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MCAT scores and chances

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by medgrrl, Sep 9, 2000.

  1. Is anyone else out there an August mcatter? I am. I'm currently filling out secondaries (~12). But the more I think about it, the more I'm wondering why I've even bothered. As most people who took this last MCAT can attest, it was REALLY HARD. I thought I was well prepared and all, but the day of... wow. That sure was tough.

    So this is my question. I've got decent stats (CGPA 3.92, Science GPA 3.98, 1st author research paper presented at prestegious conference, decent e.c.'s). But based on my MCAT performance- I'm not expecting higher than a 28/29 at the most, to be realistic- should I even bother trying to submit my secondaries for this enrolment cycle? Should I submit the secondaries now, or should I wait until I know my MCAT scores for certain (another 4 weeks)?

    Any advice from either people in my shoes or "been-there-done-that" types would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  3. Cobragirl

    Cobragirl Hoohaa helper ;)
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    I'm in the same boat you are! I have a pretty decent application and have received secondaries from 7 of the 9 schools I applied to (I just applied to 2 DO schools a couple of weeks ago and AACOMAS hasn't finished with my app yet...) I've already sent my secondary back to EVMS (and the $85 app fee!) without knowing how I did on the MCAT. I was making 27 - 33 on my Kaplan practice tests but that is just supposed to be a gauge of how well you MIGHT do. My pre-med advisor wants me to go ahead and send in the rest of my apps so I'll be at the front of the line (or at least in the middle) when MCAT scores do come out, but it's kind of hard to justify sending out another ~$400 in fees with no garauntee that I did better than a 27. Granted, it is possible to get in with a 27 (several of the docs I've shadowed did worse) but as competitive as it is now, everyone talks about needing a 30+ to get in. I guess it just depends on the school and how good the rest of you application is. I've been told by several people, including a couple med school admission officers, that a good gpa (3.6+), leadership positions, and volunteerism can make up for a weak MCAT. They're looking for people who will make good doctors...not just people who can score in the top 10% of the MCAT. I sure hope this is true!! [​IMG] In any case, I guess you should take a good look at your app and decide if you think it's good enough to mask a weak (and I don't consider your scores weak....some schools accept people with scores in the low 20's) MCAT. If it is strong enough, go for it. I've decided to...I just hope I didn't bomb the MCAT!!!
     
  4. Socceroo4ever

    Socceroo4ever Senior Member
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    Goodness!!! You're worried about THAT?! Lemme tell ya... if you made a 25 on that MCAT, your GPA and other stats alone will slide you in easily to whatever school you want. Personally, if I had stats like yours, I would be more worried about exactly which school it was I wanted to get into. Harvard? Yale? Gee... I don't know... my GPA is already higher than the average for those schools...

    Personally, you make me sick. MOST of us are still proud to make a 3.5 GPA. Good luck anyhow!

    ------------------
    Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night,
    God said "Let Newton be," and all was light.

    -- Alexander Pope
     
  5. I guess I'm a bit biased. All the med students I HAPPEN to know are mega-genius 4.0/40+ types so my stats seem less stratospheric by comparison and cause for a BIT of concern.
    Anyways, the $$$ is an issue- I'm Canadian, remember? In our (Monopoly) money, $75 U.S.D. can buy a small apartment... (almost). Also, most U.S. schools aren't so keen on accepting Canadians (they miss out on government funding or something of the sort). That's really why I'm extra-concerned that my numbers be competetive.
    But it's nice to hear that a low-twenties score can still cut it.
    Oh, and another advantage to being in US (undergrad) schools- you guys have premedical advisors! Here, we're on our own. So appreciate them... I wish there were something like that here.
     
  6. Socceroo4ever

    Socceroo4ever Senior Member
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    Awww... well best of luck anyhow! And as a matter of fact, I never did use a premed advisor. I found them all to be worthless, really. They tell you not to take classes you know you can handle, and then tell you to take these useless classes that will serve you no purpose except to satisfy their whims. Some people have met and used good premed advisors. On the other hand, I heard a wonderful tip on these posts suggesting going straight to the ADCOMMS for advising. Right to the source!

    Hope this works for everyone!

    ------------------
    Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night,
    God said "Let Newton be," and all was light.

