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Forum Members Official "Should I Retake?" Thread

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by QofQuimica, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. Gopher7

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    Thank you for the advice, I am just worried that the 124 will be filtered out by many MD's. Do you know if this is a requirement? (this really worries me)
     
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  3. Isoval

    Isoval Studying. Badly.

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    I had a 508 (130 125 129 124) and received three Texas MD interviews out of a possible 7 to which I applied.

    I agree with the above and do not think you need to retake.
     
    Gopher7 likes this.
  4. WIMNFamilyMed

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    Yeah I don’t think that’s a thing.. the MCAT is literally just one page of many stories your AMCAS application tells. Plus it adds up to a really good score still so it’s not too pushy. Being at or below the median score isn’t ideal, but it’s just one below and you clearly have strengths in other areas of the test.
     
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  5. doctobeapple

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    which state are you in? I know in my state your GPA is below boarder line, mcat is also below boarder line , it would have been easier if the 124 in P/S . I would think you have a small chance in MD but your chances are higher in DO. All depends on your state and matriculation numbers of medical schools in your state.
     
    #4554 doctobeapple, Feb 13, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  6. MaximusQuintus

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    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    MCAT: 507 (127,124,126,130)
    cGPA: 3.7
    sGPA:~3.6
    Major upward trend in GPA after transferring to UCSD
    CA resident, Utah born

    Research: 180 hrs [promised a publication... but it looks like its falling through:(]
    Clinical: 200 hrs
    Shadowing: 100 hrs
    Other community service: ~300 hrs
    I also work for a radiology medical group as well.


    I feel like a pretty mediocre applicant at the moment and am really torn if I should retake the MCAT on April 21st. I just took my first full length without much practice and scored a 500 so I'm at a similar baseline then when I ended. I heard that if I get a similar score the second time around my odds of getting accepted to MD or DO will greatly decrease, is this true?
     
  7. doctobeapple

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    You only retake if you feel you going to improve your score by 2-3 points and you studied for the next test. It is not good to score same as before.
     
  8. template11

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    505: 129 CARS, 127 Bio, 125 Chem, 124 Psych Soc. I didn't study Psych Soc at all(yes I'm an idiot, I didn't know many terms and I should have studied, I got lulled in because it was the "easy" section and I was dealing with a lot, for some idiotic reason I wouldn't budge on my timeline), and for various reasons didn't study much for the rest. Yes, it was a bad decision. Yes, I know it shows poor decision making. I get it.

    I have a low GPA, around a 3.3. Major upward trend (C- in bio when I was 18, C in a 4 credit math class, 4.0 in all science classes since then except a B in a brutal Biochem class my last semester of undergrad that had a class average of like 40).

    I applied two cycles ago and got one MD interview. I also applied late that cycle, so I could have gotten more. Again, I know, poor decision making, but I was in a weird situation that isn't repeated now.

    I am not URM, not really much in the way of research (one research experience but nothing published except some data on a website).

    I have a very unique story, am older, and have some unique experiences. Veteran. Some other things that I think will make me stick out.

    Sufficient volunteering and shadowing.

    Reasons I think I should retake:
    I actually can study this time, and think pushing Psych/Soc over 125 will help immensely. I think I can also push the C/P section higher as I really didn't study. I can potentially boost the Bio, and CARS will likely remain the same.
    I can take a prep course with Kaplan if you guys think that will help.
    My test is almost two years old.
    Really want surgery and maybe a specialty, so DO is risky. (Shadowed a surgeon for a long time, loved it more than I can describe, and while I know everyone changes their mind, I doubt I will)

    Reasons I shouldn't:
    It has been a long time since I have looked at some of this material
    I got an interview with my old score, and it might not be worth the risk of a same or lower score
    With my GPA, reapplicant status, and past MCAT, I may not be able to get an MD anyway

    If I retook I would spend 1.5 months studying every day, potentially take a course, and I could cancel/no-show/void the test if my last practice test wasn't a big increase. Take in mid May, submit apps late June.
     
