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MCAT score dropped 7 points, no joke

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Chrysantheme, Sep 30, 2014.

  1. Chrysantheme


    Sep 30, 2014
    I'm a reapplicant and am in a sort of gap year. My financial situation is pretty bad, living paycheck to paycheck. I decided to reapply and take the MCAT. Problem is, I'm working 50+ hours per week to survive. I studied for 4 months, but I'd barely get any time in. 1-2 hours per day, even through lunch, and a few hours over the weekend after errands were run. I felt like I had no free time. Note: I graduated last year, so a lot of this isn't fresh in my mind.

    My original MCAT score was a 27, and I had gotten interviews and waitlists with it, but applying late messed me up my first year, so I got things in early.

    Now I've reapplied and a lot of schools are waiting on this score. I'm just wondering how screwed I am, and if I just prep for the new MCAT at this rate. Should I even try D.O. at this point? Grad school? I don't know what to do.

    Do they look at the highest score or the lowest one? Most recent?
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  3. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist 5+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2012
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    I'm confused because you didn't mention it in your post at all. Did you retake the MCAT and got a 20 the second time?
  4. Chrysantheme


    Sep 30, 2014
    Yes. Though its been a year since I've been in college and two since I took the last MCAT.

    1st try - 27Q
    2nd try - 20
  5. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist 5+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2012
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    It really depends on the school. Many do different things with it, whether it is averaging it or taking the most recent one. I've heard of schools even superscoring! (I have no confirmation to this rumor though).

    I think it's safe to say that your 20 will be looked at negatively, no matter where you apply. Some schools may even consider it a red flag.
  6. Chrysantheme


    Sep 30, 2014
    My primary and secondary apps do have information showing that I'm working these hours because of financial reasons. I'm hoping that weighs in. Or maybe some schools won't count an MCAT this late in the cycle? Score was released today.
  7. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist 5+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2012
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    We can hope that would be taken into consideration, but that's too big of a hope and most likely won't make a difference. The best thing you can do is to drastically change the way you approach the test and retake after you are incredibly prepared. Also, do not work so many hours when you study. Some people can pull it off, but you are not one of those people.
  8. xffan624

    xffan624 5+ Year Member

    Jan 6, 2013
    How is it early if you just got your MCAT score back now? Most schools average the scores. A few do the highest score or most recent. If you have no success this cycle then I recommend taking a break until you are financially stable enough to give more focus to the MCAT. I understand the difficulty with working full time and being far our of school (think two years is bad, try six years which is what I did), but if you can't give the time to it, then it's not worth taking again. Also consider DO. A 27 is still in their range.

    As the other post in regards to taking it while working full time indicated and doing well, you neither get extra credit or consideration to your score based on whether you're working or not. The MCAT is a judge of how good are you at taking a high stakes exam. If you have to work while you're doing it and can't study for it properly and take it anyway, well that shows poor judgement. As Goro likes to say, medical schools and the medical field love high stakes multiple choice exams (many of which can't be taken twice), if you can't prepare properly for the MCAT or judge how ready you are for the test and make the correct the decision to delay taking it, then how will you prepare for the board exams?
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
    cactus8910 and bumpbumped like this.
  9. Plecopotamus

    Plecopotamus 2+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    It does not bode well for your application.
    Presumably you were aware that you were not improving. Why did you take the exam anyway? That is the question that is going to come up even with adcoms who would be willing to consider your 27. As far as these things extend to judgment and self awareness, the fact that you were overworked and overburdened is not as important as the fact that you didn't realize you shouldn't sit for the exam on your scheduled date. I would rather ask you about your 27 in the interview and have you say "oh, I hoped to retake it to earn a score that I felt reflected my true capabilities, but with the reality of feeding myself . . . I could not" than have you try and explain to me why you retook it even though you weren't more prepared.
    Being, Goro, cactus8910 and 1 other person like this.
  10. IlDestriero

    IlDestriero Ether Man Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Nov 24, 2007
    The ivory tower.
    You dropped 7 points. Every school will see that. It is a huge red flag.
    Don't take it again until you are really prepared or you will be done. I'm not sure why you can't get a job with normal hours and study hard, as in second job hard. You need to re eval your situation, living arrangement, job, skills, etc and make some hard choices. Either study and do WELL or move on to plan B.
    LizzyM and xffan624 like this.
  11. GTWreck1991


    Jul 10, 2014
    That's rough...7 points is too much of a drop off...schools will question your 27...and may end up attributing it to chance...if you really are serious about medicine...and consider it your only option...retake..get a 27+ and consider off shore schools. Good luck!
  12. sharkbyte

    sharkbyte Take me to the top 2+ Year Member

    Dec 26, 2013
    Really? I thought it was the opposite (i.e. most schools take most recent or highest and some average)
    Goro likes this.
  13. Afford

    Afford 2+ Year Member

    Jul 29, 2014
    Move back in with your parents or some family or find a significant other to take care of you and study full-time for the MCAT. I'm working full-time now and I basically put work second and med school applications first. Some people can do both equally well, but I'm not that person and neither are you.
  14. xffan624

    xffan624 5+ Year Member

    Jan 6, 2013
    Why would a school take the highest score you've got or most recent? It rewards the people who game the system. Averaging reduces that effect of gaming the system. You can't take a Step exam more than once, unless you fail the first time. Most ADCOM's prefer you take the MCAT once and that you do well on that one time, just like on a board exam.

