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Low gpa, low mcat

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kpba225

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So I'm applying DO this cycle but I got a low MCAT. Looking at masters programs as a backup so I don't waste a year doing nothing. Should I enter post bac or masters in addition to retaking my MCAT? If so, any suggestions of programs?

Basic Stats:
cGPA: 3.25
sGPA: 3.3
MCAT: 490, retook a month after 489.
 

AlteredScale

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So I'm applying DO this cycle but I got a low MCAT. Looking at masters programs as a backup so I don't waste a year doing nothing. Should I enter post bac or masters in addition to retaking my MCAT? If so, any suggestions of programs?

Basic Stats:
cGPA: 3.25
sGPA: 3.3
MCAT: 490, retook a month after 489.

So a post-bac traditionally is a DIY where a lot of non-science majors take courses necessary to apply to medical school. SMP (masters) is for those trying to boost their academic profile. So I would def find an SMP in which they offer MCAT prep as well so you can hit two birds with one stone in a sense.

Your main priority right now should be strengthening your academics. If that means cutting your EC's/work/other stuff to a minimum then you should. Once you build your stats up, you may need to take time to strengthen your EC's again. This can take 2-3 years. But patience and having the best applications possible is key to having a successful run.
 
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kpba225

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So a post-bac traditionally is a DIY where a lot of non-science majors take courses necessary to apply to medical school. SMP (masters) is for those trying to boost their academic profile. So I would def find an SMP in which they offer MCAT prep as well so you can hit two birds with one stone in a sense.

Your main priority right now should be strengthening your academics. If that means cutting your EC's/work/other stuff to a minimum then you should. Once you build your stats up, you may need to take time to strengthen your EC's again. This can take 2-3 years. But patience and having the best applications possible is key to having a successful run.
Thank you! That actually made sense! Can you name some SMP ? and are there any one with linkages to their medical school?
 
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SurgDoc95

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Quite a few actually, KCU, VCOM (direct entrance to their med school), BCOM (again entrance to their med school), Touro CA, Western U, RVU etc just look up DO schools and see what masters they have!
 

Coltuna

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So I'm applying DO this cycle but I got a low MCAT. Looking at masters programs as a backup so I don't waste a year doing nothing. Should I enter post bac or masters in addition to retaking my MCAT? If so, any suggestions of programs?

Basic Stats:
cGPA: 3.25
sGPA: 3.3
MCAT: 490, retook a month after 489.

489 1st take and 490 2nd take MCAT? It may be time to seriously consider another career path. These are very poor scores (majority of people score over 490 on their dianostic exams taken before even beginning studying), and the fact that you took it again without obviously improving significantly on your weaknesses will be a big red flag. Have you taken all of the pre-reqs?
 
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Shotapp

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OP. Don't give up. What studying strategies did you use when you took your Mcat exams? Did you take a prep course, use a tutor, or did you self-study?
 

ctran019

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So I'm applying DO this cycle but I got a low MCAT. Looking at masters programs as a backup so I don't waste a year doing nothing. Should I enter post bac or masters in addition to retaking my MCAT? If so, any suggestions of programs?

Basic Stats:
cGPA: 3.25
sGPA: 3.3
MCAT: 490, retook a month after 489.
After extensively researching SMPs. IMO, you should only consider applying to the DO SMP programs if you can break 500 on the MCAT. Average applicants tend apply with that MCAT and a 3.0-3.3 GPA

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kpba225

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OP. Don't give up. What studying strategies did you use when you took your Mcat exams? Did you take a prep course, use a tutor, or did you self-study?
I used Kaplan!
 

kpba225

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489 1st take and 490 2nd take MCAT? It may be time to seriously consider another career path. These are very poor scores (majority of people score over 490 on their dianostic exams taken before even beginning studying), and the fact that you took it again without obviously improving significantly on your weaknesses will be a big red flag. Have you taken all of the pre-reqs?


I have taken all the pre reqs! Honestly, I feel like I know the material but i approach the questions wrong and i had timing issues despite completing 5 practice exams. Even took the aamc scored and received a 495 so i was hoping I would do a little better. idk.
 

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I have taken all the pre reqs! Honestly, I feel like I know the material but i approach the questions wrong and i had timing issues despite completing 5 practice exams. Even took the aamc scored and received a 495 so i was hoping I would do a little better. idk.

Damn. No offense but why would you go ahead and take the real thing (twice) if you scored 495 on the practice test?
 
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Peach Newport

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489 1st take and 490 2nd take MCAT? It may be time to seriously consider another career path. These are very poor scores (majority of people score over 490 on their dianostic exams taken before even beginning studying), and the fact that you took it again without obviously improving significantly on your weaknesses will be a big red flag. Have you taken all of the pre-reqs?

I scored a 14 on my first diagnostic exam. I scored a 17 on my second. After 4-5 months of legitimate preparation I took the MCAT once and scored a 34.

I'd usually agree with your statement that taking it twice and scoring that low is not a good sign. But if OP hasn't done well in his classes and hasn't done any real prep, then there's certainly a chance.

