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MCAT Test Administration Complaints

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by conure, Aug 19, 2002.

  1. conure

    conure Master Distiller

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    I would like to hear some of the issues people had at the test site with issues concerning administration. I think there were numerous at my site.

    Boston- John Hancock Center

    1. This is probably the biggest problem. About ten people in the room did not get the same form for all sections. Luckily I wasn't one of them. I got the wrong form and so did the girl next to me and we switched. But others weren't so lucky. When it was brought up to the proctors they said to ignor it and don't worry about it. I don't think thats right. There is a reason they tell you to take the same form.

    2. We did not begin the exam until 10:15 am. The incompetent proctors took almost two hours checking in the 150 or so peolpe there. This pissed me off because we didn't get to lunch until 1:30 and leave the test center until 6:30pm. I mean come on.

    3. The gave the wrong minutes remaining announcement during the physical sciences. They said there was 45min left when there was really 50 left. Luckily they realized there mistake.

    These people sucked and I will write a complaint to the testing service.
     
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  3. lola

    lola Bovine Member

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    wow, that's really bad people didn't all get the same forms! yikes. it probably won't make a difference, but that seems so wrong for them to say it doesn't matter.

    my biggest complaints:
    1. the room was really dark. some rows had lights above them so people could see well. other rows were in the dark (mine)!
    2. there was a beeping going off during the BS section.
    3. i wish they would have written the start and end time down. i kept forgetting what the end time was!

    aaah... it feels so good to complain :D
     
  4. isidella

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    Does it not distract you and make you feel squimish when the proctor walks right past you fifty times and looks over your shoulder during these tests? I wanted to ask her to stop by the middle of PS.
     
  5. Angeliqua

    Angeliqua Senior Member

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    Hey Conure,
    I was at the Hancock Center as well, unbelievable! I was considering writing a complaint but thought I was over-reacting. However, seeing that others feel the same way it may not be such a waste of time. In addition to your list, I will add a few more tidbits:

    1. The proctors were holding conversations with each other during the first two sections.

    2. We were yelled at like 4th graders to stop talking at some points (I found that a bit ridiculous, especially at the end when all of the tests had been collected).

    3. During Bio, a proctor VERY LOUDLY questioned someone about their "calculator," it turned out to be a timer similar to what almost everyone else was using!

    4. In general, the proctors could not answer questions pertaining to the administration and did not seem to know the general "rules" of administration...but did make a few of their own up!

    :mad:
     
  6. Sammarai

    Sammarai Member

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    You were allowed to use timers? We were told to put ours away, I was so angry cause the clock was way in the back of the room.
     
  7. tedstriker

    tedstriker wicked retahhded

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    I took the Sunday test in South Lancaster (MA) and there was no air conditioning in the room! It was swelteringly hot...I couldn't believe it! Good thing I brought a change of clothes and jumped into some shorts and a t-shirt after the verbal section. But COME ON! I guess that's what I get for having an extra day to study :mad:
     
  8. Mr. Z

    Mr. Z Senior Member

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    I agree with you a 100%. I was sitting in an aisle row, so the proctor kept walking right past me every few minutes, it was really distracting. Not to mention that she was wearing heels that made a clop-clop noise :mad:

    I think our proctor was shorting us about two minutes per section. Someone complained, and she said if we have problems with her time keeping we should write aamc.... Yeah sure thing!

    Off topic, i was sitting next to some guy who during the verbal section started flipping through pages like crazy for about 3 min straight. I was thinking, what the hell are you doing, shouldn't you be reading?? I read the same paragraph about 4 times because i couldn't concentrate when he was doing it.
     
  9. Jugador75

    Jugador75 Senior Member

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    I took mine at the JFK school in Mississippi, and there were naked cheerleaders outside going down on each other. RIGHT THERE IN THE OPEN. My god it was fantastic!! But at the same time it was a real distraction, espcially during the essays. I couldn't stop looking out the window.
     
  10. Tweetie_bird

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    Good question asked by the above poster.

    If any of you guys are serious about this, I have an AAMC MCAT contact person that *may* be of assistance. At least, other people after you may not have to go through this again.

    So, if you ARE serious and would like me to approach the contact person, let me know through PM. Details will be hashed out later.
     
