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Do the UCs prescreen individual MCAT section scores?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by strongboy2005, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. strongboy2005

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    I have noticed a trend on mdapps regarding the UC schools. People getting secondaries to UC schools tend to have at least a 10 in every section on the MCAT.

    Is there any chance that there is some sort of cut-off at 10? I only ask because I have not received a secondary from UCI, UCLA, UCSD, or UCSF and I have a 32/3.9.

    Unfortunately, I have a 13/10/9 (PS/VR/BS), which I believe is screening me out of the whole process. From what I understand, the UCs do not even read your primary application before offering a secondary. In other words, the secondary-giving process is PURELY numbers based.

    I must have missed some sort of cut-off and it wasn't my MCAT or GPA (there are many applicants with a lower MCAT and my GPA is good), but perhaps it was my 9 in Bio Sciences. I have had a few interviews this cycle (but no acceptances), and I wonder, should consider retaking my MCAT to bring up that BS score, even though I doubt I would be able to pull off a 13 PS again?

    I have seen several applicants on this site and on mdapps this cycle who have recieved secondaries with a <30 MCAT. The common denominator? At least a 10 in BS... (for example, there is one fellow with a 10/9/10 who got past the computer prescreen for a secondary).

    I was unhappy with my 9 in BS, but I am superstitious about retaking a 32 MCAT. Is there any chance my high GPA and overall performance on the MCAT will outweigh the "average" section score in BS? I am really starting to lose hope that I will recieve any UC secondaries...
     
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  3. Lukkie

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    shemarty has a 9 in VR yet she had interviews and i think even an acceptance to a UC
     
  4. iA-MD2013

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    I don't have a 10+ in every section and got secondaries from all and a UCSD acceptance. And Lukkie is right shemarty got UCSF, UCLA, UCSD interviews, and a UC acceptance.
     
  5. silverlining1

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    Yup yup. There may be a minimum somewhere (who knows?) but it's not 10.

    EDIT: Just re-read your post and saw that you're specifically concerned about BS... If you look at the MSAR, you'll see that there are people who got into UCs with lower than 10 in BS and other sections as well. Also do a search through MDapps.
     
  6. droshan

    droshan Waitlist King!
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    I believe they weigh the biology section a bit more heavily and are more forgiving on the verbal section...particularly if you did well on the other sections. I think all things being equal they would even prefer BS over PS.
     
  7. silverlining1

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    I have heard conflicting things here. Not sure if one section is seen as "more important" across all schools.
     
  8. CourageKid

    CourageKid Don't mind me
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    Is this true? I'd think if it was solely numbers based, they'd be quicker about handing out secondaries (i.e a cursory glance, do you meet the number requirement or not) Mayble it was because I was out of state, but it took a bit to get through the secondary screens for me. Edit: Nm. Looks like the time thing might not apply to IS.

    As for the OP, I can't imagine that one point on one section of your MCAT score would decide your potential admissions to these schools. But this process can be so crazy, that I guess who knows...
     
    #7 CourageKid, Dec 11, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  9. Surferboy

    Surferboy basileus
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    29Q here (10P 9V 10B) Non-URM non-disadvantaged
    Received secondaries from UCI, UCD, and UCLA the day they received my amcas

    Received UCSF secondary 2.5 months afterwards

    Still waiting on UCSD but I'm guessing that's a rejection

    I'm sorry you haven't received secondaries yet. Looking at your stats, I don't how you didn't get them over me. Feels like they picked names out of a bag. Still have time. Hope you get them.
     
    #8 Surferboy, Dec 11, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  10. chessknt87

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    see my mdapps
     
  11. strongboy2005

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    I guess I should've been more specific:

    I have noticed that the UCs aren't taking very many people with less than a 10 in BS, specifically.

    For example, it seems that a 29 (10/9/10), is a stronger MCAT than my 32 (13/10/9) due solely to the point difference in the BS section. Am I mistaken?

    I mean, what else could it be? I have a friend who has a similar GPA to mine and a 32 MCAT, but his MCAT score has a 10 in the BS section. His report: AMCAS recieved: 6:00 PM, secondary offered: 6:02 PM. This means that they did not read his personal statement, did not look at his ECs, he was INSTANTLY offered a secondary. We have the same numbers, EXCEPT for that one point difference in BS.

