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"Inconsistencies" secondary prompt

fldoctorgirl

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  • Feb 13, 2017
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      One of my secondaries asks: "Please explain any inconsistencies in your university, graduate, or professional school academic performance and/or MCAT scores."

      I am struggling with how to answer this question. I know that general consensus on SDN is to not draw any attention to negatives in your application, so when people ask if they should mention a low MCAT or GPA in the "any additional info" prompt, the answer is almost always no.

      However, this prompt is different, as it specifically asks to explain academic inconsistencies. I am struggling with whether I should address a low MCAT subsection score that is inconsistent with the grades I received in courses of that subject, or leave it blank.

      What is the best course of action?

      Tagging some adcoms in here: @Goro @gyngyn @gonnif @LizzyM
       
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      jm192

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        It's like youe boyfriend wants to know about the other dude that keeps texting you, and you're trying not to draw attention to it.

        They have the MCAT score. They've asked for an explanation. You're not drawing attention to it, they're asking.
         
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        fldoctorgirl

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          I think if its a low GPA and you can share why thats not you anymore, great.

          If its a low MCAT, it just is what it is. What would you be saying?
          That was my thought process exactly. I don't really have anything to say except "it is what it is, I guess I had a bad day" but I don't want to say that because it sounds stupid.

          If the prompt wasn't so specific, I would avoid it. But, like JM said, I don't want it to be like "oh we asked for an explanation, and she didn't give us one".
           

          DBC03

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            How many times have you taken the MCAT? Do you have one significantly lower subset score than all the others? I think this would apply more to situations where people have taken the MCAT multiple times and received, say, a lower score the second or third time. Receiving a score that is lower than what you expected is not an inconsistency necessarily (it may be inconsistent with your capabilities, but it's not inconsistent on its own). I'd avoid drawing attention to it unless you have multiple scores or a really low subset.
             
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            Goro

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              One of my secondaries asks: "Please explain any inconsistencies in your university, graduate, or professional school academic performance and/or MCAT scores."

              I am struggling with how to answer this question. I know that general consensus on SDN is to not draw any attention to negatives in your application, so when people ask if they should mention a low MCAT or GPA in the "any additional info" prompt, the answer is almost always no.

              However, this prompt is different, as it specifically asks to explain academic inconsistencies. I am struggling with whether I should address a low MCAT subsection score that is inconsistent with the grades I received in courses of that subject, or leave it blank.

              What is the best course of action?

              Tagging some adcoms in here: @Goro @gyngyn @gonnif @LizzyM
              The any info prompt is NOT to make excuses, but to answer questions for which there are no prompts.

              I strongly advise to control the need to explain what you may perceive as a poor GPA or MCAT, unless ther eis truley a compelling explanation. But this may backfire on you! For example, having a semester or year of poor grades because you were ill would provoke the question fo "well, why didn't you do the smart thing and take a LOA? That's what LOAs are for!"

              OR "my gramma died two days before I took the MCAT". "Yeah? Why didn't do the smart thing and void?

              EDIT: if asked specifically about bad grades (which some secondaries do), then tell the truth.
               
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              DBC03

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                The any info prompt is NOT to make excuses, but to answer questions for which there are no prompts.

                I strongly advise to control the need to explain what you may perceive as a poor GPA or MCAT, unless ther eis truley a compelling explanation. But this may backfire on you! For example, having a semester or year of poor grades because you were ill would provoke the question fo "well, why didn't you do the smart thing and take a LOA? That's what LOAs are for!"

                OR "my gramma died two days before I took the MCAT". "Yeah? Why didn't do the smart thing and void?

                EDIT: if asked specifically about bad grades (which some secondaries do), then tell the truth.

                What if you didn't know you were ill at the time? During my freshman year I was on a medication that caused depression, but I didn't know it until the summer after that year. I went off that medication and went on anti-depressants for three months and I haven't had any issues with depression again over the past 18 years. GPA jumped from 2.2 to 3.58. Is that a sufficient explanation without bringing up too many questions? I'm hoping that being "depression free" for 18 years clears up any questions about the possibility of this being an issue in the future.
                 

                Goro

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                  What if you didn't know you were ill at the time? During my freshman year I was on a medication that caused depression, but I didn't know it until the summer after that year. I went off that medication and went on anti-depressants for three months and I haven't had any issues with depression again over the past 18 years. GPA jumped from 2.2 to 3.58. Is that a sufficient explanation without bringing up too many questions? I'm hoping that being "depression free" for 18 years clears up any questions about the possibility of this being an issue in the future.
                  This is a very good explanation!!!!
                   
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                  efle

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                    One of my secondaries asks: "Please explain any inconsistencies in your university, graduate, or professional school academic performance and/or MCAT scores."
                    I think it is key that they want to hear about inconsistencies and scores is plural - the prompt looks to me like they are asking people that had a low score followed by a much higher retake to explain what changed. If you just have a single not-so-great score I don't think you're supposed to answer this. Doesn't make sense to ask about consistency (or lack thereof) in something that only happened once.
                     
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