How to explain lower second MCAT score to Adcoms

Enik

2+ Year Member
Jan 28, 2015
80
37
Status
Pre-Medical
Scores a 503 (27ish) once... took it again at a Prometric when their AC broke. They gave us the option to re-test or go ahead and take it in a room that read 87 degrees on the clock. I though I'll be fine it it aint a thing.... well i scored a 499 and did worse in all sections. How exactly do I explain that at an interview? I mean do I say it was hot AF in there and what ever is left of my brain proteins got denatured or would that seem like I'm making an excuse? Also, I applied to all my schools with my 1st score and apps went under review without waiting for the second one. Would I maybe luck out and schools wouldn't even see it that I took it again? Given the fact that all apps were "complete" after the second attempt?
 

radian313

7+ Year Member
Jun 26, 2009
810
667
Status
Medical Student
Scores a 503 (27ish) once... took it again at a Prometric when their AC broke. They gave us the option to re-test or go ahead and take it in a room that read 87 degrees on the clock. I though I'll be fine it it aint a thing.... well i scored a 499 and did worse in all sections. How exactly do I explain that at an interview? I mean do I say it was hot AF in there and what ever is left of my brain proteins got denatured or would that seem like I'm making an excuse? Also, I applied to all my schools with my 1st score and apps went under review without waiting for the second one. Would I maybe luck out and schools wouldn't even see it that I took it again? Given the fact that all apps were "complete" after the second attempt?
They will see the attempt and score. I assume that you did write you will be taking it again ? Then yes they will see it. Every school has a different policy on how they see retakes, generally a increase in points is what is wanted. Can you get some sort of letter from Prometric to certify the anomaly from that day? If not, then you just have to be honest and play the luck of the draw and see how they take it.
 
OP
Enik

Enik

2+ Year Member
Jan 28, 2015
80
37
Status
Pre-Medical
They will see the attempt and score. I assume that you did write you will be taking it again ? Then yes they will see it. Every school has a different policy on how they see retakes, generally a increase in points is what is wanted. Can you get some sort of letter from Prometric to certify the anomaly from that day? If not, then you just have to be honest and play the luck of the draw and see how they take it.
Do you think a letter certifying the testing conditions would help me out? I haven't though about that hmmmmm
 

radian313

7+ Year Member
Jun 26, 2009
810
667
Status
Medical Student
Do you think a letter certifying the testing conditions would help me out? I haven't though about that hmmmmm
It may or may not....

Person goes to AdComs, my below par score is because there were some temperature control issues as the AC was broken, hence I think it caused me work in a below optimal level where my cognition was a big challenged due to heat exhaustion. (you can add now here) I also have a letter from the Prometric center confirming this.....

Letter or not, it will come down to this then, well then if this was the case, did they give you the option to take it later? If so, why didnt you? (this is where your judgement may come into contention), you have to be smart here and say why it is you took it when they offered to reschedule it.

1. You need a defense for your score drop
2. Need to explain WHY you took it when they gave you an option to do so...

A letter? Will it help? Maybe, but it wount take away the point on why you took it, casting doubt on judgement....a letter will buy you credibility...your words from that point will only support your reasoning....
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro and Enik

radian313

7+ Year Member
Jun 26, 2009
810
667
Status
Medical Student
I know my situation has nothing to do with yours, but take it with a grain of NaCl.

My mcat is in a couple of days, I think I may very well be voiding it, because, my grandmother got a stroke and honestly Ive been a mess since, I havent showered in two days and its really thrown me off. If I took the MCAT and bombed it, and my only defense was, well, my grandmother was very ill and suffered a stroke. The question becomes then, well how come you did not void your score?

Im in the current cycle, but I may have to leave the country to see my grandmother, and hence may take the Jan MCAT. For me, taking the MCAT late with a good score means better than taking it and rushing it knowing I may bomb it, casting judgement on me.

Part of becoming a good physician is knowing your limitations....
 

22031 Alum

At the baby factory.
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 12, 2008
1,612
4,387
Status
Attending Physician
For me, taking the MCAT late with a good score means better than taking it and rushing it knowing I may bomb it, casting judgement on me.

