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kzp123

2+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2016
5
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi everyone,

I'm in a bit of a predicament and I'm not entirely sure what I should do about it. I'm taking my MCAT August 5th (which is roughly 3 weeks away) and I 100% know I'm not ready to take it. I've barely studied for it because this summer turned out to have a lot of unexpected things happening and I didn't discipline myself as much as I should have. I can't reschedule for a later date because none of the locations are within reasonable distance for the limited means of transportation that I have or the dates conflict with my move-in days for dorms.

It's also too late for me to cancel with a refund so I'm debating whether I should just take as many practice exams as possible now to somewhat prepare and then take the exam a second time in January and extend my Kaplan course which is online self-paced. I think I'll be able to study better during the semester than during the summer because in general I'm more focused and organized. I feel terrible having wasted the money on this first test (and probably also on a course extension if that's even possible?), and I feel so discouraged going into it so underprepared. Any advice or uplifting words would be greatly appreciated.
 

kzp123

2+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2016
5
1
Status
Pre-Medical
I got really lucky this afternoon and a spot opened up near my location for the 19th so I rescheduled my exam for then. That gives me 5 weeks which I feel a lot more comfortable with. September would have been ideal, but there are no locations anywhere near me. Plus I don't have a car so my brother would need to take me.

I guess now it's just a matter of organizing myself and keeping motivated so maybe I'll be prepared enough and not have to take it again in January. Any advice for a study schedule and small ways to keep up morale?
 
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FutureDrOcean

2+ Year Member
May 3, 2016
97
109
Status
Pre-Medical
If I were in your situation, this is what I would do. I would prep prep prep and take the exam you have scheduled. However, given what you are telling me, I would VOID that exam, and sign up for a January test date. Then, dedicate your winter break to doing nothing but MCAT prep. Keep your January test score, it should be much better than your end-of-summer score.

I studied off and on a little during my soph-junior summer and wasn't ready. I signed up for January (junior yr) MCAT and studied all XMAS break, got a 522. If I had taken it after the summer, I would've been toast.
 

kzp123

2+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2016
5
1
Status
Pre-Medical
If I were in your situation, this is what I would do. I would prep prep prep and take the exam you have scheduled. However, given what you are telling me, I would VOID that exam, and sign up for a January test date. Then, dedicate your winter break to doing nothing but MCAT prep. Keep your January test score, it should be much better than your end-of-summer score.

I studied off and on a little during my soph-junior summer and wasn't ready. I signed up for January (junior yr) MCAT and studied all XMAS break, got a 522. If I had taken it after the summer, I would've been toast.
Should I still void the score if now I was able to move the date to the 19th? I was thinking if I buckle down now I can do 2.5 weeks of content and 2.5 weeks of practice exams. Then I'll take the exam and if I don't do as well as I want I can just sign up for a January exam?
 

FutureDrOcean

2+ Year Member
May 3, 2016
97
109
Status
Pre-Medical
You could do either, but you don't want scores on your record that aren't your absolute best. There's no reason to rush your MCAT. Spaced study is absolutely the best. You put in great time and have learned a lot this summer - give your brain time to digest, get through your Fall semester, keep doing practice tests, and completely repeat your content review during winter break with more practice tests. With that amount of repetition, your score will be enviable. But I guarantee you are looking at a much lower score if you take the exam before your brain has time to digest.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 
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kzp123

2+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2016
5
1
Status
Pre-Medical
You could do either, but you don't want scores on your record that aren't your absolute best. There's no reason to rush your MCAT. Spaced study is absolutely the best. You put in great time and have learned a lot this summer - give your brain time to digest, get through your Fall semester, keep doing practice tests, and completely repeat your content review during winter break with more practice tests. With that amount of repetition, your score will be enviable. But I guarantee you are looking at a much lower score if you take the exam before your brain has time to digest.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
I really appreciate your advice, thank you! I think that's exactly what I'll do, and once I get to doing practice exams I'll make the decision to void or score for the August exam.
 