    I feel like I missed a specific "10 or better" biological sciences cutoff since that is literally our only difference in the numbers.
     
  12. chessknt87

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    Your GPAs are identical?

    I was not instantly offered secondaries by any UC that I am aware of.
     
  13. strongboy2005

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    But you got 10's in each section! Ha my point is that you may have gotten passed the prescreen by having at least a 10 in the BS section. Whereas my MCAT is higher overall, but may have missed the cutoff by having a 9 in the BS section.

    How soon did you get your UC secondaries?
     
  14. chessknt87

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    My app was in before some of the UCs were handing out secondaries, I was in the first batch at UCLA/UCSF, but all the others I waited at least 1 week before getting them.
     
  15. Surferboy

    Surferboy basileus
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    Geez maybe the 10 in BS is true. That is weird.

    BTW, I'm sooooooooooo jealous of your Hawaii interview. I got rejected. My avatar is of me surfing in Maui. Best day of my life.
     
  16. silverlining1

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    See my previous post - there is proof that a 9 is not a death sentence.
     
  17. strongboy2005

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    My GPA is a little bit higher.

    Again, his 13/9/10 MCAT 3.9 GPA was an instant secondary from UCI (so fast that there is no possible way they read his personal statement or considered his ECs), and my 13/10/9 MCAT 3.9 GPA has gotten me nothing from the UCs (except Davis).

    I genuinely think there may be a cutoff for a BS score under 10. I saw some mdapps that had 9 BS scores at the UCs, but they were mostly non-trads or had uber ECs.
     
  18. Surferboy

    Surferboy basileus
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    Ya, but did the acceptancees receive an automatic secondary or did they have to wait a month or two or three?
     
  19. silverlining1

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    I don't know - does it really matter? Being on this side of the fence, all that matters is what happens in the end. I thought that the original question was "is 10+ in every section a strict cutoff?" and the MSAR says no.
     
  20. chessknt87

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    Wait you were both complete at the same time too?
     
  21. otterpop

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    Sweet avatar from a fellow surfer. Shortboard?

     
  22. strongboy2005

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    I was verified 7/8, he was verified 6/12. Could that have made a difference?
     
  23. Surferboy

    Surferboy basileus
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    haha thanks man. Yea it was a 6'0 JC I rented in Maui. Pretty fun day. Some big sets though haha. Those were scarier than this process. And that's saying something!

    But strongboy, your BS theory seems to work with the given evidence (however minimal it might be). I'm rooting for you. I like people from Fresno
     
  24. chessknt87

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    No not in that time frame. Chalk it up to a crapshoot/difference in writing styles/strengths. There isnt a magic number/formula, they have read your application by now and, for whatever reason, have decided to sit on it until they have a stronger feel for the entire applicant pool is my guess.
     
  25. strongboy2005

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    Yes, I should have been more specific. My current theory is that a 10 in BS is required to get the "instant" secondary, but that it is not impossible to get a secondary later (since obviously there have been those who have gotten in with 9's on their BS section).

    What we really need to do is find an applicant with a 13/13/9 or better and see if they got instant secondaries. For example, if a 13/13/9 applicant (35 overall) with the same GPA as a 10/10/10 doesn't get the "instant" secondary, but the 10/10/10 does, then we have our answer.

    Personally, I still think the computerized cutoff, specific to the BS section, is 10. I do think that some applicants may still get secondaries later, but not right away.

    One thing I wish is that medical schools would flat out publish EXACTLY what it will take to get a secondary and an interview. Even ECs can be quantified as a number, in my opinion.

    For example, they could put an online calculator that instantly tells you if you meet the secondary prescreen. Just punch in your numbers, number of EC hours and their numerical quality, assumed numerical quality of the PS, and click "Go" to see if you meet the cut. If not, adjust.

    Then, you could say to yourself, "Geez, I'm really going to need to hit this personal statement out of the park to get a secondary" or "I shouldn't even apply to this school, they give 100 points to having research and only 25 for a good GPA," etc...