Part of becoming a good physician is knowing your limitations....
I personally don't think every pre-med should be expected to understand the bolded (there are residents out there who haven't yet learned that lesson) but it certainly reflects positively on those who do.

OP, your best option will probably be simply to own up to the dumb mistake it was. You were given the option to reschedule, but were overconfident. This led you to make the conscious decision to take an extremely important test (one you'd already performed suboptimally on) under poor conditions. Talk about what you've learned about realistic self-assessment, the importance of patience, etc.
 

radian313

7+ Year Member
Jun 26, 2009
810
667
Status
Medical Student
I personally don't think every pre-med should be expected to understand the bolded (there are residents out there who haven't yet learned that lesson) but it certainly reflects positively on those who do.
Spot on.

I agree. Very few can own up to this, but its important to do it. It only comes with experience, and sadly I am no different, Ive learned this through setback after setback.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,589
78,791
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
It doesn't look good, as it comes off that you're a poor choice maker.

And oh no, the schools will see your second score.

You're going have to take this one on the chin and see how the app cycle shakes out.

If you get shut out, then retake, but only when you're ready.

Scores a 503 (27ish) once... took it again at a Prometric when their AC broke. They gave us the option to re-test or go ahead and take it in a room that read 87 degrees on the clock. I though I'll be fine it it aint a thing.... well i scored a 499 and did worse in all sections. How exactly do I explain that at an interview? I mean do I say it was hot AF in there and what ever is left of my brain proteins got denatured or would that seem like I'm making an excuse? Also, I applied to all my schools with my 1st score and apps went under review without waiting for the second one. Would I maybe luck out and schools wouldn't even see it that I took it again? Given the fact that all apps were "complete" after the second attempt?

EDIT: And @radian313 , this is a career-deciding, high stakes exam you're thinking of taking while not at your best. I have Adcom colleague who would reject you outright for that alone.
 
  • Like
Reactions: radian313

Camacho Mt. Dew

2+ Year Member
May 29, 2015
100
7
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
For what it's worth I was in a similar situation as you last year. I scored pretty much the same percentile on the old exam in 2013, but waited to apply due to financial reasons. When I was able to apply last year (2014) I thought I would take the exam again, but I went down in my score. I ended up not applying again and applied this year with a retake on my MCAT and improvements on my weak sections. I haven't had to explain this yet, as my interviews have been closed file, but when given the chance I did address it in my secondary applications. I didn't attempt to make excuses for it and admitted I should not have taken it as I was not ready and that the reason for my third attempt was to show that my second score was not representative of my exam taking abilities. Thus far I have had 8 interview invites and 1 acceptance, so it is something you can overcome; but as mentioned it's probably best not to make our mistake in the first place. Good luck!
 

radian313

7+ Year Member
Jun 26, 2009
810
667
Status
Medical Student
EDIT: And @radian313 , this is a career-deciding, high stakes exam you're thinking of taking while not at your best. I have Adcom colleague who would reject you outright for that alone.
You are right. I am postponing my exam. Thank you as always for your kind advice.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro

nhnative

2+ Year Member
May 6, 2015
84
52
Status
Medical Student
I just wanted to throw a little positivity in here! I went down a point (old scale) from my first to my second MCAT attempt. I have been offered 7 interviews so far and one acceptance. I was never asked to explain this, and did not address it in my applications. Best of luck!
 

Poro

2+ Year Member
May 1, 2015
114
65
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I just wanted to throw a little positivity in here! I went down a point (old scale) from my first to my second MCAT attempt. I have been offered 7 interviews so far and one acceptance. I was never asked to explain this, and did not address it in my applications. Best of luck!
In my opinion since OP went down 4 points that is way more significant. 67 to 47 percentile I think? I recommend owning up to your mistakes and retaking the MCAT after some serious studying. It's up to OP to decide whether giving an excuse or saying that he/she made a bad decision during test day is better IF asked about his scores. Maybe they may ignore it.

Best of luck~