Oct 26, 2015
239
148
Status
Medical Student
What do they do with students that have multiple mcats? Do they avg or pick the most recent? Not asking about for applying, asking about the stats that MSAR and schools provide and what data is inputted to calculate those means.
 
OP
desiredmembername123
Oct 26, 2015
239
148
Status
Medical Student
We consider all scores.
MSAR publishes the most recent in the median.
Interesting... So technically the reported average is actually a little inflated correct? If a significant retake their MCAT, and schools consider all MCATs, but only report the most recent, then having only one MCAT at the reported avg actually makes you stronger applicant than the mean, yes?
 

gyngyn

Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2011
24,134
40,070
Status
Attending Physician
Interesting... So technically the reported average is actually a little inflated correct? If a significant retake their MCAT, and schools consider all MCATs, but only report the most recent, then having only one MCAT at the reported avg actually makes you stronger applicant than the mean, yes?
A single strong MCAT is always the best strategy.
 
OP
desiredmembername123
Oct 26, 2015
239
148
Status
Medical Student
A single strong MCAT is always the best strategy.
I mean I already took my mcat, and applied to all the schools I need to. Just thinking that if all you have is one MCAT score that is a little borderline at a school (like a point under their 10th percentile) it still might be worth applying as their average is inflated due to multiple mcat score acceptees.
 

gyngyn

Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2011
24,134
40,070
Status
Attending Physician
I mean I already took my mcat, and applied to all the schools I need to. Just thinking that if all you have is one MCAT score that is a little borderline at a school (like a point under their 10th percentile) it still might be worth applying as their average is inflated due to multiple mcat score acceptees.
If you already applied, it's a moot point.
Generally speaking, those accepted below the 10th percentile have some compelling reason for being considered.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro

gyngyn

Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2011
24,134
40,070
Status
Attending Physician
Interesting... So technically the reported average is actually a little inflated correct? If a significant retake their MCAT, and schools consider all MCATs, but only report the most recent, then having only one MCAT at the reported avg actually makes you stronger applicant than the mean, yes?
Multiple MCAT takers are a different pool of candidates.
Multiple MCAT's are never better than a single strong MCAT.
Those who have been accepted with multiple MCAT's may differ substantially from those who were not accepted with multiple scores.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro
Jul 23, 2016
82
46
Multiple MCAT takers are a different pool of candidates.
Multiple MCAT's are never better than a single strong MCAT.
Those who have been accepted with multiple MCAT's may differ substantially from those who were not accepted with multiple scores.
One thing that i'm curious about is the fact that around half of all applicants take the MCAT at least twice. Does that mean that there are 2 different candidate pools?
 

gyngyn

Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2011
24,134
40,070
Status
Attending Physician
One thing that i'm curious about is the fact that around half of all applicants take the MCAT at least twice. Does that mean that there are 2 different candidate pools?
Depending on the variable considered there are many more than that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,636
78,885
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
Just as an example, there are:
compelling stories
killer ECs
veterans
state residents
URM
school's mission

All of these may be considered, no matter how many MCATs have been taken (although generally, less is better).

One thing that i'm curious about is the fact that around half of all applicants take the MCAT at least twice. Does that mean that there are 2 different candidate pools?
 
  • Like
Reactions: gyngyn

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
23,176
32,808
Status
Academic Administration
One thing that i'm curious about is the fact that around half of all applicants take the MCAT at least twice. Does that mean that there are 2 different candidate pools?
More than half of all applicants don't get admitted to medical school.
 

GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
3,803
Status
Non-Student
One thing that i'm curious about is the fact that around half of all applicants take the MCAT at least twice. Does that mean that there are 2 different candidate pools?
90% of people who retake the MCAT are retaking a 29 or under. The vast majority Under 27 never get an MD caliber score. The people who retake higher scores usually don't see much too much fluctuation on their score on a retake

All that's another way of saying the people who are competitive for MD schools but needed multiple MCAT attempts or have a big difference in their scores is very small

https://www.princeton.edu/hpa/applicants/standardized-tests/AAMCReport-mcatstudentselectionguide.pdf
 

efle

not an elf
5+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2014
11,670
15,445
Status
Medical Student
90% of people who retake the MCAT are retaking a 29 or under. The vast majority Under 27 never get an MD caliber score. The people who retake higher scores usually don't see much too much fluctuation on their score on a retake