  9. doctobeapple

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    In the two years gap , have you been doing any thing to improve your application through job, master program, volunteer or clinical work? I would think this is important. What state are you from?
     
  10. template11

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    Yes, I have a very professional, prestigious job that is high paced. It would be considered public service. This is what kept me from applying sooner and why I wasn't able to study as well last time. I'm in position to study more now.

    I also continued volunteering in a clinical setting.

    I could probably be considered in state in TX and OR. Long story why. Not sure which I think is more advantageous. I'm sure everyone will say TX, but MSAR says OHSU interviews almost everyone from OR.
     
  11. doctobeapple

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    If the MD school matriculation MCAT score is close to what you have in your state (505), with exceptional volunteer/work/clinic you might have chance. I have seen applicants with 505 make it to an MD program with excellent other factors in their application.
    But to be on the safe side, I have seen applicants retaking classes or new classes to improve their GPA to 3.7 and retake mcat to be close to 510-512 to have chance at their desired school (MD schools not in top 50 ranking)
     
  12. Suzukaze

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    Non-Canadian international first-time applicant here.
    First attempt, 508(05/17): 129/125/126/128.
    Second attempt, 513(01/18): 128/128/129/128.
    GPA expected to be ~3.35, sGPA(AMCAS) will be like 3.26 by the end of this semester.
    Graduating senior, with practically no upwards trend (3.7 in freshman year and ~3 in later years). Though we are GPA deflating, I don't really think ADCOM will think much about it.
    Will be attending SMP in fall, and planning on applying to MD and DO schools on this cycle. If rejected then I'll reapply in next May.
    If retaking I'll be taking it (hopefully) this summer, but I am not very sure about it due to the stress of application at that time.

    Pros for retaking:
    I lose one point in my B/C in my second attempt. (But since it's anyway in my confidence band, will it matter that much?)
    Low GPA plus international status - I probably need a higher score to compensate for that.

    Cons for retaking:
    It looks like that I need a 516+ for this retake to be meaningful, but it is risky.
    If my nearest testing center is full I probably need to travel to another state for the exam, which is devastating, in addition to the stress already accumulated by then.
    I also need to prepare my finals, PS and application while preparing for the exam.
    And it will be my third attempt.

    Thanks in advance. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
     
  13. template11

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    MCAT is within OHSU and most Texas schools range, but at the lower end for sure. Also, my 124 in Psych/Soc is below the 10th percentile for OHSU and all Texas schools. The 124 is what makes me think retake the most...
     
  14. doctobeapple

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    My suggestion to try to improve your GPA to 3.6 or above retake few classes , stay extra semester is worth it. But your mcat is fine.
     
  15. doctobeapple

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    Agree retake is the right option to improve your application. Good luck
     
  16. Olon1974

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    I almost died from anxiety the last time. Your score isn't bad, at all. I would consider applying to less competitive schools, but that's just me.
     
  17. student-of-life

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    On my last two AAMC practice tests, I scored 516 and 517. I was aiming for at least a 515 on the real May 18th test. I knew the material real well but the time constraints hurt me, especially on the C/P section; I was too much of a perfectionist. I actually had to guess on about 15 questions in the C/P section because I ran out of time (I did jump ahead to do the non passage based questions but missed a couple passages). I do feel like I nailed the vast majority of those I did answer with thought, but the fact that I had to guess on that many scares me. I did have an issue with time on that section in the AAMC practice tests but never that bad since the first one I took. I was too careful. On the CARS sections in practice tests, I never ran out of time, and was only averaging about two wrong per section. But on the real test, I didn't have time to read the last passage so had to guess on the last 5 or so (the real CARS passages were much longer than on the practice). I think I did get just about every other question right though; again, I was too careful. On Bio, I think I had the vast majority right but ran out of time on the last passage so again had to guess on about the last six; not sure if I could have moved much faster on this as I was in the mindset of being quick at this point. I nailed Psych. Overall, I'm thinking I probably have a raw score of at least 40/59 for C/P, 46/53 for CARS, 50/59 for Bio, and 55+/59 for psych; I'm hoping this will give me at least a 127 for C/P, two 129s, and one 130 for a total of 515 but I'm not sure how bad the C/P is going to hurt me. For context, folks seem to think it was a particularly tough test so may have a generous curve (gleaned via the May 18th MCAT Reddit).

