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NEED some advice..

Discussion in 'Re-Applicants [ MD / DO ]' started by pk1, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. pk1


    Dec 10, 2008
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    Hey everyone,

    I have taken the MCAT 3 times already and scored a 24 each time 1)PS-8 VR-8 BS-8 2)8-9-7 3)9-6-9. However, studying for the last MCAT i was getting 29s-30s and even a 32 on my practice tests. I have taken kaplan twice and really feel that it is a sham. I am considering taking the test again and paying for a tutor (princeton review or private), what do you think?
    I have a 3.95cGPA with a 3.85sGPA and a great resume; I have done volunteer work at University of Maryland Medical Center (TRU and Child psych ward), have shadowed an MD at Columbia University Hospital, and i am currently working on the cardiology research team at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. I have LORs from various physicians.
    I applied for 2008 (after my second MCAT) and got interviews at Maryland and Einstein, got wait-listed at both, and the eventually taken off both wait-lists. I decided not too apply for 2009 (eventhough i got this job at Columbia) because some schools have a maxium of 2-applications and i figured with my lack of increase in score i would exhaust my possibility of getting accepted.
    I know that taking the test 4 times is a stretch but i really feel that i have it in me to perform well on the exam. Should i even give it a shot? wiill med schools look at my application with 4-mcats? anyone have any advice on how to study? any tutors out there?

    I really have a passion for medicine and feel that i would make a great doctor one day!

    Thanks for your time,

    PK GO Giants!
  2. pasdechat28

    5+ Year Member

    Mar 5, 2008
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    Medical Student
    Hmm this is a sticky situation. First of all, when did you take your first MCAT? In other words, if it was more than 3 years ago then it will not be considered at most programs, so technically you would have only 2 tries on your record...just something to keep in mind.

    Considering the variance in scores within subjects, it seems as though you have not yet discovered how to study well for this test in a way that really works for you individually. For instance, I would say that taking another group course would be a bad idea and a waste of money since the first two didn't pan out so well. It's possible that you would do better working on your own or maybe one-on-one with a tutor. I have taken the MCAT 3 times myself--I took a Princeton Review course and the first time I scored a 25 (PS-7, VR-9, BS-9)...I retook the test only 1 month after getting my scores back (NOT recommended, not enough time with my schedule to really study enough to change my score) and scored a 26 (PS-7, VR-10, BS-9). After not getting accepted last year, I decided to retake the exam again in August this year for reapplication because I had identified that I hadn't really studied to the best of my ability. But, I knew I had to switch up my study-style and so I bought all the Exam Crackers books and studied on my own, diligently, for about 2.5 months to get a score of 30 (PS-8, VR-13, BS-9).

    I would suggest that you try studying on your own--you may have been making the same mistakes I did in relying too much on the prep course agenda and not enough time focusing on your weak areas. In all, only YOU have the ability to make the judgement call because you know yourself best. Take a good hard look at your study methods and your abilities--if you think that you can score higher after making a big change, then I say go for it. Most importantly, medical schools want to see improvement in reapplicants...so even if you have 3 mediocre MCAT scores, if you have one recent great (or even good) one, then I think you have a shot because it represents growth.

    But my disclaimer is this: if you are going to shoot for a 4th try, you MUST, and I mean MUST make sure that you are really going to bear down and commit. Nothing would be more disastrous than a 4th MCAT with no improvement. Good luck!!!
  3. dragonfly99

    10+ Year Member

    May 15, 2008
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    Attending Physician
    I'm not sure the score on practice exams really means a lot since by the time you get them they tend to be out of date. Also I don't think they necessarily reflect what is on the exam or the format is not correct all the time. That was just my experience years ago when I took the MCAT.

    In your particular situation I do think that you should try for a higher score, but only if you are going to really study and probably need to study a different way than you did before. My experience with the physical sciences part was that there were a lot of physics equations and other topics (Acid/base stuff?) that always show up again and again on the MCAT and can be memorized. Also, I increased my PS score from 9 to 15 by NOT READING THE PASSAGE because I realized I was wasting all my time doing that and ran out of time to do the questions right. Actually it was Princeton Review that taught me that. I didn't find the P. Review class that helpful for the essay part..I mean the books were but not the other students' critiques of my essays...just needed to practice writing the essays again and again in the format that the test makers want it written in. For the verbal section, that was my good section but it seems like it's hard to "study for" for a lot of people. I think a lot of it comes down to whether you can read really fast and then comprehend the stuff. Bio again there is a lot that can be memorized. Ultimately it's a problem solving test, but if you know the factual material cold (as opposed to trying to sit there and figure it out from what you are given on the test, which is what they say you can do) I found that made the exam a whole lot easier.

    I also think that a lot of DO schools would like your application and not care that the MCAT score isn't great, particularly if you have lots of volunteer work and could get a LOR from a DO. Either MD or DO school will make a doctor out of you so it might not be worth waiting more years to just get in. I think if you could get the MCAT score to high 20's then more MD schools would be more receptive.
  4. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!!
    Rocket Scientist Physician Pharmacist Lifetime Donor Verified Account 10+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2005
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    Resident [Any Field]
    I say go for it.

    What do you have to lose?

    Also, make sure to try something different. I would recommend Berk review for physics and gchem. EK verbal 101 for verbal.

    Bio, I think EK or Princeton. Ochem, Princeton or Berk review.

    DO is another option I think that would be a great choice for you.

    A physician is a physician.
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