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Give It To Me Straight

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by rxfudd, Jun 18, 2001.

  1. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member
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    Well, my scores were the exact opposite of what I expected them to be: 7 VR, 9 PS, 10 BS, Q WS.

    What the hell do I do now? I am so emotionally and physically drained from all of this that I do not think that I am capable of undergoing another MCAT this soon (August). My other stats: 4.00 AO, 3.71 BCPM, 3.80 CUM. Two years of research + presentations, three years of clinical volunteering, 5 honors societies including Phi Beta Kappa, great rec letters from professors who know me better than most of my classmates. The whole nine yards.

    I am reluctant to apply at this time because of my low verbal score, but I'm not sure what my next move should be. Do I apply and risk wasting $750-$1500 on a fruitless cause? Or do I retake in April? And if I do apply, to what schools should I consider and how many - they all seem to have 9 or higher averages for VR.
     
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  3. mtritt2

    mtritt2 Member
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    Man, that sucks. I should know within a few days where I'm at. I think your other stats look really good. I would apply anyway, **** the MCAT. Just take a good look at the schools you're applying to. If I get a 26 I'm applying anyway. Good luck.
     
  4. C U in MD school

    C U in MD school Senior Member
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    I dont think that u should apply to med school with vr7. I just dont think that it would get you in. I know its hard to retake, but u have to do what u have to do. do sweet it. just relax, retake it, and I'll see you at JohnHop. :)
     
  5. rpatgcol

    rpatgcol New Member

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    Well, from what I have seen a 7 on VR will not get you anywhere. But there are some special circumstances, perhaps what school did you go to?, is English your second language?, are you applying as a minority?.

    I have friends who are in admissions comm. at local medschools, and all these factors play a role.

    However a 7 is not considered as a competitive score, and Verbal reasoning is one of the main filters used for the admissions process.
     
  6. electra

    electra SDN Moderator
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    I scroeed a 12 in verbal, but a 7 in PS and had not takers the first time I applied. I don'tt believe the "verbal filter" for a minute. HMO....

    Check the stats for the schools that you are interested in. Pick schools that you would be interested in, within those stats, ie...if the average at school "A" is "10" on each part, you might not be lucky. The other idea is to contact the school and see if you can chat with an admissions officer about your chances.

    good luck.....
     
  7. lilycat

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I know retaking the MCAT is the last thing you want to think about, but... 26 MCAT, with a 7 VR is on the low side. The other aspects of your application are so good, I really think it's worth it to retake -- applications are so draining, both mentally and financially that I think it would be much harder to repeat that process. Plus, if you apply and don't get in, you would probably have to retake the MCAT anyways, and then you will have lost all that money in application fees. :(

    I'm sorry that you didn't get the scores you were hoping for, but I would just start focusing on either the Aug. or April MCAT, and apply next year. Good luck.
     
  8. Legend

    Legend Super Senior Member
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    I think you should definitely consider retaking it in August. I took April MCAT but voided it. If I hadn't voided it, I would have gotten 6 or 7 in verbal also. I will be retaking it in August and applying.
    Good Luck.
     
  9. molecular-bio guy

    molecular-bio guy Junior Member
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    I got a 7 on the VR also, with 9's in the other two. My GPA was pretty similar, but the non-science was ~3.6. I only applied to two schools because of the low scores and was interviewed at both.
    I say it depends on the school and what kind of school you want to be at. If you want to go to Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Univ. of Mich, Univ of Cali., then DEFINETLY RETAKE IT.

    Sounds kind of rough, but suck it up, that what I am doing. :(

    The rough thing is because you are in Chicago, it will not doubt be very competitive. Take a week off, don't do anything and decide for yourself. Everyone on this site will tell you from their own point of view, which already has been to apply and retake!

