MCAT "Stereotype Threat"... Inspiration as Promised.

Discussion in 'Underrepresented in Healthcare' started by MSTPbound, May 10, 2007.

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  1. MSTPbound

    MSTPbound student Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

    Oct 1, 2006
    Words of inspiration? I really don't think very highly of my scores, but there are some positive implications in my performance. I think the bottom line is this… nothing worthwhile comes without EXTREMELY hard work and tremendous sacrifice. Discipline, focus, and perseverance are golden virtues in MCAT prep, and life. Usually, you do more or less reap what you sow, and I think I've been getting a pretty decent return on my time- and effort-investment.

    As for stereotype threat? It probably affects some of us, if not all of us (URM and non-URM alike), to some degree, and often in unknown ways. For the MCAT, though, I think the key to overcoming it is to address the psychological aspect of the exam thoroughly. Most of this comes through diligent preparation, but I'm also a big believer in working on "self"… or "sharpening the saw" as Stephen Covey might say. Visualization, self-talk, meditation, journal writing, prayer… whatever introspective practice you have at your disposal I believe can be vital to performing at your best on game day. Just filter out all the nonsense people have to offer about what you "can" or "can't" do because of what you look like or where you come from, or what the "numbers" have to say. As others have previously said, on test day, you'll be the only one taking that exam… so focus on YOU. One of my Afro-Cuban dance teachers used to say, "I can't do your dancing for you… only YOU can dance for you!" Give yourself ample time to prepare, do your research (e.g. sort through the MCAT discussions forum for useful info:) ), plan your work, and work your plan. Just make sure you walk into the test center SUPERBLY PREPARED… and the rest of the process will take care of itself.

    Good luck, and best wishes to everyone for a successful application process!


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  3. jsnuka

    jsnuka Senior Member Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    May 2, 2006
    GREAT post!!!!!:)

    Good Luck to you !!!!:luck:
  4. flaahless

    flaahless 7+ Year Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    *sigh* I just received my scores. 12PS, 7VR, 10BS for a total 29R. I'm about 4 points lower than I was scoring on the practice exams and I feel pretty dejected.

    Physical Sciences
    I scored a 12 which is one point higher than my average on the practice AAMC tests. I actually felt I scored a 15 but I'm very satisfied with the 12. A lot of hard work went into that 12 and I am very proud of it.

    I'm still in shock. I scored a 7, which is weird because I scored between 9 and 10 on all the practice exams. I'm not quite sure what happened. I felt pretty comfortable during the test and thought I scored a 9 at worst. Guess I was wrong.

    Biological Sciences
    I scored a 10. I'm a bit disappointed becaue Bio is my strongest subject and I averaged a 13 on the practice exams. However, I knew I did worse on this bio section, mainly because it tested my weakest Orgo concept - Mass Spec.

    Overall, it definitely hurts to go from a 33 on the practice tests to a 29 on the real thing. I feel I let a lot of people down. The 7 hurts the most because I contributed to the specious stereotype that black folk can't read and discern. I tried my best and I came up a few points short. I'm sorry.

    I'm considering retaking. I'm a CA resident and that 7 is going to hurt me.
  5. MSTPbound

    MSTPbound student Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

    Oct 1, 2006
    I'm sure that the likes of John McWhorter, Maya Angelou, Orlando Patterson, and Toni Morrison, would have a just a *bit* of a problem with that ridiculous stereotype. If we don't perform to our potential, let's not be mistaken about why; it has nothing to do with what you see when you look in the mirror; it has everything to do with what you find when you look within.

    Obviously, I can't offer you practical advice from personal experience regarding what to do to polish your VR score... but there's a bunch of folks in the MCAT discussions forum who certainly can. If your not happy with VR because you know it doesn't accurately reflect your aptitude, then do what you need to do to make sure that it DOES next time.

    Best of luck to you!!!


  6. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Lifetime Donor SDN Administrator 10+ Year Member

    I have to agree with MSTPbound. I know you feel bummed about your VR score, but you did *not* contribute to any stereotype or let down other URM students. If someone really believes that "black folk can't read and discern," they would continue to think that this was true even if you'd scored a perfect 15. One of the darnedest things about stereotypes is that they are remarkably resistant to being changed by facts. :rolleyes:

    You're also so fixated on your VR that you're not looking at the whole picture. To put things into perspective, the MCAT VR section is scored on a scale from 1-15. The average score is 8. So no, your 7 is not going to knock anyone's socks off. But it's not going to lead to the intellectual downfall of the entire black race either; for heaven's sake, it's an AVERAGE score. It's ridiculous to beat yourself up for coming out average on something. You're taking the MCAT against some pretty smart folks of all races; about one third of people are going to have average scores in the 7-9 range. And your science scores are both significantly *above* average. Good god, a 12 in PS is in the top 5-10% of all test-takers of all races!

    It sounds like you don't think this score represents your true abilities, and from what you've said, you're probably right. So if that's the case, then you know what you need to do. VR is one of those things that you can improve with consistent practice and effort. Best of :luck: to you. :)
  7. flaahless

    flaahless 7+ Year Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    MSTPbound and QofQuimica, thanks for talking some sense in to me. I'm a bit more sober today than I was yesterday. I'm still waivering on the retake. I'm sure the rest of my application can get me into med school but maybe not keep me in California. I'll decide in about a week. Thanks for the comments.

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