Hope for those trying to get past an MCAT score in the teens or low 20's

noshie

Don't judge!
10+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2006
1,570
124
36
Fort Worth, TX
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
Over the many years that I have been on SDN, I have seen several threads that give pointers and plans for getting an MCAT score in the 30's. If this is your plan, this thread is not for you. This thread is for those of us that have taken it before and have not been able to get a score that is acceptable for a chance at med school. It's for the pre-meds that just want to get a score that will get their foot in the door and at least get them some interviews. I have been getting tons of messages this past year, and I think I have finally made a decent pep talk for people who need hope and want some guidance in overcoming their poor MCAT score. Hopefully my story and mistakes will help and motivate you. :D

The MCAT is one of the hardest things I have ever had to overcome. It was not easy, there are no quick fixes. My biggest problem was not knowing the material well enough, and it actually took me a very long time to realize that I didn't really know it as well as I thought I did. I was in the midst of getting my Masters degree when I realized that I knew biology very well, but wasn't applying it the correct way to do well on the MCAT. Plus being years out from taking chemistry and physics, I had forgotten all of the basic rules of the subject that are heavily needed (although not really directly tested) for the MCAT.

Although looking at my first 3 MCAT scores (16, 19, 17) it would look like I didn't really study for the test, I was actually studying a lot. However, I wasn't studying correctly. I wasn't organized in my studying, I just kept going through things very superficially. You need to focus on only the MCAT, you can't be taking classes and thinking that you can do it all. Sometimes just focusing on one thing is way more powerful than you would think. I graduated, took a semester off from everything and just studied each day as if it was my full time job. I'm talking like 8-12 hours a day, even on Saturday and Sunday. I know that most people don't have that type of focus for such a long period of time, but when you get to med school you will be studying this way, and when I was in grad school I had to do the same thing or I would have flunked out. So I was already used to it. But also, thinking that this is your last chance to get into med school is something that fueled me a lot. And this may very well be your last chance to prove yourself... Do everything that you can, if you don't you will regret it.

The thing about people that score in the teens to very low 20s is that none of them are stupid, they just don't get how to study for this test. It's a crazy thing to ask someone to learn 8 semesters worth of material and retain it, but then they don't even ask them direct questions about it! I used to study with only MCAT prep books, but I never made it past the 20 mark on practice tests. The key to beating this test for me was to relearn the material from scratch. I know, it sounds like a very hard thing to do, and it takes time, but if you are making low scores, there is NO way you will beat this test if you don't.

Many people that took undergrad really learned the information, they have those tiny bits of gold from each subject burned into their mind. In my personal experience, I have found that the MCAT tests your knowledge of concepts, but without the foundation of information for each subject you can't do well on this test. When I took a Kaplan prep course I remember this girl that was making 30+ on all of her practice tests. Every time we would go to class and go over the questions on the practice MCAT that we had problems with, she would always say something like "well of course it's this answer, because blah blah." And I would ask, "well how do you know that??" She knew it because it was a small piece of background information she learned in her chem I or phys I course that I never retained. The rules of the subject need to be learned, and these rules are not in the MCAT prep books.

So where do you start then? You need to first make a list of all of the sections of physics, chemistry, biology and organic. I used the EK and TPR book chapters as my guide. For instance, Physics and Chemistry each have 10 tested subjects. Biology has like 13 if I remember correctly. Then you need to learn each of these sections in a real text book. Even if your MCAT book says it's not on the test, you need to have this background information to actually attempt the tested information. It's not easy teaching yourself all of this material, but you need to read it, and most importantly understand and retain it. Learn the subjects like you are taking a class, then go to the MCAT books and expand your knowledge, then do practice tests. Don't do practice tests until you learn the background information because that will just be too frustrating. You need to know this background information as if you will be teaching a class to a bunch of students that don't own a book!

Most importantly, don't let this test make you think that you are stupid. You are smart, and you need to be a studying machine in order to beat this test. Focus only on the MCAT for about 5 months before taking it. Don't make the mistake I did by taking it hastily so that I could just apply. As you know, a bad score will HAUNT you. Most people do not make over their average practice scores on the real thing. So don't think that maybe if you take it without much studying, you may get a 25 if your practice scores are a 19... It's not going to happen. If you want this bad enough you will do what it takes to get there. If it means you put your life on hold for 6 months, then that's what you have to do. If you don't then you will never be a doctor. Once you realize that, the motivation that comes with it is endless.

I actually never planned on taking the MCAT 5 times. I was set on taking it for the fourth time after I studied very hard for it. I know that I would have made the 27 on my fourth MCAT, but my computer froze and AAMC would not acknowledge that this hindered my score. Well, it did, and the timer was running while my computer was frozen so I lost a lot of time. Although they agreed that this happened, they said that they could not prove that my timer was running for very long. Regardless, they had to get me a new computer because my computer would not work even after the proctor tried to fix it. I ended up with a crappy 22.

The fifth time I took the MCAT I was more than burned out because I never wanted to take it this many times. Also, by then I had been studying for 8 months straight!!! The month before my final MCAT, I lost all focus and started slacking on my studies for a few weeks. I had also started working since I had already received a job because I thought I would not be taking the MCAT again. For me, my pivotal moment came a few weeks before the exam... My boss, a surgeon in the medical school I work at, took me to a 4th year surgery exam on a cadaver with some med students. While I was there, he mentioned to everyone that I was pre med, and then the barrage of advice started coming from the med students... Well, soon after this, one of the students said something about taking the MCAT back when it was the last test on paper, and he had applied in 2006 and got into medical school. I realized that these students were the exact same age as me! I had also taken the last MCAT on paper and applied in 2006... It was the worst realization in my life. I had realized that I had wasted years off of my life by not beating this test once and for all. I would have been a graduating medical student last year. But because of my MCAT score, because I wasn't living up to my true potential, I had given this opportunity away. From that day forward, I worked from 6am-2pm, left for the library and studied until 11pm. I finally had the drive to finish what I started, and I got the score I wanted, a 27!

YOU have to sit down and realize that without this score, you are giving up your seat in medical school, and ultimately years of your life. Just tell yourself that you need to do this, you have to do this, and you will do this the right way.

You need to take a lot of time and become confident in the material, and study it deeply. Do not retake the MCAT until you are absolutely ready, until you have made at least consistently high 20's MCAT scores in practice. If you can't apply this year, that is ok. Taking your time and not rushing into taking the MCAT will make a huge difference in your score. Take this year off and fix your MCAT, then apply next year. I know that is not what you want to hear, but I truly feel that making another poor score will not be beneficial to you.

My many poor MCAT scores have hindered my ability to get interviews greatly. And even though I now have an ok score, I am sure that my past scores are still being looked at and they make a big difference in what the adcoms think of me. Sure, I pulled up my score 10 points from the time I took it 2 years ago, but it doesn't matter. I still made those bad scores, and even though they are now very old, they show my past poor ability and poor judgment of retaking when I wasn't ready. It makes me a risk for any medical school I apply to.

If this is really what you want to do, you CAN do it. You just have to make a plan and stick with it. I don't have a backup plan at all, in fact I never did have one. Even with 3 below 20 MCAT scores and two failed application cycles with no interviews, I always told myself that this was what I was meant to do. You either want to be a doctor or you don't. If you really want to, then do it. Only you are standing in your way of getting into medical school.

MCAT courses are useless. You need to do some heavy self studying, but use a textbook like I said before, and then go on to the MCAT prep. If even a small part of you feels that you will regret not going full force towards medical school and becoming a physician, then you need to stop being your own worst enemy and just bite the bullet and do the hard work that is needed to do well on this test. If you are willing to do anything to get into med school... Well, first start with admitting that you need to start at the most basic level of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. I mean, I had a masters degree in immunology, and going back to undergrad level studies was really difficult for me. But I want to be a doctor, so I was willing to do whatever it took, and I knew that even though I have a higher education than most people studying for the MCAT, I sucked at the material that was tested. Just start at the beginning and move slowly towards your goal. Don't leave any subject untouched. Push yourself and become a studying maniac. If I can do it, I am confident that you can do it! :)

So yes, there is no quick way to increase your score. Its hard work, but again, if you want this you will do whatever you have to. You have the strength to beat this test and show everyone what you're made of. There needs to be at least 7-10 hours of studying a day, 5-6 days a week for 5-6 months. People in our position are more behind than everyone else taking the test, you have to catch up to the basic material and then study for the MCAT. I know it sounds like a ton of studying, but if you want to beat this test to a pulp that will be what it takes.

So stop crying about your scores, and start your long term plan in beating this test. Turn that sadness into anger, anger towards yourself, anger towards the MCAT, anger towards anything that will give you some dedication and motivation to study.

Good luck!!! :luck:
 
Last edited:

BerkReviewTeach

Company Rep & Bad Singer
Vendor
10+ Year Member
May 25, 2007
3,906
690
First off, congratulations on your perserverence and ultimately your acceptance to medical school. It's inspirational. You are in that group of people that my quote (signature quote) is all about. You will be a great doctor, because you'll never take being one for granted. You mention feeling behind your peers, but so what. In the end, because of your journey, you will be a better doctor than probably all of them.

As for your post, there are some great pieces of wisdom that every premed (no matter what score they're aiming to get) should follow. There are several great trinkets of insight that are both inspirational and brilliant. I want to list them below so anyone who is too lazy to read through all of your post can at least see in point sheet format.

But in all due respect, you have also posted a couple comments that are off target. They may be true for the scenario you followed, but they won't be true for others or more aptly you made a mistake in your pathway and are now indicting the entire process. You had a bad experience with one review course and are extrapolating that experience to say that all review courses are useless. You feel the MCAT materials you used were not enough and are giving advice to others that all MCAT prep materials are not enough and that they need to consult textbooks. This is not the case for 99% of the people studying for this exam. Textbooks are extreme overkill and using them will waste a great deal of precious study time.

IMO, you used the wrong materials for your needs. Not all materials are the same. While I have a bias no doubt, I have been tutoring this test privately over the years long enough to have seen questions from many, many sources. I try to refrain from being too blatant in my opinions, but there is a huge difference between various materials in terms of how useful they are in your preparation. The ones you say you used were not what you needed. I honestly believe from my core that had you taken the right MCAT course or had you used the materials that taught you how to take the exam as well as clever ways to recall conceptual information, you would have taken the MCAT probably only once and maybe twice.

