Advice please!

CCEVJG

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    hey guys...just wanted to see what your thoughts were.

    i'm 34, married with four kids. my oldest has cerebral palsy, youngest is 2. working full-time as an RN and still in the process of finishing prereqs. i'm applying for 07 to the TX schools.

    i've taking a few practice tests from the aamc and done horrible. can't even post the numbers... :oops: . i know they're supposed to be good a good indicator of how you'll do on the mcat. so with the mcat just right around the corner i'm considering pulling my app and trying in 08 :( .

    with my busy schedule it's been hard to get all the studytime i'd like. oh btw, did i mention i haven't taken o-chem yet? :eek: i know, i know dumb move.

    so i'm debating whether to just give it a shot and see how it turns out. if i don't get in, i don't get in. or withdraw my apps, take the mcat in april, and apply for 08?

    any miracles out there?
     

    chopper

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      CCEVJG said:
      hey guys...just wanted to see what your thoughts were.

      i'm 34, married with four kids. my oldest has cerebral palsy, youngest is 2. working full-time as an RN and still in the process of finishing prereqs. i'm applying for 07 to the TX schools.

      i've taking a few practice tests from the aamc and done horrible. can't even post the numbers... :oops: . i know they're supposed to be good a good indicator of how you'll do on the mcat. so with the mcat just right around the corner i'm considering pulling my app and trying in 08 :( .

      with my busy schedule it's been hard to get all the studytime i'd like. oh btw, did i mention i haven't taken o-chem yet? :eek: i know, i know dumb move.

      so i'm debating whether to just give it a shot and see how it turns out. if i don't get in, i don't get in. or withdraw my apps, take the mcat in april, and apply for 08?

      any miracles out there?


      The common advice is that your best shot of getting in to medical school is on the first try. So you want to make that first try your best. You shouldn't apply to just see if you can get in. Not only is it very expensive (although you are doing TAMDAS so I'm sure that alleviates some of the burden), but you want to ensure that you look serious about the process.

      While OChem isn't a huge part of the MCAT, I would highly recommend taking all the pre-reqs before taking the test. Moreover, I would HIGHLY recommend taking all the pre-reqs before applying. While most schools require the pre-reqs completed before you marticulate, not having a basic pre-req will throw up red flags. I would say it would be OK to hold off on a 'non-standard' pre-req like BioChem or a social science, but not the big 4.

      My recommendation is to hold off applying until next year. Study hard and nail the MCAT, and put forward a strong application for that cycle.

      Hope that helps.
       

      runningmom

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        CCEVJG said:
        hey guys...just wanted to see what your thoughts were.

        i'm 34, married with four kids. my oldest has cerebral palsy, youngest is 2. working full-time as an RN and still in the process of finishing prereqs. i'm applying for 07 to the TX schools.

        i've taking a few practice tests from the aamc and done horrible. can't even post the numbers... :oops: . i know they're supposed to be good a good indicator of how you'll do on the mcat. so with the mcat just right around the corner i'm considering pulling my app and trying in 08 :( .

        with my busy schedule it's been hard to get all the studytime i'd like. oh btw, did i mention i haven't taken o-chem yet? :eek: i know, i know dumb move.

        so i'm debating whether to just give it a shot and see how it turns out. if i don't get in, i don't get in. or withdraw my apps, take the mcat in april, and apply for 08?

        any miracles out there?

        So you have already submitted AMCAS or are still filling it out?

        Based on what you have posted, I would say wait another year - 34 to 35 isn't that big a difference.

        I don't know what your GPA is, but unless you are sitting with a very strong (greater than 3.7/3.8) GPA a low MCAT will knock you out of the running. I hate to be a naysayer.... but I think you'll have a better shot next year. Not having orgo won't kill you - there weren't that many questions on the Bio section when I took it last Aug. But if you are already having a tough time, that might be all it takes.

        You could also consider taking it in Jan if you think you can get the study time done this fall/winter. That would let you apply as early as possible next cycle. Bottom line, your app is going to be considered late in this cycle and without stellar stats across the board you are going to be fighting for dwindling interview slots.

        And reapplying is very hard - from what I've been told - I haven't done it yet (knocks wood). The good news is that TX has alot of schools and several are big on non-trads. Just my two cents. Best of luck whatever you decide!! :luck: :love: :luck:
         
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        CCEVJG

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          thanks for the advice, chopper.

          taking a hard look at things, it might be best to wait.

          i don't have much more time to decide with 8/19 around the corner.

          anyone else?
           

          CCEVJG

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            runningmom said:
            So you have already submitted AMCAS or are still filling it out?

