luckywong

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I applied D.O schools broadly and yet waiting for their responses. However, my mcat is really low and I start getting a few rejections. I'm thinking to reapply for next year. I would like to take my MCAT for the fourth time and I know it looks bad. My question is how bad it is taking MCAT for 4th times and does it means auto rejection for some schools? I am really depressed with what I should do now. Low MCATs indicate I should move on and choose other career paths? Should I really need to give up or Should I give it another try? Sorry if I sounds like rumbling but please give any idea/suggestion. Thanks.
 

stlrams22

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I applied D.O schools broadly and yet waiting for their responses. However, my mcat is really low and I start getting a few rejections. I'm thinking to reapply for next year. I would like to take my MCAT for the fourth time and I know it looks bad. My question is how bad it is taking MCAT for 4th times and does it means auto rejection for some schools? I am really depressed with what I should do now. Low MCATs indicate I should move on and choose other career paths? Should I really need to give up or Should I give it another try? Sorry if I sounds like rumbling but please give any idea/suggestion. Thanks.
What are your first 3 scores? Taking it four times will raise some serious concerns about your ability to prepare for the board exams. It will be brought up in every interview and may be discussed at length. You need to figure out what is going on, why can't you score better? I suggest hiring a test preparation company if you have not already done so. As far as giving up, I say absolutely not. Taking the MCAT four times does have a silver lining, it shows you are dedicated to become a physician. You will be able to say your biggest strength is persistence. Just make sure you do not take the MCAT again until you are prepared to do well.
 
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luckywong

luckywong

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What are your first 3 scores? Taking it four times will raise some serious concerns about your ability to prepare for the board exams. It will be brought up in every interview and may be discussed at length. You need to figure out what is going on, why can't you score better? I suggest hiring a test preparation company if you have not already done so. As far as giving up, I say absolutely not. Taking the MCAT four times does have a silver lining, it shows you are dedicated to become a physician. You will be able to say your biggest strength is persistence. Just make sure you do not take the MCAT again until you are prepared to do well.
Thanks for your input. My only concern is the 4ht time taking MCAT being a red flag or auto-rejection. Which prep course company do you suggest? I did self-study for the previous tries.
 

stlrams22

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Thanks for your input. My only concern is the 4ht time taking MCAT being a red flag or auto-rejection. Which prep course company do you suggest? I did self-study for the previous tries.
Forget self study, that obviously isn't working. I used the princeton review. Taking the MCAT for the fourth time is probably going to result in some schools turning you down, but apply broadly with a good MCAT and you'll get in.
 
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Taking the MCAT four times will prevent you from being considered at some programs for sure, regardless of any score improvement, because school's cannot allow you to just keep re-trying board exams. That said, I don't think any program publishes this as an official policy and so you will not be able to find out which programs do this.

Your MCAT of 20 in spite of a good GPA is really concerning that you either have a problem with something pervasive that deteriorates in the setting of the MCAT -- severe anxiety, language barriers, or generally inadequate test taking skills/experience. Are you panicking during exams? Are you a native English speaker? How have you done with other standardized tests (SAT, ACT, GRE) if taken?

Until that cause is determined and addressed, 1) I would not throw money at the MCAT score by taking expensive prep courses, b/c they aren't capable of treating an anxiety disorder or language proficiency, and 2) I would be wary to enter medical school even if granted an admission. The grading is almost entirely based on multiple choice exams, and you may be at risk for accruing loans and then being non-promotable or denied permission to sit for your board exams. The only thing worse than hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt is hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt with no degree or career potential to pay it off . . . so I think it would be prudent to at least consider whether there is another career path that is more suitable for you.
 
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IM2GI

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Thanks for your input. My only concern is the 4ht time taking MCAT being a red flag or auto-rejection. Which prep course company do you suggest? I did self-study for the previous tries.
I have no experience with your particular issue, but will say this: The MCAT is just the first of many tests you will have to take and do well on on the long and difficult road to becoming a physician. This not only includes local exams at your medical school, but national licensing exams as well. If you think the MCAT is rough, wait until you study for Step 1...

If you have given your best shot three times at the MCAT, and are still doing poorly, maybe medicine is just not the right career path for you. If I were an admissions officer, knowing what lies ahead, I would view four attempts as a huge red flag.