    -- Alexander Pope
     
  7. lilycat

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    medgrrl,

    why don't you contact a couple of the adcomms from the schools you are most interested in, and see if they can give you a ballpark range for a "foreign" student. (I'm assuming it's a little easier for Canadians, but I know from a few of my foreign friends that the process was horrific). The thing that I would be most worried about is that taking the August MCAT and applying in the same year puts you at a time disadvantage for rolling admissions. Even with great stats, poor timing can be tough to overcome. Good luck though -- your application so far sounds like it should more than make up for any sort of poor showing on the MCAT. By the way, if it makes you feel any better -- I thought I completely bombed Verbal when I took the MCAT in April (and that was by far my easiest section in practice tests), and ended up being very pleasantly surprised by my score, so take heart.
     
  8. Cobragirl

    Cobragirl Hoohaa helper ;)
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    Socceroo, I sure hope you're right about that high gpa! I have a 3.8+ also but it's still nerve wracking! I don't have the problem of being an international student but I AM a non-traditional one. Hopefully they'll give me a little "life" credit. I'm just worried because, although I do have LOTS of stuff going for me (good gpa, several leadership positions, lots of various volunteering,etc.) my actual clinical experience (outside of working in animal hospitals for several years) is limited. Matter of fact, I just started shadowing some docs at the beginning of this year because I was always too busy working, going to class, fulfilling my leadership obligations (and trying to find time for my husband) and volunteering with the campus groups I belong to. I just hope they realize that the desire is here, I just had other obligations that kept me from volunteering SPECIFICALLY in a human clinical setting before now.

    Oh yeah, I can DEFINITELY relate to the "feeling dumb" syndrome when it comes to your other pre-med friends! Up until about 3 months before the MCAT I felt like I was just as competitive, if not more so, than most of my pre-med buddies. (I truly love them all to death and hope they ALL get in this year!! [​IMG] ) That is until my 23 year-old Kaplan instructor, a chemistry/physics double major, decided to take the MCAT again. He took it last year after studying for FOUR DAYS and made a 34...he decided to take it again this year, after studying for 6 months (and TEACHING the Kaplan course) just to see if he could ace it. I'm betting he did. I made the mistake of studying next to him at the local coffee shop for the last week before the MCAT. By Friday before the test, I was ready to just call them and cancel my seat. I spent all of Friday evening telling myself "he's a freak of nature and if everyone had to be that smart to get in, there would be NO doctors!!!" Luckily for all of us, he's not even applying this year! I love him to death, and he is a really sweet, down-to-earth guy (you'd think someone that smart would be pretty nerdy...he's definitely not) but I have to admit that I'm glad I don't have to compete against him! [​IMG]

    Sorry I rambled so long!

    [This message has been edited by Cobragirl (edited 09-10-2000).]
     
  9. Ian Wong

    Ian Wong Member
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    Hi there,

    I'm just a little curious as to why you want to attend a US med school. There are lots of really good reasons to do so, but there are many more against it as well. As a Canadian student, you'll be hit with astronomical tuition fees being a "foreign" student. Couple that with the fact that State schools will be very difficult to enter, and it leaves you with the option of applying to private US med schools, which are the most expensive.

    Even if you were to attend an Ontario school (currently the most expensive ones in Canada), it will certainly cost you a lot more to go to the States.

    If practicing or training in the States is a final goal, you can always attend a Canadian med school, and keep up with your US counterparts by writing the USMLE Step 1 and 2. After you graduate, you can then apply for specialty training in the States. The advantage here is that you can also apply to match into Canadian residency programs as well.

    Ian, MS2
    Admissions Advice for Canadian Premeds www.geocities.com/mdpremie
     
  10. Hercules

    Hercules Son of Zeus
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    Not to be insensitive, but just about everyone who has taken the MCAT feels that it was really hard. When I took the MCAT in April, I felt that it was difficult and that I had not done as well as I would have liked (by the way, no one leaves that test doing "as well as they would have liked"). I got my scores back in June, though and I got a 38-40. The point is that it's all relevant. If you took a really difficult MCAT, then it means you can get more of the answers wrong and still have a good score, since everyone else will have missed them, too. So don't worry about your scores until they actually come back. The only time I would worry is if everyone else is talking about how easy it was and you felt it was impossible, but that doesn't seem to happen too often [​IMG]
     
  11. Socceroo4ever

    Socceroo4ever Senior Member
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    I'm not advocating getting into debt above your ears over medical school, but it seems to me that most of us do, anyhow. I don't see why coming to the States to do your medical degree would cost you much more than actually living in the States and attending medical school. I'm not really up-to-date on this material, but even there are financial aid available for US students, I really have yet to hear of a worthwhile case. I'm planning on going to medical school under the assumption I will be swimming in debt the entire time. If I get financial aid, fine and dandy! But anyhow, if money is indeed a factor to you, maybe you should consider the Canadian schools first and foremost.