That said, I really want to thank you for your post, because this thread is essential to so many people who likely will never post here. This needed to be said! And I definitely want to quote several of your excellent points.

The points I hope people take home:
  • It was not easy, there are no quick fixes.
  • I knew biology very well, but wasn’t applying it the correct way to do well on the MCAT
  • I wasn’t studying correctly. I wasn’t organized in my studying
  • the MCAT tests your knowledge of concepts, but without the foundation of information for each subject you can’t do well on this test
  • Don’t do practice tests until you learn the background information because that will just be too frustrating
  • Most importantly, don’t let this test make you think that you are stupid. You are smart
  • don’t think that maybe if you take it without much studying, you may get a 25 if your practice scores are a 19… It’s not going to happen
  • You need to take a lot of time and become confident in the material
  • here is no quick way to increase your score. Its hard work
  • at least 7-10 hours of studying a day, 5-6 days a week for 5-6 months

Thanks for your post.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nontradgrl
OP
noshie

noshie

Don't judge!
10+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2006
1,570
124
36
Fort Worth, TX
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
First off, congratulations on your perserverence and ultimately your acceptance to medical school. It's inspirational. You are in that group of people that my quote (signature quote) is all about. You will be a great doctor, because you'll never take being one for granted. You mention feeling behind your peers, but so what. In the end, because of your journey, you will be a better doctor than probably all of them.

As for your post, there are some great pieces of wisdom that every premed (no matter what score they're aiming to get) should follow. There are several great trinkets of insight that are both inspirational and brilliant. I want to list them below so anyone who is too lazy to read through all of your post can at least see in point sheet format.

But in all due respect, you have also posted a couple comments that are off target. They may be true for the scenario you followed, but they won't be true for others or more aptly you made a mistake in your pathway and are now indicting the entire process. You had a bad experience with one review course and are extrapolating that experience to say that all review courses are useless. You feel the MCAT materials you used were not enough and are giving advice to others that all MCAT prep materials are not enough and that they need to consult textbooks. This is not the case for 99% of the people studying for this exam. Textbooks are extreme overkill and using them will waste a great deal of precious study time.

IMO, you used the wrong materials for your needs. Not all materials are the same. While I have a bias no doubt, I have been tutoring this test privately over the years long enough to have seen questions from many, many sources. I try to refrain from being too blatant in my opinions, but there is a huge difference between various materials in terms of how useful they are in your preparation. The ones you say you used were not what you needed. I honestly believe from my core that had you taken the right MCAT course or had you used the materials that taught you how to take the exam as well as clever ways to recall conceptual information, you would have taken the MCAT probably only once and maybe twice.

That said, I really want to thank you for your post, because this thread is essential to so many people who likely will never post here. This needed to be said! And I definitely want to quote several of your excellent points.

The points I hope people take home:
  • It was not easy, there are no quick fixes.
  • I knew biology very well, but wasn't applying it the correct way to do well on the MCAT
  • I wasn't studying correctly. I wasn't organized in my studying
  • the MCAT tests your knowledge of concepts, but without the foundation of information for each subject you can't do well on this test
  • Don't do practice tests until you learn the background information because that will just be too frustrating
  • Most importantly, don't let this test make you think that you are stupid. You are smart
  • don't think that maybe if you take it without much studying, you may get a 25 if your practice scores are a 19… It's not going to happen
  • You need to take a lot of time and become confident in the material
  • here is no quick way to increase your score. Its hard work
  • at least 7-10 hours of studying a day, 5-6 days a week for 5-6 months
Thanks for your post.
I totally understand what you are saying and where you are coming from... However, I truly believe that those of us that take the MCAT and make less than a 20 really don't have a foundation for the material... For these people, you can't start studying for the MCAT by taking a prep course, because most of the time, these prep courses are made for REVIEWING the material. If you don't remember much to begin with, then the prep course will be useless for you... Prep courses, in my own experience, do not teach you the small pieces of information, they assume you already learned this in your college course. They build on what you already should know, and prepare you for test taking. If anything, the best part of a prep course is the test taking tactics you learn in it. Is that worth 2k? Eh. Maybe.

Also, if you have never sat in for an MCAT and received a score that is very low, you wouldn't understand what it feels like being in an MCAT prep course... It's frustrating because you just want to get the material, but you can't. It's like hearing someone try to teach you another language while using a different language. The frustration of not knowing where to start is the worst part. Prep courses usually start with going over passages and taking practice tests. These are great things, but if you just DONT know the material then it will not benefit you at all.

My post was not meant for 99% of the people taking the MCAT... It is meant for the few of us that make scores around and below 20... Sure, for people that are making mid to high 20's scores, MCAT prep would be highly useful... I totally agree with that. :)
 
Last edited:
Nov 2, 2010
3
1
Status
Pre-Medical
thank you for sharing your story
mcat can really be discouraging and frightening,
ive pushed it off for too long because i am ****less scared and now ive finaly commited for january but am terrified ill back off last moment:scared::scared::scared::scared::scared::scared:
 
  • Like
Reactions: OchemOficionado

david05

PharmD/MBA
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2009
147
58
Status
Pharmacist
Thank noshie for your time writing this topic. I can feel your happiness and satisfied. Also, I admire your persistence.

I've never taken MCAT before, but I'll take it in April next year. I've been studying hard for MCAT since September :D . Recently, I've been a little bit lazy and THIS TOPIC IS A WAKE UP CALL FOR ME. :) . Thank again for sharing this experience.

Beside, I start feeling nervous about where I'm standing now. How to check whether we already had a basic foundation of knowledge necessarily for the MCAT or not?
 

BerkReviewTeach

Company Rep & Bad Singer
Vendor
10+ Year Member
May 25, 2007
3,906
690
I totally understand what you are saying and where you are coming from... However, I truly believe that those of us that take the MCAT and make less than a 20 really don’t have a foundation for the material... For these people, you can’t start studying for the MCAT by taking a prep course, because most of the time, these prep courses are made for REVIEWING the material. If you don’t remember much to begin with, then the prep course will be useless for you... Prep courses, in my own experience, do not teach you the small pieces of information, they assume you already learned this in your college course. They build on what you already should know, and prepare you for test taking. If anything, the best part of a prep course is the test taking tactics you learn in it. Is that worth 2k? Eh. Maybe.

Also, if you have never sat in for an MCAT and received a score that is very low, you wouldn’t understand what it feels like being in an MCAT prep course... It’s frustrating because you just want to get the material, but you can’t. It's like hearing someone try to teach you another language while using a different language. The frustration of not knowing where to start is the worst part. Prep courses usually start with going over passages and taking practice tests. These are great things, but if you just DONT know the material then it will not benefit you at all.

My post was not meant for 99% of the people taking the MCAT... It is meant for the few of us that make scores around and below 20... Sure, for people that are making mid to high 20's scores, MCAT prep would be highly useful... I totally agree with that. :)
I can't argue with the content of your post here, because I agree with many things. In fact, you put what I think about the philosophy of some MCAT prep courses into words better than I could. My point is that you are painting all prep courses with the same brush.

I want to only take issue with one sentence and build from there.
Prep courses, in my own experience, do not teach you the small pieces of information, they assume you already learned this in your college course.
You didn't take all prep courses, you took one and believe they all do the same thing. This couldn't be further from the truth; they are drastically different. I've had a few teaching and tutoring jobs in my not so illustrious career, and I most appreciate the BR method.

1) They don't start with an exam because the experience is demoralizing and doesn't tell you anything you don't already know: you're not ready for the real MCAT. A test cannot be diagnostic, because there are so many things not tested. The scores are pointless. BR instead starts by describing what the test demands and how to build your knowledge base and test taking skills to get the best possible score. The first lecture is not content based, but is an overview of the MCAT and a demonstration on how to answer questions by either (1) knowing the information really well, (2) knowing a couple things and using deduction and POE, (3) extracting from the information given and extrapolating that info to apply POE, and (4) making a quality guess when you don't have all of the information. After that, they then review review the pertinent information and proceed to another sample question. It's about building an information base and test skills simultaneously from Day 1.

2) Depending on the topic, it wasn't just review as you say. Kidney physiology, acid and base chemistry, electromagnetism, oragnic chemistry lab techniques, electrochemistry, PCR, and so on are examples of lectures where they covered the material from ground zero. They taught it like people had never seen it before, because those are heavily tested areas and most people need the thorough review. They showed clever ways to recall and apply the information. Other things like Hardy-Weinberg, PV=nRT, and so forth were reviewed (rather than being retaught), because such topics don't require the same indepth understanding. They use their lecture time wisely, picking their battles in terms of what they delve into. They also offer additional sessions on selected topics if students need it.

If a student chose to come to all of the lectures, all of the review sessions, and all of the problem sessions, they could spend about 160 hours in class. Most students don't come to everything (most just do the regular lectures). But that option was there so people who needed the foundation didn't feel compelled to break out old textbooks or retake undergrad classes. The books and MCAT review course were designed to fill in those gaps with a better teacher than students had in college. So please forgive me for taking issue here, because it's an issue of pride. I work for a company that prides itself on doing things differently and more personally.

Ever wonder why a company that has gotten so much love for years at SDN has never expanded? It's impossible to duplicate what they do because it requires insane dedication of teachers and students. Sorry to get so riled up here, but I guess it 's personal. I have an unusual product loyalty because I see how much they care about their students doing well. I also completely believe in their materials and course. Chalk it up to me being a homer.
 

Pons Asinorum

Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Jul 30, 2010
4,006
351
The Dirty South
Status
Attending Physician
...but I'll take it in April next year...I've been studying hard for MCAT since September...How to check whether we already had a basic foundation of knowledge necessarily for the MCAT or not?
There is one, and only one, check of where you are when preparing for the MCAT: are you making within +/- 2 points of a competitive MCAT score for the schools to which you want to apply on AAMC practice full-lengths, taken under test-day conditions (timed, adhere to break lengths, write both WS essays to drain the life out of you before BS, etc.). That's it. There are no other secrets. Take all the other discretes and practice exams/questions you want, and use them to highlight holes in your fund of knowledge and guide your content review, but none of them have the proven predictive value of the AAMC FL's to tell you where you will most likely score on your actual MCAT.
 