            Based on what you have posted, I would say wait another year - 34 to 35 isn't that big a difference.

            I don't know what your GPA is, but unless you are sitting with a very strong (greater than 3.7/3.8) GPA a low MCAT will knock you out of the running. I hate to be a naysayer.... but I think you'll have a better shot next year. Not having orgo won't kill you - there weren't that many questions on the Bio section when I took it last Aug. But if you are already having a tough time, that might be all it takes.

            You could also consider taking it in Jan if you think you can get the study time done this fall/winter. That would let you apply as early as possible next cycle. Bottom line, your app is going to be considered late in this cycle and without stellar stats across the board you are going to be fighting for dwindling interview slots.

            And reapplying is very hard - from what I've been told - I haven't done it yet (knocks wood). The good news is that TX has alot of schools and several are big on non-trads. Just my two cents. Best of luck whatever you decide!! :luck: :love: :luck:




            my TMDSAS app has been verified and sent to the schools, my secondaries have been completed, i'm waiting of 1 LOR, and then take the MCAT.

            no stellar GPA unfortunately. my nursing classes hurt me. (lack of motivation since i wasn't going to med school like i wanted....that's a whole other thread!!).

            need to decide before more $$$ down the drain! the january mcat sounds like a good idea :idea: . thanks for the advice!! :thumbup:
             
            CCEVJG said:
            no stellar GPA unfortunately. my nursing classes hurt me. (lack of motivation since i wasn't going to med school like i wanted....that's a whole other thread!!).

            need to decide before more $$$ down the drain! the january mcat sounds like a good idea :idea: . thanks for the advice!! :thumbup:

            Hi there,
            Take the MCAT when you have thoroughly prepared and when you are ready. Do not take the MCAT for practice. Multiple retakes with mediocre scores can kill your application.

            You have plenty of time to prepare yourself for medical school and the MCAT. Take that time and do a good job. If you are ready for the January MCAT, then take it but there is no rush. There are no age limits on the study of medicine.

            I know that you have spent the money and time to go through the Texas application but consider those expenses experiences and learn from them. Since you say that your GPA is not strong, you NEED a very strong MCAT. Take your time and do well.

            njbmd :)
             

            QofQuimica

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              CCEVJG said:
              hey guys...just wanted to see what your thoughts were.

              i'm 34, married with four kids. my oldest has cerebral palsy, youngest is 2. working full-time as an RN and still in the process of finishing prereqs. i'm applying for 07 to the TX schools.

              i've taking a few practice tests from the aamc and done horrible. can't even post the numbers... :oops: . i know they're supposed to be good a good indicator of how you'll do on the mcat. so with the mcat just right around the corner i'm considering pulling my app and trying in 08 :( .

              with my busy schedule it's been hard to get all the studytime i'd like. oh btw, did i mention i haven't taken o-chem yet? :eek: i know, i know dumb move.

              so i'm debating whether to just give it a shot and see how it turns out. if i don't get in, i don't get in. or withdraw my apps, take the mcat in april, and apply for 08?

              any miracles out there?
              I vote for not counting on miracles. You need to have a sensible, step-wise plan to get from where you are to where you want to be. You should start by withdrawing your apps, finishing your pre-reqs, and THEN taking the MCAT. These things work out best when you do them in the correct order. Don't try to cut corners; take things systematically, one at a time, and finish each one properly before you start the next. Your first order of business should be to smoke a year of organic with lab, plus any other coursework you need. (Some schools require or recommend biochem, english, calculus, genetics, etc., so make sure that you check what the TX schools want.) Then you should set aside a few months (2-3) to study for the MCAT when your schedule allows. Make sure that you review the sciences well, and even more importantly, make sure that you take multiple practice tests under timed conditions. That last point is essential; the MCAT is much more of a reasoning test than it is a science test. THEN, you will be ready to apply, probably in 2008 if you are disciplined. Best of luck to you. :)
               

              Sol Rosenberg

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                QofQuimica said:
                coursework you need. (Some schools require or recommend biochem, english, calculus, genetics, etc., so make sure that you check what the TX schools want.)

                TX schools want all of the above. UTSA REQUIRES Biochem starting this cycle, and all of the other classes you mention are de-facto requirements (I phrase it that way, because the requirement is 2 years Bio., and Genetics is usually the first 2nd year Bio. class taken -- it will help you on the MCAT, anyway.) Calc. or Math Dept. Statistics is required by all TX schools.
                 

