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MCAT: April vs. August

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Dream4June, Mar 2, 2001.

  1. Dream4June

    Dream4June Junior Member
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    I've been planning to take the MCAT this April, but now I'm beginning to feel that I'm not going to be well enough prepared. And because I don't want to do poorly and have to retake, I'm considering waiting until August to take it. My question is this, will it put me at any disadvantage to wait until August? And would you suggest me taking in April even if I don't feel ready? What are the pros/cons to either taking it in April or waiting until August? Any information will help! Thanks in advance!
     
  2. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    The main disadvantage is that the admissions committees probably won't consider your application until after the August scores are back sometime in October. By then, many people would have been interviewed (and at some schools accepted) meaning there are fewer spots available for which you will be competing. The earlier your application is complete the more spaces that are available to compete for.
     
  3. jmac

    jmac Junior Member
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    I strongly recommend taking the April MCAT. Completing your application early is extremely important and from what I've heard the august MCAT tends to be more competitive because people have had all summer to prepare. I started having self doubts about this time last year but thanks to some insightful encouragement I buckled down and took the April MCAT and I did well. You still have plenty of time so don't psyche yourself out.
     
  4. lilycat

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    I agree -- it's only the beginning of March, so you still have around 6 weeks which is a lot of time. However, if you still don't feel ready by the last week or two before the test (ie, you are not scoring in practice what you feel you are capable of scoring), I would not recommend that you take the April test. This is just my own little humble opinion, but I think it is extremely important to put your best foot forward the FIRST time around on something like this. It is important to get apps. in as early as possible, but I wouldn't rush into the MCAT for that reason alone, esp. if you really don't feel ready, or don't feel like you are as well-prepared as you could have been. If you realize in early April that you aren't ready, and decide to wait until August, you can still get your AMCAS in by early June, and you will probably get a lot of secondaries throughout the summer from schools who don't screen. Thus, the August MCAT delay shouldn't be wholly insurmountable. Of course, if you feel ready in April, and are scoring in a range you feel comfortable with, by all means, take the April test.

    [This message has been edited by lilycat (edited 03-02-2001).]
     
  5. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    And don't forget that you don't have to rush into anything. You can always delay and take April MCAT 2002 (when you know you will be well prepared) and get your application in on June 1 with everything complete. Spend that extra year working/volunteering/learning some hobby. You will be busy in medical school and beyond so there is no reason not to have some time NOT studying medicine. There are plenty of "older" people that get into medical school without a problem.
     
  6. Ian Wong

    Ian Wong Member
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    The most important question is whether you are applying this year. If you are not, then barring other committments in the summer, you should write the August MCAT. The MCAT is something you only want to write once.

    If you are applying this year, writing the August MCAT will put you at a big disadvantage when applying to most US schools as the rolling admissions process means that students could potentially receive interviews as early as June/July, while you will be waiting for your MCAT scores until at least mid-October.

    However, if you aren't going to be ready, then you aren't going to be ready. Getting a bad score in April will similarly flog the quality of your application, in which case your MCAT study time would have been better spent preparing for final exams. The bottom line is you realistically need to assess your chances, and the amount of knowledge you can learn in the next 6 weeks.

    I've got a premed website up with hints and tips for each section of the MCAT: Check it out and maybe it'll help you out:
    www.geocities.com/mdpremie


    Ian, MS2
     
  7. lilycat

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I totally agree with mpp -- I sort of forgot to mention that myself. [​IMG] That was actually what I ended up doing; I took a whole other year, and I think it helped a lot. You listen to all your peers, and you think that there is this big rush, but there really isn't. Do what feels right to you.
     
  8. TiggerP01

    TiggerP01 Junior Member
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    i was in a similar boat last year. due to circumstances beyond my control, i was unable to take the april MCAT, even though i had prepared for it. i ended up studying more and took the august test. i still went ahead and applied in june. 7 schools offered me interviews, and i have been accepted.....so it isn't impossible, even with taking the august test. however, you are at a disadvantage with the timing of your interviews. NO school will look at your application before october 15 (when they receive august scores). that meant that almost all of my interviews were during january, a very stressful time at my undegrad school. in retrospect, i wish i had waited to apply until the following june. by taking the august test, i probably got less interviews than i would have had i taken it in april. that being said, perhaps i wouldn't have done as well in april.....after all, i am still headed to med school in the fall. but you really do have plenty of time to study for the test.....you may not ever feel completely ready for the test, but if you are reasonably confident, take the april test. good luck!!
     
  9. Dream4June

    Dream4June Junior Member
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    Thank you all for your advise.. I'm still unsure, but leaning toward the August test. All of these opinions will help me decide, thanks again!
     
  10. gabbers22

    gabbers22 Member
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    I am in sort of in the same boat....I applied to med school this year...knowing that my MCAT was a little low, so I have been studying a little bit here and there...and I was rejected a school the other day, so I think that I should take the April MCAT (I took the August 2000 MCAT). I am nervous because I hear everyone talk about how important the test is, and I don't want to get another bad score...however, I keep thinking that if I do bad I can take the August test again.
    At the same time, I don't feel well prepared for the physics part of the exam... Yet, since I just took the test in August, I feel like I'm not that out of practice--what to do?
    I know that I need to make a decision quickly here as I will need to register for the MCAT online.
    I guess the point of my ramblings is that I don't know what to do, and can sympathize with what you are feeling!
    Hopefully you will have a better time making your decision than I will! [​IMG]
     
  11. lizard

    lizard Member
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    I took the August MCAT and applied this year. And if I had to do this process again, I would still take the August MCAT, because I was in no way prepared to take it in April and needed the summer to really do well. But instead of applying this year, I would have waited another year (even though I am an older applicant who did pre-med reqs as a post-bac). This way, I would not be at a disadvantage in the application process. Additionally, I would truly have a year off...a year to do whatever I wanted without worrying about the AMCAS app, secondaries, interviews, etc. The application year is a "year-off," but not really. I probably would have traveled extensively, developed more of my photography portfolio, studied yoga more intensely, and work on community projects in developing countries--all the stuff I have done in the past and still love to do when I have the time. It would be nice to start my medical education sooner, but then again, the time can be used productively and for fun stuff.

    It's sad that taking the MCAT a couple months later during the application year can be the reason for an applicant to get rejected from his/her number one school. But then again, this process is full of random crap! [​IMG]
     
  12. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie
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    Also a thought....

    I took the MCAT in August 1999. I then applied for EY 2001. That way, if I'd bombed it, I couldve taken the April 2000. It also had the advantage of letting me study all summer and not have to worry about classes etc.

    Star

     

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