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GrayArea

2+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2016
159
26
Status
Pre-Medical
I agree with FutureDrOcean.
I was in a very similar situation to yours. I personally decided to VOID because I knew that even if I spent one month of hardcore studying, I would not be confident about getting the score I COULD get with more time. It also depends on what schools you wish to attend. If you wish to attend a top school, then having one MCAT score that truly demonstrates your ability is ideal. I am also assuming that you are not applying this cycle, so why the rush in taking it? When I was in your situation, I decided to just bite the bullet and voided the exam. I just thought of it as a REALLY expensive practice test. I was able to get the feel of taking the real thing and it was actually a very good learning experience. I felt relief because I knew that next time, if I truly dedicated myself, I would be better prepared taking it.
Ultimately it is your decision, some people could be ready in a month and score great. However, if you are doubting yourself or lack confidence at the end of the month, VOID it and prepare better for the Jan date. Hope this helps.
 

kzp123

2+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2016
5
1
Status
Pre-Medical
I agree with FutureDrOcean.
I was in a very similar situation to yours. I personally decided to VOID because I knew that even if I spent one month of hardcore studying, I would not be confident about getting the score I COULD get with more time. It also depends on what schools you wish to attend. If you wish to attend a top school, then having one MCAT score that truly demonstrates your ability is ideal. I am also assuming that you are not applying this cycle, so why the rush in taking it? When I was in your situation, I decided to just bite the bullet and voided the exam. I just thought of it as a REALLY expensive practice test. I was able to get the feel of taking the real thing and it was actually a very good learning experience. I felt relief because I knew that next time, if I truly dedicated myself, I would be better prepared taking it.
Ultimately it is your decision, some people could be ready in a month and score great. However, if you are doubting yourself or lack confidence at the end of the month, VOID it and prepare better for the Jan date. Hope this helps.
Thank you so much for the advice! I definitely agree with everything that you're saying. I don't care much for attending a top school (and with my gpa at a 3.42, maybe a 3.5 by the time I graduate, it's hardly realistic), but I will definitely void the exam if I don't feel like I had enough practice. As you did, I can probably use it as an expensive practice exam and give myself more time for the January test.

I'm applying next cycle, but I have an issue in regards to the pre-health committee letter. The science gpa needed to get a letter is a 3.3 and unfortunately mine will only be at around a 3.2 by the time that I'm graduating and ready to apply, so I was told that if I get to know the advisors well beforehand and do an impressive job on my MCAT then there was a high chance that they would make an exception. I just didn't want to wait until the spring for that to be the case, but life happens and I'm learning to give up my pride and be realistic about what is and isn't possible.
 

GrayArea

2+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2016
159
26
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you so much for the advice! I definitely agree with everything that you're saying. I don't care much for attending a top school (and with my gpa at a 3.42, maybe a 3.5 by the time I graduate, it's hardly realistic), but I will definitely void the exam if I don't feel like I had enough practice. As you did, I can probably use it as an expensive practice exam and give myself more time for the January test.

I'm applying next cycle, but I have an issue in regards to the pre-health committee letter. The science gpa needed to get a letter is a 3.3 and unfortunately mine will only be at around a 3.2 by the time that I'm graduating and ready to apply, so I was told that if I get to know the advisors well beforehand and do an impressive job on my MCAT then there was a high chance that they would make an exception. I just didn't want to wait until the spring for that to be the case, but life happens and I'm learning to give up my pride and be realistic about what is and isn't possible.
The most difficult part for me was swallowing my pride and waiting a cycle to apply, mainly due to my desire to do great on the MCAT. Life does happen, I know the feeling. I took a year off after undergrad and some stuff happened (voiding the MCAT included) and now I have to wait until next cycle to apply. I was really bummed out for almost an entire month because I REALLY wanted to matriculate next Fall. However, I knew that if I really wanted to do things right and get the best MCAT score I could possibly get, then an extra year would have to do. So that is what I am doing.

Hopefully, you are going to have the rest of your life to develop the career you desire. So why rush? Those are simply my thought on this matter. As you said, you need to do an impressive job on the MCAT for the gap you have. Therefore, you have to ask yourself what time frame will give you a better shot at doing great on the MCAT, 1 or 6 months...
Also remember, the MCAT is not just about knowing information, it also tests your ability to think under pressure and stress. That is another skill you must develop strongly during the time you give yourself to study. Sometimes that skill is a lot more difficult to master than the information.

Again, these are just my opinions based off my personal experience. Only you know whats best for you :)
 
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Dec 15, 2015
352
144
Status
Pre-Medical
I got really lucky this afternoon and a spot opened up near my location for the 19th so I rescheduled my exam for then. That gives me 5 weeks which I feel a lot more comfortable with. September would have been ideal, but there are no locations anywhere near me. Plus I don't have a car so my brother would need to take me.

I guess now it's just a matter of organizing myself and keeping motivated so maybe I'll be prepared enough and not have to take it again in January. Any advice for a study schedule and small ways to keep up morale?
Don't plan on a retake, just get it over with now, 5 weeks is plenty of time if you can devote 4+ hours a day of quality study time.
 
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