jcshen97

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I got my MCAT score a week ago, and I got a 518, which is 97th percentile. My distribution is 131/126/131/130, and I am applying next cycle, hopefully. I am a little concerned about my CARS score of 126. I am aiming for upper tier to mid tier schools, and I think I will apply up and down the rankings list, from like top 10 to 60. My GPA and BCPM are in the 3.9's as of now, and I want to keep that up. I would love it if I can get into Hopkins Med School, but I'm just looking to stay local, which means UMD, Georgetown, GW. Is my 126 going to hurt me? Should I retake?

Edit: I forgot to add that a friend of mine who got his MCAT score a week later got a 520, literally with all my 131's replaced with 132's.
 
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jcshen97

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Jul 30, 2015
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There is really no relevant difference between the 97th and 98th percentile.
I understand that. I am just mentioning my friend's stats since his score distribution is exactly the same as mine, and we were discussing whether to retake. I think that it really depends on how badly you want to go to a top tier med school. And thanks for linking me to LizzyM's comments!
 

gyngyn

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I understand that. I am just mentioning my friend's stats since his score distribution is exactly the same as mine, and we were discussing whether to retake. I think that it really depends on how badly you want to go to a top tier med school. And thanks for linking me to LizzyM's comments!
You (and your friend) will appear to have personal qualities that we are screening out if you re-take that score.
 
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jcshen97

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You (and your friend) will appear to have personal qualities that we are screening out if you re-take that score.
So it is best of me not to retake them again, so I probably won't. I'm curious as to why: because doing so would convey to you that I'm perhaps neurotic and easily hung up on uncertainties? Either way, I think this is somewhat of a relief. Thank you so much for this perspective!
 

AnatomyGrey12

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I think that it really depends on how badly you want to go to a top tier med school.
You would think wrong. The only scenario where one should retake a 518 is if it has expired.
 
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cars is the section that is given the most leeway and you didn't even do poorly. there is a post somewhere around here from @LizzyM (an adcom from a top 20 school) where they stated their school only interviews people with MCAT's that have at least 3 130's and the other section >126. you have that and it is more than likely the section that is allowed to be lower is CARS

don't worry so much... you killed it......
 

gyngyn

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So it is best of me not to retake them again, so I probably won't. I'm curious as to why: because doing so would convey to you that I'm perhaps neurotic and easily hung up on uncertainties? Either way, I think this is somewhat of a relief. Thank you so much for this perspective!
We are not looking for someone who thinks a score in the 97th percentile requires the waste of time necessary to study and re-take. Perfectionism is not a core competency (far from it). Adaptability is. Judgement is.
 

workaholic181

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I got my MCAT score a week ago, and I got a 518, which is 97th percentile. My distribution is 131/126/131/130, and I am applying next cycle, hopefully. I am a little concerned about my CARS score of 126. I am aiming for upper tier to mid tier schools, and I think I will apply up and down the rankings list, from like top 10 to 60. My GPA and BCPM are in the 3.9's as of now, and I want to keep that up. I would love it if I can get into Hopkins Med School, but I'm just looking to stay local, which means UMD, Georgetown, GW. Is my 126 going to hurt me? Should I retake?

Edit: I forgot to add that a friend of mine who got his MCAT score a week later got a 520, literally with all my 131's replaced with 132's.
Clearly your 126 is an outlier compared to your other section scores, but will not substantiate a red flag. 126 is a fine score; don't retake and be proud of what you achieved.
 

mock94

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how do you view the difference between 93/94 and 97/98?
Quite a difference there. 520 vs 515 is pretty big. (93 vs. 98)

But 516 vs 518 isn't too big on paper (94 vs 97) but the 518 just "feels" better.

There are big differences with 2 point changes the lower you go (mid-teens and lower). But a 522 vs 524? Meh, nickels and dimes there.
 
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jcshen97

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Jul 30, 2015
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Quite a difference there. 520 vs 515 is pretty big. (93 vs. 98)

But 516 vs 518 isn't too big on paper (94 vs 97) but the 518 just "feels" better.

There are big differences with 2 point changes the lower you go (mid-teens and lower). But a 522 vs 524? Meh, nickels and dimes there.
I think there's just a certain "relief factor" with a score that correlates to the old 36. But then again, I made a scale equating the old and the new MCAT's: it's somewhat based on Prospective Doctor's one, but a little more mathematically straightforward. I don't think I'll take it again, and thank you so much gyngyn!

You know how you can think of the old MCAT in 3 point increments? Like 24 -> 27 = C/P +1, CARS +1, Bio +1? Apply that to the new MCAT: 500 -> 504 = C/P +1, CARS +1, B/B +1, P/S +1. So a 512 = 33, 516 = 36, 520 = 39. Then a 518 would be a 37.5 -> 37 (I'll round down since I feel better being conservative in MCAT scores). These are not exactly based on percentiles, but I believe they are close enough.
 
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