    Later and Good Luck! :D :cool: :D
     
  10. ILoveThaiFood

    ILoveThaiFood Junior Member
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    Rxfudd, I have a friend who got into one school w/ V7, but her P and B scores were both above 10... Like many others have already pointed out here, I think you ought to retake it. I really think that retaking an MCAT is MUCH BETTER than reapplying. And even if you do apply this year, you'll be limited to fewer schools to choose from (not worth it given your other stats are so stellar). Some time off may be good anyway :) Good luck!!!!!
     
  11. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator
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    I had a friend who got into one of my state schools last year with a 24, so don't give up.

    If you do apply this year, assuming you aren't taking the August MCAT either way, I would only apply to state schools, unless you're from the dreaded state of Cali. I would definitely retake it if your goals are higher than that. Good luck either way.
     
  12. monster2

    monster2 Senior Member
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    Do not apply rxfudd. Grades and extracurriculars do not justify your dismal MCAT, regardless. I could probably get a 26 going into the MCAT cold. So in a way your achievements
    mean nothing because you proved that you couldn't hack it on an even playing field like the MCAT. So basically your achievements amounted to very little
    because people comming out of junior colleges get even higher than a 26. A chimpanzee with a pencil can get a 26. I'm just being honest here... admissions will not give you the time and day with dismal MCAT scores unless you have done something really and I mean exceptionally extraordinary.
     
  13. Geez monster - say what you mean. No reason to sugar coat it.

    B.T.W. - I train monkeys in my current job. It takes them months to learn to watch an LED. I don't think they could get a 26 ever.
     
  14. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member
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    Wow - I said give it to me straight, monster2, not with a dash of arsenic and an icepick. Nothing like kicking someone when they're down, eh?

    I would like to thank everyone for their advice, as I did not plan for such bizarre scores and am a bit confused about what my next move should be. I'm currently thinking that my best bet right now is to retake the MCAT next April and couple it with the GRE in the winter (cover all bases at this point). I seriously need some time to unwind. It has been a long and grueling eight months and I think that the rest of the summer should be devoted to everything but medicine. Perhaps I will go see some family in Michigan. Or maybe even take a road trip for a few weeks. Or learn a new instrument. Something.

    No one outside of this field would ever believe that a subscore of an exam, which is itself but a component of an entire application (which I have worked tirelessly to successfully compile over the last 4 years) could alter one's path so drastically. Congratulations to all who did well on the test. Especially the verbal section.
     
  15. mdhopeful

    mdhopeful Senior Member
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    there's no reason to be so harsh monster. some of us aren't *geniuses* with 40s on the MCAT, so just chill. here's my 2 cents: no matter what anyone posts about whether you should retake, only you know the fine details of your candidacy, which surely is more than just a GPA and an MCAT score. if i were in your situation, the decision would depend on things such as my age (some of us are older and can't wait another year to apply), other credentials and experiences. from your post it sounds like you might be a bit worn out to recharge for the August MCAT, so maybe delaying until April is not a bad idea. If you do decide to retake, remember there is the real possibility for a lower score as well. if it makes you feel better, i know an applicant who got multiple acceptances this year with a 26 and lower gpa who was not a URM. good luck.
     
  16. ILoveThaiFood

    ILoveThaiFood Junior Member
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    That's funny, punkin2. What was your monkey's task? Staring at a LED shouldn't take months to train!
     
  17. sl

    sl Junior Member
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    Frankly, if Eng is your second language or if you are a minority, then it will be fine with a 7 and a composite 26. If not, I would suggest apply to the following schools: NYMC, Chicago Med School, Howard, Thomas Jefferson etc, Meharry etc., if you do not want to take it over in Aug. I know people who are not minorities actually got into these schools with scores lower than you. If I remember correctly, something like, 7,9,9. Hope this helps.

    Anyway, if you decide to apply, APPLY EARLY!!! SL
     
  18. sl

    sl Junior Member
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    What I am trying to say is if you do not want to retake MCAT in Aug, why dont you give a try regardless, if money is not a big issue -- apply to ~15-20 schools (will be about 2000).
    Best of Luck! SL
     
  19. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member
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    Thanks for the advice, sl - three problems, however.