    I just feel like I have NO IDEA what they are looking for. I mean, not everyone can have (nor do they have) a 35 balanced MCAT, stellar GPA, and awesome ECs, yet it is hard to find a common denominator when the reasons for one person getting in over another aren't so obvious.

    I told myself going into the MCAT: if I score a 32 or better, absolutely no retake. I have stuck to my guns on that one, refusing out of sheer stubbornness to consider retaking the MCAT. However, if my unbalanced 32 is not good enough, maybe a balanced 30 or 31 would be better? But how can I possibly know that?
     
  26. silverlining1

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    You're right - ECs can be quantified. I know that my school boils everything down to numbers. However, it's not a matter of # of ECs and total hours; different types of activities get different weights.

    But as far as releasing those methods to applicants... I don't see that happening. Can't articulate why - maybe someone else can help me out here with an explanation. But I think you're trying too hard to find reason in this application process, which is understandable... it's frustrating to not know where you stand and to compare yourself to others all the time. There is luck and there is reason in this process... there are more qualified applicants than there are spots, so luck has to play a role.

    I remember one guy who I followed on SDN - we applied right around the same time to many of the same schools, and I thought that we were about on par with each other. He started getting interviews in October (or September?), and I didn't... I got all freaked out and frustrated. I didn't get any interviews until January. He ended up getting into more schools than I did. My point is that it's really hard to compare accurately, and luck is a huge factor.

    However, I finally met the guy... and it turns out that he actually is quite a bit smarter than me. Go figure. He's my boyfriend now. Ha.
     
  27. Lukkie

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    so they boil something as vague as 'research' into hours?
     
  28. silverlining1

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    I don't know how it works... but somehow, our applications become numbers. The example I was given is that X activity is worth 3 points. (I don't think I should reveal the activity... this was told to me in confidence =p)
     
  29. chessknt87

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    Your MCAT is fine as is your GPA. It could have been how you wrote about yourself.your activities, who read your app, or any number of factors. UCSD did not give me an instant secondary, it took them a good 2-3 weeks of contemplation before they sent me one.
     
  30. strongboy2005

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    People who got interviews from the UCs with a 9 in biological sciences in 2008:

    UCLA:
    http://www.mdapplicants.com/viewprofile.php?id=10078 (URM)

    UC Davis:
    http://www.mdapplicants.com/viewprofile.php?id=9569 (non-trad)
    http://www.mdapplicants.com/viewprofile.php?id=11561 (ungodly ECs)

    UC Irvine:
    http://www.mdapplicants.com/viewprofile.php?id=10161 (publications)

    UCSF:
    none

    UCSD:
    http://www.mdapplicants.com/viewprofile.php?id=10457 (URM)
    http://www.mdapplicants.com/viewprofile.php?id=8775 (URM)

    Total: 6

    Now, let's see the number of people who got interviews from the UCs with a 10 in biological sciences in 2008:

    UCLA: 6
    UC Davis: 11
    UC Irvine: 6
    UCSF: 8
    UCSD: 13

    Total: 44

    This information, albeit not a complete and total reflection of the applicant pool as a whole, is pretty damning. It looks like that one point in the BS section has made a significant difference in the number of people who are granted interviews at the UCs.
     
  31. Lukkie

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    good to know. guess ill put down the # of hours even though personally i think its kinda ridiculous for certain things :laugh:
     
  32. alibai3ah

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    Doubtful most schools set the individual cut offs atleast at 9, 10 I believe would be too high. If you look at the MSAR, there are plenty of people who have gotten into UC Davis, Irvine, UCLA with below 10 scores. So I wouldn't worry too much, if you by chance do not get in this cycle, i doubt it'll be because of your MCAT/GPA. Although I'm wondering if they value certain sections more heavily than others. Like maybe some UC's value the biological sciences section alot...that could be a possibility, b/c usually people with sub 10 scores in any section usually tends to be verbal.
     
  33. alibai3ah

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    Actually reading all these posts, I wouldn't be surprised if they value the BS section more than the other ones. B/c everyone seems to have a low verbal or PS score. But according to statistics the BS section on the MCAT most closely correlates with ur USMLE scores...so that could be it. But I really do think you will get a secondary atleast from UC Davis and UC Irvine. I would be shocked if you get rejected pre secondary from all the UC's.
     