Perhaps another path to healthcare, such as PA school, might be a better fit.

Best of luck to you.
 

wades

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Hey, don't give up! I'd say its always a good idea to be aware of the different options available, but if becoming a physician is your goal then you can make it happen. Are you still in school? If so, I would suggest you speak with your adviser, they may be able to recall other students who have gone through the same thing. I am not sure if this applies to you, but for quite a number of my friends English is either their 2nd or 3rd language and because of that their MCAT score (verbal section) was affected. They are all in medical school now. Everyones situation is different, and medical school admission is a very subjective process.

I don't think a 4th test will kill your chances everywhere, I know people who've done it (this goes back the subjective process thing). If you are going to take the MCAT again, really asses what went wrong the first 3 times. Did you study the same way each time?

I am not trying to give false hope, I just wanted you to know that you aren't the only one. People have gone through similar situations and succeeded. Keep your head up!
 
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. . . if becoming a physician is your goal then you can make it happen.
. . . I am not trying to give false hope, I just wanted you to know that you aren't the only one. People have gone through similar situations and succeeded. Keep your head up!
The OP has taken the MCAT 3 times with a maximum score of 20. Can he possible make it? Sure. But only if he figures out what the problem is and how to fix it. I am not saying this is the case for the OP, but for some people this is simply not a fixable problem.

Rah rah-ing that someone who clearly has major testing difficulties and hasn't identified their origin or a strategy to overcome them "can make it happen" does no good for the potential applicant. There's this sense that there's always a way to make it happen, b/c you can always go to a for-profit, non-US med school . . . but you are being very naïve to the fact that they graduate people every single year with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt who cannot get a residency. You can get an MD. You may or may not be able to become a doctor. With the # of US MD & DO grads growing each year and proposed legislation in the pipeline to limit loans to students in carib programs and in some states to restrict their access to clinical rotations, this notion that "you can make it happen" is growing less true year by year.

I flubbed some of my early academics. I'm sensitive to the fact that there are reasons bad grades/scores happen to bright and academically competent people. But "you can do it" always needs to be conditional in a situation like this.
 
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Goro

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Instead of taking the MCAT again and magically thinking that it will somehow get better, I strongly suggest that you figure out what your deficits are and fix them before another test try. For example, is it text taking anxiety, or poor standardized test taking skills? If either, you'd better get these fixed because we're addicted to standardized tests in medical school.

Or is that you an ESL and the VR section is killing you?

If you're still in college, seek out your school's learning center and talk to specialists about some test taking help.

If the problem is the subject matter, I've seen many posts here lauding ExamKracker. Other folks have had success with Kaplan.

Your top score of the 3 exams was a 20?? That's not a good sign. Having a backup plan in case this all doesn't work out is a sign of maturity, not resignation.

4x test takers are looked down upon, but not auto-rejected. Score in the high 30s and you'll get some love, somewhere.

I applied D.O schools broadly and yet waiting for their responses. However, my mcat is really low and I start getting a few rejections. I'm thinking to reapply for next year. I would like to take my MCAT for the fourth time and I know it looks bad. My question is how bad it is taking MCAT for 4th times and does it means auto rejection for some schools? I am really depressed with what I should do now. Low MCATs indicate I should move on and choose other career paths? Should I really need to give up or Should I give it another try? Sorry if I sounds like rumbling but please give any idea/suggestion. Thanks.
 
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luckywong

luckywong

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Jun 28, 2011
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Forget self study, that obviously isn't working. I used the princeton review. Taking the MCAT for the fourth time is probably going to result in some schools turning you down, but apply broadly with a good MCAT and you'll get in.
Thanks., I will be considering between Examcracker and princeton class if I decide to the test again. Now, I am extremely depressed with what's going on in my life. :hurting:
 
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luckywong

luckywong

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Jun 28, 2011
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Take it only when you think you can get around a 32+, this way say you do +/- 3 points you're still in a decent spot.. Also, make sure you keep working on your ECs to show your passion for medicine. I doubt you will be rejected because you took it the 4th time, however you DEF need to improve at least by 7-8 points MINIMUM.
Instead of taking the MCAT again and magically thinking that it will somehow get better, I strongly suggest that you figure out what your deficits are and fix them before another test try. For example, is it text taking anxiety, or poor standardized test taking skills? If either, you'd better get these fixed because we're addicted to standardized tests in medical school.