  11. SouthernGirl

    SouthernGirl Senior Member

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    This happened at least three times during my test:
    My proctor's cell phone rang (it was on vibrate, but you can still hear it, and it was still distracting!) so she answered, whispered, "I'll call you right back!", then hung up and ran out into the hall (wearing loud shoes, I might add, not to mention the squeaky door). Plus, after the first time it happened, each time it rang she would kinda groan in frustration :rolleyes: . You'd think she'd just turn it off, but no. I was shooting her evil death rays through my eyes, as were several other testers . It's kinda funny now, but it was NOT funny at all then! :mad:
     
  12. Bevo

    Bevo Radiology, R1

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    i had a good test proctor. she tried telling some jokes to loosen everyone up. Got mixed up reading the instructions about working with others saying its "not unprohibited" or something.

    but she turned off her cell phone and was quiet through out it.
     
  13. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat

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    :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
     
  14. Sammarai

    Sammarai Member

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    What is your point, Diogenes? It is a timed test and for some every minute counts. I would have been upset if I had hurried through some passages so that I could finish with 5 less minutes even if he got it back in the end, mistakes would have already been made.
     
  15. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat

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    My point? ----->:rolleyes:
     
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  17. Sammarai

    Sammarai Member

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    Well you have confirmed my suspicions about your age and maturity level.
     
  18. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat

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    Yet another mis-drawn conclusion.
     
  19. Bikini Princess

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    i agree that time matters - but i think I'm with Diogenes on this one, Sponge Bob. The proctors try to make the test fair, but there's always going to be mistakes & unpredictable events which may affect the test administration...you can't expect the proctors to be superhuman.. although i can see how it's frustrating.
     
  20. Kry

    Kry cranky

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    Being able to tell how much time is left does not take superhuman abilities. Atleast your proctor gave you the full 100 minutes, mine shortchanged us by almost 2 minutes in the first 2 sections.
     
  21. Sammarai

    Sammarai Member

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    But the topic is called MCAT test administration complaints. I would have no problem bringing this up as a complaint. The people administering the test get paid and so should administer it correctly. If they can't tell time correctly then they shouldn't have been in charge of the test!
     
  22. Kry

    Kry cranky

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    Most of the administrators do it year after year, you'd think they'd get it right by now. yeesh
     
  23. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat

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    Apparently you have never made a mistake in your life -- even one you caught yourself. Either that or you are a hypocrite or someone who does not realize that your infallibility does not exist.
     
  24. conure

    conure Master Distiller

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    I would like to clarify my original intent. I found it very hard to trust these proctors after their numerous screwups. There are at least 5 more things I could site that are not simply nit-picking. These people were incompetent. If the adminstrators expect us to take it seriously (ie finger printing and signing our names every section) then we deserve the same respect.
     
  25. surge

    surge Medicinski Znanstvenik

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    I agree.

    It's true that there were people who probably had it worse, but the idea is to treat everybody the same.

    Not something that warrants complaining to the AAMC, but still an inconvenience: my proctors (@ Yale) refused to write the start and end times, saying that it was against AAMC rules :rolleyes: , even as the other proctors (other rooms) were doing it :eek: . I ended up being left with 5 min and 10 questions in PS (I think I got them, they were the ones that don't have a passage).
    (on the other hand, I felt bad later when I finished BS with 25 min to spare and fell asleep - I freaked out the people around me):sleep:
     
  26. tedstriker

    tedstriker wicked retahhded

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    Holy Smokes! Power surge, you da man! 25 mins is an awful nice nap :)

     
  27. surge

    surge Medicinski Znanstvenik

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    We'll see if I still think so when I get my scores :D
     
  28. Sammarai

    Sammarai Member

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    So when does a mistake become complaint worthy? When it is 10 minutes? When it happens to you? When you get a lower grade because of it? Why should they even have us write to them about anything that goes wrong on test day?

    There are a lot of things that can go wrong on test day but I don't think announcing the wrong time is one of them. Like I said before, these people are paid to do this and should be able to tell the time correctly, I don't think that is asking too much. And if they do screw up on it, we have a right to inform the testing company about it, why make the next year's sufferers encounter the same problem.

    Diogenes, you have never complained about anything? I don't believe that! Just because I would complain about this to the company doesn't mean that I can't fully understand that this could have been a simple error but maybe these people do it every year and need to removed from giving the test. The reason I got annoyed with you was because even though I don't agree with a lot of the things you say, I thought you were above putting down someone who had posted an experience they had in an appropriate thread. Again I will repost the name of this tread "MCAT Test Administration Complaints", not the "I had a perfect time and having nothing to tell the MCAT Test Administration".
     
