Oct 2, 2020
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Hello Everyone,

I have browsed this forum during the entirety of my Pre-Med career and I have seen some people give some great advice. Now, I think I need some help from anyone on this forum. I tested on 6/28/2020 after two reschedules and got a 509 (132/122/129/126). While I know my C/P and B/B scores were great, I struggled greatly with CARS and P/S. On my test day, I had some technical difficulties with my test that made CARS a drag. In the months leading up to my test, I finished the entirety of UW and got around 72% correct across all sections. My peak scores were 131/125/128/128. I was comfortable with both CARS and P/S as I made great improvements in the months leading. However, that does not matter now. After I received my score, I was kind of lost on what to do. I was not ready to re-test at the time. Because of the pandemic, I had to reschedule from my initial March 27th test date. I had been studying for months, so I was burned out by then. I still have applied and received secondaries from all the schools I applied to except one. So far in the cycle, I have had one interview at Texas A&M. However, I have no heard from another school since then. From what I have heard, I know balance is important in an MCAT score breakdown. I know getting below a 125 in a section makes it difficult for acceptance. I wanted to see if anyone has any advice for me or have been in a similar situation and what they did. I truly appreciate any advice because I know everyone on this subreddit is just like me, trying to get into medical school. I have been on the fence about re-studying for the MCAT again. I have thought about improving CARS and P/S and take my test again in April just in case I get accepted into a school before the next cycle started. I thought it was best to reach out for help here before I made any decisions. Thanks everyone.

Additional Info. I am in Texas and I graduated in 2020 with a BS in engineering and a 3.9 cGPA and a 3.85 sGPA. I have 200+ hours of research, 40+ hours of volunteering, and 90+ hours of shadowing.
 
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122 is still within range of your peak CARS score of 125. So you really need to getting your CARS average to around 128 so that if you slip on test day, you can still hit 125. But you do have an interview, so it might not be a deal breaker for some schools. I think your plan to retake in April makes sense to me. I'd take a break since you sound burnt out and start restudying in Feb if you do not have an acceptance by then.
 

Goro

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Hello Everyone,

I have browsed this Reddit during the entirety of my Pre-Med career and I have seen some people give some great advice. Now, I think I need some help from anyone on this forum. I tested on 6/28/2020 after two reschedules and got a 509 (132/122/129/126). While I know my C/P and B/B scores were great, I struggled greatly with CARS and P/S. On my test day, I had some technical difficulties with my test that made CARS a drag. In the months leading up to my test, I finished the entirety of UW and got around 72% correct across all sections. My peak scores were 131/125/128/128. I was comfortable with both CARS and P/S as I made great improvements in the months leading. However, that does not matter now. After I received my score, I was kind of lost on what to do. I was not ready to re-test at the time. Because of the pandemic, I had to reschedule from my initial March 27th test date. I had been studying for months, so I was burned out by then. I still have applied and received secondaries from all the schools I applied to except one. So far in the cycle, I have had one interview at Texas A&M. However, I have no heard from another school since then. From what I have heard, I know balance is important in an MCAT score breakdown. I know getting below a 125 in a section makes it difficult for acceptance. I wanted to see if anyone has any advice for me or have been in a similar situation and what they did. I truly appreciate any advice because I know everyone on this subreddit is just like me, trying to get into medical school. I have been on the fence about re-studying for the MCAT again. I have thought about improving CARS and P/S and take my test again in April just in case I get accepted into a school before the next cycle started. I thought it was best to reach out for help here before I made any decisions. Thanks everyone.

Additional Info. I am in Texas and I graduated in 2020 with a BS in engineering and a 3.9 cGPA and a 3.85 sGPA. I have 200+ hours of research, 40+ hours of volunteering, and 90+ hours of shadowing.
See how the cycle shakes out before considering another retest.

IF you don't want to lose another year (of attending salary), apply to some DO schools as well. Your CARS score will be given slack.