                RxnMan

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                  QofQuimica said:
                  I vote for not counting on miracles.
                  Yes - luck is the confluence of preparedness and opportunity. One thing that I would do differently would be to plan my pre-req classes out better. If I had done that, I probably wouldn't have had to apply 3 times. Have a good long-term plan where you feel prepared and comfortable. There shouldn't be a point where you're completely stressed out.
                   

                  CCEVJG

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                    QofQuimica said:
                    I vote for not counting on miracles. You need to have a sensible, step-wise plan to get from where you are to where you want to be. You should start by withdrawing your apps, finishing your pre-reqs, and THEN taking the MCAT. These things work out best when you do them in the correct order. Don't try to cut corners; take things systematically, one at a time, and finish each one properly before you start the next. Your first order of business should be to smoke a year of organic with lab, plus any other coursework you need. (Some schools require or recommend biochem, english, calculus, genetics, etc., so make sure that you check what the TX schools want.) Then you should set aside a few months (2-3) to study for the MCAT when your schedule allows. Make sure that you review the sciences well, and even more importantly, make sure that you take multiple practice tests under timed conditions. That last point is essential; the MCAT is much more of a reasoning test than it is a science test. THEN, you will be ready to apply, probably in 2008 if you are disciplined. Best of luck to you. :)


                    for my prereqs i have left:

                    taking inorganic chem II right now
                    organic I and physics II in the fall
                    orgo II and biochem in spring 07 and i should be done.

                    this would mean i would still be finishing up prereqs (May 07) when the april mcat comes around. do you think that's ok? i'm guessing the short answer would be "that depends" huh?

                    you know...i'm a pretty laid back person :cool: . But this whole process has driven me to insanity!!! :scared:

                    thanks for all the help guys. i'll continue to need it!
                     

                    CCEVJG

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                      RxnMan said:
                      Yes - luck is the confluence of preparedness and opportunity. One thing that I would do differently would be to plan my pre-req classes out better. If I had done that, I probably wouldn't have had to apply 3 times. Have a good long-term plan where you feel prepared and comfortable. There shouldn't be a point where you're completely stressed out.
                      EXACTLY!!! i think that was my big mistake. i tried to rush everything in and now i'm paying the price.
                       

                      QofQuimica

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                        CCEVJG said:
                        for my prereqs i have left:

                        taking inorganic chem II right now
                        organic I and physics II in the fall
                        orgo II and biochem in spring 07 and i should be done.

                        this would mean i would still be finishing up prereqs (May 07) when the april mcat comes around. do you think that's ok? i'm guessing the short answer would be "that depends" huh?

                        you know...i'm a pretty laid back person :cool: . But this whole process has driven me to insanity!!! :scared:

                        thanks for all the help guys. i'll continue to need it!
                        Yes, it's ok to take the April MCAT if you're finishing organic II in May. You'll just need to teach yourself about the biomolecules (proteins, lipids, sugars) because those chapters tend to be covered at the end of most organic II courses. They are high-yield MCAT topics, so make sure you learn them well before you sit for the test. You don't need to take biochem to prepare for the MCAT at all, so you can even take it the summer or fall after you take the MCAT if necessary.

                        This process drives us all to insanity; you're definitely not alone. But you'll feel better and be more successful if you follow a sensible plan and take each step one at a time. :luck: to you.
                         

                        RxnMan

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                          QofQuimica said:
                          Yes, it's ok to take the April MCAT if you're finishing organic II in May.
                          Also remember that the MCAT went to computer-based testing, so you aren't limited to April and August test-times (like back in the old days when I took it). You can do the test when you feel prepared for it.

                          When I took the MCAT, it was snowing, and uphill, both ways.
                           
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                          jackieMD2007

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                            Hey there--remember that in '07 there are going to be a lot more opportunities to take the MCAT--something like 10 or whatever. So don't go until you're as ready as you can be. Get those classes out the of way, so you have your base knowledge. Get a practice CBT MCAT from the test prep places as soon as they are available and start practicing. If you are a Kaplan student, Kaplan has Q Bank and that is really helpful.

                            As a non-trad, I really liked EK's 1001 Questions in Physics and 1001 Questions in Chemistry. The simple, one step questions helped me get my footing quickly.
                             

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                              CCEVJG said:
                              for my prereqs i have left:

                              taking inorganic chem II right now
                              organic I and physics II in the fall
                              orgo II and biochem in spring 07 and i should be done.

                              this would mean i would still be finishing up prereqs (May 07) when the april mcat comes around. do you think that's ok? i'm guessing the short answer would be "that depends" huh?

