krispy

5+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2009
142
1
Narnia
Status
Medical Student
Hi..

This might be a little long, but advice here is needed. I took my MCAT on August 28 and got my score back: 5, 9, 9. I had already sent in my applications as I was expecting a much higher score. I have received several secondaries to schools that I am interested in and have let them know that I am retaking in January.

Here is the deal. About a month ago I was diagnosed with mono. I nanny for two kids and am pretty sure one of them gave it to me. I have been exhausted and trying to study has been really difficult, along with working full time and filling out secondaries. After I was diagnosed with mono, I was diagnosed also with a rare genetic disorder called Ehler-Danlos. I have (likely) the least severe form and am getting genetic testing later this month to confirm. This has added an additional stressor to life. Couple these things with family problems (Mom is marrying someone with very slow growing terminal cancer. In two weeks.), income problems (my SO's paid internship ends in January and we have yet to find another job for him or me), and the fact that I received no time off after my mono diagnosis, and I am reeling. I get home from work and just want to zonk out, no studying, no anything, actually. But I don't want to keep delaying my goal of doing well on the MCAT. Although I know I'm capable, I feel myself getting more and more discouraged over time.

I would like some genuine advice. Should I wait until next year (this seems like the most pragmatic thing-maybe)? Should I just move my MCAT date back by a month? Should I just buckle down and shut up? Should I meet with a therapist to discuss my many stressors (this is definitely a yes)? Should I demand the time off from working that I need to properly heal from mono? Should I just run away to another country? All suggestions are welcome. Thanks in advance.
 

theseeker4

PGY 3
7+ Year Member
Apr 20, 2011
3,502
758
Suburban Detroit, MI
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Hi..

This might be a little long, but advice here is needed. I took my MCAT on August 28 and got my score back: 5, 9, 9. I had already sent in my applications as I was expecting a much higher score. I have received several secondaries to schools that I am interested in and have let them know that I am retaking in January.

Here is the deal. About a month ago I was diagnosed with mono. I nanny for two kids and am pretty sure one of them gave it to me. I have been exhausted and trying to study has been really difficult, along with working full time and filling out secondaries. After I was diagnosed with mono, I was diagnosed also with a rare genetic disorder called Ehler-Danlos. I have (likely) the least severe form and am getting genetic testing later this month to confirm. This has added an additional stressor to life. Couple these things with family problems (Mom is marrying someone with very slow growing terminal cancer. In two weeks.), income problems (my SO's paid internship ends in January and we have yet to find another job for him or me), and the fact that I received no time off after my mono diagnosis, and I am reeling. I get home from work and just want to zonk out, no studying, no anything, actually. But I don't want to keep delaying my goal of doing well on the MCAT. Although I know I'm capable, I feel myself getting more and more discouraged over time.

I would like some genuine advice. Should I wait until next year (this seems like the most pragmatic thing-maybe)? Should I just move my MCAT date back by a month? Should I just buckle down and shut up? Should I meet with a therapist to discuss my many stressors (this is definitely a yes)? Should I demand the time off from working that I need to properly heal from mono? Should I just run away to another country? All suggestions are welcome. Thanks in advance.
I would wait if I were you. Withdrawal all applications, and schedule an MCAT for April or May. If you can handle continuing to work while not having to study, do so, but definitely take the time off if you medically need it. If your life stressors are truly harming your ability to function, yes, it is a definite yes, don't delay a consultation with a therapist.

It will be much better for you to take the time off, even taking an additional gap year if you need it to guarantee a good score (meaning applying in 2 cycles, rather than next cycle) and have your life in better order, than it would be to try to take the MCAT again after being unable to effectively study. Good luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cheetah13

pietachok

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 19, 2008
969
174
Status
Medical Student
If you do as poorly on the MCAT again, it looks like the initial score was not a fluke. Retaking a 3rd time is less likely to benefit you as some schools frown upon it and others average all of your scores. Waiting may seem like a big deal now, but even if you waited much longer, by the time you're a few years into med school, you won't be fretting about the years of your life that you spent outside of school -- whether dealing with serious family issues, working, or even traveling, they contribute to your experiences that will help you better interact with patients once you're in training.

Take as much time off as you need. Do not retake the MCAT until you are feeling adequately prepared. Withdraw your applications this year. Do not rush to apply to medical schools again without your score if at all possible.
 
Apr 23, 2013
1,697
743
Status
Medical Student
Withdraw and postpone the MCAT. You will do more harm than good trying to rush things. Take the time you need to get your life back under control, take the MCAT in the spring at earliest, and apply in the next cycle. It might seem like a lot of time now, but it will be worth it. Trying to rush everything isn't going to get you anything except stress (possibly more illness), and in all likelihood, a third retake and another application cycle anyway. Good luck!
 
Nov 9, 2013
109
64
Status
Medical Student
Sorry about your ehler danlos diagnosis. thats rough. im rooting for you. prob waiving your apps and reapplying next cycle with a new Mcat score looks promising.

and talking to a therapist seems like a great idea. u have a lot on your plate.
 
OP
krispy

krispy

5+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2009
142
1
Narnia
Status
Medical Student
Thank you all for the words of wisdom. I am inclined to agree with everyone. I have one question, though. Why withdraw applications? Two of the schools I am waiting on are VCOM & PCOM...do you think the fact that they are DO makes a difference? I know this is posted in the allo thread instead of osteo...but some of the schools were also MD, which I have no problem withdrawing from. Do you recommend speaking to the DO admissions offices and getting advice from them? Or just go ahead and withdraw, regardless of the type of school? Thank you again.

Also, it made me feel much better to know that there were people rooting for me. Thanks.
 