As for the TX MD schools, somebody has to be in in the < 10th %ile pool, why not you?
 
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deleted943850

Hello Everyone,

I have browsed this Reddit during the entirety of my Pre-Med career and I have seen some people give some great advice. Now, I think I need some help from anyone on this forum. I tested on 6/28/2020 after two reschedules and got a 509 (132/122/129/126). While I know my C/P and B/B scores were great, I struggled greatly with CARS and P/S. On my test day, I had some technical difficulties with my test that made CARS a drag. In the months leading up to my test, I finished the entirety of UW and got around 72% correct across all sections. My peak scores were 131/125/128/128. I was comfortable with both CARS and P/S as I made great improvements in the months leading. However, that does not matter now. After I received my score, I was kind of lost on what to do. I was not ready to re-test at the time. Because of the pandemic, I had to reschedule from my initial March 27th test date. I had been studying for months, so I was burned out by then. I still have applied and received secondaries from all the schools I applied to except one. So far in the cycle, I have had one interview at Texas A&M. However, I have no heard from another school since then. From what I have heard, I know balance is important in an MCAT score breakdown. I know getting below a 125 in a section makes it difficult for acceptance. I wanted to see if anyone has any advice for me or have been in a similar situation and what they did. I truly appreciate any advice because I know everyone on this subreddit is just like me, trying to get into medical school. I have been on the fence about re-studying for the MCAT again. I have thought about improving CARS and P/S and take my test again in April just in case I get accepted into a school before the next cycle started. I thought it was best to reach out for help here before I made any decisions. Thanks everyone.

Additional Info. I am in Texas and I graduated in 2020 with a BS in engineering and a 3.9 cGPA and a 3.85 sGPA. I have 200+ hours of research, 40+ hours of volunteering, and 90+ hours of shadowing.
You did so well on your CP and BB section, and you should be proud of yourself. Pulling off those scores again will not be easy. I say your overall score is a great score. I know people who got 122-123 but had a high overall score and got into med schools. So I agree with Goro. See what happens first.
 
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122 is still within range of your peak CARS score of 125. So you really need to getting your CARS average to around 128 so that if you slip on test day, you can still hit 125. But you do have an interview, so it might not be a deal breaker for some schools. I think your plan to retake in April makes sense to me. I'd take a break since you sound burnt out and start restudying in Feb if you do not have an acceptance by then.
Thank you for your reply. Do you have any tips for CARS in general? I used AAMC and UWorld for practice, but do you happen to know any other material?
 
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See how the cycle shakes out before considering another retest.

IF you don't want to lose another year (of attending salary), apply to some DO schools as well. Your CARS score will be given slack.

As for the TX MD schools, somebody has to be in in the < 10th %ile pool, why not you?
Thank you for your reply. I thought about DO school. However, I have always aimed toward going to an MD school and that is still my goal. I also am not fully sure about the DO cycle and if it is anything like the MD cycle, then I know it is pretty late.
 
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You did so well on your CP and BB section, and you should be proud of yourself. Pulling off those scores again will not be easy. I say your overall score is a great score. I know people who got 122-123 but had a high overall score and got into med schools. So I agree with Goro. See what happens first.
Thank you for your kind words. I want to see how this cycle is and then go from there. I was just thinking about a re-test because I am in a gap year and I have nothing else to do because of this pandemic.
 

Goro

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Thank you for your reply. I thought about DO school. However, I have always aimed toward going to an MD school and that is still my goal. I also am not fully sure about the DO cycle and if it is anything like the MD cycle, then I know it is pretty late.
It's not late for DO.

Retake the MCAT but only when you are 100% ready for it
 

princesspeach2

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Some thing that caught my eye was the 40 hours of volunteering.

Was that 40+ hours of clinical or non-clinical volunteering? What type of volunteering? Your volunteer hours are low and shadowing hours are high (double your volunteer), which does not look good typically.
 
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Some thing that caught my eye was the 40 hours of volunteering.