OP
noshie

noshie

Don't judge!
10+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2006
1,570
124
36
Fort Worth, TX
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
PHP:
I can't argue with the content of your post here, because I agree with many things. In fact, you put what I think about the philosophy of some MCAT prep courses into words better than I could. My point is that you are painting all prep courses with the same brush.

I want to only take issue with one sentence and build from there.

You didn't take all prep courses, you took one and believe they all do the same thing. This couldn't be further from the truth; they are drastically different. I've had a few teaching and tutoring jobs in my not so illustrious career, and I most appreciate the BR method.

1) They don't start with an exam because the experience is demoralizing and doesn't tell you anything you don't already know: you're not ready for the real MCAT. A test cannot be diagnostic, because there are so many things not tested. The scores are pointless. BR instead starts by describing what the test demands and how to build your knowledge base and test taking skills to get the best possible score. The first lecture is not content based, but is an overview of the MCAT and a demonstration on how to answer questions by either (1) knowing the information really well, (2) knowing a couple things and using deduction and POE, (3) extracting from the information given and extrapolating that info to apply POE, and (4) making a quality guess when you don't have all of the information. After that, they then review review the pertinent information and proceed to another sample question. It's about building an information base and test skills simultaneously from Day 1.

2) Depending on the topic, it wasn't just review as you say. Kidney physiology, acid and base chemistry, electromagnetism, oragnic chemistry lab techniques, electrochemistry, PCR, and so on are examples of lectures where they covered the material from ground zero. They taught it like people had never seen it before, because those are heavily tested areas and most people need the thorough review. They showed clever ways to recall and apply the information. Other things like Hardy-Weinberg, PV=nRT, and so forth were reviewed (rather than being retaught), because such topics don't require the same indepth understanding. They use their lecture time wisely, picking their battles in terms of what they delve into. They also offer additional sessions on selected topics if students need it.

If a student chose to come to all of the lectures, all of the review sessions, and all of the problem sessions, they could spend about 160 hours in class. Most students don't come to everything (most just do the regular lectures). But that option was there so people who needed the foundation didn't feel compelled to break out old textbooks or retake undergrad classes. The books and MCAT review course were designed to fill in those gaps with a better teacher than students had in college. So please forgive me for taking issue here, because it's an issue of pride. I work for a company that prides itself on doing things differently and more personally.

Ever wonder why a company that has gotten so much love for years at SDN has never expanded? It's impossible to duplicate what they do because it requires insane dedication of teachers and students. Sorry to get so riled up here, but I guess it 's personal. I have an unusual product loyalty because I see how much they care about their students doing well. I also completely believe in their materials and course. Chalk it up to me being a homer.

You are making me wish that I didn't take Kaplan and took Berkley instead! ;) But I only have one question for you, and it's got a one word answer... Yes or no... Do you truly believe that someone that has never taken a science course in their undergraduate career could take Berkley and make a high MCAT score? Because that is what it feels like when you take the MCAT and make a really low score... It feels like you have never seen the material in your life. Mainly because I never really retained any of the information needed for the MCAT. Cram and forget is a tactic that a lot of people use in college... And usually by the time you get to the MCAT, you haven't seen basic chem for years. If you say yes, then I will take back everything I said about it being useless. :)


There is one, and only one, check of where you are when preparing for the MCAT: are you making within +/- 2 points of a competitive MCAT score for the schools to which you want to apply on AAMC practice full-lengths, taken under test-day conditions (timed, adhere to break lengths, write both WS essays to drain the life out of you before BS, etc.). That's it. There are no other secrets. Take all the other discretes and practice exams/questions you want, and use them to highlight holes in your fund of knowledge and guide your content review, but none of them have the proven predictive value of the AAMC FL's to tell you where you will most likely score on your actual MCAT.
I totally agree with this! Well said!
 
Jul 14, 2010
65
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Congrats on your acceptance! Your hard work paid off. :) I think your post would also be helpful to others if you mentioned what practice material you used.
 

BerkReviewTeach

Company Rep & Bad Singer
Vendor
10+ Year Member
May 25, 2007
3,906
690
Do you truly believe that someone that has never taken a science course in their undergraduate career could take Berkley and make a high MCAT score?
No. In fact, someone who has never taken any science courses wouldn't be allowed to take the course (their enrollment and payment would be returned), because they're not ready and are wasting their time and money. They wouldn't get what they wanted out of the classes and other students around them (especially in the extra sessions) could suffer if there were too many tangents. Some basics are great to go over in detail such as Leo and Ger correlating to cathode and anode. But having to go over LeChateliers principle from scratch would be unfair to the entire class. To benefit, a student would have to have at least been exposed to the terminology and concepts before.

But someone who has never taken a science course is different from someone who has taken them before and has lost confidence in their information base and abilities. Rebuilding that student's confidence would be job number 1, because without a strong sense of I can do this!, a student starting out behind the curve will not catch up.
 

Alejandro

Physician
10+ Year Member
May 26, 2008
736
228
Somewhere
Status
Attending Physician
Noshie,

I really do admire your willingness to hang in there. You might have seen my "rags to riches" post where I was more or less hanging around in the 24's...where a lot of profs told me I would be incapable applying to most allopathic schools.

I think you demonstrate a valid point-nobody needs a review course, and at the very least, a review course is not going to guarantee results. Not sure if you read Atul Gawande's work...but I think it was in Complications, he describes how physicians are on a bell curve. Most are kinda in the middle, some are exceptional, and some are just horrible. I think exam prep instructors are the same. Most I imagine, are the clock in, clock out individuals, with a few exceptionally awesome instructors (that teach past hours and will go to whatever end to help you succeed), and a few exceptionally inadequate instructors (that fail to do the minimum amount of work). I wouldn't be surprised if BerkTeach is on the upper end of the bellcurve. haha. But at my institution, a lot of the instructors are just undergrads who did well on the mcat. (wow that seems illogical...since when are the smartest the best teachers?...hm...better think about that.)

In the end however, the question becomes, is "being part of the mean," good enough for an instructor? I think overall, no. At least, if you want your students to do "well," which of course is subjective. I'm going to use healthcare as an example, just because we're on SDN. Teaching, has a LOT of parallels to medicine. Why? think about it. Lots of people spend a short amount of time (not all, but lots do) to cram for this test. Most of the time, myself included, we decide to neglect studying harder to understand the concepts prior to an exam. We want the grade, and move on. I mean, how else are you supposed to do it, when you have tons of prereqs that you need to ace?

What about health? It's estimated that almost 50% of the deaths in America are from preventable causes. Preventable in the sense of just better diet, exercise, better socioeconomic situations, and other living conditions--all of the 'small stuff.' But in the end, we wait until we get sick, until we have an MI, or a AAA, or an DKA, whatever...and then we get into the ER in a desparate attemtpt to help someone out. Not to mention, our ERs are overburdened with pts. That's a story for another day.

Anyway, so we decide to prevent these from happening. This could be an instructor...or a primary care physician. The reality is though, most GPs, and most instructors (not just review companies)...are the clock-in, clock-out type. And if you haven't observed it already...primary care/prevention is more than just a visit to a clinic. It means getting help after you "get help from a professional." And studies, I believe are the same thing. A lecture might not be enough. A quiz section might not be enough. Sometimes you need that coach right next to you. However, then we get into the problem of supply. Do we have enough coaches/teachers/physicians to coach all of our clients? nope. That's the problem.

So, in the end, I think the OP has a point that a review course might not be enough. Sometimes you need to just bring yourself up by the bootstraps and get it done. For those who sometimes choose to make sedentary lifestyle choices...it's the SAME thing. We kinda need to get off our lazy bums and become proactive and take matters into our own hands, before we realize it's too late, mcat or health.

Why do I say this? well, I've been tutoring chemistry for about 6 years, pro bono and paid. And I've come to realize that a lot of the challenges with teaching, are the same challenges in medicine. Public versus private, funding, how to reach out to others, not enough providers, etc. Lots of problems. Now, with my 6 years under my belt, does that make me good? probably not. Again, it's a bell curve...and in result, there are plenty of times when I'm too busy, or when **** hits the fan, where i just gotta clock in, and clock out. and those are the days when i have regret, not being able to do enough for my students. Makes you wonder how you're gonna survive as a doc. boo.

Anyway, I really enjoy this conversation. I think I might have said enough, and perhaps hit a tangent. But...review courses...it all depends on who you see. Some are good, some are bad. But by and large, if you want to go by the "mean," that might not be enough to really bring you out of dire straits.
 
Last edited:
OP
noshie

noshie

Don't judge!
10+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2006
1,570
124
36
Fort Worth, TX
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
Congrats on your acceptance! Your hard work paid off. :) I think your post would also be helpful to others if you mentioned what practice material you used.
Thank you Leagall. :) So... I used to buy every MCAT book I saw at any bookstore because at some point I thought that the reason I was doing so poorly was because of the materials I was using. It turns out it wasn't. I dont think one book is better than another. I ended up going to a discount used book store and getting two textbooks for each subject, two for college level physics, two for basic biology, two for general chemistry and two for organic chemistry. I had a few of the books already and just went there to find another book. The reason I felt like I needed two textbooks for everthing was because I have had experience studying in one textbook, and sometimes when you read something and dont get it, it is helpful to read a different explanation for the same thing. I used all of these books frequently in the beginning.

Then when I got to the point where I understood the subjects really well, I started reviewing it MCAT style by looking at the MCAT prep books I had. I had the full set of EK, Kaplan, Princeton Review, random Barrons books, etc... I had an MCAT bookstore! But my personal favorites were EK and Princeton Review... Never tried Berkley, but I have heard good things in the past. In the end, I think it doesn't really matter what you use... As long as you use the books correctly and deeply learn the material.

After I did the textbook and MCAT prep studying, I moved on to the practice tests. There is just nothing like the AAMC tests. I only used those and then had a few EK tests I got way back when, and I had some unused Kaplan tests from when I took the class... I did more questions from the EK 1001 books, I found that to be pretty helpful also. But really, it doesn't matter what you use, though AAMC is a must in my opinion. The AAMCs are just so close to the real thing...

Noshie,

I really do admire your willingness to hang in there. You might have seen my "rags to riches" post where I was more or less hanging around in the 24's...where a lot of profs told me I would be incapable applying to most allopathic schools.