    1) I am a white male whose primary language is english

    2) I don't think that 60 days is enough for me to get to where I need to be for the August test.

    3) Money is a very big issue.

    I think I'm going to just take some time away from academics and try again next April. I also think that I will try going with Kaplan next time around. I started studying in January on my own for this April's test and obviously did SOMETHING right (I am actually quite pleased with my science and writing scores).

    It is also important to note that I never was shooting for a massive score. Had I gotten 9, 9, 10 instead of 7, 9, 10 - this thread would not exist.

    I just bought myself a set of bagpipes on eBay. It's going to be a different kind of summer than I expected...
     
  20. monster2

    monster2 Senior Member
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    It just had to be said. I am trying to prevent your application packet from being used by med admissions as toilet paper to wipe themselves with. Verbal reasoning is the most important subscore simply because this is the only area reliable enough to abbreviate the screening process and predict reliability in USMLE exams. There should be no confusion. Take the MCAT again and pray with all your might that you get a respectable Verbal score.
     
  21. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it
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    Hey man, i'm in the same boat you are. And i'm set on taking this bad boy of an exam again in April. Yea it sucks. But, i learned one thing from playing competitive sports, you can be knocked down but it takes a man to get back up to take on the challenge again. I don't care what anyone say's. I'm getting into med school at some point!

    I also got a 7 on VR, yes i am dissappointed but it also makes me even more furious to get a better score.

    On a side note, anyone have any ideas about taking grad level classes? The benefits..etc. Especially if you got B's in their respective classes in lower division?
     
  22. Jeff05

    Jeff05 Senior Member
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  23. pete.

    pete. Member
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    RX - you are not washed up!

    Although you probably don't stand a great chance of getting in, there may be a good possibility that you may score an interview with all of your extra currics. Here's my 2 cents - Go ahead and apply to 1 or 2 schools you think you'll have the best chance of getting into. If you score an interview, then great - you'll have experience under your belt for the next go round and that will be worth something. If you've already got the mindset that you're burnt, then you may be in danger of taking a half hearted approach to taking the second MCAT in aug. - and that could be very dangerous - 2 poor scores in a row. My first round was V8P9P9 and I waited a year and took the Kaplans course and scored V11P12B10. So now, not only do I have some interview experience, but I've got another year of demonstrating comittment under my belt - that's something the decision makers don't take lightly - don't kid yourself, there are a lot of second and third year applicants getting in all over the place.

    And by the way - a twenty six is potentially 2 incorrect answers away from the 50% percentile - Show me the monkey who can do that and I'll let him operate on me - okay, only kidding, but some previous points were out of line - well intended or not.

    You need to decide whether or not you can commit to the goal of stronger scores in august - if not 110% then you better re-consider. If you can, then quit reading this and get to work - good luck and don't be discouraged. Experience, be it good or bad, will help you in the long run. ;)
     
  24. MsPurtell

    MsPurtell Guest

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    You've just gotta really bust your butt rxfudd, that's all there is to it. 7V is not a good score and I would not apply with it. My 9V gives me concern, and yet you seem to say you would be content with that (after all you weren't aiming very high anyway, as you say). Give yourself a few days to map out a plan for retaking the MCAT. If not by August, then by next April. That's not to much to ask in return for a coveted seat in med school. Heck, I have a friend who took the damn thing four times (first score was 29)before getting a score she was satisfied with and that she felt reflected her true abilities. She just did very well in her first year at Einstein Coll of Med. If you really want it you'll keep working harder.
     
  25. Jeff05

    Jeff05 Senior Member
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    Dude,
    someone worked hard for those scores - no need for the crude analogies.

    To the poster - just retake it. It's not the end of the world. My friend got a 7/10/10 the first time around - next time an 8/12/9. He was accepted to PCOM, Temple, and MCPHU (and he's still waiting on EVMS). all solid schools (well, except to all those pleasuring themselves to the ranking of their Ivy or whatnot in US NEWS).
    It's scary, unsettling, seemingly too much - but, take it step by step - and i know you will succeed. It's going to take character, and no one said character was easy.
    Best of luck to you. Peace.
     