Was that 40+ hours of clinical or non-clinical volunteering? What type of volunteering? Your volunteer hours are low and shadowing hours are high (double your volunteer), which does not look good typically.
Thank you for your reply. My volunteering is non-clinical and most of those hours I worked with disadvantaged communities. I have been trying to find opportunities currently, but it is difficult with this pandemic and having family members who are part of the at-risk population for COVID. It honestly was tough to find times to volunteer during undergrad because I took 138 credit hours in 4 years.
 

PlsLetMeIn21

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Thank you for your reply. Do you have any tips for CARS in general? I used AAMC and UWorld for practice, but do you happen to know any other material?

I was in your shoes. I took the exam back in Summer 2018 and got 132/122/132/130. I struggled whether or not to repeat and got pretty much all of the replies you have gotten. In all honesty, and I don't mean to sound ungrateful, I let others override what I felt in my heart I should do. I went ahead and applied, but for full disclosure, my GPA was a little over 3.5. I got super depressed that literally no medical school showed any interest (don't keep your depression inside you) and while everyone was out celebrating New Years, I was reading SDN and reddit posts. I decided to repeat the MCAT at that point and got the only date open, March 14. In looking back now, that was such great luck. My B/B dropped, but CARS went up to a respectable 127. With the benefit of retrospect, I'm telling you that I should have ignored the advice to apply with my first CARS score and I should have repeated the exam in Spring 2019 to have a new score for AMCAS. I know the people telling me to apply with my 122 meant well, but it was definitely the wrong decision, and that's all on me for listening.

You asked what materials to do for CARS. Between my two sittings, I think I did everything there is for CARS, except for JW. I honestly cannot tell you what materials are second best, but I can with 100% certainty say that AAMC materials are so far and beyond everything out there that you should do them twice or three times. You will benefit far more taking AAMC multiple times and thoroughly (and I'm totally anal) reviewing every passage, question, and answer choice. Their stuff is different than all of the commercial materials, so you need to get in tune with their nuances. I found many of the non-AAMC materials were unrealistic and almost harmful because they wrote their passages and questions in such a way that their strategies fit. Getting better at CARS is hard, and I am sure my low score the first time was in part due to some bad luck with the curve and that my good score the second time was in part due to good luck with the curve. One suggestion my big sib made that was genius was to buy FLs from multiple sources (I chose three) and then mix and match sections from different companies to make up FLs. The CARS sections I didn't use for a FL became extra passages. In general, the passages on company's FLs are better than the ones in their books or online.
 
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KnightDoc

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I was in your shoes. I took the exam back in Summer 2018 and got 132/122/132/130. I struggled whether or not to repeat and got pretty much all of the replies you have gotten. In all honesty, and I don't mean to sound ungrateful, I let others override what I felt in my heart I should do. I went ahead and applied, but for full disclosure, my GPA was a little over 3.5. I got super depressed that literally no medical school showed any interest (don't keep your depression inside you) and while everyone was out celebrating New Years, I was reading SDN and reddit posts. I decided to repeat the MCAT at that point and got the only date open, March 14. In looking back now, that was such great luck. My B/B dropped, but CARS went up to a respectable 127. With the benefit of retrospect, I'm telling you that I should have ignored the advice to apply with my first CARS score and I should have repeated the exam in Spring 2019 to have a new score for AMCAS. I know the people telling me to apply with my 122 meant well, but it was definitely the wrong decision, and that's all on me for listening.

You asked what materials to do for CARS. Between my two sittings, I think I did everything there is for CARS, except for JW. I honestly cannot tell you what materials are second best, but I can with 100% certainty say that AAMC materials are so far and beyond everything out there that you should do them twice or three times. You will benefit far more taking AAMC multiple times and thoroughly (and I'm totally anal) reviewing every passage, question, and answer choice. Their stuff is different than all of the commercial materials, so you need to get in tune with their nuances. I found many of the non-AAMC materials were unrealistic and almost harmful because they wrote their passages and questions in such a way that their strategies fit. Getting better at CARS is hard, and I am sure my low score the first time was in part due to some bad luck with the curve and that my good score the second time was in part due to good luck with the curve. One suggestion my big sib made that was genius was to buy FLs from multiple sources (I chose three) and then mix and match sections from different companies to make up FLs. The CARS sections I didn't use for a FL became extra passages. In general, the passages on company's FLs are better than the ones in their books or online.
This ^^^^ is one of the sharpest, most insightful posts I have seen here in a year and a half!

