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MCAT blues, time to call it quits?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Perseverant 1, Jun 22, 2002.

  1. Perseverant 1

    Perseverant 1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 9, 2002
    Hi everyone, as you can see by my username i have been at this for quite a long while. Here's my scoop. I am finishing a graduate degree in bio with a 3.78. I had to opt for the grad degree because my undergraduate experience was a complete blur (not just cause i was a slacker, but because i had some major things going down with family illnesses).
    Anyway, i have one year experience in a hospital setting, 1 year in a clinic setting, 7 years (yes i said 7 years) working with autistic children. Now i am working in basic research for hematologic malignancies.
    I have alot of experience in my area of interest (my brother has CP and epilepsy, my dad had a stroke , one aunt with Alzheimers and another died of ALS) so you can see why i am interested in neurology, right? Anyway, i have taken the MCAT a few times with a high score of 22. yup 22, you heard that right. I am putting myself through the motions AGAIN. I plan to take it this August. And yes, i have taken Kaplan. I am actually retaking the course.
    Contrary to my username, i am really beginning to wonder why i am doing this to myself. I am thinking about quitting. :( Maybe McDonald's or Burger King could use some help? :confused: It is just so hard to let go after i have worked so hard for so long to get into med school.
    Can anyone out there help? Any suggestions for someone who isn't feeling so Perseverant anymore? thanks. :rolleyes:
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  3. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat 7+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2002
    just keep plugging along. The journey is it's own reward. Don't focus too much on the desitination until you get there.
  4. Alli Cat

    Alli Cat Flygirl 7+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2002
    SF, CA
    Hi Perseverant,

    I think you are wise to question your motivation. Obviously, the path has not been easy for you. If you had gotten a 30 the first time, you wouldn't have quetioned whether or not all the work is worth it... but questioning is GOOD. If you still feel that medicine is for you, then you should definitely do WHATEVER it takes to become a doctor.

    2 questions:

    1. Do you feel that your MCAT scores are a fluke? MCAT scores are supposed to be a good predictor of med school aptitude. Do you think you'll be able to get through med school? If so, go for it!

    2. Have you considered DO schools? They tend to care less about numbers, and more about the person's life experiences and reasons for wanting to be a doctor (which sound like a major strength in your app).

    Good luck! Let us all know what you plan to do!

  5. sluox

    sluox Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    I often think that simply keep doing it may or may not help. You also have to do it the right way. You need to talk to your pre-health advisor, if you have one. If you don't, go find one. Secondly, remember being a physician isn't necessarily the only thing that you can do to achieve your goals. For instance, being a Ph.D. enables you to conduct clinical research in neurology as well. Thirdly, to have a realistic chance of getting into medical school you must get a better MCAT score. This means studying smarter, not harder. Finally, you have other options besides allopathic medical schools. Have you considered off-shore schools? DO schools?

    There are many ways to realize a goal. Simply blindly perservere is usually not the best way to approach the problem.
  6. Nolan

    Nolan Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    May 11, 2002
    Don't ever give up! You have a solid GPA from grad school, plus your clinical and personal experience are just plain awesome. I doubt that the students from top med schools even have experiences like yours.

    I have to be honest and say that if you are thinking about MD schools, your MCAT does need some improvement. If you've tried Kaplan and didn't get the result you wanted, I would suggest that you try another prep course. Did you ever figure out why your score hasn't improved? Did you not have enough time to study for the test because of job or personal obligations? Please ask yourself these questions before preparing for the test again, because they are crucial in helping you to improve your score this time around.
  7. zootsuit_man

    zootsuit_man Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    May 21, 2002
    Detroit, MI
    I have only two pieces of advice for you Preseverant1

    1.) Don't give up :) from your post u can tell u have put alot of work in trying to become a doctor. The process can be frustrating but don't let your frustration make u doubt yourself or your goals.

    2.) If u feel that u must retake the MCAT then do so, however don't let the score be the only indicator of how successful u will be.

    It is the intangibles that seperates u from everybody else and those are your strenghts not your scores, LOR, grades, and so forth.

    Good Luck and God Bless :)
  8. bruinkid

    bruinkid Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 31, 2002
    Los Angeles, California
    Perseverant 1-
    Find out what you're doing wrong on the practice tests and you'll improve!
  9. TommyGunn04

    TommyGunn04 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2002
    Durham, NC
    did you think about using a private tutoring service, like Kaplan offers in addition to their standard MCAT classes? Also, how much time/effort did you put in? Did you do all the Kaplan full-lengths and all other materials along the way?
  10. scootad.

    scootad. Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 1, 2001
    Ditto TommyGunn. There's a huge difference between taking Kaplan and attending their classes considering that as your studying. Doing just that will get you NOWHERE. You must put in the hours outside the classroom doing all of their practice materials. When I took Kaplan, I devoted the entire summer to just MCAT studying, making sure I did every one of their practice tests, subject tests, AAMC practice tests, yada yada yada. I understand not everyone can devote all their time to just MCAT studying, but it should be a priority.
  11. shorrin

    shorrin the ninth doctor 7+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2001
    the tardis
    Perseverant, I think I know where you are. I went through a similar mcat experience. I'd just like to share it with you so you know that it CAN be done.

    I'd do some very indepth searching about how you study and take tests though. Try to figure out what is wrong with your test-taking or learning strategies. It's hard to do but will pay off and tutor just may be able to point it out to you.

    A friend did that for me and pointed the week areas I had:
    Make sure that you truly understand a concept and not just the single problems they throw out at you.

    Make sure you are comfortable with manipulating formulas.