  34. paradisedoc

    paradisedoc Senior Member
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    This is such a nice story. It puts a lovely perspective on everything else.
     
  35. shemarty

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    I just saw the title of the thread and came to post about my 9 in VR, but apparently Lukkie did it for me.

    I've seen other threads where someone asks a question, and someone else responds with "Shemarty did such and such..." :laugh:


    I never thought making a few innocent threads would draw so much attention this cycle, haha.

    I actually have nothing meaningful to say about the 10+ BS score theory, though. Sorry I'm not much help, and good luck waiting for those secondaries.
     
    #34 shemarty, Dec 12, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2008
  36. silverlining1

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    Thanks :) I initially had reservations about getting together with someone I had met on SDN, but then I thought... come on - is an axe murderer really going to pretend to be a pre-med with a 39T? :p Now, Yahoo! personals I'd be more worried about...

    Every time I meet someone and the topic of SDN comes up, I say who I am (which sometimes gets a reaction) and then say that Shemarty is one of my best friends from college - that ALWAYS draws "Oohhh whoa!" My claim to fame.
     
  37. shemarty

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    I never would've found SDN had it not been for Silverlining1, so I owe it all to her :)
     
  38. DaiCa86

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    Lol. Your stats are like mine. I have a 3.9 GPA and 30MCAT (11PS 10VR 9BS) I received secondaries from all the UCs. Got accepted into UCSD. Rejected from UCI lol. And I got an interview from UCD.
     
  39. messenger634

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    Hey silverlining1, is this how decisions are made for every round, or is it just for pre-secondary? Can you actually quantify the strength of recommendations?:p
     
  40. alwaysaangel

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    To the OP - you're probably right - for an "auto secondary" you have to have certain numbers - what those are probably varies.

    However, then they almost all comb through the apps to see if there is something they like, and I really don't think the 9 is whats killing you. UCs are notoriously big on extracurriculars and you're kind of lacking in that area from looking at your mdapps. Maybe if you updated some of the UCs with some new activities to try to get a secondary?

    Good luck.
     
  41. halekulani

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    my first assumption would be that your application is incomplete at the UCs.

    my second assumption would be that they tried to contact you via email but it somehow got lost either in a spam box or wrong address.

    finally, i guess it would be your application, but with those scores, i would expect at least one secondary.
     
    #40 halekulani, Dec 12, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2008
  42. silverlining1

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    I don't know, I'm sorry.
     
  43. funkydrmonkey

    funkydrmonkey They Call Me Dr. Funkmonk
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    UCs suck in general... yes I am bitter...:(
     
  44. EpiPEN

    EpiPEN Aegis of Immortality
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    don't worry, our wait list does move
     
  45. scarletgirl777

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    Maybe it's your ECs. You can't just assume it's your numbers. Also, some people got the AMCAS received email after the secondary offered email (I know I did for one school), so that AMCAS received email does not come instantaneously.
     
  46. scarletgirl777

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    Your comments on these applications are pretty ridiculous because
    1) being a URM has no bearing on UC applications
    2) being a non-trad most certainly has no bearing on UC applications
    3) That first URM had great leadership
    4) That second URM had great leadership and went to Stanford
    5) That non-trad wasn't just non-trad--he owned his own business (again, LEADERSHIP) and had a great GPA.
     
  47. Lukkie

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    not to beat the dead URM horse again (but hey, Godwin's Law for SDN threads is probably URM instead of Hitler) but the way he did the searches, would not find any non-URMs that might have not gotten interviews despite the same great leadership. ie - can you find any non-URMs that did get an interview with similar low scores as person #3?
     
  48. BrokenGlass

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    This doesn't really shed light on your dilemma, but it's quite possible that med schools have access to appliations as soon as they are submitted to AMCAS.

    So they may actually read personal statements before giving out secondaries. But of course only people who work in the admissions office can answer such questions with authority.

    Your MCAT is fine. That's probably not what's holding you back.
     
  49. cyclin M

    cyclin M megaman
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    I knew this whole URM thing would spread to horses eventually...RUN SEABISCUIT RUN!!!
     

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