Need some serious advice. Should I retake the MCAT?

nontraditionallady

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Apr 19, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
    Ok, here's my situation:

    I've not yet been able to submit my application because I am waiting on transcripts. The final one will be sent electornically on Monday to their email address. I have no idea how long it will take for them to process it. I requested mail ones a month ago, but apparently they "can't access their PO box" or something.

    I've read that the verification process is taking "up to eight weeks." Meaning that my application-- and I gather, many more-- won't be submitted to schools until early to mid August. I guess it's possible to dream that mid-July it may be ready, but IDK.

    I'm taking the MCAT on July 7th. I took a FL yesterday/early this morning and did poorly: 498. Granted, I started it at midnight, worked until 4am & I was falling asleep, and finished it the next morning. So I'm not 100% certain if it is my best work. It probably wasn't. But it was a huge wake up call. I did OK with CARs and Psy. I did abysmal in physical sciences. I did average in the biological section.

    I have been studying like mad for this, but the way the questions are phrased threw me. I haven't been studying applying my knowledge to reading graphs, interpreting data. The questions that were stand alone context questions I did great on. I recognize now my plan of studying for the next three weeks will be: 150 UWORLD/AAMC questions a day, any I get wrong will be printed and studied the next day along with taking more questions. I will be taking a FL once a week. I will be done 200 anki cards a day. I need to become familiar with the logic of these exams.

    My question is: if my application truly is looking to be backed up until mid-August, would it hurt to plan to retake the exam in early August if I'm not happy with my score on July 7th? I have no job right now and could/am studying full time. It's really unclear to me -- and it sounds like most people -- what is going to be considered "late" in this cycle, when AAMC is taking over six weeks to process transcripts, and only after they are processed can you even get in line for the eight week long verification period.

    Alternatively, I'm coming to peace with the fact I may need to wait and apply to next cycle. Which is something I really don't want to do. But unless I can limp away with a 507, I really don't see a point of sending out any applications. I'd rather try for another MD cycle than go for DO schools. The only thing "speical" about me that sets my application apart is that I am finishing a PhD in a liberal arts field and I have, generally speaking, a lot more "professional life experience" than a 22-year-old. I guess, I could post to a "what are my chances" thread, but without an official MCAT there doesn't seem to be a point. The school I am aiming for has an average MCAT score of 507 and it looks like only a few other MD programs have MCAT score averages lower than that.

    I apologize for the typos, my eyes are strained right now.
     

    Goro

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      Ok, here's my situation:

      I've not yet been able to submit my application because I am waiting on transcripts. The final one will be sent electornically on Monday to their email address. I have no idea how long it will take for them to process it. I requested mail ones a month ago, but apparently they "can't access their PO box" or something.

      I've read that the verification process is taking "up to eight weeks." Meaning that my application-- and I gather, many more-- won't be submitted to schools until early to mid August. I guess it's possible to dream that mid-July it may be ready, but IDK.

      I'm taking the MCAT on July 7th. I took a FL yesterday/early this morning and did poorly: 498. Granted, I started it at midnight, worked until 4am & I was falling asleep, and finished it the next morning. So I'm not 100% certain if it is my best work. It probably wasn't. But it was a huge wake up call. I did OK with CARs and Psy. I did abysmal in physical sciences. I did average in the biological section.

      I have been studying like mad for this, but the way the questions are phrased threw me. I haven't been studying applying my knowledge to reading graphs, interpreting data. The questions that were stand alone context questions I did great on. I recognize now my plan of studying for the next three weeks will be: 150 UWORLD/AAMC questions a day, any I get wrong will be printed and studied the next day along with taking more questions. I will be taking a FL once a week. I will be done 200 anki cards a day. I need to become familiar with the logic of these exams.

      My question is: if my application truly is looking to be backed up until mid-August, would it hurt to plan to retake the exam in early August if I'm not happy with my score on July 7th? I have no job right now and could/am studying full time. It's really unclear to me -- and it sounds like most people -- what is going to be considered "late" in this cycle, when AAMC is taking over six weeks to process transcripts, and only after they are processed can you even get in line for the eight week long verification period.

      Alternatively, I'm coming to peace with the fact I may need to wait and apply to next cycle. Which is something I really don't want to do. But unless I can limp away with a 507, I really don't see a point of sending out any applications. I'd rather try for another MD cycle than go for DO schools. The only thing "speical" about me that sets my application apart is that I am finishing a PhD in a liberal arts field and I have, generally speaking, a lot more "professional life experience" than a 22-year-old. I guess, I could post to a "what are my chances" thread, but without an official MCAT there doesn't seem to be a point. The school I am aiming for has an average MCAT score of 507 and it looks like only a few other MD programs have MCAT score averages lower than that.

      I apologize for the typos, my eyes are strained right now.
      That score is lethal for all med schools and puts you in the risk zone for failing out of med school and/or failing Boards or having a delay in graduation.

      Retake the exam, but not until you're 100% ready for it.

      Under no circumstances should you take a high stakes, career deciding exam when you are not at your best. It puts your judgement in question.
       
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      nontraditionallady

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      Apr 19, 2020
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        That score is lethal for all med schools and puts you in the risk zone for failing out of med school and/or failing Boards or having a delay in graduation.

        Retake the exam, but not until you're 100% ready for it.

        Under no circumstances should you take a high stakes, career deciding exam when you are not at your best. It puts your judgement in question.

        I didn't take the exam. It was my first FL practice test.
         
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        A_Knowbody

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          Do not take the MCAT until you are ready / fully prepared. You should not be thinking about re-taking the exam prior to taking it the first time.

          With a 498 FL ~3 weeks prior to your test date, I’d consider moving the date to August (or later). Alternatively, as suggested above, you could take a few more FLs and see if that one score was a fluke. Mimic the testing environment.
           
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          Med Ed

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            My question is: if my application truly is looking to be backed up until mid-August, would it hurt to plan to retake the exam in early August if I'm not happy with my score on July 7th?

            One of the big mistakes I see (with disturbing frequency) is taking the MCAT twice in rapid succession. If you're changing your study strategy I suggest you take another FL in a couple of weeks and see where you stand. Only then can you figure out what to do.

            My guess is that you've been doing a lot of passive absorption studying and not much recall/synthesis. Shifting over to questions will resolve this, but you need some time for it to sink in before you take another practice test. Otherwise you'll just end up chasing your tail.
             
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            GreenDuck12

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              You need to aim for a higher MCAT score. It is inadvisable for applicants to pin their hopes on one school. The average MCAT for matriculants is a 511. I suggest changing your approach to studying for the MCAT. Memorization helps with certain things, but you really have to learn to work within passages, problems, and data sets - especially for CP and BB. I suggest pushing your test date back. I cannot stress this enough - there is too much material to simply memorize your way to a good score. Additionally, the MCAT asks us to identify the best answer, not necessarily the one we find in textbooks.
               
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