Pacna

Dyslexics, untie!
Jun 2, 2013
2,017
2,251
MN
Status
Medical Student
Thank you all for the words of wisdom. I am inclined to agree with everyone. I have one question, though. Why withdraw applications? Two of the schools I am waiting on are VCOM & PCOM...do you think the fact that they are DO makes a difference? I know this is posted in the allo thread instead of osteo...but some of the schools were also MD, which I have no problem withdrawing from. Do you recommend speaking to the DO admissions offices and getting advice from them? Or just go ahead and withdraw, regardless of the type of school? Thank you again.

Also, it made me feel much better to know that there were people rooting for me. Thanks.
A 23 won't go over very well with DO schools, either. I'm sorry about this poor turn of events for you.

Feel better! <3
 
OP
krispy

krispy

5+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2009
142
1
Narnia
Status
Medical Student
A 23 won't go over very well with DO schools, either. I'm sorry about this poor turn of events for you.

Feel better! <3
Thank you <3

This might be a given, but it looks better to withdrawal than to get rejected, right?
 

Pacna

Dyslexics, untie!
Jun 2, 2013
2,017
2,251
MN
Status
Medical Student
Thank you <3

This might be a given, but it looks better to withdrawal than to get rejected, right?
I don't think that's the case. I think they are equally poor things to have happen if you plan to apply there again. All a school will ask is have you applied here before, not "did you apply and not withdraw." However, I would save your $ on any more apps this year.
 
Apr 12, 2012
1,081
472
Earth
Status
Non-Student
Take a gap year and study vigorously for the MCAT. If you score very well, adcoms are more likely to attribute your initial low score to illness. If you don't do well or you only improve moderately (less than 30), you're going to have your back against the wall when applying.

This would also be something to address in your application when you do apply.
 
Apr 12, 2012
1,081
472
Earth
Status
Non-Student
Thank you <3

This might be a given, but it looks better to withdrawal than to get rejected, right?
Why should it matter in this context? If her application improves tremendously and she has a legitimate reason (i.e. illness) for reapplying, I would think adcoms would not consider a previous rejection to be an issue. YMMV I suppose.

Edit: This presupposes that you have already spent money on your secondaries. I wouldn't recommend sinking a lot more money in the application process with such a low MCAT.
 
OP
krispy

krispy

5+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2009
142
1
Narnia
Status
Medical Student
Why should it matter in this context? If her application improves tremendously and she has a legitimate reason (i.e. illness) for reapplying, I would think adcoms would not consider a previous rejection to be an issue. YMMV I suppose.

Edit: This presupposes that you have already spent money on your secondaries. I wouldn't recommend sinking a lot more money in the application process with such a low MCAT.
Yes...I have already spent money on secondaries unfortunately :(
So for the next application round...that's when I should tell them about the illness? Or now? I could always email the admission offices with this information now to explain why I will be unable to retake the MCAT in January. I feel that I owe them some kind of explanation since I told them that I was retaking in January and they have responded with things like "looking forward to your new MCAT score." I guess I should give them the abbreviated version of what is going on and why I am not retaking in January. What are your thoughts on this?
 

theseeker4

PGY 3
7+ Year Member
Apr 20, 2011
3,502
758
Suburban Detroit, MI
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Yes...I have already spent money on secondaries unfortunately :(
So for the next application round...that's when I should tell them about the illness? Or now? I could always email the admission offices with this information now to explain why I will be unable to retake the MCAT in January. I feel that I owe them some kind of explanation since I told them that I was retaking in January and they have responded with things like "looking forward to your new MCAT score." I guess I should give them the abbreviated version of what is going on and why I am not retaking in January. What are your thoughts on this?
I would contact them and tell them that, for medical reasons, you have to delay your exam and withdraw your application. Say that you are still excited about their school and will definitely be applying there once you are fully prepared to apply with the strongest application possible. Don't go into any more detail than that, and if you really want to be safe, say for personal reasons instead of for medical reasons.
 
Apr 12, 2012
1,081
472
Earth
Status
Non-Student
Yes...I have already spent money on secondaries unfortunately :(
So for the next application round...that's when I should tell them about the illness? Or now? I could always email the admission offices with this information now to explain why I will be unable to retake the MCAT in January. I feel that I owe them some kind of explanation since I told them that I was retaking in January and they have responded with things like "looking forward to your new MCAT score." I guess I should give them the abbreviated version of what is going on and why I am not retaking in January. What are your thoughts on this?
My personal approach would be this:

1. Don't submit any more secondaries. Withdraw from any schools that you haven't filed secondary applications with, and save your money for the next application cycle. This will be easy enough to explain if it ever becomes an issue in the future. If you are withdrawing the application, I don't think any further explanation is necessary.

2. To the schools that you have already submitted secondary applications to, I think it would best to email each one individually and explain the situation to them briefly and ask whether a withdrawal would be wise. Advice can vary, but I find it hard to imagine that if you bring up your MCAT score by 8-10+ points or so that an adcom will care about a previous rejection. The reason for the rejection is obvious and is curable, and anyone can see that something was drastically wrong when you took the exam. The higher your final MCAT score when applying, the better it will look. If it is ever questioned, it would be easy enough to explain. Also, in my opinion, it seems like a colossal waste of energy and money to withdraw from schools after having submitted secondary applications (assuming everything else in your application is solid or better). I'm not trying to give you false hope, but I do know of a personal friend accepted to an osteopathic school with a similar MCAT score last cycle and had extenuating circumstances (illness and near death of her father). YMMV. I think the odds of an acceptance are very small (my friend only had the one), but unexpected results can and do happen.
 
Last edited: