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MCAT after Freshman year?


New Member
May 22, 2020
  1. Pre-Medical
Due to the pandemic summer plans have been halted. I was wondering if preparing for the MCAT would be a good idea to take advantage of the "dead" summer. I've completed every nearly pre-req besides Biochem/Physics II, but have self-studied Biochem during the year via Principles of Biochem + the EdX program. Taking one of Alitus' COVID timed exams, I scored a 512, which I think could be improved if I studied further.

I know there's an expiration date for the test (2 - 3 years) and I'll probably apply at the end of my junior year. Is this a good idea -- will med schools 2 years later accept the COVID version? Any advice or input would be greatly appreciated
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Full Member
2+ Year Member
Apr 9, 2017
  1. Medical Student
Don't. Take all of the prereqs (biochem and physics) and you will be in a much better place. Why risk having to take the MCAT twice? It's also likely that you will be taking some more advanced courses that can help clarify MCAT topics (even if they are not actually tested, understanding the building blocks is necessary to understand more complex topics). No one knows how the COVID time-shortened MCAT will be viewed in subsequent cycles, some schools may look down on it.

Also, maybe something happens (sickness, family loss, etc) and you have to miss a semester and are unable to apply after Junior year. Or, maybe, you get a chance to go on your dream vacation while curing cancer and helping millions of less fortunate people.... Point: no one knows what the future holds, might as well give your MCAT as much time as possible.
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Full Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2014
  1. Medical Student
The risk/reward ratio for this is too skewed for it to be worth it. If you crush the mcat, you’re score will be valid for one application cycle. However, if you opt for a gap year for a prestigious research program or service organization to enhance your application you would likely need to retake the mcat. Additionally, if you take it and do poorly, you risk coming across as impatient and reckless for taking the mcat so early in your career when most folks wouldn’t have completed even half of the prereqs.

Use your time this summer in other ways.
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SDN Gold Donor
7+ Year Member
Mar 1, 2013
  1. Non-Student
The MCAT is not one of those "no harm in trying" tests. Consider the possible outcomes:
  1. You score very well. Congratulations, but the downsides are that your score will be valid for only one application cycle (hope you get in!) and the shortened COVID test might be discounted by AdComs if compared to 'regular' versions of the test taken in other years. (Where the COVID version is the norm, it's unlikely to be viewed that way.)
  2. You score OK to pretty good. You still get only one chance unless you retake the exam, and this time, you're odds go down because your score is only OK-very good. You agonize for months because if you'd only waited until you'd completed your pre-reqs, who knows how much better you could have scored?... Maybe you retake, and in addition to the PITA factor, you get the AdCom second guessing of why you retook a perfectly good score.
  3. You score below expectations. All of the bad, and no good whatsoever.
Sure, you can use some of this 'dead' summer to strengthen your foundations and get some studying in. But you'll almost certainly be able to score better taking the exam later.

I'd suggest you use this summer to do some killer pandemic-related volunteering. Maybe meals on wheels? Contract tracing? Screening?
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