All that's another way of saying the people who are competitive for MD schools but needed multiple MCAT attempts or have a big difference in their scores is very small

https://www.princeton.edu/hpa/applicants/standardized-tests/AAMCReport-mcatstudentselectionguide.pdf
I'll never get over the 5 people that retook their 100th percentile scores within a year! Even the hundreds that retook top 10% scores are surprising to me
 

gyngyn

Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2011
24,134
40,070
Status
Attending Physician
I'll never get over the 5 people that retook their 100th percentile scores within a year! Even the hundreds that retook top 10% scores are surprising to me
I see these applications every year.
I screened one today who re-took a 38 MCAT!
Weird. How much better do they think they need to score than the 99th percentile?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Like
Reactions: LizzyM and efle

gonnif

Only 389 Days Until Next Presidential Election
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
20,488
31,202
The Big Bad Apple
Status
Non-Student
One thing that i'm curious about is the fact that around half of all applicants take the MCAT at least twice. Does that mean that there are 2 different candidate pools?

The last data I have seen on this was about 20%-25% of matriculants have taken the MCAT more than once. If half the applicants take it more than once but only of a quarter of matriculants have, taking the exam more than once cuts your chances in half of acceptance
 

GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
3,803
Status
Non-Student
I'll never get over the 5 people that retook their 100th percentile scores within a year! Even the hundreds that retook top 10% scores are surprising to me
Neuroticism in the pre med world you know how it is. Although I bet the people retaking the 40s are just doing it out of false bravado like their buddy got a 41 and they can't stand doing worse than them. I'm sure there's some parent of one of these people out there also who demanded a 45 or bust and a 41 wouldnt cut it

I also think the vast majority just think the MCAT is like the SAT where you can keep just taking it over and over again and there's a magic computer that only screens your highest score to show the committee. The number of people outside of SDN who know the AAMC has written reports on how they average recommending scores is probably close to zilch. That's also why you see people just retaking their 33s and 34s of the world
 

gyngyn

Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2011
24,134
40,070
Status
Attending Physician
You ever get to hear their explanations or does that kind of thing preclude them getting an II?
We don't interview them as a rule.
Sometimes, they are faculty children, though. On these occasions, I usually get answers like "I knew I could do better."
When asked how important the fraction of a percent might be (at the 99th percentile), they rarely seem to even understand the question. Sometimes, I ask if there might have been anything else they would have done with time spent (wasted) re-studying and repeating the exam. They don't seem to understand opportunity cost either...
 

GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
3,803
Status
Non-Student
We don't interview them as a rule.
Sometimes, they are faculty children, though. On these occasions, I usually get answers like "I knew I could do better."
When asked how important the fraction of a percent might be (at the 99th percentile), they rarely seem to even understand the question. Sometimes, I ask if there might have been anything else they would have done with time spent (wasted) re-studying and repeating the exam. They don't seem to understand opportunity cost either...
Is there something specific that caused that rule like your school has taken a person or two who did that in the past and they just ended up being a nightmare to deal with or something along those lines?

As for the act of retaking as long as MSAR publishes 90th percentile stats and top 20 schools keep boasting those 40+ scores at the 90th you'll always have some overly neurotic person who's been 3 SDs above the norm at anything they've done their whole life who sees that and panics every year
 

gyngyn

Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2011
24,134
40,070
Status
Attending Physician
Is there something specific that caused that rule like your school has taken a person or two who did that in the past and they just ended up being a nightmare as say just total narcissists or grade grubbers?

As long as MSAR publishes 90th percentile stats and top 20 schools keep boasting those 40+ scores at the 90th you'll always have someone who sees that and panics every year
The differential diagnosis for this behavior is not anything we want in our class.
Even when we do the obligatory interview of a faculty child, the committee, to a person, comes back to "what kind of person retakes 39 MCAT?" The answers aren't pretty.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

starspells

Membership Revoked
Removed
Dec 28, 2015
583
306
Status
Pre-Medical
An expired score is one thing. We're talking about re-taking an unexpired score in the 98+ percentile.
I know. But do you guys consider the Canadians that have to retake because of CARS? The people who couldn't meet their BS/MD program's MCAT requirements (WashU I think has a 36 cutoff...)? etc. Many were also forced to retake their perfectly fine old MCAT scores last year because their state schools wanted the new MCAT.
 

gyngyn

Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2011
24,134
40,070
Status
Attending Physician
I know. But do you guys consider the Canadians that have to retake because of CARs? The people who couldn't meet their BS/MD program's MCAT requirements (WashU I think has a 36 cutoff...)? etc. Many were also forced to retake their perfectly fine old MCAT scores last year because their state schools wanted the new MCAT.
Internationals have their own long list of special hurdles. Multiple MCAT's are the least among them.
There are many places that would be happy to take those Wash U "failures" with a single 35 MCAT!
A state requirement would not be held against them (in that state).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro

GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
3,803
Status
Non-Student
The differential diagnosis for this behavior is not anything we want in our class.
Even when we do the obligatory interview of a faculty child, the committee to a person comes back to "what kind of person retakes 39 MCAT?" The answers aren't pretty.
From what it sounds like these discussions go on at your school with people retaking scores well below a 39 im guessing even perhaps for people who are retaking something that's simply above the national MD matriculant median because it just highlights inability to focus on what's important?
 

starspells

Membership Revoked
Removed
Dec 28, 2015
583
306
Status
Pre-Medical
Yes. We have to make decisions based on the information we have.
The applicant could explain this state imperative, though. It might help.
Yeah, I realize it's a seller's market and you guys can afford to turn away such applicants because you probably have an excess of applicants with a single strong MCAT score.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gyngyn

gyngyn

Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2011
24,134
40,070
Status
Attending Physician
Yeah, I realize it's a seller's market and you guys can afford to turn away such applicants because you probably have an excess of applicants with a single strong MCAT score.
We are going to get our share of perfectionists, those with uncontrolled OCD, those who don't seek advice, those who don't take good advice and those who wouldn't know good advice if it bit them. We'll also get children who have not matured enough to speak to their parents as adults and those who lack the ability to evaluate and make priorities. There is no need to select for those particular qualities, though.
 

gyngyn

Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2011
24,134
40,070
Status
Attending Physician
From what it sounds like these discussions go on at your school with people retaking scores well below a 39 im guessing even perhaps for people who are retaking something that's simply above the national MD matriculant median because it just highlights inability to focus on what's important?
The higher the first score, the higher the eyebrows.
 
Jul 23, 2016
82
46
The last data I have seen on this was about 20%-25% of matriculants have taken the MCAT more than once. If half the applicants take it more than once but only of a quarter of matriculants have, taking the exam more than once cuts your chances in half of acceptance
I wouldn't say that for certainty. There could be other factors in the around half that cut their chances. I'm sure taking it 2+ lowers the chance, but I also think other parts of their application affected that.
 
Jul 23, 2016
82
46
More than half of all applicants don't get admitted to medical school.
I know that, but I was referring to the two candidate pools. I would think the ~~50% who take the MCAT 2+ times wouldn't all be rejected simply for that fact lol
 

gonnif

Only 389 Days Until Next Presidential Election
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
20,488
31,202
The Big Bad Apple
Status
Non-Student
I wouldn't say that for certainty. There could be other factors in the around half that cut their chances. I'm sure taking it 2+ lowers the chance, but I also think other parts of their application affected that.
No, there is a direct correlation that shows clearly applicants who have taken the MCAT 2 or more times, which was 47% percent of the total in 2013) only represent under 25% of the matriculants. Thus having 2 or MCATs is a risk factor cutting your chances of acceptance in half. Why that is cut in half underneath is beyond the correlation but the correlation clearly exists
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro and gyngyn
Jul 23, 2016
82
46
No, there is a direct correlation that shows clearly applicants who have taken the MCAT 2 or more times, which was 47% percent of the total in 2013) only represent under 25% of the matriculants. Thus having 2 or MCATs is a risk factor cutting your chances of acceptance in half. Why that is cut in half underneath is beyond the correlation but the correlation clearly exists
I understand that. I'm referring to other factors beyond the correlation.
Also, would you mind sharing a link to that data? I'm always curious to learn more about the data involved haha
 

tjo422

2+ Year Member
Jun 21, 2016
243
217
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
We don't interview them as a rule.
Sometimes, they are faculty children, though. On these occasions, I usually get answers like "I knew I could do better."
When asked how important the fraction of a percent might be (at the 99th percentile), they rarely seem to even understand the question. Sometimes, I ask if there might have been anything else they would have done with time spent (wasted) re-studying and repeating the exam. They don't seem to understand opportunity cost either...
What about if the two tests are three years apart or so? I had to retake a good score because it was expired at some schools and not others. I always get nervous that some adcoms would think I'm "one of those" because they see my two scores and screen my app out, but I wrote extensively about another opportunity I pursued for those years instead of applying straight after undergrad.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 

gyngyn

Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2011
24,134
40,070
Status
Attending Physician
What about if the two tests are three years apart or so? I had to retake a good score because it was expired at some schools and not others. I always get nervous that some adcoms would think I'm "one of those" because they see my two scores and screen my app out, but I wrote extensively about another opportunity I pursued for those years instead of applying straight after undergrad.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
It is understandable to re-take an expired test. Questions will then revolve around the reasons that it expired!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro and tjo422

efle

not an elf
5+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2014
11,670
15,445
Status
Medical Student
No, there is a direct correlation that shows clearly applicants who have taken the MCAT 2 or more times, which was 47% percent of the total in 2013) only represent under 25% of the matriculants. Thus having 2 or MCATs is a risk factor cutting your chances of acceptance in half. Why that is cut in half underneath is beyond the correlation but the correlation clearly exists
Wouldn't the population that retakes have lower performance in general that the population that doesn't need to retake? Can we be sure it's the retaking itself that cuts your chances, rather than the retaking population being a sample of mostly the lower half?
 