  29. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat

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    Yes, that is the title of this thread, and it is about complaints. And I think that saying "45 minutes remaining" instead of "50 minutes remaining" AND catching the mistake and giving the correct time is not worth getting all worked up (to begin with, it is a small marginal difference, and secondly there is no way to assure it won't happen). There is no way to guarantee that the people giving the test won't make this kind of mistake. Even if there was a "can you tell time correctly?" screening for test administrators, some would pass this test and then still make such a mistake during the test. Also, this problem has nothing to do with any rules or procedures that could be changed. Obviously the policy is to give the correct time, but people are fallible and mistakes will be made -- and in this case the mistake was corrected (as much as that was possible).
     
  30. Sammarai

    Sammarai Member

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    I agree with you that people are going to make mistakes but if no one ever reports what goes on during test day, then some people who shouldn't be giving the test will be allowed to continue screwing up. What if this person who told the time wrong did something like that everytime they administered the test? How do you decide when it is appropriate to report a problem with the people giving the test? Where do you draw the line between human error and incompetence?
     
  31. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat

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    I think this whole thing is blown out of proportion. It just isn't that important in my opinion. It isn't big enough to care about. What's 5 minutes, especially when you don't even lose it?
     
  32. Sammarai

    Sammarai Member

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    I agree it was blown out of proportion, so maybe next time you will have a little sympathy for other people's situation, even if you don't feel it warrants it. I hear it is a good quality to have as a physician.
     
  33. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat

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    :rolleyes:
     
  34. Jugador75

    Jugador75 Senior Member

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    Diogenes, I disagree. There IS a way to change and solve this problem. If all proctors were given a digital stop watch, it would be nearly impossible for them to mess up. And while I agree that calling "45 min" when there is "50 min" left is not a big deal, in other situations time was actually cut short, and that is a big deal. If it happened to you then you would not be happy. Perhaps you would not complain about it on SDN, but suppose you took the mcat twice and by coincidence had the same proctor each time, and suppose that he cut you short by 3 minutes both times. Wouldnt you be upset that you, or someone else in that room, didnt complain and fix the problem? That's all we're saying here. What's done is done, but let's do our best to make sure that history doesnt repeat itself.
     
  35. nero

    nero Senior Member

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    i thought all procotors had to use digital watches.....did anybody actually have a proctor that didnt'?........

    nero
     
  36. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat

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    yeah, some people have said so.
     
  37. spanky

    spanky Member

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    I thought our proctors did an excellent job except for the fact that they did not remind people to turn off their cell phones. I have taken the MCAT twice now and both times someone's cell phone rang during the test. Instead of immediately turning their phone off, the people picked up their phone and let it keep ringing until they recognized the number of the caller. It was very distracting and inconsiderate. I would be in favor of docking people some points off of their score for allowing this to happen.

    Any thoughts from other test takers?
     
  38. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat

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    I don't think cell phones should be allowed in the room. Just like beeping watches and clocks are not supposed to be allowed.
     
  39. LizVolkmann

    LizVolkmann Junior Member

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    I took the test on Saturday at UCONN. There was no air conditioning and we were all crammed into a very small room.

    It was uncomfortable and difficult to concentrate. By the end of the day the room smelled really bad and everyone was soaked with sweat. The proctors said that they were going to issue a complaint to the testing service.

    I support your effort to bring forth the issues regarding testing administration. If everyone has an "equal" opportunity to succeed on the mcat, then all should take the test in a similar environment and under the same conditions.
     
  40. you have to come in prepared for contigencies.

    my test session, in april, took 10.5 hours to complete (at PSU) because of incompetent protoctors, but i'm not complaining about it. it helps to be ready for the unexpected - proctors who cut u short, take too long, etc, and adapt to the situation.

    i think things go wrong in medicine often, so you may not always blame the nurses, equipment, or administration. Ability to respond to adversity is not an undesirable trait.
     
  41. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child

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    That's rediculous. I'm sorry for everyone who has to undergo such awful test taking conditions, but really, how do you prepare for 8 hours of sweat soaking in a hot summer room or the ignorance of incompetent proctors? And why should those students that are expected to test at known "bad" centers do any extra work (ie, preparing for bad conditions) as opposed to their counterparts who will be taking it comfortably with competent proctors in an air conditioned room?

    I'm very surprised how anyone can be noble as to say "well, **** happens ... life isn't fair so deal with it." What if someone accidentally gets an LSAT booklet instead of an MCAT exam... hey... **** happens, right?
     
  42. beanbean

    beanbean 1K Member

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    I was also at UCONN in a 93 degree classroom sweating it out. By the afternoon it was really unbearable - southeast exposure meant lots of sun and we only had two working windows. I knew the building had many rooms without air and came prepared in shorts, tank top and with plenty of water. The most frustrating part is that downstairs was a large unused room with ceiling fans that was about 20 degrees cooler. Why couldn't the test have been moved to a cooler classrrom??
     
