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Jan 26, 2021
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Hi guys, so I still have to take orgo 1 +2, biochem and physics 2 to complete all my pre-reqs. On top of that, I still haven't studied for MCAT yet. Obviously I can wait till next year to apply. But let's just say.. if I try my hardest to cram MCAT and my classes, would it make sense for me to apply for this year's cycle (2021-2022)?

gpa: 3.5, top 20 US university (non-science degree)
No research experience, but have a few hundred hours of patient care experience as an EMT.
Gave a few TEDx talks due to work accomplishment post graduation (not sure if this counts as anything)

My biggest concern is MCAT. Given that i still haven't finished my pre-req, would i have a realistic chance of doing decent on it prior to this year's deadline?
 
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Rogue42

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The question needs clarification.
Are you referring to the current application cycle of 2020-2021? or 2021-2022?

Because the current cycle is absolutely out of reach for you; however, you do not necessarily need all of the pre-reqs to take the MCAT. If you study the mcat resources that are out there, and I mean actually study them, grind it out, then you can sufficiently learn the concepts that you need to be successful between now and late June/Julish to be able to complete the MCAT. It would require significant work though, and certainly no easy task, but doable nonetheless.

Never forget though, the best time to take the MCAT is when you are ready.
 
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Jan 26, 2021
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The question needs clarification.
Are you referring to the current application cycle of 2020-2021? or 2021-2022?

Because the current cycle is absolutely out of reach for you; however, you do not necessarily need all of the pre-reqs to take the MCAT. If you study the mcat resources that are out there, and I mean actually study them, grind it out, then you can sufficiently learn the concepts that you need to be successful between now and late June/Julish to be able to complete the MCAT. It would require significant work though, and certainly no easy task, but doable nonetheless.

Never forget though, the best time to take the MCAT is when you are ready.
Apologies for not specifying i am referring to the 2021-2022 cycle. I just added that on my post to avoid further confusion. thanks!

Suppose I grind it out and take the MCAT in June/July as you mentioned, would it be the only MCAT i can possibly take for the 2021-2022 cycle? Or would it be possible for me to retake MCAT even later this year, assuming I am not happy with my June MCAT results.
 
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Rogue42

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Apologies for not specifying i am referring to the 2021-2022 cycle. I just added that on my post to avoid further confusion. thanks!

Suppose I grind it out and take the MCAT in June/July as you mentioned, would it be the only MCAT i can possibly take for the 2021-2022 cycle? Or would it be possible for me to retake MCAT even later this year, assuming I am not happy with my June MCAT results.
Yes, If taken in late June, then you would have a chance for a retake, but that retake would make you a late-ISH applicant (not entirely late but pushing close).

However, the correct answer to your question is this: DO NOT TAKE THE MCAT UNTIL YOU ARE READY. You do not want to take it in June, with the hopes that you can retake a month later if its bad because 1. That looks really, really bad. It is frowned upon highly and 2. If it was bad enough 25 days before that you want a retake, then you probably aren't going to do significantly better for it to matter. Do not make this your plan.

The better plan would be to take a practice test and if it isn't what you want to be, then push your date back a month to late July.
 
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Jan 26, 2021
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Yes, If taken in late June, then you would have a chance for a retake, but that retake would make you a late-ISH applicant (not entirely late but pushing close).

However, the correct answer to your question is this: DO NOT TAKE THE MCAT UNTIL YOU ARE READY. You do not want to take it in June, with the hopes that you can retake a month later if its bad because 1. That looks really, really bad. It is frowned upon highly and 2. If it was bad enough 25 days before that you want a retake, then you probably aren't going to do significantly better for it to matter. Do not make this your plan.

The better plan would be to take a practice test and if it isn't what you want to be, then push your date back a month to late July.
Going off on the late application as mentioned, how much would this affect my chances? My quantitative scores are at best mediocre and a bit below average, although I feel that i have other areas that might compensate. Research hours is also something i am concerned about, not sure if they will take my EMT work experience equally to that.

I completely agree with your view that students should all take it when it is ready. There still remains a tradeoff in my case. Say if I can get a 515 but would render my application 2-3 months later vs a 507 on an application 2 months earlier, would that be worth it?
 
