 1 year old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.