I think you demonstrate a valid point-nobody needs a review course, and at the very least, a review course is not going to guarantee results. Not sure if you read Atul Gawande's work...but I think it was in Complications, he describes how physicians are on a bell curve. Most are kinda in the middle, some are exceptional, and some are just horrible. I think exam prep instructors are the same. Most I imagine, are the clock in, clock out individuals, with a few exceptionally awesome instructors (that teach past hours and will go to whatever end to help you succeed), and a few exceptionally inadequate instructors (that fail to do the minimum amount of work). I wouldn't be surprised if BerkTeach is on the upper end of the bellcurve. haha. But at my institution, a lot of the instructors are just undergrads who did well on the mcat. (wow that seems illogical...since when are the smartest the best teachers?...hm...better think about that.)

In the end however, the question becomes, is "being part of the mean," good enough for an instructor? I think overall, no. At least, if you want your students to do "well," which of course is subjective. I'm going to use healthcare as an example, just because we're on SDN. Teaching, has a LOT of parallels to medicine. Why? think about it. Lots of people spend a short amount of time (not all, but lots do) to cram for this test. Most of the time, myself included, we decide to neglect studying harder to understand the concepts prior to an exam. We want the grade, and move on. I mean, how else are you supposed to do it, when you have tons of prereqs that you need to ace?

What about health? It's estimated that almost 50% of the deaths in America are from preventable causes. Preventable in the sense of just better diet, exercise, better socioeconomic situations, and other living conditions--all of the 'small stuff.' But in the end, we wait until we get sick, until we have an MI, or a AAA, or an DKA, whatever...and then we get into the ER in a desparate attemtpt to help someone out. Not to mention, our ERs are overburdened with pts. That's a story for another day.

Anyway, so we decide to prevent these from happening. This could be an instructor...or a primary care physician. The reality is though, most GPs, and most instructors (not just review companies)...are the clock-in, clock-out type. And if you haven't observed it already...primary care/prevention is more than just a visit to a clinic. It means getting help after you "get help from a professional." And studies, I believe are the same thing. A lecture might not be enough. A quiz section might not be enough. Sometimes you need that coach right next to you. However, then we get into the problem of supply. Do we have enough coaches/teachers/physicians to coach all of our clients? nope. That's the problem.

So, in the end, I think the OP has a point that a review course might not be enough. Sometimes you need to just bring yourself up by the bootstraps and get it done. For those who sometimes choose to make sedentary lifestyle choices...it's the SAME thing. We kinda need to get off our lazy bums and become proactive and take matters into our own hands, before we realize it's too late, mcat or health.

Why do I say this? well, I've been tutoring chemistry for about 6 years, pro bono and paid. And I've come to realize that a lot of the challenges with teaching, are the same challenges in medicine. Public versus private, funding, how to reach out to others, not enough providers, etc. Lots of problems. Now, with my 6 years under my belt, does that make me good? probably not. Again, it's a bell curve...and in result, there are plenty of times when I'm too busy, or when **** hits the fan, where i just gotta clock in, and clock out. and those are the days when i have regret, not being able to do enough for my students. Makes you wonder how you're gonna survive as a doc. boo.

Anyway, I really enjoy this conversation. I think I might have said enough, and perhaps hit a tangent. But...review courses...it all depends on who you see. Some are good, some are bad. But by and large, if you want to go by the "mean," that might not be enough to really bring you out of dire straits.
Thank you for your insightful post, you bring up some very thoughtful and valid points... I enjoyed your analogies a lot, made me think...

I did feel like my Kaplan teacher was not good at explaining things very well, though I wouldn't have understood him either way with the lack of retention I had in the first place... But still, just because you are super smart does not mean that you can teach someone else the material you know so well...
 

tarm800

5+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2010
4
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I just read your entire post and it was beautiful. Sometimes it's nice just to hear from someone how they got to where they are. I feel like a lot of people just show off and tell me their amazing scores (30's and up) and I feel so small in comparison with my 20 something score. Maybe, if I try hard enough, I can do well and get into something. Your post was inspirational, thank you for posting.
 

jellybean13

wiked
Sep 24, 2010
129
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I think this is very inspirational, but I feel that sometimes posters her seem to forget that there ARE people who can not take time away from everything for months and study 8 - 12 hours/day. I have rent and bills to pay, so yes, this strategy may work for some people who have the luxury to do so, but not everyone.
 
Dec 27, 2010
97
1
Status
Non-Student
This really is the most honest, sincere, and down-to-earth thread about the MCAT experience I've ever read. I myself have not taken the MCAT yet, but I'm already empathizing with everyone's condition on here.

I honestly don't think anyone should stress over this test at all. And personally, I think going about it the non-traditional way is much better than the traditional "4 years of undergrad, then go right into med school" pathway. Go out and get some experience in the real world first. It would only look good on your applications.

In my case, I'm currently going for my master's in education for high school science teaching (chemistry and physics specifically). I'm also taking General Physics I and II at a community college to complete my pre-reqs. (Physics wasn't part of my Pathology Assistant curriculum, shockingly.) So I figure this much: I'm killing three birds with one stone by taking Physics for MCAT preparation, to complete my med school pre-reqs, and to prepare me for the New York State teacher certification exam in physics.

Also, I'm preparing for the MCAT in bits and pieces while going for my master's. Whenever I feel confident enough to take the exam, I'll take it. I don't care if I'm 32 when I apply to med school (I'm 27 now). Age is not a factor when it comes to higher education, believe me. In the meantime, I'll be teaching high school science (which is great MCAT prep in itself, especially if you teach AP-level science).

I personally think this is the best way to go. Whoever said you should make MCAT studying a full-time job is a complete moron. You shouldn't have to do this full-time because 1) you're only focusing on one thing, which increases the pressure and 2) if you do poorly, you'll literally feel devastated and depressed because that was the only thing occupying your time and your mind. Do yourselves a favor and have something to fall back on that you enjoy and love. I'm sure there's something other than preparing for the MCAT that makes you feel happy doing...and that you can make money with, too!

If worse comes to worst and you bomb the MCAT, at least you tried and you have something to fall back on (in my case, teaching general and advanced high school science). If I feel like I did poorly on the MCAT twice in a row, heck, I'll still apply and see what happens. Maybe med school will look highly upon me given my work history, resume, and 3.97 undergrad GPA...ya never know. Then again, I may feel so comfortable and become so great at teaching high school science classes that I wouldn't even think twice about entering medical school, taking on a huge debt load, going through rigorous classes again, etc. And who knows...they may do away with the entire MCAT test in the future due to the new healthcare legislation and its future ramifications (IF things are officially passed, instituted, severe shortage of doctors, etc.). Just sayin....

Bottom line is that it's always good to have something comfortably lined up for you while preparing for the MCAT, and in my opinion, I favor the non-traditional route over the traditional.
 

malpractician

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
143
0
Texas
Status
Pre-Medical
How to check whether we already had a basic foundation of knowledge necessarily for the MCAT or not?

This is a good question. I'm going through AAMC's outlines for MCAT sections to see what I know and don't know. If i'm not 100% confident, i review it.
 

Peter1

Removed
Dec 27, 2010
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
The points I hope people take home:
  • It was not easy, there are no quick fixes.
  • I knew biology very well, but wasn't applying it the correct way to do well on the MCAT
  • I wasn't studying correctly. I wasn't organized in my studying
  • the MCAT tests your knowledge of concepts, but without the foundation of information for each subject you can't do well on this test
  • Don't do practice tests until you learn the background information because that will just be too frustrating
  • Most importantly, don't let this test make you think that you are stupid. You are smart
  • don't think that maybe if you take it without much studying, you may get a 25 if your practice scores are a 19… It's not going to happen
  • You need to take a lot of time and become confident in the material
  • here is no quick way to increase your score. Its hard work
  • at least 7-10 hours of studying a day, 5-6 days a week for 5-6 months
I wasn't about to read that long post so I appreciate the summary but you really think the last point is reasonable? From what I've read here from SN2 and others is 3 months intensive studying before is the ideal time to get in the best shape to take the MCAT. (assuming mastery of prereqs)
 
OP
noshie

noshie

Don't judge!
10+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2006
1,570
124
36
Fort Worth, TX
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
I just read your entire post and it was beautiful. Sometimes it's nice just to hear from someone how they got to where they are. I feel like a lot of people just show off and tell me their amazing scores (30's and up) and I feel so small in comparison with my 20 something score. Maybe, if I try hard enough, I can do well and get into something. Your post was inspirational, thank you for posting.
I think this is very inspirational, but I feel that sometimes posters her seem to forget that there ARE people who can not take time away from everything for months and study 8 - 12 hours/day. I have rent and bills to pay, so yes, this strategy may work for some people who have the luxury to do so, but not everyone.
Thanks guys, I am glad people are reading it and it is motivating you to move towards your goal against all odds.

Jellybean, I have worked since I was 15, working full time since high school... When I was in undergrad, I worked 2-3 jobs at a time (working over 60 hours a week most of the time) and I went to school full time. I totally get it. People can't usually afford to take time off of work to study. But that was not the point of my post. If you can get by and make a halfway decent/amazing score on your MCAT without having to relearn all of the material, then you won't need to do something this extreme (study as if it were your full time job). However, there is a point at which you realize that if you don't study like this, you will never reach your goals of becoming a physician. I reached that point, and I had to take the hit and not work for a semester... It was really hard, not only because I needed the money to live on, but also because I gave up working which is something that I actually love to do. Sometimes you just have to look at your life and prioritize... I used to say the exact same thing you are saying, but after spending over $5000 on applications when I applied twice before, and now $5000 when I applied this time... Working was just not worth the amount of money I was wasting on failed applications due to my poor MCAT score.


This really is the most honest, sincere, and down-to-earth thread about the MCAT experience I've ever read. I myself have not taken the MCAT yet, but I'm already empathizing with everyone's condition on here.

I honestly don't think anyone should stress over this test at all. And personally, I think going about it the non-traditional way is much better than the traditional "4 years of undergrad, then go right into med school" pathway. Go out and get some experience in the real world first. It would only look good on your applications.

In my case, I'm currently going for my master's in education for high school science teaching (chemistry and physics specifically). I'm also taking General Physics I and II at a community college to complete my pre-reqs. (Physics wasn't part of my Pathology Assistant curriculum, shockingly.) So I figure this much: I'm killing three birds with one stone by taking Physics for MCAT preparation, to complete my med school pre-reqs, and to prepare me for the New York State teacher certification exam in physics.