OP -- take this advice to heart, and don't fall into the trap of delegating your decision making to anonymous strangers (like me! :)) who seem to know more than you by virtue of the number of their posts, or their reputations. They might have more knowledge than you about the process, but nobody has more knowledge about you, what's important to you, or what you are capable of.

122 on any subsection is awful for MD, not so much for DO. Are you okay with DO? If not, you shouldn't be just because someone here tells you you should be. Can you be confident you will do better than 122 on a retake? With 125 being your highest FL, it's far from a guarantee, but only you know what you can do.

This advice goes for anything. Use SDN to gather facts, but totally make you own decisions, because only you have to live with them. Good luck!!!
 
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I was in your shoes. I took the exam back in Summer 2018 and got 132/122/132/130. I struggled whether or not to repeat and got pretty much all of the replies you have gotten. In all honesty, and I don't mean to sound ungrateful, I let others override what I felt in my heart I should do. I went ahead and applied, but for full disclosure, my GPA was a little over 3.5. I got super depressed that literally no medical school showed any interest (don't keep your depression inside you) and while everyone was out celebrating New Years, I was reading SDN and reddit posts. I decided to repeat the MCAT at that point and got the only date open, March 14. In looking back now, that was such great luck. My B/B dropped, but CARS went up to a respectable 127. With the benefit of retrospect, I'm telling you that I should have ignored the advice to apply with my first CARS score and I should have repeated the exam in Spring 2019 to have a new score for AMCAS. I know the people telling me to apply with my 122 meant well, but it was definitely the wrong decision, and that's all on me for listening.

You asked what materials to do for CARS. Between my two sittings, I think I did everything there is for CARS, except for JW. I honestly cannot tell you what materials are second best, but I can with 100% certainty say that AAMC materials are so far and beyond everything out there that you should do them twice or three times. You will benefit far more taking AAMC multiple times and thoroughly (and I'm totally anal) reviewing every passage, question, and answer choice. Their stuff is different than all of the commercial materials, so you need to get in tune with their nuances. I found many of the non-AAMC materials were unrealistic and almost harmful because they wrote their passages and questions in such a way that their strategies fit. Getting better at CARS is hard, and I am sure my low score the first time was in part due to some bad luck with the curve and that my good score the second time was in part due to good luck with the curve. One suggestion my big sib made that was genius was to buy FLs from multiple sources (I chose three) and then mix and match sections from different companies to make up FLs. The CARS sections I didn't use for a FL became extra passages. In general, the passages on company's FLs are better than the ones in their books or online.
Thank you for your reply. Your story means a lot because of our similarities. Trust me, I have my regrets with applying this cycle. However, this pandemic made things tricky. I applied before my MCAT because being in Texas, the cycle starts earlier. I studied for months leading up to my test and felt ready. However, test day was terrible. I had technical issues and also testing at 6:30 am and wearing a mask didn't help. I know the reality of the situation is I am going to have to wait a year. However, I still want to see how this cycle goes.
 
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This ^^^^ is one of the sharpest, most insightful posts I have seen here in a year and a half!

OP -- take this advice to heart, and don't fall into the trap of delegating your decision making to anonymous strangers (like me! :)) who seem to know more than you by virtue of the number of their posts, or their reputations. They might have more knowledge than you about the process, but nobody has more knowledge about you, what's important to you, or what you are capable of.