    ------------------
    Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night,
    God said "Let Newton be," and all was light.

    -- Alexander Pope
     
  12. Mango

    Mango Very Senior Member
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    Just curious Herc as to how one gets a 38-40?
     
  13. Me again. My PRIMARY reason for going to the states is that the med schools here are IMPOSSIBLE to get into. Case in point- there's a (true!) story going around about someone with a 4.0 and stellar MCATs and everything going for them who got into the TOP- and I mean the TOP- schools in the states... and got rejected from our local Canadian school. Seriously. I will not go into any more specifics about that case, but getting in here is a shot in the dark. Actually, the average accepted GPA at U of Toronto Med School is- get this- a 3.86- higher even than Harvard (the highest in the U.S.A.). So though I'd like to stay here for the next 4 years, I'm not counting on anything at all. I'm setting my sights Southward... hope it works... maybe I'll be in the same class as all of you next year, you never know!
     
  14. Hercules

    Hercules Son of Zeus
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    Mango,
    For the last couple of MCAT's they have had trouble distinguishing a 13 from a 14 from a 15 on the Verbal Reasoning. So they gave up (I appreciate the hard work on their part, after all that I put in [​IMG] ) and just gave everyone in that range a 13-15 score. After that I got a 13 Bio and 12 Phys. I always hate saying that score because I wanted a number not a range, but whatever.
     
  15. Cameron

    Cameron Senior Member
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    Yeah, I think it's likely because there simply isn't a statistically significant difference between those who would receive a 13, 14, or 15.
     
  16. Ian Wong

    Ian Wong Member
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    Well,

    There are a number of people who I felt would make great physicians who were not accepted into Canadian med schools here this year. I can't fault you that. But, I do know that I attend class with 119 other med students here at UBC, and I've been meeting a large number of the first year med students that just arrived. We're normal people. Some of us came in with some pretty impressive feats: Olympic athlete, Canadian national team members, Provincial champions...you get the picture.

    However, most of us are just your every day students that had a dream, and worked at the application process, and didn't quit until we were accepted.

    Not to rain on your parade, but if you can't get into a Canadian medical school, do you really think that an American school will have that much lower standards? Sure, there are more schools, but there is a huge increase in the number of applicants, and most schools there have restrictions for out-of-state applicants, just like we have for out-of-province students.

    Each Canadian med school has different criteria that they use to select applicants. Unless you are a clone of your friend, I wouldn't worry about it. See how the Canadian application process treats you personally, not what you hear from other people.

    Regarding cost, it can be a major issue. At one private US university, tuition for me as a Canadian citizen would have been $25,000 US per year. This is roughly $38,000 Cdn per year. This doesn't even touch travel, housing, food, books, and all those other necessities. I'm paying $4000 per year at UBC. I can afford four years of tuition, buy the absolute top of the line medical equipment, purchase tons of textbooks, and pay for travel electives in fourth year to anywhere in the world for the price of one year at that private US med school.

    Just my thoughts,

    Ian

    ------------------
    Admissions Advice for Canadian Premeds
    www.geocities.com/mdpremie
     
  17. Ian Wong

    Ian Wong Member
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    Well,

    There are a number of people who I felt would make great physicians who were not accepted into Canadian med schools here this year. I can't fault you that. But, I do know that I attend class with 119 other med students here at UBC, and I've been meeting a large number of the first year med students that just arrived. We're normal people. Some of us came in with some pretty impressive feats: Olympic athlete, Canadian national team members, Provincial champions...you get the picture.

    However, most of us are just your every day students that had a dream, and worked at the application process, and didn't quit until we were accepted.

    Not to rain on your parade, but if you can't get into a Canadian medical school, do you really think that an American school will have that much lower standards? Sure, there are more schools, but there is a huge increase in the number of applicants, and most schools there have restrictions for out-of-state applicants, just like we have for out-of-province students.

    Each Canadian med school has different criteria that they use to select applicants. Unless you are a clone of your friend, I wouldn't worry about it. See how the Canadian application process treats you personally, not what you hear from other people.

    Regarding cost, it can be a major issue. At one private US university, tuition for me as a Canadian citizen would have been $25,000 US per year. This is roughly $38,000 Cdn per year. This doesn't even touch travel, housing, food, books, and all those other necessities. I'm paying $4000 per year at UBC. I can afford four years of tuition, buy the absolute top of the line medical equipment, purchase tons of textbooks, and pay for travel electives in fourth year to anywhere in the world for the price of one year at that private US med school.