Lucca

Will Walk Rope for Sandwich
Staff member
Administrator
5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
8,215
17,888
City of the Future
Status
Medical Student
Wouldn't the population that retakes have lower performance in general that the population that doesn't need to retake? Can we be sure it's the retaking itself that cuts your chances, rather than the retaking population being a sample of mostly the lower half?
From the earlier discussion, it seems at the very least in Gyngyn's case the act of retaking alone brings in an extra variable to consider. I wouldn't think of it as "either retaking cut their chances or they were already under qualified to begin with", the answer is most likely "Both".
 

efle

not an elf
5+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2014
11,670
15,445
Status
Medical Student
From the earlier discussion, it seems at the very least in Gyngyn's case the act of retaking alone brings in an extra variable to consider. I wouldn't think of it as "either retaking cut their chances or they were already under qualified to begin with", the answer is most likely "Both".
As grapes point out earlier though, 90% of retakes are from people with scores in the 20s. In the vast majority of cases, I'm guessing 25 -> 29 isn't looked down upon that much relative to a single 29, it's just that a 29 is a lot less likely to get accepted than a single score in the 30s.

I don't think the AAMC data book thing gives you what you'd really need to know here, which is admit rates for people with X score on a first attempt vs second.
 

gonnif

Only 389 Days Until Next Presidential Election
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
20,488
31,202
The Big Bad Apple
Status
Non-Student
Wouldn't the population that retakes have lower performance in general that the population that doesn't need to retake? Can we be sure it's the retaking itself that cuts your chances, rather than the retaking population being a sample of mostly the lower half?
my point was we dont know direct causality here but the correlation exists.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gyngyn

Lucca

Will Walk Rope for Sandwich
Staff member
Administrator
5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
8,215
17,888
City of the Future
Status
Medical Student
As grapes point out earlier though, 90% of retakes are from people with scores in the 20s. In the vast majority of cases, I'm guessing 25 -> 29 isn't looked down upon that much relative to a single 29, it's just that a 29 is a lot less likely to get accepted than a single score in the 30s.

I don't think the AAMC data book thing gives you what you'd really need to know here, which is admit rates for people with X score on a first attempt vs second.
Well yah we can't know for sure unless we have that type of data. The AAMC needs to stop teasing and just release all of their raw data tbh
 

gonnif

Only 389 Days Until Next Presidential Election
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
20,488
31,202
The Big Bad Apple
Status
Non-Student
Well yah we can't know for sure unless we have that type of data. The AAMC needs to stop teasing and just release all of their raw data tbh
The AAMC stopped releasing the entire raw data about 10 years ago and now requires research requests
 

Lucca

Will Walk Rope for Sandwich
Staff member
Administrator
5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
8,215
17,888
City of the Future
Status
Medical Student
The AAMC stopped releasing the entire raw data about 10 years ago and now requires research requests
wait, I can *put in a request for data*?? Or do I need to be an institution?
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,636
78,885
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
These are people who we do NOT want as medical students. They end up trying to learn everything and end up learning nothing.

Either that, or they're always in your office arguing about how their 95 on an exam should actually be a 96.

We don't interview them as a rule.
Sometimes, they are faculty children, though. On these occasions, I usually get answers like "I knew I could do better."
When asked how important the fraction of a percent might be (at the 99th percentile), they rarely seem to even understand the question. Sometimes, I ask if there might have been anything else they would have done with time spent (wasted) re-studying and repeating the exam. They don't seem to understand opportunity cost either...
 
  • Like
Reactions: gyngyn

gonnif

Only 389 Days Until Next Presidential Election
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
20,488
31,202
The Big Bad Apple
Status
Non-Student
wait, I can *put in a request for data*?? Or do I need to be an institution?
You can put in a request but they usually do so for a well defined research project. Also I think they bill $150 an hour for research
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lucca and Goro

SDeduN

2+ Year Member
Feb 22, 2016
28
71
Internationals have their own long list of special hurdles. Multiple MCAT's are the least among them.
I understand those special hurdles to a decent degree, but I'd appreciate it if you could elaborate a bit on them. Hearing it from your perspective, new to me or not, would be valuable. Forgive me in advance for the derail.