Also, I'm preparing for the MCAT in bits and pieces while going for my master's. Whenever I feel confident enough to take the exam, I'll take it. I don't care if I'm 32 when I apply to med school (I'm 27 now). Age is not a factor when it comes to higher education, believe me. In the meantime, I'll be teaching high school science (which is great MCAT prep in itself, especially if you teach AP-level science).

I personally think this is the best way to go. Whoever said you should make MCAT studying a full-time job is a complete moron. You shouldn't have to do this full-time because 1) you're only focusing on one thing, which increases the pressure and 2) if you do poorly, you'll literally feel devastated and depressed because that was the only thing occupying your time and your mind. Do yourselves a favor and have something to fall back on that you enjoy and love. I'm sure there's something other than preparing for the MCAT that makes you feel happy doing...and that you can make money with, too!

If worse comes to worst and you bomb the MCAT, at least you tried and you have something to fall back on (in my case, teaching general and advanced high school science). If I feel like I did poorly on the MCAT twice in a row, heck, I'll still apply and see what happens. Maybe med school will look highly upon me given my work history, resume, and 3.97 undergrad GPA...ya never know. Then again, I may feel so comfortable and become so great at teaching high school science classes that I wouldn't even think twice about entering medical school, taking on a huge debt load, going through rigorous classes again, etc. And who knows...they may do away with the entire MCAT test in the future due to the new healthcare legislation and its future ramifications (IF things are officially passed, instituted, severe shortage of doctors, etc.). Just sayin....

Bottom line is that it's always good to have something comfortably lined up for you while preparing for the MCAT, and in my opinion, I favor the non-traditional route over the traditional.
Good post, I agree that having life experience is worth more than good test scores...You will end up as a better doctor because you are able to communicate better. In my opinion, maturity is the one thing lacking in most medical students, and they carry this into the most valued profession in our society... It's really sad... Good luck with your teaching career, I am confident it will lead you to doing well on the MCAT and becoming a physician. :)


I wasn't about to read that long post so I appreciate the summary but you really think the last point is reasonable? From what I've read here from SN2 and others is 3 months intensive studying before is the ideal time to get in the best shape to take the MCAT. (assuming mastery of prereqs)
So... As I said above, not everyone has to treat studying for the MCAT as a full time job... You have to remember that many of us applying are non trads... We have not taken science classes in forever, and when we did take them, we were not as focused as the students that are able to only study and not work or have families.

The summary was really not the main points of my post. Haha, sorry it was so long though! The point is, when you are scoring so low on the MCAT, that means that you have to study much harder to make a score even remotely around what most people make. You have to relearn the material tested, then learn what is specifically tested on the MCAT! You would be learning 8 courses full of material! And then studying for the MCAT... That takes time. SN2s studying schedule is more about improving a score, you already remember the basics and you want to just make sure you can apply it to the MCAT... Like you are making 25+ already on your first practice test and now you can study a little more to improve your skills and make a 30+... My study schedule wasn't about making an amazingly high score, it was about increasing my score, and being the best that I can be... I promise you, you cannot think that you can increase a score in the teens (15-19) by just studying part time for 3 months. It will not work. It takes severe dedication.
 
Last edited:

startswithb

Future Urologist
7+ Year Member
Jan 31, 2010
1,750
90
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I promise you, you cannot think that you can increase a score in the teens (15-19) by just studying part time for 3 months. It will not work. It takes severe dedication.
I think this is the most important point Noshie is trying to make here. My first MCAT was a 23 (6 PS 10 VR 7 BS). Obviously, I was very weak in the sciences. I was set on retaking it, so I read through the ExamKrackers books and follwed a generic study guide for about 2 months and I only raised it to a 25. Then I tried to take it again and dropped to a 24. :eek: I was also working full-time supporting myself. I had a lot of problems with my test prep, and honestly I didn't even try to pinpoint what happened, I just started from scratch. Getting rejected after an interview with my state school really put a fire in me and I was determined to get at least a 30.

While I still had to work full-time to support myself, I was able to put plenty of time into studying on breaks at work, after work, and on the weekends. I also studied for 5 months instead of 2 or 3, like the typical applicant fresh from the pre-reqs can do. I went through numerous prep books and took practice tests. My AAMC practice test averages were my real score! My last practice test (taken just like the real thing; timed and everything) was my exact score! Please take these tests seriously and don't expect a miracle on test day. I think when I retook my 25 and got a 24 that I actually though I could magically pull out a better score. That was dumb.

Overall, it doesn't matter how long it takes you to get the score you want. Do not take the test until your AAMC tests are in the range you want to score in. Be very realistic with your strengths and weaknesses, and don't be afraid to go back to textbooks or the very basics if you have to.

My result was a September 09 24M (6 PS 10 VR 8 BS) to a August 10 31O (10 PS 11 VR 10 BS). Studied 5 months with 15 prepbooks. Seriously. I hope that I can be of encouragement to anyone else struggling in the low 20s. It is not impossible to drastically increase your score! Good luck!

(Didn't mean to hijack your thread, Noshie; I think you make some very good points. :))
 
Last edited:

RUDoc

7+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2010
18
3
Status
Resident [Any Field]
This is a great post that represents perseverance, an excellent trait for any doctor. However, I do have to agree with the BerkReviewTeach (henceforth referred to as BRT cause I am lazy lol). Not all courses are built the same way and not all material is the same. It had been 3 years since G-Chem, 2 years since Bio, and a year since Physics for me. Orgo I had taken in that year leading up. So none of it was fresh, and outside of physics/orgo I had APed out of them. So I didn't even have it on a college level. As BRT mentioned rebuilding confidence is a huge part of the process. I got a 24 on my diagnostic but like i said I really remembered little to nothing, but was confident in my test taking skills. I personally like The Princeton Review's (TPR) materials b/c they built things from the ground up. My issue has always been people focusing wayyy too much on the material. Read the material once, maybe even review it again, then the key is taking practice problems/passages to reinforce the information and apply it in an MCAT-like manner. TPR does say that they give you extra information so maybe it would be more textbook-like. But as BRT said, blanket statements about prep courses is a tad harsh since they are all different, and that's even discounting different teachers within the same company (some people are in those classes to make some money and don't love teaching).
 
  • Like
Reactions: DoctorNole15
Mar 4, 2011
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi Noshie,

Reading your story literally makes me feel like I am reading about my life. I am currently working on my masters degree in forensic science and thankfully I have a really high gpa (3.74). But just like you I have taken the mcat 3 times (15M, 13M, and 18M this past january) and I also took a prep course (TPR) and yet still did so poorly...I obviously improved but not enough. I have been feeling very discouraged lately and I just want to give up. My friends tell me that I should still apply to med schools this year cause i never know i might get in, but i feel that med schools won't give me the time of day because of my mcat scores. Everyone keeps telling me not to give, to try again, and after reading your post I am feeling a lot better about it. I am definitely not going to give up, I want to finish my masters (this October) and then dedicate my time to study for the mcat. Do you recommend that I apply this year even with the low mcat score? because I do have a high gpa and lots of volunteer and clinical experience. Thanks again for posting your story.....definitely made my day!!
 

hiyaman

7+ Year Member
Feb 5, 2010
1,258
8
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Hi Noshie,

Reading your story literally makes me feel like I am reading about my life. I am currently working on my masters degree in forensic science and thankfully I have a really high gpa (3.74). But just like you I have taken the mcat 3 times (15M, 13M, and 18M this past january) and I also took a prep course (TPR) and yet still did so poorly...I obviously improved but not enough. I have been feeling very discouraged lately and I just want to give up. My friends tell me that I should still apply to med schools this year cause i never know i might get in, but i feel that med schools won't give me the time of day because of my mcat scores. Everyone keeps telling me not to give, to try again, and after reading your post I am feeling a lot better about it. I am definitely not going to give up, I want to finish my masters (this October) and then dedicate my time to study for the mcat. Do you recommend that I apply this year even with the low mcat score? because I do have a high gpa and lots of volunteer and clinical experience. Thanks again for posting your story.....definitely made my day!!
Did you keep up with the TPR course? There's a lot of work that gets assigned throughout the course of a single week. The TPR in my area was pretty good, it was actually mostly the workbook that I found invaluable. I think if you work hard enough you will achieve the score you are looking for. You just need to :
1. practice enough problems and passages
2. practice enough full lengths
3. review concepts that you have no clue about while doing problems

You also need to be practicing good test taking skills such as POE. Oh How I love POE:love:.

I wish you goodluck and keep at it!
 
Mar 4, 2011
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Did you keep up with the TPR course? There's a lot of work that gets assigned throughout the course of a single week. The TPR in my area was pretty good, it was actually mostly the workbook that I found invaluable. I think if you work hard enough you will achieve the score you are looking for. You just need to :
1. practice enough problems and passages
2. practice enough full lengths
3. review concepts that you have no clue about while doing problems

You also need to be practicing good test taking skills such as POE. Oh How I love POE:love:.

I wish you goodluck and keep at it!

I tried to keep up with most of the homework, but it was too much especially because I was doing the holiday hell course (all in in 1 month). But you are right, I do need to practice more problems and passages, and I need to get better with the test taking skills. I think that is probably one of my weaknesses. Thanks for your imput, I appreciate it.
 

ilovemcat

Removed
Apr 16, 2010
660
3
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi Noshie,

Reading your story literally makes me feel like I am reading about my life. I am currently working on my masters degree in forensic science and thankfully I have a really high gpa (3.74). But just like you I have taken the mcat 3 times (15M, 13M, and 18M this past january) and I also took a prep course (TPR) and yet still did so poorly...I obviously improved but not enough. I have been feeling very discouraged lately and I just want to give up. My friends tell me that I should still apply to med schools this year cause i never know i might get in, but i feel that med schools won't give me the time of day because of my mcat scores. Everyone keeps telling me not to give, to try again, and after reading your post I am feeling a lot better about it. I am definitely not going to give up, I want to finish my masters (this October) and then dedicate my time to study for the mcat. Do you recommend that I apply this year even with the low mcat score? because I do have a high gpa and lots of volunteer and clinical experience. Thanks again for posting your story.....definitely made my day!!
Just curious, what were you averaging on the AAMC's before you took the test. And what materials did you use to prepare / study?
 
