Just had a terrible test day experience…and it screwed me over

Pusheen

silently judging
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Nov 26, 2014
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I'm so sorry you had a bad time. Maybe try a different testing center next time.. I can't speak to your August 4th MCAT, so I'll let more knowledgeable people chime in.
Good job for voiding it! Plenty of people just push through and blindly hope for the best. In the long run, this will be just a minor bump in the road.
 

Pusheen

silently judging
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Nov 26, 2014
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Thank you, but I have a bit of a complex history with the MCAT and this was supposed to be my chance at scoring well. The exam seemed easy too! I understood the topics in C/P and CARS passages were easy to understand if I focused. B/B seemed tough, but if I was in a right state of mind, I could've tried my best. P/S was super easy for me too.

I'm sorry, I just don't know what to do. My parents are so disappointed in me…and my dad took the opportunity to yell at me about my "rocking" problem. I've been doing that ever since I was little and it just helps me focus. Didn't think it would be such a big issue. I feel numb and cried all day yesterday. Now, I don't even have the energy for more tears.

I really tried to score it. I really did…but I couldn't go thru with it :(
Well it's good that you didn't score it. I'm sorry your parents are upset, parents often don't understand just how bad it is to bomb a high stakes test like this. I feel like if you take the August test and prewrite your secondaries you should be complete sometime in September, which isn't too late. But then there's always the chance that you do badly and have to withdraw/reapply.
 

Goro

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Jun 10, 2010
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If you feel you are fully ready for the exam, go for it!!! And kudos to you for having the wisdom to void.


@gyngyn @Goro @Catalystik @gonnif @LizzyM @Ismet Do you think I can take the next MCAT date (aug 4th) and try for this cycle? I'm a VA resident, and have a good app otherwise (solid GPAs and most likely 510 MCAT). I was aiming to be complete by labor day, but with August 4th, my scores get released Sept. 7th. However, do you think I could get at least some state school IIs? Like at VCU or EVMS? I'm already taking a gap year, so I didn't think I would need a second one. This seems to be a forced gap year now :(
 

Goro

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Jun 10, 2010
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I think that you will, especially with your state schools.

But would it be so much late for MD that I probably shouldn't attempt this cycle? I have a 3.8 GPA and good ECs (bit of everything)…do I still have a chance with the August MCAT?
 
Dec 9, 2015
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My parents are so disappointed in me…and my dad took the opportunity to yell at me about my "rocking" problem.
I'm sorry you had such a bad experience, but you're an adult. Be in control of your own life and don't worry about your parents expectations. It's your life, not theirs.
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
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Mar 7, 2005
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Do you plan to submit your primary for verification now in advance of your MCAT score coming out? If so, it might not be too bad to apply in this cycle but I'd advise getting your ducks in a row, getting more clinical experience during this gap year(something you were worried about 6 months ago) and applying day 1 next year. I'm risk adverse, if there is a chance of having to apply twice, I would not apply in a rush.
 
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WhittyPsyche

5+ Year Member
Mar 15, 2013
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I took the July 22 test hoping to apply this cycle. It was going to be my last chance, and I didn't expect anything to go wrong but of course, with my luck, it did. Here's what happened:

My computer shut me out before I could even begin, and it didn't get relaunched until 1.5 hours later. When it re-started, I was placed right next to the squeaky door, where people kept walking back and forth. Also, the testing center had no air conditioning! It was cramped with people and so hot, it was making me sleepy. Despite the initial panic, I started C/P and was doing well. I ran out of time on the last two passages though and had to guess a bit. Regardless, I was still planning to score it!

Unfortunately, when I got to CARS, I began to rock back and forth out of habit, which usually happens automatically when I'm trying to focus real hard. I swear I wasn't making any noise though! My chair wasn't squeaky or anything. I was just thinking and rocking. I was getting hungry too, since I started late and had an early breakfast. The girl next to me made a big deal and complained that I was distracting her :cryi: The proctor told me to stop and I did, but the girl didn't seem convinced and she complained again after her break.

