Apr 12, 2014
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So this thread does not pertain to me, but to my brother, who got a 33 MCAT in 2013 but retook the test this past September and received a 30. In hindsight, it was a very bad mistake. The reason he retook it was because he was getting constant 36-39's on practice tests the first and second time he studied for it and thought he could do better. His cumulative GPA is currently 3.81 at a public school in California and he has all the usual EC's and research. We're not URM.

Again, it was a very bad idea to retake it, considering he got a 33 on the first go-around. There was definitely a level of hubris that we had as a family prior to him taking the test again. I don't think any of us thought he was going to drop and we thought that at the very least, he would get the same score or do better. It seemed like a low risk, high reward situation. What do you guys think are his chances for allopathic schools now? Is a third retake a viable option (obviously very risky)?

Edit: I know that a 30 in of itself is a good score, but we're just concerned what the schools will think when they see that drop.
 
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Oct 7, 2014
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Schools are going to know that he must have been scoring high on the practices in order to retake the solid score of a 33. 30 is still not a bad score......he definitely has a chance with his 33, 30 scores and his 3.81 at getting into an allopathic medical school. I'm assuming he has taken all the practice aamc exams......once you've done that it is hard to re-prepare to the same preparedness you had going into the first time you take it. I would say just stick with what he got. He'll be fine.
 

gyngyn

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So this thread does not pertain to me, but to my brother, who got a 33 MCAT in 2013 but retook the test this past September and received a 30. In hindsight, it was a very bad mistake. The reason he retook it was because he was getting constant 36-39's on practice tests the first and second time he studied for it and thought he could do better. His cumulative GPA is currently 3.81 at a public school in California and he has all the usual EC's and research. We're not URM.

Again, it was a very bad idea to retake it, considering he got a 33 on the first go-around. There was definitely a level of hubris that we had as a family prior to him taking the test again. I don't think any of us thought he was going to drop and we thought that at the very least, he would get the same score or do better. It seemed like a low risk, high reward situation. What do you guys think are his chances for allopathic schools now? Is a third retake a viable option (obviously very risky)?
This is a surprisingly common, yet under-recognized problem.
Your brother can still become a physician. He just needs to recognize that CA applicants are more likely to go OOS and develop a list of schools that will potentially interview him. It is not the same list that might have interviewed him with the single score, though.
 
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OP
I
Apr 12, 2014
10
4
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Pre-Medical
This is a surprisingly common, yet under-recognized problem.
Your brother can still become a physician. He just needs to recognize that CA applicants are more likely to go OOS and develop a list of schools that will potentially interview him. It is not the same list that might have interviewed him with the single score, though.
Thank you for your response. We knew it is difficult to stay in California, and he knew that if he got a higher score, it would really solidify his chance to stay.
 

gyngyn

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Schools are going to know that he must have been scoring high on the practices in order to retake the solid score of a 33. 30 is still not a bad score......he definitely has a chance with his 33, 30 scores and his 3.81 at getting into an allopathic medical school. I'm assuming he has taken all the practice aamc exams......once you've done that it is hard to re-prepare to the same preparedness you had going into the first time you take it. I would say just stick with what he got. He'll be fine.
No. We will think he over-estimated his potential, takes unjustifiable risks, got lucky on his first test and instead of developing a strategy for maximizing a good score, succumbed to hubris/pressure/inability to leave CA and re-took the exam.
Some schools that might have interviewed him at 33, now will not.
Re-taking an MCAT consistent with success is especially hazardous in CA.
 
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Oct 7, 2014
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No. We will think he over-estimated his potential, takes unjustifiable risks, got lucky on his first test and instead of developing a strategy for maximizing a good score, succumbed to hubris/pressure/inability to leave CA and re-took the exam.
Some schools that might have interviewed him at 33, now will not.
Re-taking an MCAT consistent with success is especially hazardous in CA.
Solid point...I would just assume he didn't believe he performed his best if he is retaking it but gyngyn is definitely further along in the whole becoming a doctor thing so I'd go with his opinion! Your bro made a mistake but is definitely still in the game though!
 

ciestar

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Solid point...I would just assume he didn't believe he performed his best if he is retaking it but gyngyn is definitely further along in the whole becoming a doctor thing so I'd go with his opinion! Your bro made a mistake but is definitely still in the game though!
He is an OBGYN (I think?) and an ADCOM at a CA school. Definitely trust what he says :p
 
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Goro

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And we at DO schools will think that OP's brother simply wanted to go to MD schools and is opting of DO because we the "safety". We KNOW tons of applicants do this in reality, but when it's so blatant, it's hard for us to swallow.

Another negative component is the poor score implies what some people call "knowledge decay".

No. We will think he over-estimated his potential, takes unjustifiable risks, got lucky on his first test and instead of developing a strategy for maximizing a good score, succumbed to hubris/pressure/inability to leave CA and re-took the exam.
Some schools that might have interviewed him at 33, now will not.
Re-taking an MCAT consistent with success is especially hazardous in CA.
 
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gettheleadout

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I'd put a LOT of money on a severe lack of realistic test environment simulation if he was scoring 36-39 on all the AAMC FL's and got 33 and 30 on two real exams.
 

Chansey

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When your brother studied for the re-take, did he use the old AAMC exams he already took once? This is KILLER. Never use your old exams to study for a re-take. We subconsciously remember the correct answers, and this artificially inflates our scores.

My friend took the MCAT twice. The first time, she got a 29. The second time, she was getting 38 - 40 on her practice MCATs. But she was using old AAMC exams that she had already taken once. Guess what her real score was the second time around? 29. If you are re-taking the MCAT, get new practice tests!!

As for your brothers situation... he can re-take the MCAT a third time, but he needs to take this 3rd exam very seriously. My friend in question ended up taking it a third time. She improved, and she's applying this cycle and has gotten interviews. She's also an ORM.

If your brother does not want to re-take, I highly suggest applying to Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville School of Medicine. Their median MCAT is 29. The school favors southern Illinois residents, but there are so few Asians at SIUE I think being Asian is actually a plus.
 

Silverflash

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I shouldn't say this since you are clearly already aware, but retaking a 33 isn't a good idea at all, regardless of your practice score. It's like winning $10,000 on a roulette table and then going double or nothing.

Regardless, he is still competitive. He'll have to be able to explain the drop in an interview and lower his school expectations a bit, but he can get it.
 
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