Mar 4, 2011
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Just curious, what were you averaging on the AAMC's before you took the test. And what materials did you use to prepare / study?
I was scoring pretty low....I had thought about rescheduling the exam when I took it the third time, but I was too late for that...my scores were like 14 or 15. I used all the TPR books to review as well as some program I bought (don't remember the name of it) which was all dvd with a workbook, and a kaplan review book. This time around I plan on using the TPR books plus purchasing some of the EK books and maybe even the BR books. I might have to resort to even pulling out my old textbooks. I plan on scheduling the mcat until I begin scoring higher on the AAMC's practice tests. I am still debating whether or not I should still apply to the texas med schools this year and maybe to some of the Caribbean med schools...don't know...any advice? I am a bit weary of those schools...the only one that looks somewhat okay is st. George's university and maybe even ross or AUG.
 

ilovemcat

Removed
Apr 16, 2010
660
3
Status
Pre-Medical
I was scoring pretty low....I had thought about rescheduling the exam when I took it the third time, but I was too late for that...my scores were like 14 or 15. I used all the TPR books to review as well as some program I bought (don't remember the name of it) which was all dvd with a workbook, and a kaplan review book. This time around I plan on using the TPR books plus purchasing some of the EK books and maybe even the BR books. I might have to resort to even pulling out my old textbooks. I plan on scheduling the mcat until I begin scoring higher on the AAMC's practice tests. I am still debating whether or not I should still apply to the texas med schools this year and maybe to some of the Caribbean med schools...don't know...any advice? I am a bit weary of those schools...the only one that looks somewhat okay is st. George's university and maybe even ross or AUG.
Honestly, if you were scoring 14s or 15s that was a red flag for you to void your test and reschedule. Even if you dropped $200 something dollars, you should of rescheduled. I really do sympathize for you - however, I have to be honest... the fact you took the test 3 times and did poorly EACH time doesn't sit well with med school admission committees at all. Nothing can make up for that. It just shows irresponsibility and poor judgement on your part. I'm a little baffled how and why you took the test 3 times if you were doing poorly from the very beginning. You should of seen it coming.

How exactly were you preparing for the test? Did you devote enough time to learn the material? And did you actually apply what you learned? I'll tell you from experience - the only way to learn a topic well is through experience and that experience comes from practicing problems and doing passages. Content Review can only get you so far. TPR has an excellent amount of practice material and that alone should of boosted your scores (if you actually used them).

Regardless, if it's truly in your heart to become a doctor - I think at this point you should consider Caribbean Schools. I don't know anyone who was admitted into Med-School after taking the MCAT 4 times. (It's possible but unlikely). Save your money and avoid applying to US med schools. On the plus side, I know someone who was admitted into a decent Caribbean School without an MCAT. Perhaps they might look past your MCAT score and view the remainder of your application as a whole. It might be an area of interest for you...

Either way, I wish you the best of luck. I hope my bluntness wasn't insulting or mean. The MCAT is an emotionally draining (and expensive!) process. I'd hate to see you endure that again, especially since the pay-off would be very little.
 
Last edited:

Cinclus

Es un pájaro.
Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Feb 2, 2011
3,590
383
Behind the waterfall
Status
Attending Physician
The thing about people that score in the teens to very low 20s is that none of them are stupid.
"None" is too strong a word to use here. I know several who are, in fact, just that. Though, I think most of them aren't stupid, since I know plenty of these people, too.
 
Last edited:
Mar 4, 2011
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Honestly, if you were scoring 14s or 15s that was a red flag for you to void your test and reschedule. Even if you dropped $200 something dollars, you should of rescheduled. I really do sympathize for you - however, I have to be honest... the fact you took the test 3 times and did poorly EACH time doesn't sit well with med school admission committees at all. Nothing can make up for that. It just shows irresponsibility and poor judgement on your part. I'm a little baffled how and why you took the test 3 times if you were doing poorly from the very beginning. You should of seen it coming.

How exactly were you preparing for the test? Did you devote enough time to learn the material? And did you actually apply what you learned? I'll tell you from experience - the only way to learn a topic well is through experience and that experience comes from practicing problems and doing passages. Content Review can only get you so far. TPR has an excellent amount of practice material and that alone should of boosted your scores (if you actually used them).

Regardless, if it's truly in your heart to become a doctor - I think at this point you should consider Caribbean Schools. I don't know anyone who was admitted into Med-School after taking the MCAT 4 times. (It's possible but unlikely). Save your money and avoid applying to US med schools. On the plus side, I know someone who was admitted into a decent Caribbean School without an MCAT. Perhaps they might look past your MCAT score and view the remainder of your application as a whole. It might be an area of interest for you...

Either way, I wish you the best of luck. I hope my bluntness wasn't insulting or mean. The MCAT is an emotionally draining (and expensive!) process. I'd hate to see you endure that again, especially since the pay-off would be very little.


Any advice is appreciated. As far as voiding the mcat....well I could have but I can't do anything about that now. The first time I took the mcat I didn't prepare like I should have...I was working, going to school, and getting ready for my wedding...so my mind wasn't all there. Plus I had ****ty advisors. The second time I did prepare...I had purchased a Kaplan book and some dvd's (don't remember the name of the company) but I guess it wasn't enough because there is my score to show for it. Finally the third time I took it, i did the TPR prep course the month before taking the mcat and yes i did apply the techniques that I was taught. It obviously helped some because my score improved, but not enough. Noshie (the person that started this thread) mentioned in her story that she took the mcat 5 times and got in to medical school, so I am not losing hope. I know taking the mcat so many times raises a red flag to med schools, but the mcat score doesn't reflect the type of person that I or any person is for that matter. I am not going to give up so easily, this is my dream and I am not going to let a measly score get in the way of achieving it. I am thinking of Caribbean med schools as a possibility, but I am not giving up on US med schools either.
 
OP
noshie

noshie

Don't judge!
10+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2006
1,570
124
36
Fort Worth, TX
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
Wow, I should really check this thread more often! Haha. Ok, there is a LOT of negativity going on here, and really there is no need for it...


First, Varp, you NEED to study with a textbook this time around before you start on the MCAT materials... Trust me on this. No amount of practice problems will fix your biggest obvious problem, which is not knowing the material well enough to be tested on it! There is no shame in this… You are just far out from the basic classes, and you need to flat out relearn the material. Do not let your past exams hinder your outlook on yourself or what you are capable of. Just start over and do it right this time. I think you are going to the same graduate school I went to :) Haha. Texas and forensic science gave it away! If you need anything, I am probably living close by, so just PM me and maybe we can talk this over coffee or something... :) My best advice for you is this: Finish the degree in October, then take 5 months off and study nonstop… And most importantly, wait another year and apply for 2013. It will work out in the end if you pull your weight, but rushing into applying again will definitely not turn out in your favor with the MCAT scores you already have… I’ve been there, and I had just as much determination as you do, even with my amazing experiences in the medical field, the MCAT is just too important in this process…


Second, Ilovemcat, Really, there is no need to put others down on this. Not everyone started this journey to medical school knowing that this was what they wanted to do. Some of us do show poor judgment in the beginning because we don’t realize how everything works. I mean, the first few times I took the MCAT, I had never been on SDN, I had no freaking idea what I really needed to make to get into med school, and honestly I wasn’t dedicated enough to it to do well on the MCAT. But there is always HOPE. Always. If you want something bad enough, it will happen. I am definitely proof of that, and there are many many others that are on SDN that have shared similar stories. To tell someone that they will likely not get into medical school in the US because of their past poor MCAT scores is frankly untrue. Sure, right now it would be impossible, but taking a few years to fix their application and definitely increase their MCAT considerably, especially with someone that has a high GPA, it is possible. I have a 2.8-2.9 undergraduate GPA, 3 MCATs under 20, and a final MCAT of 27 (which is below average). And I have had 3 MD interviews and 7 DO interviews... No rejections from any of the schools I have interviewed with, and one solid acceptance. So... Yeah. Unless you have been there, you can’t understand what it feels like to be below average and pick yourself up out of that hole. Perseverance is an amazing thing. Adcoms pick up on that, and they will give you a chance.


Finally, Cinclus, becoming a physician has nothing to do with being smart... True. But the whole point of my post was to uplift people that are feeling down about themselves because of their MCAT score. To motivate them to do better. It was a motivational post... Don’t take it literally... Geez.
 

ilovemcat

Removed
Apr 16, 2010
660
3
Status
Pre-Medical
Wow, I should really check this thread more often! Haha. Ok, there is a LOT of negativity going on here, and really there is no need for it...


First, Varp, you NEED to study with a textbook this time around before you start on the MCAT materials... Trust me on this. No amount of practice problems will fix your biggest obvious problem, which is not knowing the material well enough to be tested on it! There is no shame in this… You are just far out from the basic classes, and you need to flat out relearn the material. Do not let your past exams hinder your outlook on yourself or what you are capable of. Just start over and do it right this time. I think you are going to the same graduate school I went to :) Haha. Texas and forensic science gave it away! If you need anything, I am probably living close by, so just PM me and maybe we can talk this over coffee or something... :) My best advice for you is this: Finish the degree in October, then take 5 months off and study nonstop… And most importantly, wait another year and apply for 2013. It will work out in the end if you pull your weight, but rushing into applying again will definitely not turn out in your favor with the MCAT scores you already have… I’ve been there, and I had just as much determination as you do, even with my amazing experiences in the medical field, the MCAT is just too important in this process…


Second, Ilovemcat, Really, there is no need to put others down on this. Not everyone started this journey to medical school knowing that this was what they wanted to do. Some of us do show poor judgment in the beginning because we don’t realize how everything works. I mean, the first few times I took the MCAT, I had never been on SDN, I had no freaking idea what I really needed to make to get into med school, and honestly I wasn’t dedicated enough to it to do well on the MCAT. But there is always HOPE. Always. If you want something bad enough, it will happen. I am definitely proof of that, and there are many many others that are on SDN that have shared similar stories. To tell someone that they will likely not get into medical school in the US because of their past poor MCAT scores is frankly untrue. Sure, right now it would be impossible, but taking a few years to fix their application and definitely increase their MCAT considerably, especially with someone that has a high GPA, it is possible. I have a 2.8-2.9 undergraduate GPA, 3 MCATs under 20, and a final MCAT of 27 (which is below average). And I have had 3 MD interviews and 7 DO interviews... No rejections from any of the schools I have interviewed with, and one solid acceptance. So... Yeah. Unless you have been there, you can’t understand what it feels like to be below average and pick yourself up out of that hole. Perseverance is an amazing thing. Adcoms pick up on that, and they will give you a chance.