                              you know...i'm a pretty laid back person :cool: . But this whole process has driven me to insanity!!! :scared:

                              thanks for all the help guys. i'll continue to need it!

                              Agree with the others. DO NOT TAKE the MCAT until you have finished the prereqs AND are scoring well on practice tests. Your best shot at med school is to take it once when you are ready. If it takes an extra year, that's fine too -- use the year to bulk up any portions of your app that might be weak, maybe take something like biochem (which is a prereq at some schools but helpful at many others), etc. But make sure you don't pull that trigger until all the ducks are lined into a row. Good luck
                               

                              CCEVJG

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                                Thanks everyone. Looks like I'll be putting off applying this year. My wife is excited because that will mean an extra year at home with the kids as opposed to having to get a job while I'm in med school :D

                                Thanks again and look for me to continue to ask for advice!!! :)
                                 

                                threepeas

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                                  CCEVJG said:
                                  hey guys...just wanted to see what your thoughts were.

                                  i'm 34, married with four kids. my oldest has cerebral palsy, youngest is 2. working full-time as an RN and still in the process of finishing prereqs. i'm applying for 07 to the TX schools.

                                  i've taking a few practice tests from the aamc and done horrible. can't even post the numbers... :oops: . i know they're supposed to be good a good indicator of how you'll do on the mcat. so with the mcat just right around the corner i'm considering pulling my app and trying in 08 :( .

                                  with my busy schedule it's been hard to get all the studytime i'd like. oh btw, did i mention i haven't taken o-chem yet? :eek: i know, i know dumb move.

                                  so i'm debating whether to just give it a shot and see how it turns out. if i don't get in, i don't get in. or withdraw my apps, take the mcat in april, and apply for 08?

                                  any miracles out there?

                                  i am 38yo married with 4 kids (3 under 4yo) and starting 3rd yr of medschool. i was 36yo when i started medschool, and prior to was working full time as a PA.

                                  my advice is....finish Ochem without a doubt. sign up for a kaplan/princeton review course and set your self up to take an april mcat for entrance into 08 or 09 class. i started formal prep with princeton review in january and took an april mcat. my prereqs were done 10 years earlier, so i had to dust off the cob webs. my first practice test was 7-7-7=21. my mcat was 12B-10PS-8V. so if i can do it...so can you.

                                  good luck and let me know if you need more specific advice. if you have a passion to become a doctor it is well worth it. i have never regretted my decision and my family has done just fine.
                                   

                                  CCEVJG

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                                    jackieMD2007 said:
                                    As a non-trad, I really liked EK's 1001 Questions in Physics and 1001 Questions in Chemistry. The simple, one step questions helped me get my footing quickly.


                                    i was thinking of trying those EK question books for more practice. did you try the others bio, orgo, and verbal?
                                     

                                    QofQuimica

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                                      jackieMD2007 said:
                                      Hey there--remember that in '07 there are going to be a lot more opportunities to take the MCAT--something like 10 or whatever.
                                      There are actually 22 test administrations starting next year. :)

                                      OP, you might want to check out www.aamc.org and read through the MCAT section when you have some time. The AAMC's MCAT student manual will give you tons of tips and explain all about the new CBT format. Also, you can read through the MCAT subforum (the Study Question Q & A one inside the main MCAT forum) for a bunch of other tips by SDN volunteers. Many of us who volunteer in the subforum are non-trads who successfully took the MCAT and are now med students or getting ready to start med school. :)
                                       

                                      Ebete

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                                        chopper said:
                                        The common advice is that your best shot of getting in to medical school is on the first try. So you want to make that first try your best. You shouldn't apply to just see if you can get in. Not only is it very expensive (although you are doing TAMDAS so I'm sure that alleviates some of the burden), but you want to ensure that you look serious about the process.

                                        While OChem isn't a huge part of the MCAT, I would highly recommend taking all the pre-reqs before taking the test. Moreover, I would HIGHLY recommend taking all the pre-reqs before applying. While most schools require the pre-reqs completed before you marticulate, not having a basic pre-req will throw up red flags. I would say it would be OK to hold off on a 'non-standard' pre-req like BioChem or a social science, but not the big 4.

                                        My recommendation is to hold off applying until next year. Study hard and nail the MCAT, and put forward a strong application for that cycle.

                                        Hope that helps.
                                        I agree, I tried once, twice and now studying for the 3rd time :mad: If you are not getting your desired score on the diagnostics and haven't finished pre-reqs. I wouldn't go for it and hope for a miracle, don't waste time thinking (hoping) to get in. Focus, study hard, be really ready for the MCAT, nail it, then apply! Good luck!