    I honestly wish I could take another test tomorrow as I'd make sure I was much more expedient. I'm flirting with taking another one in two weeks (the closest available date). It's tough as I have other obligations starting this week so won't have a lot of time to study/review in the interim. I know I could always cancel the score if I feel I didn't do significantly better, but I also realize it's tough to gauge given the curve could be different. I realize that folks say the AAMC FL practice tests are a good predictor, but I didn't have to guess on nearly as many; that being said, this test was harder than the practice FLs. I'm concerned that if I wait for my score to be released (June 19th), I may be too late in this year's admissions cycle for a repeat / will not be as sharp on the content. I definitely don't want to wait another year to apply. However, I also realize it could look funky for me to retake in two weeks and then get the same score, and would for sure look bad if I score lower. Part of me feels like I should just chill on it and focus on my app and other responsibilities, and then make a game time decision on a possible retake when the score rolls in. Another part of me says: dude you have the momentum, and you've given it so much already - what's another couple hundred bucks and sacrificing two weeks?

    Should I do a quick turnaround re-take or wait for my score? Looking forward to your thoughts.
     
  18. TheDemonWithin

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    Asking for a friend.

    MCAT; 508 (122/131/127/128)
    GPA: 3.68

    Very good EC's. The only red flag on the application is that 122 C/P.
    Is also willing to apply both MD/DO.

    Thanks for the advice!
     
  19. kbuztravel

    2+ Year Member

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    Status:
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    MCAT April 2018: 508 (128, 125, 127, 128)
    MCAT July 2017: 503 (128, 125, 125, 125)
    cGPA: 3.5 (strong upward trend undergrad is 3.17 for business degree, my DIY post bacc is 4.0)
    sGPA: 3.8

    I am a non-traditional applicant, age 32, white, female, Illinois resident. First and only member of family to graduate from college.
    EC: I have a business background in healthcare as the owner of two healthcare companies. I have extensive patient clinical experience in the surgical setting for over 10 years. I am a member of multiple committees for healthcare-related organizations. One non-research publication related to perioperative standards. Data analysis research for the past year on Ventricular Assist Devices.
    Volunteering: I have 500+ hours divided between performing surgery program assessments across the nation, board member of a charitable foundation, and organizer of charitable events.
    Shadowing: ~50 hours of shadowing cardiothoracic surgeon, orthopedic surgeon, and multiple pathologists. Interviewed my primary care physician (just took her to lunch since the practice didn't allow shadowing). Attended heart transplant committee, VAD committee, and breast cancer committee.
    LOR: I have strong LORs from my mentor (cardiothoracic surgeon and private practice owner) as well as three of my science professors.

    I applied previously in 2017, complete late in the cycle, end of August. I had one DO interview with rejection. I would like to apply mainly to MD programs this year submitting application June 1st, but am nervous about my MCAT score and GPA combination. Since I am on the older side and will not have as much time to recoup the money that I put into becoming a physician, I am hesitant to spend even more money on classes to boost my GPA, MCAT, or get an additional degree for the sake of it, unless necessary.

    Should I retake the MCAT?
     
  20. lightblueelephant

    2+ Year Member

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    Hi guys so my first MCAT August 2017 was a 503: 124/127/127/125. My second MCAT is a 508: 126/125/127/130. Has anyone had success with a ridiculous spread like this?
     
  21. Shammyguy3

    2+ Year Member

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    I'll be a reapplicant this cycle. I applied three years ago to strictly DO schools with a 25 MCAT and a cGPA <3.5 and sGPA <3.1

    This time, I raised my gpas to ~3.6cGPA, 3.3sGPA, and 512 MCAT. For any of those wondering what I did differently for the MCAT:

    1) bought new Kaplan books, did not take the in-person class this time. Strictly did content review for 3 months, studying for 2-3 hours a night during the week (work full-time), and 6+ hours Friday/Saturday/Sunday.