122 on any subsection is awful for MD, not so much for DO. Are you okay with DO? If not, you shouldn't be just because someone here tells you you should be. Can you be confident you will do better than 122 on a retake? With 125 being your highest FL, it's far from a guarantee, but only you know what you can do.

This advice goes for anything. Use SDN to gather facts, but totally make you own decisions, because only you have to live with them. Good luck!!!
Thanks for your reply. I honestly came here for help and advice. I made the decision to apply with my score and I am living with the consequences. I personally do not want to do DO because I always had the mindset of pursuing MD. I would rather take another year and pursue what makes me happy than settle for DO just because of one bad day. I personally attribute the 122 to just having a bad day and not a true reflection of my abilities. I was getting a consistent 125 on my practice and was pushing 126 for a good month. I felt good walking out of the test, but that doesn't mean anything at this point. Because I have an interview under my belt, I thought it is best to wait and see rather than jump back into studying, especially since the interview was with my #1 program of choice. What makes the situation difficult is that Texas does the match system. So, I have to wait until March before I find out if I accepted or not. I only check reddit and SDN when I want advice on my journey. I knew my score was terrible and I have heard that from more than enough people. It has been nice to get advice from everyone on this thread.
 
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KnightDoc

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Thanks for your reply. I honestly came here for help and advice. I made the decision to apply with my score and I am living with the consequences. I personally do not want to do DO because I always had the mindset of pursuing MD. I would rather take another year and pursue what makes me happy than settle for DO just because of one bad day. I personally attribute the 122 to just having a bad day and not a true reflection of my abilities. I was getting a consistent 125 on my practice and was pushing 126 for a good month. I felt good walking out of the test, but that doesn't mean anything at this point. Because I have an interview under my belt, I thought it is best to wait and see rather than jump back into studying, especially since the interview was with my #1 program of choice. What makes the situation difficult is that Texas does the match system. So, I have to wait until March before I find out if I accepted or not. I only check reddit and SDN when I want advice on my journey. I knew my score was terrible and I have heard that from more than enough people. It has been nice to get advice from everyone on this thread.
The good news for you is that having an interview is proof that, at least in your case, the 122 is not fatal. Given that you aren't interested in DO, if you don't receive any other interviews by Christmas, I'd start gearing up for a retake in March or April, rather than counting on the one interview resulting in a match. If you do match, great! If not, you'll be in a position to reapply early, rather than first scrambling in March to retake the test in June or July, and then first applying once results come back.

The problem with giving you specific advice is that CARS is by far the most difficult section to improve, and all of the material other than AAMC material is of limited value. The great news for you is that AAMC is going to be offering for purchase a brand new CARS diagnostic tool in a few weeks. No one knows what it's going to look like yet, since it hasn't been released, but, whatever it is, it will certainly be better than the nothing that it will be replacing! :cool:
 
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PlsLetMeIn21

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Great advice from KnightDoc!!! Set a deadline (mine was New Years) to commit to a repeat. I didn't even know AAMC was releasing CARS material. That is great news for you, because like everyone will tell you, AAMC is the only realistic CARS material you will find.
 
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GoPenguinsGo

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The good news for you is that having an interview is proof that, at least in your case, the 122 is not fatal. Given that you aren't interested in DO, if you don't receive any other interviews by Christmas, I'd start gearing up for a retake in March or April, rather than counting on the one interview resulting in a match. If you do match, great! If not, you'll be in a position to reapply early, rather than first scrambling in March to retake the test in June or July, and then first applying once results come back.

The problem with giving you specific advice is that CARS is by far the most difficult section to improve, and all of the material other than AAMC material is of limited value. The great news for you is that AAMC is going to be offering for purchase a brand new CARS diagnostic tool in a few weeks. No one knows what it's going to look like yet, since it hasn't been released, but, whatever it is, it will certainly be better than the nothing that it will be replacing! :cool:
"CARS is by far the most difficult section to improve" which is why I'm extremely proud that I went from a 124 ->128 in 11 days. *Pats self on back*
 
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