  26. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member
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    Funny...everyone else was able to accomplish this without the assault on the 400+ hours I spent studying for the test. But I appreciate the gesture, nonetheless. :D

    You guys have definitely inspired me - I am officially registered for the Kaplan course in the fall. I am in desperate need of some time away from this madness, but I plan on coming back swinging come mid-late July. Any suggestions on some magazine subscriptions that will get me in the habit of reading really thick, dense, verbal-esque material?

    I was thinking the New Yorker and The Economist.
     
  27. watto

    watto Sleek White Pantsuit
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    The Economist rules! Also the Wall Street Journal. It's written at an 11th grade level, which approximates the density of the MCAT passages.
     
  28. C U in MD school

    C U in MD school Senior Member
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    Hey monster2, with all due respect I think that your a fool. You have no idea what your talking about and I bet that youve never EVEN taken the mcat befor. so please, dont be giving people advice about **** you dont know.
     
  29. kmy

    kmy Member
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    Its okay to fall as long and you don't get up empty handed!

    I bombed my first MCAT last August( I also had a 7), it took a while to pick up the pieces but I just opened my envelope to see a 32!

    Good things happen to those who fall flat on their faces. I think I am sooo much stronger now for having fought through all the self doubt and dragging feet over taking it again. The success is much sweeter now!

    Good luck to all of you who are disappointed...... although luck has very little to do with it. Perseverence is the only currency that counts in the end.
     
  30. sl

    sl Junior Member
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    Please post informed opinions.

    Jeff05: Sorry for the misleading info. I've made the changes. The fact is I knew someone (Asian: Indian) got into Jefferson class of 2005 with VR7 BS9 PS9 and M on the writing. Overall GPA 3.70.
     
  31. sl

    sl Junior Member
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    Hey Rxfudd: Personally, I like the Berkeley Review Verbal workbook and their full length exams. You can get both online. Practice certainly helps :) SL
     
  32. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member
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    I used Kaplan review books (classroom and commercial), PR review books (classroom and commercial), and AAMC study guides. I took well over 12 full-length practice tests. I did at least 100 individual passages in each section. I'm sort of at a loss as to what to try now except for the Kaplan class. Maybe if I start in October and work on it until April, I can slowly build it up.

    My initial practice test scores were in the 20's (about 7,7,7). I obviously did something right, since I was able to boost my science scores up to 9 and 10. The funny thing is that my practice tests from mid-march to April were in the 9-ish area.

    Maybe I just got plain unlucky. Maybe I got distracted. I guess these things happen. I'll know for sure after the April test (next April, that is). Damn, another year...
     
  33. pete.

    pete. Member
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    RX - I need to qualify previous comments - With respect to my MCAT improvement, I attribute very little to Kaplan. The instructors were average at best - 90% of the benefit came from the resources (testing and videos) and full length practice exams. I just didn't want to mislead - although I would pay the money again, because they are the only game in town. (not that you were basing any part of your decision on my feedback)

    To Monster and all those on the "beat up Monster" bandwagon - It's all good - use it as a learning opportunity. We've all probably said things one way, when we actually meant them another. I'm fairly confident that when it comes time, he won't be saying, "...yeah, I'm afraid it's terminal - here's a rope, and there's a nice oak tree right outside. Trust me, it'll help speed things up..."

    By the way - this isn't me on my "holier than thou" horse - I am as guilty as anyone of any number of offenses - you just gotta live and learn - I say let monster back on the board! :)
     
  34. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member
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    I have no hard feelings towards monster. I'm not running to buy him a drink and shake his hand, since I think that there are more appropriate ways to get one's point across - but I understand that everyone has their own...charm.

    To the poster who mentioned Kaplan (and everyone who has taken Kaplan) - do you think it will help me to accomplish what I need to accomplish? Will it do ANYTHING for me in verbal?
     