    I posted this based on my impressions from previous threads with ADCOM's discussing this issue, but unfortunately I have no data to back up my assertions, just logic. Feel free to contradict me if you have additional data.
    gyngyn and DifferentialDiagnosis like this.
  15. ThisCouldBeYou


    Oct 27, 2013
    I hear lots and lots of reasons why your score turned out as it did: you're not a recent graduate, you work long hours, you couldn't study as much as you needed, you're financially strapped, etc. etc. I'm sorry the score came out as they did, but med schools don't want to hear excuses. It is what it is. Take responsibility. No one made you retake the test, no one made you take it unprepared. I know this test hurts, and yes, it may mean you might need to make changes. Don't spend your time with those "if onlys….". Learn from this and move forward.
    MrLogan13 and Goro like this.
  16. AliciaAccepted

    AliciaAccepted Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    SDN Exhibitor

    In my experience in serving on admissions committees at the UC Davis School of Medicine Postbaccalaureate Program, I learned that applicants really only have three chances to apply to medical school before their applications are considered taboo. By the fourth cycle a student applies, most selection committees won't seriously review your application. That being said, you have a couple of options at this point:

    1) Withdraw your application, even though it will still be listed on your record as the second time you applied, it will alleviate your responsibility to return secondaries and to incur further expenses.


    2) Finish this application cycle, though it will be very unlikely that you will receive any interviews with a such a significant decrease in your MCAT score.

    If you are planning to apply to medical school a third time, make it count, by:

    • Studying for and taking the MCAT early--there is no limit now for the number of times that you can take the MCAT. One of my favorite medical students was a guy who had taken the MCAT SIX TIMES. He had the best sense of humor and was the most popular medical student mentor. Determination can pay off and allow you to build tremendous character.
    • Applying AFTER you have received a competitive MCAT score. I do not recommend applying without knowing your score. This is highly stressful and risky.
    • Improving everything you possibly can on your application--essays, activities, GPA, MCAT--everything humanly possible! The more effort you put on progress, the better--in every way possible.
    • Consider working with a professional admissions consultant who can guide you through the process successfully. Discounts are available for students who are applying as disadvantaged applicants or who are from low income backgrounds. Always ask for discounts.
    I hope this is helpful and that you will not lose hope. If you work hard, you can get into medical school. Just put one foot in front of the other. I wish you success!
    PreciousHamburgers likes this.
  17. sharkbyte

    sharkbyte Take me to the top 2+ Year Member

    Dec 26, 2013
    There's a spreadsheet here that lists some of the schools' policies under the "Multiple MCAT" column:

    This data is from 2012, so it's not up to date, but it's unlikely that the schools would change their stance.

    There's admittedly very little data there, but it looks like more than just a few will take either your highest score or your most recent score. Also, I talked to the director of my school's pre-health office who's a retired physician and sits on the admissions committee of my university's med school - he said that many schools will take your most recent or highest.

    I don't think it's looked upon as "gaming the system" by ADCOMS to take the MCAT multiple times. Of course, it's going to look better if you got a good score the first time, but the fact that you re-took it and did better should speak to your ability to work hard and make the appropriate adjustments to get a more successful score. The fact that schools will take your highest score attests to this. Although I'm not an ADCOM so I could be wrong. Maybe @Goro, @LizzyM, @gyngyn could shed some light on how schools view multiple MCATS?
  18. Goro

    Goro Faculty 7+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2010
    Somewhere west of St. Louis
    This will hurt. We certainly can understand having to work for a living, but making good choices is something we desire in applicants, and taking a career-deciding, high-stakes exam under the conditions you did was fool-hardy.

    I believe that your MD chances are now zero. Some DO schools only look at the most recent score, others, like mine, average, and still other take the best composite score. There are some that favor GPA > MCAT, so you might not be dead yet, but you'll need to apply broadly and to aim for the newest schools especially. Skip all of the Touros, Western, AZCOM, CCOM, DMU, PCOM and KCUMB.

    But start thinking about Plan B, and you might need to put things on hold for a while until your situation stabilizes and you can devote solid time to MCAT prep. Do NOT retake until you're fully ready!

  19. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor Moderator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Nov 4, 2011
    Alta California
    A single strong MCAT is the centerpiece of a successful application.
    Every re-take opens the door for speculation regarding your judgement and ability.
    If your first score is inconsistent with success, make sure that the retake gets all your attention and cancel it if you are not scoring above expectations on practice tests.

    No matter what is publicly offered as multiple MCAT assessment at any particular school, the individual examiners will inevitably have their idiosyncratic interpretation of multiple scores.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2014
    CobraX, Goro, Catalystik and 3 others like this.

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