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Need Advice Retake vs. Reapply: 505 -> 512 on 2nd attempt with same CARS score

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by DPATEL4, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. DPATEL4

    2+ Year Member

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    Hello,

    So I took my first crack at the MCAT back last April, and I, unfortunately, did not do as well as I hoped. I ended up getting a 505 score (131/123/125/126 by order of each section). I applied to a limited # of schools who accepted students with this score with anticipation that I would be taking a gap year.

    I was ashamed of my score, so I restarted my MCAT study with a different approach and more dedication. I retook the exam in January, and ended up getting a 512 score (132/123/129/128).

    As you can see, my overall score jumped 7 pts, which I am happy about, and I am scared about my CARS score given that it showed no improvement. I am worried that it might be the anchor in my application and prevent me from getting accepted. What would you recommend: retake it or apply again with this new score?

    To provide some other background factors of my application:

    GPA: 3.87 | Science GPA: 3.86
    -Plenty of volunteer experience both in hospital setting and in organizations for low income communitys
    -Performed research for 2+ years in college and was fortunate to recieve my name on a publication
    -Currently working as a medical scribe (40+ hrs/week) and exploring other volunteer opportunities
    -Shadowed and worked with a physician at their clinically
    -For my next year, I will be doings Biomedical Science Master program.

    - I am looking to apply to mostly mid-tier MD schools along with a few DO schools; a small list of schools are listed below

    SCHOOLS AIMING TO APPLY TOO:
    University of Illinois at Chicago
    Robert WoodWard Johnson Medical School
    Rutgers Medical School
    Rush Medical College
    Rosalind Franklin
    Indiana Univeristy
    Saint Louis Univeristy
    Central Michigan
    Ohio State
    New York Medical College

    DO Programs: Midwestern (Arizona/Illinois), NYIT, PCOM


    Any tips, recommendations, or helpful advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you!
     
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  3. Zenabi90

    Joined:
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    Apply with new score.

    I find it unlikely that you'll score 132 again in CP, as the outlier scores tend to not be repeated. If your CP drops down to 130 and you score a 126 in CARS, it's only a net gain of 1.

    Then again, I have no idea what the subsection score cutoffs are for the schools you are applying to.
     
  4. Shotapp

    2+ Year Member

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    Hey Zenabi90,

    What's your opinion on taking a couple of FLs not timed in the beginning to see if I can actually answer the questions correctly with the additional time? Or is it best to mimic the test conditions from the very start of studying?
     
  5. Zenabi90

    Joined:
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    I would rephrase it this way: what do you stand to gain by doing FLs untimed, that you haven't already seen during content review and QBank work?

    Does it outweigh the benefits of working under pressure, practicing the test environment, and greasing your timing groove?

    I would personally say: nothing, and definitely not.

    During content review, you're aiming for mastery, so we don't do it timed. Make sure you have the material down before you place limits on your performance. Now that you're doing FLs, you're sharpening your mastery weapons to a fine edge against the whetstone of timed practice. During timed FLs, you should never run out of time. Given X amount of passages and Y amount of questions for Z minutes, you should not be spending more than 1 min per question and dividing the rest of the remaining time evenly for reading the questions. If you use up your minute, you guess as best you can and move onto the next question. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

    Then the ones you got wrong you either got wrong because of faulty thought or logic process or a lack of content mastery that prevented you from answering it in those 60 seconds. Either way, you have reviewing to do.

    If you took the timed part away, yea you can spend 5-10 minutes on a question and get it right, but that's a false positive, because you didn't know the content well enough to do it easily. Then when you DO take a timed FL, suddenly all these concepts you thought you knew, you find that you really didn't. And now you wasted those FLs because you missed all those false positives.

    TL;DR dont do untimed FLs.
     
    Shotapp likes this.
  6. Whatwethinkwebecome

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    This is a tough situation to be in. Clearly you are a smart and dedicated learner. I have heard some of the more competitive schools will screen out section scores below 124/125, so you might be in trouble with some of your list for M.D. schools. I don't know if there is a caveat for those who score exceedingly well in other sections. You greatly improved from your first attempt to your second attempt and you seem fairly consistent in your C/P section.

    I guess what it comes down to is, are you willing to take the chance of getting your application screened out. If you are, don't retake. If you aren't, retake and make darn sure you score above a 125.
     

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