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explanation for low mcat but high gpa?

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ironhill

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so my mcat is subpar (28) but my gpa, both science and cumulative, are fine (3.8)... i was asked why there was such a difference in my last interview and was unprepared to answer it... I'm assuming this is a common question in situations like mine, but I dont know how to answer it. the reason i can't answer it is because i honestly dont know why i didn't do so hot on the exam... i studied pretty hard...took a prep course... and i was scoring in the mid-30s on my practice tests (which i took under testing conditions) soooo yeah i'm kind of stuck now... any suggestions?
 

braluk

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What was the breakdown? If its a 9 9 10, the breakdown doesnt seem to be too bad. It sounds like a case of test anxiety to me. If you had to answer that question, I think the best way to approach it, would to acknowledge that its not necessarily the worst score especially since you have scored higher on practice tests, but that you are willing to give the MCAT another shot if thats the only thing thats keeping you back. Otherwise, I dont think 28 is by any means a terrible score but its not great. Just deflect it and mention that it doesn't completely reflect you as a student given that you have a strong GPA and have demonstrated that you can handle the sciences.
 

baylormed

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so my mcat is subpar (28) but my gpa, both science and cumulative, are fine (3.8)... i was asked why there was such a difference in my last interview and was unprepared to answer it... I'm assuming this is a common question in situations like mine, but I dont know how to answer it. the reason i can't answer it is because i honestly dont know why i didn't do so hot on the exam... i studied pretty hard...took a prep course... and i was scoring in the mid-30s on my practice tests (which i took under testing conditions) soooo yeah i'm kind of stuck now... any suggestions?

You could have just said what you just told us. It might have been due to nerves, misbubbling, or many other reasons that maybe you can't pinpoint exactly, but you can just say so. Also, a 28 isn't that horrible. :)
 

braluk

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The only reason why I may be hesitatnt to say that it was nerves that did it is because they might put it into their heads that USLME 1 and just about all the rest of major MCAT like exams (step 2, step 3, etc..etc..) are all about nerves and doing well in spite of that. I figured that if you approach it in a way that kind of dismisses the 28 as anything bad or as a fluke, you may be able to get away unscathed
 

mikeinsd

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i agree with braluk on this one - the truth is the best, but you do not need to be so specific (singling out nerves, etc). I think just saying that you were doing fine on practices, etc, and that you really didnt expect the score you got would be sufficient.

personally i would then add something to the effect of "so my score was not what i had hoped, but I am very passionate about becoming a doctor, so I decided to give the applications my best shot this year and hope my gpa/ecs would demonstrate what a good person/candidate I am, and if no one can see thru my mcat, then i will retake, do better, and try again next year..."

i think that would show a lot of confidence in yourself? maybe too much? but thats what i would do anyhow...
 

UnderdogMD

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Your right in that it is a common question when there is a huge difference. In your case with the high GPA and low MCAT what people will think is easy course load, major, or college because of the inability of the MCAT to reflect the GPA. I am only generalizing because I don't know you or the events surrounding your testing. So I guess, you have to figure out a way to prove that you are the GPA and not that MCAT. It is entirely possible that you had a bad testing day. Other people have the opposite issue (like me) when they have to prove that they are the MCAT and not the GPA. Either way its a tough situation. Sorry that there is no 'right' answer.
 

braluk

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i agree with braluk on this one - the truth is the best, but you do not need to be so specific (singling out nerves, etc). I think just saying that you were doing fine on practices, etc, and that you really didnt expect the score you got would be sufficient.

personally i would then add something to the effect of "so my score was not what i had hoped, but I am very passionate about becoming a doctor, so I decided to give the applications my best shot this year and hope my gpa/ecs would demonstrate what a good person/candidate I am, and if no one can see thru my mcat, then i will retake, do better, and try again next year..."

i think that would show a lot of confidence in yourself? maybe too much? but thats what i would do anyhow...
:thumbup:
 

HumbleMD

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Looks like a perfect situation to retake the MCAT. With a good GPA (although where did it come from and how was your courseload?) You could really get into some top programs if you improved your score.
 

Falco2525

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say you got the flu a day before the test...that should explain it...no but really i would just say that you did better on practice exams and that you just had a bad day of testing
 

spospo

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i got asked this question in an interview. it went something like this: "you have a great GPA, and being a bio major i was expecting a little more out of your MCAT, especially the biological sciences." i answered something like this (it was almost 4 months ago): "i was expecting more as well. i felt really good after taking the test and thought i prepared well but was disappointed when i received my scores." i think i also threw something in about that not reflecting my skills or something like that. i did have a real excuse for why it may have gone not-so-hot on test day (GIANT fight with roommates the day before telling me i had to move out as soon as possible), but i didn't want to sound like i was making excuses, so i stuck with what i wrote above, because i really felt that way as well. 28 isn't bad, it managed to get me in :) best of luck
 

gary5

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i got asked this question in an interview. it went something like this: "you have a great GPA, and being a bio major i was expecting a little more out of your MCAT, especially the biological sciences." i answered something like this (it was almost 4 months ago): "i was expecting more as well. i felt really good after taking the test and thought i prepared well but was disappointed when i received my scores." i think i also threw something in about that not reflecting my skills or something like that. i did have a real excuse for why it may have gone not-so-hot on test day (GIANT fight with roommates the day before telling me i had to move out as soon as possible), but i didn't want to sound like i was making excuses, so i stuck with what i wrote above, because i really felt that way as well. 28 isn't bad, it managed to get me in :) best of luck

This is good advice. There aren't many acceptable excuses because you're supposed to be prepared, so it's better to say that you're surprised by your score and thought you did better than that.
 

Dr. Dukes

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All the above advice is good, but you have to be prepared for the question. Just like a "good" MCAT can rescue a "bad" GPA, a "bad" MCAT devalues a "good" GPA. In your case, your MCAT (which everyone has to take, and should be the same everywhere) makes your 3.8 a bit less impressive. My advice would be if you get asked it again, say you were surprised, practice exams had been going well, and you decided to apply anyway. If your app doesn't work out, take the MCAT again, and hope to do better. However, there are two problems with this plan: 1) you have to start studying soon without a real answer from schools, and 2) if you don't do well (with your GPA, 31+) on the MCAT you can't blame your score on a bad test day, and your GPA will take a hit in their minds.
Hope this helps.
 

HumbleMD

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All the above advice is good, but you have to be prepared for the question. Just like a "good" MCAT can rescue a "bad" GPA, a "bad" MCAT devalues a "good" GPA. In your case, your MCAT (which everyone has to take, and should be the same everywhere) makes your 3.8 a bit less impressive. My advice would be if you get asked it again, say you were surprised, practice exams had been going well, and you decided to apply anyway. If your app doesn't work out, take the MCAT again, and hope to do better. However, there are two problems with this plan: 1) you have to start studying soon without a real answer from schools, and 2) if you don't do well (with your GPA, 31+) on the MCAT you can't blame your score on a bad test day, and your GPA will take a hit in their minds.
Hope this helps.

:thumbup:
Good advice, mostly because it involves the truth (you truly don't understand why it didn't work out). Although you may want to actually take some time and figure out what happenned, especially if you will be retaking.
 
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