  35. lilycat

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    rxfudd -- you might try this thread Deconstructing the Verbal MCAT. It has some good pointers on how to get through the verbal section. As for magazines, the New Yorker and The Economist are good starts; I'd also like to add The Atlantic Monthly to your list. Good luck.
     
  36. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator
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    rxfudd,.... I'll give it to you straight.... with those scores I feel that your chances for allopathic med school is zip to none.... If you decid to apply, you're probably going to have some explaining to do....

    As for retaking with Kaplan, I say it's up to you.... Now that you've taken Kaplan before and the MCAT, you might better benefit from just studying with the materials you have now, by yourself.

    Should you give up applying this year?.... Personally, if you have the money to cash out and time to spend on this process then go for it. I believe in the impossible to become possible....

    Good Luck!!! :cool:
     
  37. autumnchai

    autumnchai Member
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    i would not stress about a 26 MCAT unless you want an Ivy League...a few of my friends are at good state med schools with 7's on verbal and 26 overall MCAT scores. it is definitely possible. only retake the MCAT if there is something you know you could do differently to dramatically improve your score and if there are schools that this is important to do for.
     
  38. kltmd

    kltmd Member
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    I know that you already said that you're planning to wait until next spring to retake the MCAT, but you may want to rethink your plan to skip the August one. If you studied 400+ hours for the last test, you should still have most of that info stored up in your head. If you wait longer, you may have to relearn more info. You could spend the next eight weeks reviewing your sciences, but mostly working on Verbal. (Interpret: read your butt off.) Just a thought.
     
    Leslie_Knope likes this.
  39. Wasabi

    Wasabi Senior Member
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    I wouldn't depend on Kaplan to improve your Verbal score. From the two verbal reasoning lessons they offer, you'll pretty much get the same advice you have read in various SDN threads ("Deconstructing the Verbal") and test preparation books. Order the passages from easiest to most difficult. Eliminate answers that appear to be too extreme or opinionated. Finish at all costs. Even with all the tricks and advice I gathered over a nine month period, I wasn't able to increase my verbal score very much.

    So my suggestion to you is to apply this year and see how everything goes. With your excellent GPA and decent MCAT scores, you may get into some school.

    Good luck.
     
  40. That's funny, punkin2. What was your monkey's task? Staring at a LED shouldn't take months to train!

    Actually, they have to wait to hear a tone. When they hear the tone, they know that the light will soon turn on. When it turns on, they have to quickly press a lever. They then have to fixate on the LED until it turns off. When it does, they release the lever and they get a reward sound and a treat.
     
  41. ask698

    ask698 Member
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    Rxfudd,

    I think you would have a chance, but I think it in part depends on where you went to school. If you went to a school that has a strong academic reputation, I think medical schools will be more willing to overlook your verbal score. Medical schools will believe you if you say you had an off day, are not a good standardized test taker, etc. because you already proved yourself in a tough academic environment. However, if you went to a school that doesn't have a strong academic reputation, medical schools will look at you as another applicant who benefited from easier classes, grade inflation, etc. Medical schools will consider you an applicant who could not validate his or her high G.P.A on the level playing field of the MCAT. This may or may not be true, but I think this is how many medical schools would look at discrepancies between G.P.A and MCAT scores.

    That being said, I think you do have a shot at some schools. Assuming you are a resident of Illinois and Chicago, I think that Loyola, Rush and UIC would at least take a serious look at your application. SIU and CMS would probably consider you as well. However, an acceptance would not be a sure thing unless you can really show them why you would fit in at their school. The 7 would probably give the schools enough pause to place you on the waitlist even if they do invite you for an interview. U of C would probably not look too closely at your application unless you have something significant and unique on your application and NU would not send you a secondary because of the 7 in verbal. Since we are in a sort of lull in the application process, I recommend that you contact the school in Illinois that you are interested in. I found most of the deans/directors of admission at the Chicago schools to be helpful and honest.