  43. PTjay

    PTjay Senior Member

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    I also took the MCAT at UConn. My friend who took it there said he was sticking to the test and actually had bubble marks all down his arm from resting it on the test. I had a hard time holding onto my pen during the writing sample since my hands were so sweaty. Every single person was dripping wet. I hardly think that this was a standardized testing condition.

    Who do we write to for complaints?
     
  44. LizVolkmann

    LizVolkmann Junior Member

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    You can address your complaints to the MCAT Program Office (PO Box 4056, Iowa City, IA 52243-4056). I think that this has to be done within the next three weeks. I plan to write a letter immediately. There is also a phone number listed: 319-337-1357.

    Good Luck!
     
  45. 'rediculous'... hmm i guess it's better than orangiculous :p ;) (j/k)

    honestly though, if someone gets an LSAT booklet, maybe they may notice it and ask for an MCAT booklet.

    temperature fluctuations, problems, errors, these are things you may want to come ready for. i understand being upset, when you feel like you're singled out. chances are though, rough spots during testing happen to almost everyone.

    it's not unlike being upset in an operating room because the patient is overweight, or equipment is finicky, or because a tech is lazy. it always helps to come prepared for the unexpected.
     
  46. I agree. I took my test at NYU where the temperature was perfect, it was quiet (besides a fire alarm that went off for 15 minutes), and the lighting was good. However, the desks were miniscule. I'm talking 1 foot by 1 foot. Few people had it perfect, and for peace-of-mind, it is important to acknowledge that.
     
  47. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat

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    bump...this is a good one too. heehee.
     
  48. doctorpepper

    doctorpepper New Member

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    I took the test at the Tremont Hotel in Boston. The accomodations are NOT designed for exams!
    We were put in a big ballroom, where the lighting was pretty bad. My shadow fell on my table, and made it harder to see.
    Also, they put out a bunch of old tables, with no tablecloths or coverings on them. That usually wouldn't be a problem, but the table surface was rough and uneven, which made it hard to bubble in. I think I punctured my paper a few times! :(

    They crammed all of us in one room, with only 3 or 4 proctors, so distributing and collecting exams took a long time. And people had to share tables, luckily, I was able to grab a single table, but I felt bad for those that were crammed together at one table.

    On the positive side, the proctors were nice. Overall, I wouldn't recommend the Tremont Hotel in Boston.

     
  49. bellajoy

    bellajoy A Joy

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    I was reading the beginning posts where a couple of you guys were talking about the screwing up of time. Well, I took it this past April, and my proctor scared us big time. And, instead of the 5 min thing you were talking about, my proctor mistakingly told us 5 mins left instead of 45 mins left (on the bio section)!! The whole room was like "oh my gosh! don't you mean 45 mins?" :eek: There was a big collective gasp. Luckily, he corrected himself and said, "Oh, sorry about that. It's really 45 mins left." Then there was one big collective sigh. He about gave us all a heart attack.
     
  50. HIIC

    HIIC Banned
    Banned

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    I think all of you bizzles need to quit complizzing, spark a jizzle, and enjoizzle the tizzle, for shizzle dizzles!
     
  51. Corey

    Corey Member

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    Well, i only hope that I don't have nearly all of these problems out of my proctors as some of you guys had. Plus, I'm not the type of person to just sit there and be annoyed when I know that this tests has so much importance on the rest of my life. I won't be penalized or put in a corner or anything if I fend for myself (and others who may not be as bold as I am) will I?

    Has anyone every told the proctor that he/she was very distracting?

    Corey.
     
  52. Tuanisman

    Tuanisman Junior Member

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    alright, this is a good one and tough to beat: took the exam last april at southwest dekalb high school in atlanta- don't ever take it there! it was over 100 degrees outside and the air conditioning broke right before the test began- took the test in trailers by the way :) - So I was sitting in a rickety old desk in the back of the room (that I had to switch twice after being yelled at by the proctor b/c the first two chairs were broken) and there was absolutely no circulation in the room- after verbal section, everyone was flushed, sweating, and faint, but luckily, they couldn't open the windows b/c there was a MARCHING BAND practicing outside!! I wrote a letter to MCAT and they wrote a letter back saying "we have confirmed that all of the problems you cited are correct and we are sorrry- we are glad that you reported the problems to us- please feel free to attach this letter to your applications" what!!!
    all in all, it's hilarious now, but I will never wish it upon anyone else :)
     

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