                                        By the way while you are finishing your classes while hopefully geting great grades consider that as MCAT review and study for both a good grade and a MCAT score increase.
                                         

                                        CCEVJG

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                                          Ebete said:
                                          I agree, I tried once, twice and now studying for the 3rd time :mad: If you are not getting your desired score on the diagnostics and haven't finished pre-reqs. I wouldn't go for it and hope for a miracle, don't waste time thinking (hoping) to get in. Focus, study hard, be really ready for the MCAT, nail it, then apply! Good luck!

                                          By the way while you are finishing your classes while hopefully geting great grades consider that as MCAT review and study for both a good grade and a MCAT score increase.
                                          yeah...it's crazy. i feel like i should be doing better and i'm not. oh well. i'll just continue to study hard, finish prereqs, and go for 08.

                                          thanks for the help!
                                           

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                                            CCEVJG said:
                                            yeah...it's crazy. i feel like i should be doing better and i'm not. oh well. i'll just continue to study hard, finish prereqs, and go for 08.

                                            thanks for the help!
                                            If you haven't already, another thing to consider is your test-taking strategies. Independent of how much you know, you can increase your score by thinking about how to test intelligently. You can get a good start by look at a Kaplan or Princeton test-prep book strategy section.
                                             

                                            CCEVJG

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                                              RxnMan said:
                                              If you haven't already, another thing to consider is your test-taking strategies. Independent of how much you know, you can increase your score by thinking about how to test intelligently. You can get a good start by look at a Kaplan or Princeton test-prep book strategy section.
                                              good point. i was looking back at the 4R practice test and i missed some questions i had no business missing. for a variety of reasons i missed the question but it wasn't due to knowledge.

                                              i've been using EK but i do have a kaplan book to. i'll check into it and see if it helps.

                                              thanks again!
                                               

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                                                CCEVJG said:
                                                good point. i was looking back at the 4R practice test and i missed some questions i had no business missing. for a variety of reasons i missed the question but it wasn't due to knowledge.

                                                i've been using EK but i do have a kaplan book to. i'll check into it and see if it helps.

                                                thanks again!
                                                Kaplan is just one source I could remember. Random tips:

                                                1) Always have a (silent) timer running with how much time you have left in the section of the test, and spend your time accordingly. e.g., if you've spent 1/3 of the time, then you should have at least 1/3 of the problems done.

                                                2) If your read the problem and don't immediately know how to attack it, come back to it at a later time. You will be surprised at how much your (unconscious) mind will grind on problems while you're thinking about something else. And answering a later question may jog your memory on how to approach an earlier one.

                                                3) Do all of the stand-alone problems before the passage-based ones. They take up less time per problem, so you can get a lot done in a short time early in the test.

                                                4) Estimating an answer (as apposed to calculating it out completely) is a good way to save time.

                                                5) When the right answer is not immediately obvious, eliminating wrong ones works.

                                                6a) Once a section is done, it's done. Forget how badly you think you might have done. You can't change your score anymore, with the exception that feeling bad about it may make you perform worse on the next section, so approch the next section like it's the first one of the day.

                                                6b) Once the test is done, it's done. Forget how badly you think you might have done. You can't change your score anymore, and your memories of the test will only become more and more twisted the more commisserate with your fellow test-takers. Save yourself the inevitable depression by drinking a lot and having a good time. The score will come in time, no mater how you feel about it.
                                                 

                                                CCEVJG

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                                                  RxnMan said:
                                                  Random tips:


                                                  RxnMan--thanks for the tips


                                                  Well, today I officially cancelled my MCAT (I took about ten minutes before pushing the button) and sent an email to TMDSAS to withdraw my apps. You know it only took them about 5 minutes to send a response. It usually takes forever to get an email from them for anything else :mad:

                                                  Here's to 2008!!!
                                                   

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                                                    CCEVJG said:
                                                    RxnMan--thanks for the tips


                                                    Well, today I officially cancelled my MCAT (I took about ten minutes before pushing the button) and sent an email to TMDSAS to withdraw my apps. You know it only took them about 5 minutes to send a response. It usually takes forever to get an email from them for anything else :mad:

                                                    Here's to 2008!!!

                                                    Good luck!! I really think you did the right thing. :luck: :luck:
                                                     

                                                    QofQuimica

                                                    Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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                                                      runningmom said:
                                                      Good luck!! I really think you did the right thing. :luck: :luck:
                                                      FWIW, I agree. Concentrate on your classes for now, OP, and tackle the MCAT afterward when you're ready. Best of luck to you. :)
                                                       
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