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Rogue42

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Going off on the late application as mentioned, how much would this affect my chances? My quantitative scores are at best mediocre and a bit below average, although I feel that i have other areas that might compensate. Research hours is also something i am concerned about, not sure if they will take my EMT work experience equally to that.

I completely agree with your view that students should all take it when it is ready. There still remains a tradeoff in my case. Say if I can get a 515 but would render my application 2-3 months later vs a 507 on an application 2 months earlier, would that be worth it?
I think that is a little drastic; the difference between June MCAT and July MCAT is one month. If the difference between taking it in June vs July is a 507 and a 515, respectively, then yes 1000% worth putting it off and applying in late August. If the difference is between June and late September / October, then my advice would simply be to not apply - at least not to MD schools. There would still be a chance with state MDs at that point, but do you really want to risk your first cycle on whether or not you were considered a late applicant? I would not.
 
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ihoop24

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Wait another year. Orgo 1, some orgo 2, and biochem (arguably the most important class for the MCAT) are all on the MCAT. No need to rush.
 
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harvard_of_the_west

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I'd say you should wait a year. You'll only be more prepared and with more stuff to put on your app. You don't want to mess up the MCAT. I'm sure you're aware, but It's really hard and it's really impactful on your chances. Coming from somebody who half-a$$ed it the first time around and had to retake it, you don't want to do that. And you simply can't judge how well you'd realistically do until you take a diagnostic test. I'd also say that you should absolutely not take it until you've taken biochem. It's a significant portion of the exam.

Additionally, your EMT experience is separate and not equal to research experience. I too had a few thousand hours as a first responder/EMT, but had zero research. Think of you app as being graded on different scales. You'll certainly get a 4 or a 5 out of 5 for clinical exposure/service/work experience, but the scale maxes out at 5. Once you've done that, doing more won't help you. Additionally, a 0 out of 5 for research experience will hold you back. If I had to reapply (again) I'd definitely get some research under my belt. Even helping out on a poster or a presentation would be better than nothing at all.
 
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gonnif

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Is your goal to get into medical school or to get into medical school quickly

Students woefully underestimate the amount of time and effort it takes to good enough for this competition with the majority of applicants (60%) ultimately lose with rejection and another 20% having a fair amount of just chance to get a single acceptance, not to mention that 60% of matriculants take a gap year

And you want to
-Complete Orgo, Biochem and Physics and do well for GPA
-Somehow prep and do well on the MCAT while doing that
-Complete a highly polished, well written AMCAS
-Then another 10-25 secondaries

I think any student who expresses this to me, does not understand the importance of this enormous process, have the maturity and judgement to understand the risks by taking this plan, nor see that their GPA, lack of research, lack of clinical other than EMT, makes them a weaker candidate to start. If you were to follow this plan, that alone would make me question your fitness as a potential physician.

Really, I cannot express just how much I think this plan is a real fast way to waste a huge amount of time, effort, and money on your way to rejection and being a weaker position for reapplication. You would be much better off getting your prereqs done first, then spending the weeks of intense prep that is the MCAT, adding to your ECs, and apply in a year or two.
 
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^^^ this is awesome advice. Wait to solidify your app and then apply 2022-23, or rush to apply 2021-22 and be meh!
 
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Med Ed

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Going off on the late application as mentioned, how much would this affect my chances? My quantitative scores are at best mediocre and a bit below average, although I feel that i have other areas that might compensate. Research hours is also something i am concerned about, not sure if they will take my EMT work experience equally to that.

I completely agree with your view that students should all take it when it is ready. There still remains a tradeoff in my case. Say if I can get a 515 but would render my application 2-3 months later vs a 507 on an application 2 months earlier, would that be worth it?
Let's review:
  • It's January
  • Your quantitative scores are "at best mediocre"
  • You haven't taken any organic chemistry or biochemistry
  • You are banking on getting a 70th percentile MCAT at worst
  • It's still January
This isn't complicated. You can apply during the 2021-2022 cycle, get rejected, and have to fix your application prior to reapplying. Or you can fix your application up front and apply when you have a decent chance of acceptance. Your choice.
 