    You would have to look at the MSAR for schools outside of Illinois that take a large number of out-of-state applicants and have lower MCAT stats. Unfortunately, there are not that many; I can't think of any off the top of my head, mostly because my situation was the reverse of your, low G.P.A. and a high MCAT (also low number of these). However, with the MSAR, your premed advisor and fellow applicants, you could find some. Of course, doing well on the August MCAT would greatly expand the range of schools at which you would be competitive. In addition, there is the D.O. option. It's not for everybody, but you may want to look into it. Your composite score is about average for D.O. schools, though the seven is still a little low for the verbal. Thus, your choices are limited, but if it is important to you to go to med. school straight out of undergrad., you could get in somewhere if you present a strong application outside of your verbal score. Again, this depends somewhat on the academic reputation of your school.

    However, with your limited choices you may get into a school where you wouldn't really be happy. I took time off between undergrad. and I think it will make me a better medical student and physician. The time off gave me the chance to reflect on what type of school I would be happiest at. I decided that the activities/experiences that matter most to me and the way I want to practice medicine made me a good fit for clinically oriented schools that consider their students an investment. This attitude showed in my applications to schools such as Loyola and Rush where my G.P.A would normally be considered low and at least got me an interview. Thus, if you can take the time off, I highly recommend it. Of course, there is no right path for getting into medical school, so you need to decide what works best for the type of person you are. If you do choose to take time off, make sure you improve your MCAT score significantly and use the time to reflect on how you want to practice medicine/what type of school you want to go to. Those two things coupled together could help you put forth a stronger application in the future that will give you more options for your medical education. Hope this helps.

    Tony
     
  42. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member
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    ask698 (and everybody else), thank you for the very honest and insightful advice. The last thing I need right now is to be told that I have a decent chance when it is clear that I do not.

    While my undergraduate school (UIC) is not ultra-competitive for admissions, there are LOTS of premeds, predent, prenursing, etc there. The result is that the science classes are tough to get A's in, but the humanities and social science classes are a joke. I take pride in my gpa, phi beta kappa, etc. It was tough to get there and many at that school do not accomplish nearly as much as I have. Until last semester, I only had 4 B's out of 90+ hours of courses. Trust me, this is not the norm at UIC (especially chem and bio classes).

    I do not think that the discrepancy between my mcat scores and gpa is the result of grade inflation. I am 100% sure that it is because I am not an avid reader of difficult literature. I am not the wholesome, worldly student who reads Virgil in between experiments in my lab. I love science and I love people. I love learning. I love a good challenge. I've never been an english student or a lit student, yet I thoroughly enjoyed both comp courses and a dostoyevski course and received A's in them. I am proficient in latin (again - love a good challenge). I am an excellent writer, yet it is not necessarily "enjoyable" for me to do so. I have always placed more importance in my relationships with people and in my studies of science than in reading editorials or philosophy books. That is just me. Does it mean that I will not pass my boards - or be a great physician? I doubt it. If that were true, people who apply to DO schools (where low verbal scores are commonplace) would not pass the USMLE with such high pass rates, let alone BOTH the USMLE and COMLEX.

    In spite of this, I have to play the game and learn to be a lover of the written word. I am now subscribed to The Economist, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic Monthly (thanks lilycat!). All for the low, low price of $125 for the year, I might add. After carefully reviewing everyone's input about Kaplan, I have decided that the in-class exams alone are worth the money, and have registered for the October-April course. Thanks to ask698, I have a meeting this week with an admissions officer at UIC.

    I WILL do this. This is GOING to happen for me, no matter what route I have to take. The MCAT is but a busy intersection in the anguishing road to becoming what I know is the only career for me, that of a physician. And the verbal section is merely a dead car in the middle of that intersection, blocking the way and temporarily preventing me from moving forward. Yes, I am disappointed by my MCAT scores. But it is time for me to pick up the pieces.

    I know that I can overcome my MCAT scores. Now it is time for me go and do it.
     
  43. ILoveThaiFood

    ILoveThaiFood Junior Member
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    Punkind2, that does sound like a long training period to me. If you don't mind telling me, what is it that you are training them for (what is your research question)? I also train monkeys, that's why I'm so interested...
     