This prompted the proctors to interrupt me four times during CARS, which killed my focus leading me to guess on two whole passages in that section as well. I wasn't even rocking, but they kept a suspicious eye on me the whole time. During my lunch break, the proctor called me aside and threatened to dismiss me and report to AAMC for what I did. That scared me and stressed me out even more. To make things worse, as I entered my B/B section, the girl kept shooting me dirty looks. That was it to make me emotionally upset. I blanked during Bio. and panicked. I went to the bathroom in the middle and cried a bit. I came back, emotionally drained, and realized I had 20 Q's left to do in 10 minutes. I tried so hard to concentrate, but I just couldn't :( I'm a little sensitive, and I just felt too much negative energy around me. I voided after that.

I don't know what to do now. I desperately wanted to apply this cycle. Should I submit a test center concern? Or is it all my fault?

Also, can I take the August 4th test and still try for this cycle? I know there's not much hope anymore, but I was thinking I could apply to my state schools and a few others just to try my luck. I don't mind getting accepted off a wait list as long as I get that one acceptance!

I'm so depressed right now. What should I do? :unsure:
Sorry to hear about your test day OP. Still, there are some things that are in your control.

Noise distraction: this is why they advise taking the test in busy places with moderate noise, like coffee shops and other public areas. If you do retake make sure you take some timed FLs under these conditions so you can train yourself to tune them out. Helps with the people moving about around you as well.

Nervous habits: I have these too. My worse one involves twirling my hair around my fingers so I tied it up in a bun, thank goodness. If you've been dealing with this your whole life, I'm sure you've had to learn strategies to stop. Sometimes I squeeze my leg to stop the twirling because it keeps my fingers occupied. Try to find some strategies to refocus the energy from rocking to something more benign, or suppress it altogether (Easier said than done, I know)

Proctor Interruptions: this is something you have to get used to. I was interrupted by my proctors several times on Friday. I was wearing flip flops and would slip them off as I was sitting and they interrupted me on many occasions to put them back on. I get sweaty hands and was using my sweater to dry them as I went through the test, they also interrupted me and kept a suspicious eye anytime I was drying my hands. They also changed proctors 3 or 4 times during my test so I had to explain what I was doing many times. The proctors will interrupt you if they are unsure about ANYTHING . This is something you need to anticipate and not let derail you completely. The coffee shop strategy might help with this a little, but if the core is that you are really sensitive to judgments, being corrected/scolded, then you really need to get past it, or make sure you are on your best behavior at all times.

Test center: this one is obviously hard to choose in advance. However, you still have a bit of power here. When you register for a new place, go check it out ASAP. It's good to know your surroundings before a high stress situation like this. Plus, you would have an idea of how full their testing rooms are, the temperature, the layout, etc. The more you know and can wrap your mind around ahead of time, the better you will feel. I visited mine ahead and realized it was kept extremely cold, so I brought a sweater. Many of my peers didn't and were complaining before the test and during breaks how cold they were and their finger tips being stiff because they weren't dressed appropriately for the conditions. Conversely, if your center is warm, wear light, short clothes, and you'll be more comfortable. I also asked them how many people were taking the test on my date during my visit and they told me, 13 and they test a max of 15 people at a time. So I got my head around a room of 13 people, the coughing/clicking/adjusting and mentally prepared myself. I'm sure if you had known how many people would be with you, the temperature etc, you would have felt more at ease. Or, you would have the opportunity to look at other available seats and check out those centers if possible.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 
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alpha-GTP

Where's my 5' UTR?
Jun 16, 2016
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I have heard of these horror stories from people I know and on SDN (computers freezing/crashing, noisy test takers and proctors, etc.). Considering the fact that I was so nervous that I only got an hour of sleep before and was barely able to eat breakfast that morning, I got off much luckier than some people. At least my problems were all self-inflicted. It is nerve-wracking that when taking what is possibly the most important exam in your life, bulls**t like this that is completely outside your control can affect your outcome. OP, you made the right choice to void based on those circumstances. I hope things go much better for you the next time around.
 

Mansamusa

2+ Year Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,310
1,308
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I took the July 22 test hoping to apply this cycle. It was going to be my last chance, and I didn't expect anything to go wrong but of course, with my luck, it did. Here's what happened:

My computer shut me out before I could even begin, and it didn't get relaunched until 1.5 hours later. When it re-started, I was placed right next to the squeaky door, where people kept walking back and forth. Also, the testing center had no air conditioning! It was cramped with people and so hot, it was making me sleepy. Despite the initial panic, I started C/P and was doing well. I ran out of time on the last two passages though and had to guess a bit. Regardless, I was still planning to score it!