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Goro

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Hi guys, so I still have to take orgo 1 +2, biochem and physics 2 to complete all my pre-reqs. On top of that, I still haven't studied for MCAT yet. Obviously I can wait till next year to apply. But let's just say.. if I try my hardest to cram MCAT and my classes, would it make sense for me to apply for this year's cycle (2021-2022)?

gpa: 3.5, top 20 US university (non-science degree)
No research experience, but have a few hundred hours of patient care experience as an EMT.
Gave a few TEDx talks due to work accomplishment post graduation (not sure if this counts as anything)

My biggest concern is MCAT. Given that i still haven't finished my pre-req, would i have a realistic chance of doing decent on it prior to this year's deadline?
I can't sugarcoat this.

Impatience is a trait we passively screen people out for. I say passively because your inability to delay gratification will blow up in your face, making our job easier.

Apply when you have the best possible application. Med schools aren't going anywhere.
 
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candbgirl

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Hi guys, so I still have to take orgo 1 +2, biochem and physics 2 to complete all my pre-reqs. On top of that, I still haven't studied for MCAT yet. Obviously I can wait till next year to apply. But let's just say.. if I try my hardest to cram MCAT and my classes, would it make sense for me to apply for this year's cycle (2021-2022)?

gpa: 3.5, top 20 US university (non-science degree)
No research experience, but have a few hundred hours of patient care experience as an EMT.
Gave a few TEDx talks due to work accomplishment post graduation (not sure if this counts as anything)

My biggest concern is MCAT. Given that i still haven't finished my pre-req, would i have a realistic chance of doing decent on it prior to this year's deadline?
Good heavens no. DO NOT TAKE THE MCAT WITHOUT TAKING THE PREREQS! You aren’t ready to apply. Besides not having 4 prereqs and a MCAT your ECs are lacking(unless you didn’t share everything.) You need 50 hours of shadowing including some hours with a primary doc and 200+ hours on nonclinical volunteering to the unserved/underserved in your community.
You really only want to,apply one time with the best possible application. So slow down and do it right.
 
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Jan 26, 2021
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I can't sugarcoat this.

Impatience is a trait we passively screen people out for. I say passively because your inability to delay gratification will blow up in your face, making our job easier.

Apply when you have the best possible application. Med schools aren't going anywhere.
Appreciate the insight there. If i were in my early 20s, I wouldn't even think of applying this year. I'm pushing 30. While the process should not change regardless of one's age, I cannot deny that impatience is real and it stems from me wanting to make up for the lost years.
 
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Appreciate the insight there. If i were in my early 20s, I wouldn't even think of applying this year. I'm pushing 30. While the process should not change regardless of one's age, I cannot deny that impatience is real and it stems from me wanting to make up for the lost years.
Good luck. But you will have better luck next cycle.
 

Goro

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Appreciate the insight there. If i were in my early 20s, I wouldn't even think of applying this year. I'm pushing 30. While the process should not change regardless of one's age, I cannot deny that impatience is real and it stems from me wanting to make up for the lost years.
Some of my all time best students have been in their 30s and 50s. Graduated one at 50 a few years ago; she' an attending now.
 

LizzyM

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When it comes to the MCAT and the application process one should go into it like going into a first marriage; your intention should be do to when the timing is right and to intend to only do it once.
 
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gonnif

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Appreciate the insight there. If i were in my early 20s, I wouldn't even think of applying this year. I'm pushing 30. While the process should not change regardless of one's age, I cannot deny that impatience is real and it stems from me wanting to make up for the lost years.
Now you are gonna get me pissed off. I thought you were a young and naive student but as someone near 30 you should have the maturity and judgement to see just how bad this idea is. Well you can APPLY to medical school anytime you want but isnt your goal to ACTUALLY get in and become a doctor? Do you really understand just how competitive this is? Do you understand just how weak a candidate you are?

I have spent much of the past 2 decades primarily focusing on nontraditional (older) students assisting hundreds in their 30s, 40s and 50s become become doctors. They didnt get in because they applied younger by a year or two; they got in because they were good. And you record aint that good, you are not prepared to even take the MCAT, and you dont have enough other ECs to be even a moderate candidate. So please, take this in the spirit in which it is given : get your head out of your A-S-S, clean out your ears, and listen to what is said here before you wonder the rest of life why you rushed medical school application and why you are doing something other than being a doctor. As for older successful stories Here are a few prominent examples.