Or is that you an ESL and the VR section is killing you?

If you're still in college, seek out your school's learning center and talk to specialists about some test taking help.

If the problem is the subject matter, I've seen many posts here lauding ExamKracker. Other folks have had success with Kaplan.

Your top score of the 3 exams was a 20?? That's not a good sign. Having a backup plan in case this all doesn't work out is a sign of maturity, not resignation.

4x test takers are looked down upon, but not auto-rejected. Score in the high 30s and you'll get some love, somewhere.

I really appreciate for everyone who contributes his/her opinion here.
I am an ESL student and yes, VR is the deadly hard section for me. I will definitely need to fix that weakness before my forth attempt. Another thing is that I live at "not my family's" house and did not have convenient time and place to study. I have been struggling with other personal problems at that "not my family" house ever since I moved to the states in 2008. This might not sound like legitimate reason for my low test performance. However, if I cannot change other things, I can change myself. I am learning to change my attitude to be happy at where I am and I see things in better way. That's why I believe I am mentally prepared for the forth time MCAT.

I am thinking to reapply in 2015 to give myself another one year to prepare for both application and my backup plan. My first MCAT was taken in 2011 and by the time I reapply, would it be already expired. I found out that most schools take MCAT scores from 3 years. Will they able to see the expired scores? I guess that might be a better plan than rushing again to reapply in 2014. I am really looking forward more comments on my situation. Thanks.
 

Goro

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Yes, we do do, going back at least ten years. I also think that the record for one of our interveiwees for taking the MCAT was 6 or 7 times.

I found out that most schools take MCAT scores from 3 years. Will they able to see the expired scores? I guess that might be a better plan than rushing again to reapply in 2014. I am really looking forward more comments on my situation.


It sounds like you have a number of hurdles to overcome. I wish you the best of luck. Therefore, do not even think of taking the MCAT until you are fully ready to do so.

Go to your school's counseling center and seek out a therapist for some help. This is NOT an admission of failure or a loss of face; depression is a real disease and not well managed on anonymous internet forums. It's time you got help for a real problem.

Let me put it to you another way: if you started peeing blood, would you go see a doctor? I suspect that you would. This is no different from hematuria.
 
Jun 21, 2012
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I really appreciate for everyone who contributes his/her opinion here.
I am an ESL student and yes, VR is the deadly hard section for me. I will definitely need to fix that weakness before my forth attempt. Another thing is that I live at "not my family's" house and did not have convenient time and place to study. I have been struggling with other personal problems at that "not my family" house ever since I moved to the states in 2008. This might not sound like legitimate reason for my low test performance. However, if I cannot change other things, I can change myself. I am learning to change my attitude to be happy at where I am and I see things in better way. That's why I believe I am mentally prepared for the forth time MCAT.

I am thinking to reapply in 2015 to give myself another one year to prepare for both application and my backup plan. My first MCAT was taken in 2011 and by the time I reapply, would it be already expired. I found out that most schools take MCAT scores from 3 years. Will they able to see the expired scores? I guess that might be a better plan than rushing again to reapply in 2014. I am really looking forward more comments on my situation. Thanks.
Are you a US citizen?

Yes. They can see expired scores.

As a non-traditional student, my suggestion to you is too cool off on the applications for a bit. Work even if at a pretty mundane non-medical job (although I do suggest at least trying to get something medically related). Get your life in order. Avail yourself of mental health services if you need them. Then return to your med school applications, even if it is a few years later. I know it feels awful to hear that and to do that, but you're in a pretty deep hole, and climbing out slowly but steadily will be better for you than knee jerk panic that ends up digging it deeper.

Even if you retook the MCAT before next cycle and got a 28 (making you viable for some schools) or even a 32, it would not magically, completely solve your problems. Those low scores don't go away, and they're consistent x3, so you can't say they're a fluke. The same way that one bad score can be forgiven due to a "bad day", 1 good score means a lot less when it comes on the tail of 3 poor ones. The further away in time you get from this period of flubbing the MCAT multiple times, the more plausible it is when you say that your life is in a completely different place than it was at that time and that you are truly not at risk of relapsing into whatever household/personal/depression/health issues sank your test-taking ability in the past.
 
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