    Just my thoughts,

    Ian

    ------------------
    Admissions Advice for Canadian Premeds
    www.geocities.com/mdpremie
     
  18. Mango

    Mango Very Senior Member
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    Hercules, huh, I didn't know that! Heck, if I were you, I'd just tell people I got a fifteen. You basically did! [​IMG] Nice Work, Mango
     
  19. wooo

    wooo Senior Member
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    Herc,

    If I were to make a score like that, I do not think I would be tolerable. I would bubble with pride on a daily basis! Heck, I'm smilin' now, and it ain't even my score!

    GREAT JOB!!!
     
  20. Socceroo4ever

    Socceroo4ever Senior Member
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    I also applaud such a wonderful score! Mind if we rub shoulders a bit? MCATs are coming around soon for me, too! [​IMG]

    ------------------
    Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night,
    God said "Let Newton be," and all was light.

    -- Alexander Pope
     
  21. Hercules

    Hercules Son of Zeus
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    Well, I appreciate the positive feedback from everyone! I only hope the adcoms are as positive... BTW, if anyone's looking for tips on the verbal section, I recommend taking as many humanities classes as possible. As I've said before, I'm a Classics major, and I felt my major really helped out on that section (didn't help much for me in the other two, though [​IMG])
     
  22. Cobragirl

    Cobragirl Hoohaa helper ;)
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    Hey! You guys might want to read my (really long) post again..specifically the 2nd paragraph about studying with someone obviously as smart as Herc (Good job, BTW! [​IMG] ) Don't rub shoulders too much...you'll begin to feel like YOU'RE an idiot! [​IMG]
     
  23. autumnchai

    autumnchai Member
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    herc...how did you prepare for the MCATs, just out of curiosity (other than classics courses)?
     
  24. Hercules

    Hercules Son of Zeus
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    autumnchai,
    One thing I had going for me was that I was taking the second half of organic and physics in the spring of my MCAT. I also took a KAPLAN course (which I highly recommend), but I didn't get as much out of it as I could have, since I didn't go to all of the lectures or do the assigned readings. Even w/o doing the reading, the practice tests were very helpful in getting you used to the format.
    My main piece of advice for the MCAT is forget about spring break. Spring break came 2 weeks before the MCAT, so I made the most of it. I got up and studied from 8 AM to 8 PM each day (w/ breaks for food of course!). I was very organized and had a list of what I was going to get done each day.
    After spring break was over, I focused on the flash cards that KAPLAN gives you. I carried those with me everywhere (work, chem lab, grocery line). I had a stack of the ones I knew and a stack of the ones I didn't. I kept pounding and pounding away at those, up until the Thursday before the test. I had already promised myself that no matter what, I would not study the Friday before the MCAT. I needed at least a day to let everything soak in and to let my brain recharge. I spent Friday relaxing with my girlfriend and my family. We all went out to a nice dinner and then I got in bed early (if you're as nervous as I was, you'll need to take some NyQuil to knock you out).
    Then I just woke up and took the MCAT the next day, and things went well. Well they went pretty well... I did forget to brink my ID for the MCAT and I had to sprint home to grab it and I just barely made it back in time to take the test [​IMG]

     
  25. Cobragirl

    Cobragirl Hoohaa helper ;)
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    Herc,
    I'm actually glad to hear that you DID do all that studying! It shows the rest of us (at least me, anyway) that the hard work WILL pay off! I studied in very much the same way, and while I seriously doubt that I did near as well as you, maybe I did improve over my Kaplan scores!

    Karyn
     
  26. mvalento

    mvalento Senior Member
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    one quick thing- a great gpa and MCAT does not necessarily guarantee acceptances, sometimes not even interviews. when i got my MCAT back, damn near everyone i knew was saying that i could write my own ticket (37-39), i got my applications in early and figured i was set, but i have already been denied an interview by one school where my stats were way above their averages. one of my roommates has an interview at the school i was denied at, and he had a lower MCAT and only slightly higher GPA (similar extracurriculars). so anyway- i'm not trying to paint a negative picture of the whole process, but there is a lot more that goes into it than MCAT scores, including volunteer stuff, the personal statement, leadership activities, letters of rec, and, unfortunately, a little bit of luck! so- good luck to everyone, don't sweat your scores too much, it is the whole picture that counts!

    -bud
     

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