But be warned: Each time you retake the MCAT counts against you. God help you if you mess up round 3.
 
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Peach Newport

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I have taken all the pre reqs! Honestly, I feel like I know the material but i approach the questions wrong and i had timing issues despite completing 5 practice exams. Even took the aamc scored and received a 495 so i was hoping I would do a little better. idk.

You only took 5 practice exams?

Dude.

Your MCAT score could determine the rest of your life. Prepare for it accordingly.

You will need to spend money to do well. Suck it up and take a good prep course, and pay for practice exams.

Get 20 full-length practice exams and make sure they tell you the answers you got wrong afterward. AAMC tests are best. Do all of them with full time constraints. Every test is a dress rehearsal.

I took at least 30 practice tests before I did the real thing.
 
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SurgDoc95

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I wouldn't take it again unless you're scoring between a 504-508 on your practice exams. You really need to commit to studying for that exam for probably 4-5 months before you take it again. And if you're struggling that much I'd suggest going back to the ground floor in that you need to go over the material you don't know thoroughly and then learn HOW to approach MCAT problems. Knowing the info about the kidneys or what cognitive dissonance is doesn't translate to scoring well. You can get that score up but you need to dedicate yourself to learning the what to dos and what not to dos of the MCAT. Good luck mate!
 

SurgDoc95

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You only took 5 practice exams?

Dude.

Your MCAT score could determine the rest of your life. Prepare for it accordingly.

You will need to spend money to do well. Suck it up and take a good prep course, and pay for practice exams.

Get 20 full-length practice exams and make sure they tell you the answers you got wrong afterward. AAMC tests are best. Do all of them with full time constraints. Every test is a dress rehearsal.

I took at least 30 practice tests before I did the real thing.

20-30 full lengths is overkill in my opinion. You're much better off buying section tests and Q banks then doing that many full length exams. I mean to each their own and maybe if I would've done that many I'd have gotten higher than a 502 haha
 
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Peach Newport

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20-30 full lengths is overkill in my opinion. You're much better off buying section tests and Q banks then doing that many full length exams. I mean to each their own and maybe if I would've done that many I'd have gotten higher than a 502 haha

It depends on the score you're happy with. For some people, especially those interested in DO, 20-30 might be overkill. But 5 is pretty much always too few. If you're studying correctly, you'll see your score go up as you continue to take practice exams and study what you got wrong.

I started with a 14. By my 30th practice test I was averaging a 35-36. That was slow, tedious improvement. Your most recent practice tests will give a vague idea of how you'll perform, but 5 practice tests won't tell you much. My score was the average of my last 10 practice tests. My lowest of the 10 was a 29 and my highest was a 39. But that 39 was an outlier. I sure as hell didn't score that high on the real thing.

Look, there are a lot of ways to study, but I'm a sucker for reliable indicators of performance. and IMO nothing's more reliable than a truckload of practice tests.
 
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femmegoblue

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I scored a 14 on my first diagnostic exam. I scored a 17 on my second. After 4-5 months of legitimate preparation I took the MCAT once and scored a 34.

I'd usually agree with your statement that taking it twice and scoring that low is not a good sign. But if OP hasn't done well in his classes and hasn't done any real prep, then there's certainly a chance.

But be warned: Each time you retake the MCAT counts against you. God help you if you mess up round 3.
The issue is your low scores were on practice, and OP's low scores are published exams he/she will never be able to escape from. I don't think a score <510 would really be able to remedy those.
 

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Hello all, sorry to bump the post but I wanted some input. I'm debating on whether I should apply to DO schools this cycle considering it is late. I graduated in August with a BS in psychology and minor in Chem. I have an overall gpa of 3.75 (haven't calculated my sgpa). My mcat score is low at a 499 (125,122,124,128). I have 80 hours of shadowing from 2 physicians (1 MD and 1 DO) and was apart of 2 clubs in college for long periods (3 years). Just wanted to get your guys input to help me figure out if I should apply or wait until after my mcat retake. Thanks so much!
 

ctran019

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Hello all, sorry to bump the post but I wanted some input. I'm debating on whether I should apply to DO schools this cycle considering it is late. I graduated in August with a BS in psychology and minor in Chem. I have an overall gpa of 3.75 (haven't calculated my sgpa). My mcat score is low at a 499 (125,122,124,128). I have 80 hours of shadowing from 2 physicians (1 MD and 1 DO) and was apart of 2 clubs in college for long periods (3 years). Just wanted to get your guys input to help me figure out if I should apply or wait until after my mcat retake. Thanks so much!

If your sGPA is in the same ballpark as your overall GPA, I would apply. As long as you complete your primary and secondaries before Christmas you will at least get interviews from the newer schools.
 

sdhere1234

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Hello all, sorry to bump the post but I wanted some input. I'm debating on whether I should apply to DO schools this cycle considering it is late. I graduated in August with a BS in psychology and minor in Chem. I have an overall gpa of 3.75 (haven't calculated my sgpa). My mcat score is low at a 499 (125,122,124,128). I have 80 hours of shadowing from 2 physicians (1 MD and 1 DO) and was apart of 2 clubs in college for long periods (3 years). Just wanted to get your guys input to help me figure out if I should apply or wait until after my mcat retake. Thanks so much!