Finally, Cinclus, becoming a physician has nothing to do with being smart... True. But the whole point of my post was to uplift people that are feeling down about themselves because of their MCAT score. To motivate them to do better. It was a motivational post... Don’t take it literally... Geez.
There's such a thing as "tough love," noshie. Like I said before, I really do sympathetize for that person but at the same time I think it's important to be brutally honest. While it's true your motivation and hard-work eventually put you in a position to enter Medical School - you were extremely lucky. Convince me why I should encourage this poster to apply for an MD when he would have a much better chance applying to a DO school. If his passion is to become a doctor, then whether he takes the MD path or the DO path shouldn't matter. One would be easier and less stressful and the other might result in a road block.
 

tttgo

7+ Year Member
Feb 4, 2011
410
4
Status
Pre-Medical
I would have to agree with ilovemcat on this one. However, if you still want to apply MD, I would take a year off because it doesn't seem realistic right now. Reading from textbooks does help, but that would take a very long time. If I were you, I would use every resource available (only the good ones, of course). this isn't a maybe look at tpr and pickup some tbr books. this is a read the entire hyperlearning set, do every passage, read all the tbr books, do every passage, all of EK, all 7 or however many tpr tests from the course, all 8 aamc's, all 7 tbr cbts, and all 10 GS cbts. You also need a study plan and to strategize wisely. For example, use ek 1001 to work on specific topics. Do solid content content review for like 2 months 5-6 hours/day. Then do like 30+ practice tests (saving aamcs for last). I think I read in a thread somewhere where someone spent a crazy amount of hours studying. You need to do that and aim for a 30+. You should make this pretty much full time, with the exception of some volunteering. If you don't have the time right now, wait until you do. If you don't want to put in the effort, well, maybe you'll get lucky. Also, this is using only mcat prep material, and not textbooks. Textbooks would take longer and be less productive.
 
Mar 4, 2011
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
There's such a thing as "tough love," noshie. Like I said before, I really do sympathetize for that person but at the same time I think it's important to be brutally honest. While it's true your motivation and hard-work eventually put you in a position to enter Medical School - you were extremely lucky. Convince me why I should encourage this poster to apply for an MD when he would have a much better chance applying to a DO school. If his passion is to become a doctor, then whether he takes the MD path or the DO path shouldn't matter. One would be easier and less stressful and the other might result in a road block.
I would have to agree with ilovemcat on this one. However, if you still want to apply MD, I would take a year off because it doesn't seem realistic right now. Reading from textbooks does help, but that would take a very long time. If I were you, I would use every resource available (only the good ones, of course). this isn't a maybe look at tpr and pickup some tbr books. this is a read the entire hyperlearning set, do every passage, read all the tbr books, do every passage, all of EK, all 7 or however many tpr tests from the course, all 8 aamc's, all 7 tbr cbts, and all 10 GS cbts. You also need a study plan and to strategize wisely. For example, use ek 1001 to work on specific topics. Do solid content content review for like 2 months 5-6 hours/day. Then do like 30+ practice tests (saving aamcs for last). I think I read in a thread somewhere where someone spent a crazy amount of hours studying. You need to do that and aim for a 30+. You should make this pretty much full time, with the exception of some volunteering. If you don't have the time right now, wait until you do. If you don't want to put in the effort, well, maybe you'll get lucky. Also, this is using only mcat prep material, and not textbooks. Textbooks would take longer and be less productive.


To ilovemcat.....so when you get to med school and for some reason you have a hard time keeping up with the material and you find yourself needing some advice to help you get through....how would you like it if someone would tell you "Sorry, but you just can't cut it....find something else to do with your life." 1) you are going to feel discouraged and 2) are you going to just give up? It seems to me that you would. Put yourself in my shoes here for a minute.....this is the only thing that I have ever wanted to do with my life....I have had the misfortune of making some mistakes along the way, but I am still here fighting to get to where I want to be. I don't know about you....but I believe that says a lot about a person.

To tttgo, thanks for the advice as far as the studying is concerned....I am planning on finishing my masters degree first this year then spending time on beating this stupid test.

Noshie, thank you very much for your words of encouragement. I am definitely not giving up on my dream...I have come this far and this is definitely not the time to give up.

Oh and I don't think we are attending the same university....I'm attending National University, which is based out of California....most of the program is online and 4 core classes are on site. Right now I am in San Diego until the end of June and then I go back home and finish online. It is actually pretty cool.....they do one class a month!! I began this past September and I will be done in October...just over a year. What med school did you get accepted to? I actually live in Edinburg, Tx.....which is very deep south Texas.....about 4 hours south of San Antonio. Hopefully one of these days we could actually meet.....it would be great!! What do you think of Caribbean med schools? I was doing some research on them and they don't seem all that bad...but I don't know....my husband is a little weary about it too....but he is really supportive with whatever I decide.
 

ilovemcat

Removed
Apr 16, 2010
660
3
Status
Pre-Medical
To ilovemcat.....so when you get to med school and for some reason you have a hard time keeping up with the material and you find yourself needing some advice to help you get through....how would you like it if someone would tell you "Sorry, but you just can't cut it....find something else to do with your life." 1) you are going to feel discouraged and 2) are you going to just give up? It seems to me that you would. Put yourself in my shoes here for a minute.....this is the only thing that I have ever wanted to do with my life....I have had the misfortune of making some mistakes along the way, but I am still here fighting to get to where I want to be. I don't know about you....but I believe that says a lot about a person.

To tttgo, thanks for the advice as far as the studying is concerned....I am planning on finishing my masters degree first this year then spending time on beating this stupid test.

Noshie, thank you very much for your words of encouragement. I am definitely not giving up on my dream...I have come this far and this is definitely not the time to give up.

Oh and I don't think we are attending the same university....I'm attending National University, which is based out of California....most of the program is online and 4 core classes are on site. Right now I am in San Diego until the end of June and then I go back home and finish online. It is actually pretty cool.....they do one class a month!! I began this past September and I will be done in October...just over a year. What med school did you get accepted to? I actually live in Edinburg, Tx.....which is very deep south Texas.....about 4 hours south of San Antonio. Hopefully one of these days we could actually meet.....it would be great!! What do you think of Caribbean med schools? I was doing some research on them and they don't seem all that bad...but I don't know....my husband is a little weary about it too....but he is really supportive with whatever I decide.
I think you're missing the point of my post. No where did mention or even suggest that you should give up on your dreams. If anything I'm encouraging you to pursue your goals BUT to be realistic about achieving them. If you decide to retake, make sure you take enough practice tests to gauge your progress. It's extremely important. Regardless of what you do, I wish you the best of luck.
 
OP
noshie

noshie

Don't judge!
10+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2006
1,570
124
36
Fort Worth, TX
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
There's such a thing as "tough love," noshie. Like I said before, I really do sympathetize for that person but at the same time I think it's important to be brutally honest. While it's true your motivation and hard-work eventually put you in a position to enter Medical School - you were extremely lucky. Convince me why I should encourage this poster to apply for an MD when he would have a much better chance applying to a DO school. If his passion is to become a doctor, then whether he takes the MD path or the DO path shouldn't matter. One would be easier and less stressful and the other might result in a road block.

I totally get tough love… In fact, I usually live by it. But no one said anything about MD vs DO, at least not from what I read. She said that she wanted to become a doctor… Her scores are below for both MD and DO right now, but not really for Caribbean. The way you were turning it, you were saying that staying in the US would not be beneficial at all for someone with her stats… Like a US school would never take her… That’s what I got out of it, but I totally agree with what you are saying about strictly trying for the MD, if she doesn’t bring up her MCAT score considerably (like 10+ points), it’s definitely out of the question… However, if she does bring it up, it is totally possible in my opinion. Sure, it will be hard and take years to make her application amazing with other experiences and unique things (and prove that she has put the poor MCATs in the past and is now able to succeed academically), but possible. And when this is really something that you dedicate yourself to, that type of hard work is to be expected.



I think that DO would be way way way better than Caribbean… I actually work with a woman that went Caribbean and finished with her MD about 5 years ago… She has been applying for residency positions every year since she graduated… She has not been able to secure a spot at all, and is now working as a research coordinator for clinical studies. She hates that she is totally in research right now, and even though she has the MD behind her name, it really means nothing without the residency training… She recently decided that if she wants to get out there and have patient contact, she will have to go into a different field, so she has been applying to PA school… Its honestly a story I have heard a few times before I met her from other people on SDN… And it has made me realize that going Caribbean for an MD is way too risky and DO is definitely a more solid way to go in this case. Once you go to med school, it’s not like there is another way to go back to med school and get the degree somewhere else or something… You get stuck with the degree you were given, and if you can’t do anything with it, it’s useless…
 

flodhi1

Membership Revoked
Removed
Jan 31, 2011
1,989
8
Status
Medical Student
I was scoring pretty low....I had thought about rescheduling the exam when I took it the third time, but I was too late for that...my scores were like 14 or 15. I used all the TPR books to review as well as some program I bought (don't remember the name of it) which was all dvd with a workbook, and a kaplan review book. This time around I plan on using the TPR books plus purchasing some of the EK books and maybe even the BR books. I might have to resort to even pulling out my old textbooks. I plan on scheduling the mcat until I begin scoring higher on the AAMC's practice tests. I am still debating whether or not I should still apply to the texas med schools this year and maybe to some of the Caribbean med schools...don't know...any advice? I am a bit weary of those schools...the only one that looks somewhat okay is st. George's university and maybe even ross or AUG.
Try try and try again don't lose hope but you're definitely going to have to score >25 if you want to get into SGU or a D.O school! Don't listen to the people that put you down hard work always pays off. Study 6 hours a day if you still don't do better push it up to 9-10 hours a day. The MCAT tests the absolute basics! it's not that tough
 
Jun 18, 2010
847
7
Status
I simply don't understand how it is possible for someone to have >3.7 GPA but not be able to get past 20 on the MCAT.
 

flodhi1

Membership Revoked
Removed
Jan 31, 2011
1,989
8
Status
Medical Student
I simply don't understand how it is possible for someone to have >3.7 GPA but not be able to get past 20 on the MCAT.
Yeah to be honest I have no idea. I think you can get a 20 just by picking random answers and again i'm not trying to put anybody down but 20 is pretty bad :( I wish everybody the best of luck though! everyone can score better than a 30 if they put in the right amount of hard work!
 