  44. Hey Thai Food,

    I'd love to discuss the research with you. Why don't you send me your email address in a private message? I think monkey training is a bit off the subject of this board.

    :D
     
  45. CT

    CT Member
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    There seems to be a lot of debate over whether to retake because of a VR 7. Does this also hold true for an 8 (the rest of my scores are 10P, 10B, M)? GPA, etc. are very competetive. Thanks.
     
  46. monster2

    monster2 Senior Member
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    rxfudd, I am glad that you've finally come to your senses and decided to do better next time. There is no shame to have faltered in a section of the test that demands innate intelligence... truth is many people just do not have what it takes to be an active and critical reader.

    I am certain that you are in need of my advice once again. Considering you got a 7 in Verbal, I would assess your abilities in two ways. Either
    1. you panicked
    2. you just do not have the mental skills and fortitude to be an intelligent reader

    Let us assumed you panic. The best way is to remember that a medical career puts you into pressure situations that makes Verbal Reasoning look like a cruise to the Bahamas. So there should be no reasons for panicking.

    Realistically, let's say you just have not amassed the IQ and skills to be verbally competent. You only need to follow this simple regimen. Do not look at the crap Kaplan, TPR and the rest of those losers show you. Their usefulness only rests in their test materials... their instructors are most probably med school rejects and half competent science graduates looking for a quick buck.

    To attack the Verbal section, do the following.
    1. Know the difficulty level of passages. This will be unique to your reading habits, but definitely straight forward Natural Science passages are often the easiest.
    2. Only two ways to attack a passage:
    --- quickly skim the questions... if the majority leads you to look for a particular line or word, elimination questions only on a certain section or lets you INFER a section, READ those questions at normal comprehension speed, use recognition skills to put them in the back of your mind (requires practice) then READ the passage. Use the same recognition skills to match that segment with the question and once you do that ANSWER the question EVEN IF YOU are not finished reading the passage yet. Why? Because these question only tells you to FOCUS on that particular area... the rest of the choices may jump to other parts of the passage and this will confuse you
    ---quickly skim the questions. If most of them require main idea, assume/suppose, etc., then do not bother reading the questions as above and read the paragraph with maximum comprehension speed. However, I-III types and elimination by examples etc, whose choices are SCATTERED althroughout is better tackled by reading those questions AND choices fully. Again with recognition skills, as you read the passage, MARK the lines/segments with the choice and quickly eliminate or include that choice according to the question.
    3. Practice doing those two things I mentioned first with accuracy... and when you improve, then with time limits.

    To summarize:
    1. Know difficulty level of passages and tackle accordingly.
    2. Per passage: a. skim questions... read all questions that refer to line/word or segment (e.g. infer, define, ANY question that quotes part of the passage) and practice on recognition skills (you can expertly skim the passage and mark to MATCH these questions, e.g. If question 1's quote is quickly found in paragraph 2, then MARK that line and put Q2... so when you read passage, the moment you get to Q2...ANSWER IT! even if you are not finished reading). Bottomline: Spend more time ANSWERING questions than reading.

    b. Read the passage if all questions include main idea, tone, suppose/assume, etc.

    SO always READ questions that refer to segments first and quickly skim to match these quotes/segments (practice on this if they do not give you the line number) and mark them to the question. Then read the questions AND choices of I,II, IIIs as well as eliminate/include questions (most time consuming, but worth it, anyway MCAT won't give you many of these). Then read the passage and immediately ANSWER the questions that have been MARKED. After reading entire passage, do the main idea, suppose/assume, tone, title questions.


    See? Simple. Believe me, I'm not a humanities major, but I only get 4-5 mistakes per 9 passages regardless of where they come from. And do check your practice tests actively by CLASSIFYING your mistakes. Now these tips are crap:

    TPR says you ANNOTATE by looking for thesis, etc. etc... B.S.!!! Why the heck would you waste time on some crap? If by recognition you find what seemed to be the thesis and know by skimming the questions first that there is a main idea question... then ANSWER IT! Spend more time answering and thinking of the answer than READING and ANNOTATING CRAP.