Unfortunately, when I got to CARS, I began to rock back and forth out of habit, which usually happens automatically when I'm trying to focus real hard. I swear I wasn't making any noise though! My chair wasn't squeaky or anything. I was just thinking and rocking. I was getting hungry too, since I started late and had an early breakfast. The girl next to me made a big deal and complained that I was distracting her :cryi: The proctor told me to stop and I did, but the girl didn't seem convinced and she complained again after her break.

This prompted the proctors to interrupt me four times during CARS, which killed my focus leading me to guess on two whole passages in that section as well. I wasn't even rocking, but they kept a suspicious eye on me the whole time. During my lunch break, the proctor called me aside and threatened to dismiss me and report to AAMC for what I did. That scared me and stressed me out even more. To make things worse, as I entered my B/B section, the girl kept shooting me dirty looks. That was it to make me emotionally upset. I blanked during Bio. and panicked. I went to the bathroom in the middle and cried a bit. I came back, emotionally drained, and realized I had 20 Q's left to do in 10 minutes. I tried so hard to concentrate, but I just couldn't :( I'm a little sensitive, and I just felt too much negative energy around me. I voided after that.

I don't know what to do now. I desperately wanted to apply this cycle. Should I submit a test center concern? Or is it all my fault?

Also, can I take the August 4th test and still try for this cycle? I know there's not much hope anymore, but I was thinking I could apply to my state schools and a few others just to try my luck. I don't mind getting accepted off a wait list as long as I get that one acceptance!

I'm so depressed right now. What should I do? :unsure:
Learning stress coping mechanisms will also be a good idea. The path to becoming an attending will have lots of bumps and distractions, and finding ways to manage stress that in a less emotionally draining way would be very helpful. Good luck with your retake!!
 

precisiongraphic

2+ Year Member
Oct 29, 2015
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Sorry to hear about your test day OP. Still, there are some things that are in your control.

Noise distraction: this is why they advise taking the test in busy places with moderate noise, like coffee shops and other public areas. If you do retake make sure you take some timed FLs under these conditions so you can train yourself to tune them out. Helps with the people moving about around you as well.

Nervous habits: I have these too. My worse one involves twirling my hair around my fingers so I tied it up in a bun, thank goodness. If you've been dealing with this your whole life, I'm sure you've had to learn strategies to stop. Sometimes I squeeze my leg to stop the twirling because it keeps my fingers occupied. Try to find some strategies to refocus the energy from rocking to something more benign, or suppress it altogether (Easier said than done, I know)

Proctor Interruptions: this is something you have to get used to. I was interrupted by my proctors several times on Friday. I was wearing flip flops and would slip them off as I was sitting and they interrupted me on many occasions to put them back on. I get sweaty hands and was using my sweater to dry them as I went through the test, they also interrupted me and kept a suspicious eye anytime I was drying my hands. They also changed proctors 3 or 4 times during my test so I had to explain what I was doing many times. The proctors will interrupt you if they are unsure about ANYTHING . This is something you need to anticipate and not let derail you completely. The coffee shop strategy might help with this a little, but if the core is that you are really sensitive to judgments, being corrected/scolded, then you really need to get past it, or make sure you are on your best behavior at all times.

Test center: this one is obviously hard to choose in advance. However, you still have a bit of power here. When you register for a new place, go check it out ASAP. It's good to know your surroundings before a high stress situation like this. Plus, you would have an idea of how full their testing rooms are, the temperature, the layout, etc. The more you know and can wrap your mind around ahead of time, the better you will feel. I visited mine ahead and realized it was kept extremely cold, so I brought a sweater. Many of my peers didn't and were complaining before the test and during breaks how cold they were and their finger tips being stiff because they weren't dressed appropriately for the conditions. Conversely, if your center is warm, wear light, short clothes, and you'll be more comfortable. I also asked them how many people were taking the test on my date during my visit and they told me, 13 and they test a max of 15 people at a time. So I got my head around a room of 13 people, the coughing/clicking/adjusting and mentally prepared myself. I'm sure if you had known how many people would be with you, the temperature etc, you would have felt more at ease. Or, you would have the opportunity to look at other available seats and check out those centers if possible.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
This is the best advice. Try a different center and check it out ahead of time to settle your nerves.