Any clinical activities whatsoever? Shadowing doesn't really count for much. And do you have a DO letter?
 

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Any clinical activities whatsoever? Shadowing doesn't really count for much. And do you have a DO letter?
no, I don't have any other clinical activities. Just have been focusing on my gpa since I originally was a Pre Law student. Yes I have a letter from a DO.
 

sdhere1234

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no, I don't have any other clinical activities. Just have been focusing on my gpa since I originally was a Pre Law student. Yes I have a letter from a DO.

Honestly, I would study 2-3 months for the mcat and retake. Try for 508+ and get some clinical volunteering in then apply next cycle the first day it opens up. You should get some interest from MD schools with that gpa and an mcat of 508+
 

kpba225

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You only took 5 practice exams?

Dude.

Your MCAT score could determine the rest of your life. Prepare for it accordingly.

You will need to spend money to do well. Suck it up and take a good prep course, and pay for practice exams.

Get 20 full-length practice exams and make sure they tell you the answers you got wrong afterward. AAMC tests are best. Do all of them with full time constraints. Every test is a dress rehearsal.

I took at least 30 practice tests before I did the real thing.



how did you prepare?
 

Peach Newport

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how did you prepare?

1. Took Kaplan prep course and followed their instructions. The Kaplan classes were on weekends. Did everything I could to get the full benefit.
2. Purchased 20 AAMC practice tests, the Kaplan course came with 10-15 full length Kaplan tests (which are much easier than AAMC tests).
3. For 2 months leading up the exam, I took a full length practice exam every other day, always sticking to the time limits. On "off days" I would review every single question I got wrong on the previous day's test, and make sure that I could get the right answer if I saw a similar question.
4. Made sure I did not have any other commitments during those 2 months. This schedule required 8 hours per day.
5. Tried to begin practice exam every morning, beginning at the time when the actual exam will start. If you're doing all your practice exams at 2 PM and your actual MCAT at 7 am, you might get thrown off. This is also best for time management.

Edit: ...and with your MCAT history, I would implore you to what I did -- at the bare minimum. I don't want to be a downer, but if you want to be a doctor, you cannot f**k up round 3. I beleive that if you do well on your third test, you will have a chance. I don't think you're out of the running yet. I cannot tell you what score you will need, but I would say above 508, or whatever is equivalent to a 30.
 
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Shotapp

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@Peach Newport

I am definitely going to follow your approach (taking 30 practice tests). I did not know that AAMC had that many practice tests available.
 

Peach Newport

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@Peach Newport

I am definitely going to follow your approach (taking 30 practice tests). I did not know that AAMC had that many practice tests available.

Keep 2 things in mind:
1) I took the old MCAT. There were many AAMC tests available for it. I have been told that there are much fewer available for the new MCAT.
2) My Kaplan class gave me a huge discount on AAMC tests. I think I paid like $0.99 for the first 10 AAMC tests or something (though this was 2 years ago).

I highly recommend that your first step be to sign up for a good, thorough prep class. I had a really good experience with Kaplan, but there may definitely be other good ones. I recommend a class that meets in person (my class was 15 people or so) because you'll have an instructor to ask questions, and you can find someone to study with.

Two big questions you should ask:
1) Where can I get the most practice tests possible?
2) Will old MCAT practice tests help for the new MCAT?
 
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zurc2014

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489 1st take and 490 2nd take MCAT? It may be time to seriously consider another career path. These are very poor scores (majority of people score over 490 on their dianostic exams taken before even beginning studying), and the fact that you took it again without obviously improving significantly on your weaknesses will be a big red flag. Have you taken all of the pre-reqs?
OP, dont listen to this. I was told this by sdners a few years ago as well. It will be hard but you have to score well above 500 and do a post bacc. Keep pushin
 

Peach Newport

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OP, dont listen to this. I was told this by sdners a few years ago as well. It will be hard but you have to score well above 500 and do a post bacc. Keep pushin

I would actually agree with most of this statement. A post-bacc or master's would be a very good idea. OP's GPA is not THAT low but it's low. If he had a good MCAT score I'd say he should go ahead, but with that MCAT score, some GPA repair is probably going to need to happen.

Options are post-bacc and master's. IMO if someone is choosing between the 2...

You do a Post-bacc when your GPA is just slightly too low, or your GPA is good, but you're lacking prerequisites. A Post-bacc is a band-aid to fix an otherwise good application.

You do a master's when your undergrad GPA is crap and no amount of post-bacc credits will fix it, so you say "f**k it, I'll start over." An excellent graduate GPA WILL compensate for a crappy Undergrad at many schools (though maybe not Harvard). I haw many friends who had sub-3.0 undergrad GPAs and went MD on the strength of their grad GPA. Another good thing about Master's is that they DO help you get good jobs if med school doesn't work out.
 
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