    TPR/Kaplan and many others think you should emphasize on POE... foolishness. If you rely on POE, then you only become an expert GUESSER. The best POE is matching by recognition... mark those that definitely in the passage and question then elimate those that aren't. Do not waste time on those "attractors or sexy answers". Waste time on looking for the actual segments on the passage, and analyze them according to the question you've matched. That's the only way to find the true answer. Those questions that require the WHOLE passage (i.e. main idea), use gut instinct.

    You should be glad I shared this secret. Now you MCAT victims do what I just preached and hopefully you all would be deserving competition when I do take the MCAT.
     
  47. TPRPhoenix

    TPRPhoenix Junior Member
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    I have one recommendation that many folks overlook in their haste to use test prep materials, one I try to push to students who have a particularly hard time with the test overall, not just Verbal: Evelyn Wood's speedreading course. It's not going to help everyone. But some folks really need to improve their speed more than anything else, and in my belief this is the one speedreading course that is based on techniques that work. Check the internet for folks that do the courses in your area.
     
  48. ask698

    ask698 Member
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    Rxfudd,

    Sounds like you have a good handle on the situation, so I wish you success in the future. If you stay focused and work hard, you can get in. Heck, I had a C- and D in organic chemistry and not too hot grades elsewhere in my undergrad. science classes at NU, but by scoring 35+ on the MCAT and getting a 3.96 in Loyola's post-bacc. program I managed to get in to MCP and am currently on the waitlists at Loyola and Rush. As long as you have a plan and stick to it, you can always make yourself into a more competitive applicant. In addition to the magazines you are reading, I also recommend the following newspapers: The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The Chicago Tribune, though a good paper, is written at the 6th grade level so that won't challenge you enough. You should definitely read the editorials section because the editorials often present arguments of the type you may see on the MCAT. Also, if you are signing up for the Kaplan course at the downtown Chicago center, take whatever class is taught by Sal Harwani. Along with me, he is the other teacher in charge of MCAT training in Chicago and a friend so I can definitely recommend him as an excellent teacher.


    Tony

    (For those who wonder why I did poorly, but scored high on the MCAT, I don't think I was quite ready for a college like NU. I looked at some of the stuff my brother did at Harvard and what we did at NU was tougher. Thus, in my experience NU was a tough school to be pre-med. at. Couple that with a system in which we did a semester's amount of work in a quarter, and I was being tested on stuff about a week or so before I understood the material. My study habits needed work, I kept trying to study harder instead of smarter. Studying for the MCAT helped me develop better study skills. So when the MCAT rolled around, I had the material down, just too late for it to be reflected in my grades, and reviewed it systematically, so I scored well. Unfortunately, although I explained this situation to med. schools, most of them still thought I was just a slackass who was smart, but didn't work hard, even though I did actually work hard. Oh well, it worked out in the end. I'll share more of my story later when life calms down a little.)
     
  49. Smoke This

    Smoke This Sweet cuppin' cakes!
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    The very words I live by!
    BTW: Thanks for posting all the good verbal advice, needed it myslef.
     
  50. jimmybee

    jimmybee Internal Medicine Hospitalist, formerly med/peds
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    Rxfudd,
    Like I told you in the chatroom, apply now and take your chances. You can always take the 'CAT in April if it doesn't look good. Definitely look at Osteo schools too.

    --jimmybee
     
  51. Rhiana

    Rhiana Senior Member
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    From someone who usually does great in verbal I have a bit of advice about reading all these great magazines. Remember, when you read a magazine article your reading to understand and learn new information. But at the MCAT you aren't trying to remember this stuff. Your trying to get the gist and map the passage if you need to go back. You aren't trying to remember it. Lots of people I see that struggle with verbal read too in depth, there trying too hard. It bogs them down and they can't see the forrest for the trees. Good luck.
     

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