-August 2019, NPR had a story about a former auto mechanic who graduated medical school at age 47 (yes, forty-seven)
-The former Chair of the Board of Trustees for the AMA, Rebecca Patchin MD, was a nurse for 10 years and did not start medical school until 35 years of age
-The former president of the AOA and current Dean of the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Karen Nichols, DO, was a lab tech and didnt start medical school until she was about 30.
-The first female African American Dean of any US MD or DO school , Barbara Lee-Ross, was a teacher and single mother when she was accepted to the founding class of the Michigan DO school at age 30, She is also Diana Ross's sister

(Update: I just had 40+ year old advisee get interviewed at Mayo this week)
 
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KnightDoc

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When it comes to the MCAT and the application process one should go into it like going into a first marriage; your intention should be do to when the timing is right and to intend to only do it once.
:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: -- then it should be "marriage," not "first marriage"!!! :cool: First marriage implies you know it won't be the last!!!! 😉
 

LizzyM

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:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: -- then it should be "marriage," not "first marriage"!!! :cool: First marriage implies you know it won't be the last!!!! 😉

for some reason this reminds me of a quip attributed to Oscar Wilde and it applied to applications cycles, too:

“Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”​

 
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Jan 26, 2021
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Now you are gonna get me pissed off. I thought you were a young and naive student but as someone near 30 you should have the maturity and judgement to see just how bad this idea is. Well you can APPLY to medical school anytime you want but isnt your goal to ACTUALLY get in and become a doctor? Do you really understand just how competitive this is? Do you understand just how weak a candidate you are?

I have spent much of the past 2 decades primarily focusing on nontraditional (older) students assisting hundreds in their 30s, 40s and 50s become become doctors. They didnt get in because they applied younger by a year or two; they got in because they were good. And you record aint that good, you are not prepared to even take the MCAT, and you dont have enough other ECs to be even a moderate candidate. So please, take this in the spirit in which it is given : get your head out of your A-S-S, clean out your ears, and listen to what is said here before you wonder the rest of life why you rushed medical school application and why you are doing something other than being a doctor. As for older successful stories Here are a few prominent examples.

-August 2019, NPR had a story about a former auto mechanic who graduated medical school at age 47 (yes, forty-seven)
-The former Chair of the Board of Trustees for the AMA, Rebecca Patchin MD, was a nurse for 10 years and did not start medical school until 35 years of age
-The former president of the AOA and current Dean of the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Karen Nichols, DO, was a lab tech and didnt start medical school until she was about 30.
-The first female African American Dean of any US MD or DO school , Barbara Lee-Ross, was a teacher and single mother when she was accepted to the founding class of the Michigan DO school at age 30, She is also Diana Ross's sister

(Update: I just had 40+ year old advisee get interviewed at Mayo this week)

Rule One: Take a Breath​

 
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gonnif

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for some reason this reminds me of a quip attributed to Oscar Wilde and it applied to applications cycles, too:

“Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”​

Third marriage is just bad judgement!
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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for some reason this reminds me of a quip attributed to Oscar Wilde and it applied to applications cycles, too:

“Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”​

What would Elizabeth Taylor say about that?
 
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Appreciate the insight there. If i were in my early 20s, I wouldn't even think of applying this year. I'm pushing 30. While the process should not change regardless of one's age, I cannot deny that impatience is real and it stems from me wanting to make up for the lost years.
Gonna lose time anyway if your application is bad and you get refected
 
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OP, I was in literally the same position. Wanted to wrap up pre-reqs and take the MCAT in the same semester of college and jump into applications. It all sounded good and dandy until it wasn't. One week into the next, I realized that I was stressed, unable to learn anything, and generally much more uncomfortable with the process than I should have been. After conferring with my trusted friends, I decided to cancel my MCAT a month and a half prior to the scheduled date, decided to take two gap years working a job that interested me, and pushed my MCAT for a year later.

Best. Decision. Ever.

I ended up doing very well that semester after I canceled the exam which I NEEDED since I am a lower GPA applicant. After graduating, I studied hard for the MCAT without being distracted by anything other than my full-time job and scored much higher than I would have otherwise, and I felt recharged and rested in general since I focused on my mental and physical well-being.

Take the gap year, OP. I'm supporting myself financially right now so I was really afraid of taking that step, but it was very worth it for me at the end of the day in ways beyond just getting accepted.
 
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