    Make sure that you understand how a formula relates to a concept.

    This is my short story:
    Aug 00: studied by myself, used kaplan books for review, aamc tests I, III, and IV, Flowers and Silvers tests and the big Kaplan review/test book that you can buy in bookstores.
    score: V10, P8, B7, Wm =25

    April 01: sucked it up, took pr. attended almost all classes. Used 90% of materials they gave us.
    score: V9, P7, B9, Wm =25

    well you can imagine how pleased I was with those scores after shelling out 1300 clams, ahem. But I had a bigtime panic attack during VR and used that as an excuse to make myself take it over.

    Aug 01: Used all the pr materials. elected not to repeat the class, however, took the option to just take new tests 484-486. Took two weeks off work before the test to study.
    score: V12, P9, B9, Wo =30
  12. Mr.D

    Mr.D insipidus maximus 7+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2002
    Los Angeles

    I think that you're doing fine academically in graduate school, but I think you should also consider your undergrad GPA (whatever it may be). There's been plenty of discussion on previous threads on whether your grad GPA is looked upon as much as your undergrad GPA, or whether adcoms look at the most recent grades more closely, regardless whether they're undergraduate or graduate courses. Also, there's been discussion on the weight that graduate level classes carry since it is believe that graduate course grades are inflated (e.g. everybody gets at least a B). Talk to your school's pre-med advisor and see what they tell you. In any case it's water under the bridge now, but at least it allows you to plan more carefully on the schools you plan on applying to. Continue working diligently for the August MCAT - I'm sure things will turn out okay in the end. Also, make sure to apply EARLY and TO A WIDE VARIETY OF SCHOOLS. Good luck.
  13. Perseverant 1

    Perseverant 1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 9, 2002
    Thanks everyone for your vote of confidence. It has been a long and difficult trial. I guess that is what will make it all the more sweet when ever i do finally get in.
    Two quick things for those who asked. My undergraduate GPA was horrific: 2.6. You have to keep in mind though that my dad had a stroke on Thanksgiving day my freshman year.....that only made the family situation a tad bit harder considering I have a younger brother that is SEVERLY handicapped. He can't do anything for himself. So, you have to imagine what it is like to be away at school worrying about everyone at home. Let me tell you the sinking feeling you get when the phone rings. You always think this is the phone call you will remember for the rest of your life.
    The other thing, Shorrin...thanks for your story. I can't imagine how you must of felt opening that envelope and seeing a 30. I think i would pass out from the shear joy! What specifically did you do differently...and in only 2 weeks, yikes! I truly hope i will have the opportunity to experience it.
    I don't know what i am doing wrong. I am beginning to suspect a slight learning disability. I have noticed alot lately that i invert numbers and letter. How in the world do you get evaluated for such a disorder when you have made it through both undergrad and grad school? Sounds peculiar?
    As far as my application, i have submitted. Figured early bird might get the worm. Also, studying like a mad man. Reviewed all of the kaplan books over the past month and a half. I have decided to dedicate all of July and 2 weeks in August to practice tests. If this doesn't work, i'm a dead duck.
    Can't wait till August 18th...week in the Green mountains of Vermont! Till then, I be studying my arse off. Thanks again for all of the well wishes. Hope it has recharged my batteries. Good luck to all of you who are taking the August MCAT. :D
  14. ellerose

    ellerose Member 7+ Year Member

    You're story sounded similar to one I heard from a premed advisor, who had a student who had great grades, etc., but horrible MCAT scores. First, it was thought that she had a learning disability. At her school, they had a career/learning center, where they put her through all kinds of diagnostic tests. The results came out normal. Then, she went to the doctor for full neurological exam, and a physical. Her neuro exam was fine, but it turned out that during a physical, she had a rare eye disorder that prevented her from having true binocular vision, which forced her to take longer to read passages, etc. After ocular therapy which partially corrected this disorder, the student decided to become an optometrist and do research into ocular disorders. She took the OAT, got into optometry school and has been doing well ever since.

    Point? If you have lower than expected scores and/or grades than you think you should have, go to an advisor to see what resources your school may have to find out if you have a learning disability and/or get a full physical and/or neurological assessment to make sure that there aren't physical and/or neurological reasons you are not performing up to par. Finding these things out early and dealing with them in a constructive manner will help you in your success throughout undergrad and professional school. In the meantime, follow the advice of the others who have posted to this thread: get personal tutors, try different study methods/review courses, etc. Eventually you will find something that works, and you will make it. It may not be this August when you are ready to retake it, but if medicine is your passion, then it will happen. Get assessed for learning disabilities, etc. as soon as you can. At my school, there was a counseling/consultation service that was free for first time users of the service. Any academic counselor should know the particular services at your institution. Just don't be afraid to ask for them. You are not a failure. You have done some awesome stuff. Just take care of yourself before putting yourself through the hell of MCAT land again.

    The best of luck to you. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
  15. ellerose

    ellerose Member 7+ Year Member

    Finding these things out early and dealing with them in a constructive manner will help you in your success throughout undergrad and professional school.

    Sorry, forgot you were already in grad school. You know what I meant to say. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
  16. Julie Bolding

    Julie Bolding Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 25, 2001
    Pierre, S.D.
    Take a look at the Examkrackers study package. On my first full-length practice MCAT of the summer, about four weeks ago, I had a score of about 22-23; have moved up to 26, as of Friday. They teach you what you need to know--and how to approach the MCAT--without a lot of excess verbiage. You can get the complete study package from at a small discount from other sources. Good luck.

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