Jun 18, 2010
847
7
Status
It really makes me question what kind of classes this person took or what college they're studying at. How easy do the classes have to be for someone to get a >3.7 but <20 on the MCAT?
 
Mar 4, 2011
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Yeah to be honest I have no idea. I think you can get a 20 just by picking random answers and again i'm not trying to put anybody down but 20 is pretty bad :( I wish everybody the best of luck though! everyone can score better than a 30 if they put in the right amount of hard work!
It really makes me question what kind of classes this person took or what college they're studying at. How easy do the classes have to be for someone to get a >3.7 but <20 on the MCAT?

Okay to begin with I am pretty sure that neither of you have taken the mcat yet because if you had, you wouldn't be making these stupid comments. I want you to try and just randomly pick answers on one of the diags and see u get a 20 or better. Oh and not on any of the Kaplan tests because for some reason those are really easy....use AAMC diags, those are more accurate. How old are you guys anyways? 19 20? it really shows your lack of maturity here. flodhi1 you give me advice on working hard in order to score better and then you turn around and make these comments....seriously.....I'm guessing you and Rabolisk probably had mom and dad pay for college and not have to worry about anything. Some of us unfortunately don't have that luxury......my undergrad gpa is 3.05 and I had to work full time and go to school full time. Right now I am in grad school working on a Master of Forensic Science and now have a gpa of 3.7.....but see unlike undergrad, now I am married and have the opportunity to focus on just school. As far as the mcat is concerned, I have never been a good standardized test taker, so unlike others, I am having a hard time with this test.
 
Mar 4, 2011
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I think you're missing the point of my post. No where did mention or even suggest that you should give up on your dreams. If anything I'm encouraging you to pursue your goals BUT to be realistic about achieving them. If you decide to retake, make sure you take enough practice tests to gauge your progress. It's extremely important. Regardless of what you do, I wish you the best of luck.

I am not missing the point here.....you are telling me not to give up on my dream, but yet be realistic in achieving them.....so...to me this basically means the same thing. I am not ******ed....I know that I have to retake the test and I know I have to study harder in order to achieve a higher score.
 
Jun 18, 2010
847
7
Status
Okay to begin with I am pretty sure that neither of you have taken the mcat yet because if you had, you wouldn't be making these stupid comments. I want you to try and just randomly pick answers on one of the diags and see u get a 20 or better.
I understand now. Sorry, I didn't realize that you were randomly picking answers on your third try. I was assuming that someone whose dream is to become a doctor wasn't blindly guessing on his third MCAT. For your information, I have taken the MCAT, and my comments are all based on my experiences with the MCAT as well as with college.

I'm guessing you and Rabolisk probably had mom and dad pay for college and not have to worry about anything. Some of us unfortunately don't have that luxury......my undergrad gpa is 3.05 and I had to work full time and go to school full time.
First of all, there is nothing wrong with mom and dad paying for college. When you become a doctor, are you not going to do that for your kids? It's not a "luxury" or something that only the richest and the fewest experience. Students aren't spoiled or immature for letting their parents pay for college. Having said that, though, my mom and dad don't pay for college, although I don't really either. Most of my expenses are paid through financial aid and scholarships. In a roundabout way, the fact that my parents are rather poor allows me to get the need-based aid, and I am extremely grateful for the policies of the federal and state government, as well as my university, for giving me this opportunity. But again, it's not something I should feel ashamed of, which is what you imply.

I really sympathize with your situation, because I've never had to work (meaningfully) while in school, much less full time. And perhaps my comments were harsh and not constructive. But from another perspective, it also means that I truly believe that anyone who is capable of getting good grades in school as you have done (Masters or not) is also capable of getting a reasonably good score on the MCAT. I am still puzzled as to why you felt the need to retake the MCAT when you realized your score was going to be low, as you had access to prep materials and practice AAMCs (at least the third time).

However, in the back of my mind, I am still baffled by how one could get such a low score 3 times. For one, 1/3 of the exam doesn't require any background knowledge. My experience with verbal is that while preparation is necessary and helpful, it is also the easiest section to just go in cold and do (relatively) well. BS is heavily based on passages, and many answers can be reasoned out even with light background content. This is why I said what I said. I would obviously expect a score in the teens from a high school student, someone who has never attended a college, or someone whose grades are poor. You are in none of those categories, which is why I was and am still somewhat confused by how you could get such a low score. I would think that a person who has taken the required prereqs (I assume you have), who has decent to good grades (3.05 to 3.74), and who has taken the exam more than once be able to get past at least 20. This is harsh, but it is how I feel, and it isn't based on some 19 or 20 year old's immaturity (which I'm not), but on my experiences having taken the MCAT and knowing the type of people who get good grades in colleges in the US.
 
Mar 3, 2011
101
0
Status
I understand now. Sorry, I didn't realize that you were randomly picking answers on your third try. I was assuming that someone whose dream is to become a doctor wasn't blindly guessing on his third MCAT. For your information, I have taken the MCAT, and my comments are all based on my experiences with the MCAT as well as with college.



First of all, there is nothing wrong with mom and dad paying for college. When you become a doctor, are you not going to do that for your kids? It's not a "luxury" or something that only the richest and the fewest experience. Students aren't spoiled or immature for letting their parents pay for college. Having said that, though, my mom and dad don't pay for college, although I don't really either. Most of my expenses are paid through financial aid and scholarships. In a roundabout way, the fact that my parents are rather poor allows me to get the need-based aid, and I am extremely grateful for the policies of the federal and state government, as well as my university, for giving me this opportunity. But again, it's not something I should feel ashamed of, which is what you imply.

I really sympathize with your situation, because I've never had to work (meaningfully) while in school, much less full time. And perhaps my comments were harsh and not constructive. But from another perspective, it also means that I truly believe that anyone who is capable of getting good grades in school as you have done (Masters or not) is also capable of getting a reasonably good score on the MCAT. I am still puzzled as to why you felt the need to retake the MCAT when you realized your score was going to be low, as you had access to prep materials and practice AAMCs (at least the third time).

However, in the back of my mind, I am still baffled by how one could get such a low score 3 times. For one, 1/3 of the exam doesn't require any background knowledge. My experience with verbal is that while preparation is necessary and helpful, it is also the easiest section to just go in cold and do (relatively) well. BS is heavily based on passages, and many answers can be reasoned out even with light background content. This is why I said what I said. I would obviously expect a score in the teens from a high school student, someone who has never attended a college, or someone whose grades are poor. You are in none of those categories, which is why I was and am still somewhat confused by how you could get such a low score. I would think that a person who has taken the required prereqs (I assume you have), who has decent to good grades (3.05 to 3.74), and who has taken the exam more than once be able to get past at least 20. This is harsh, but it is how I feel, and it isn't based on some 19 or 20 year old's immaturity (which I'm not), but on my experiences having taken the MCAT and knowing the type of people who get good grades in colleges in the US.
Some people just test poorly...could be due to stress, timing issues.... the MCAT is not just knowing your material, is also about strategy and application of all the crap you learned, does not mean you don' know your stuff! consider yourself lucky you don't understand why the poster keeps on getting a low score.
Good luck to all!:)
 
Dec 27, 2010
97
1
Status
Non-Student
Some people just test poorly...could be due to stress, timing issues.... the MCAT is not just knowing your material, is also about strategy and application of all the crap you learned, does not mean you don' know your stuff! consider yourself lucky you don't understand why the poster keeps on getting a low score.
Good luck to all!:)
I would totally agree with that. As a prospective med school applicant who has been out of school for 6 years, I have to re-teach myself most of biology and organic chem (I'm currently taking Physics I and II to complete my pre-reqs). I plan on taking the MCAT in summer 2012, so that should give me enough time to study using only the Berkeley Review series and Examkrackers (with my old college notes). It seems very overwhelming, but I'm tackling everything in clearly structured pieces.

As for the exam itself, after taking a preliminary look at the passages and questions, it does seem like you only have to know the fundamental concepts to do well. Basically, it's applying those basic concepts to what's stated in the passage. Some (most?) of the science questions you can answer just off the passage alone, which I find to be really neat. And if you have absolutely no recollection of whatever concept they're testing, you can use the logic behind the answers given and process of elimination to derive the correct answer.

I hope this is the best approach to tackling the MCAT! It's my personal philosophy behind this test.
 
Apr 9, 2011
2
0
Status
Optometry Student
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]
I know that my chances are very low, but would it help if on my resume I have six scientific publications and have been doing research for the past seven years. I had the opportunity to shadow about five doctors, three MD's and two DO's. I have volunteers in one hospital, three clinics and I am involved in social work in my community.
.
.
 
Dec 27, 2010
97
1
Status
Non-Student
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]
I know that my chances are very low, but would it help if on my resume I have six scientific publications and have been doing research for the past seven years. I had the opportunity to shadow about five doctors, three MD’s and two DO’s. I have volunteers in one hospital, three clinics and I am involved in social work in my community.
.
.
What makes you say that your chances are low?
 

shinbeats

Membership Revoked
Removed
7+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2011
560
5
Status
Medical Student
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]
I know that my chances are very low, but would it help if on my resume I have six scientific publications and have been doing research for the past seven years. I had the opportunity to shadow about five doctors, three MD's and two DO's. I have volunteers in one hospital, three clinics and I am involved in social work in my community.
.
.
Why would you drop out of Optometry school (based on you being an "Optometry student") and apply to medical school?
 
OP
noshie

noshie

Don't judge!
10+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2006
1,570
124
36
Fort Worth, TX
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]
I know that my chances are very low, but would it help if on my resume I have six scientific publications and have been doing research for the past seven years. I had the opportunity to shadow about five doctors, three MD’s and two DO’s. I have volunteers in one hospital, three clinics and I am involved in social work in my community.
.
.
First, this is probably not the best place to post this to get your chances for medical school... Second, you give very little information about yourself, therefore no one can tell you if your ECs will increase your chances. I would post your story in the chances thread on the Allopathic board for better/more feedback...