    2) 5 weeks out of the real thing, I took the AAMC FL #1 and scored a 501 (126/125/127/123).
    3) 4 weeks out of the real thing, I took the AAMC FL #2 and scored a 503 (125/127/127/124).
    4). 3 weeks out of the real thing, I took the AAMC FL #3 and scored a 504 (127/125/127/125).
    5) 1 week out of the real thing, I took the AAMC sample test and scored 68%/75%/83%/76%.

    Between taking the FL #3 and the sample test, as well as that last week, I took the section banks and scored in the 50%-60% for each one.

    The last day, I reviewed some physics things, some biochem pathways, and reviewed all of my psych/soc notes.

    The real thing, I scored a 512 as stated above with a breakdown of 126/127/129/130.


    So, everyone that is looking to improve.... It is a marathon, not a sprint. Manage your time wisely. If you are working, make sure you truly dedicate yourself to having a good foundation. Don't skim the passages, but pay closer attention to charts and graphs and key words (i.e. (in)activation, secondary to, etc.).

    I started studying at the end of October after delaying 6 months since I finished a couple classes in May (Virology and Biochemistry). I picked a Saturday in April, six months out, so I can practice full exams on Saturdays to mimic the real thing. 6 weeks before the real thing, I felt so far behind and unprepared. I didn't let it deter me, the last thing on my mind was delaying the test. I studied those last 5 weeks as if I was taking it and NOT voiding it. The day of the test, I flew through each section and got more confident as the sections had passed.


    Just know that it is possible to have a near 40th percentile increase on this test. You just need to want it, and you need to work harder than you ever did. OH, and one more thing ---> Biochemistry is absolutely essential. If you haven't taken that course, you must. I had a great foundation for the course because my Cell Bio professor also taught biochem in the past so he had a heavy emphasis on it. Then, Biochemistry was a breeze. And then the biochem on the real thing was a breeze.

    Good luck to everyone who was an underdog.
     
  22. Hip_Hop_Doc

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    Got in to SUNY Upstate this year with a weird spread. 128/125/129/132
     
  23. duckdoc20

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    First off congratulations on getting a great score! What do you attribute your P/S score to. Just based on your FLs it seems out of nowhere. Only asking because this is the one section that I am not scoring well on my AAMC FLs (125/126)
     
  24. Shammyguy3

    2+ Year Member

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    There are so many terms to know, so stsrt there. I used Kaplan. Not sure if its the best. But i was able to learn enough terms for the real thing where through process of elimination (for terms i rememberes that didnt fit the question) i was able to narrow many questions down to just the 1 term i never heard of
     
  25. duckdoc20

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    Thank you for the advice, best of luck this application cycle
     
  26. Shammyguy3

    2+ Year Member

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    You too!
     
  27. musicalstylings

    2+ Year Member

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    510 (129/127/128/126) to 506 (128/124/129/125) Downward trend (CARS always get me).

    cGPA= 3.63, sGPA= 3.64
    ECs should be okay: 5000+ research (no pubs), 1400+ clinical volunteering, 600+ community service, 50+ shadowing, 800+ leadership stuff. Strong letters.

    Would it be a good idea to wait a cycle and retake a 3rd time???
     
  28. Shammyguy3

    2+ Year Member

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    Why did you retake it?
     
  29. musicalstylings

    2+ Year Member

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    510 MCAT is expiring and felt I could have done better for the second time which apparently wasn't the case. (During the first MCAT, my finger got severely injured when it was jammed holding the bathroom door open for an elderly lady on the break before CARS section. Was in so much pain during the rest of the MCAT and ended up with severe nerve damage from the incident that I still have to this day.)
     
  30. Shammyguy3

    2+ Year Member

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    Would you have been able to apply this cycle with that 510 score?
     
  31. musicalstylings

    2+ Year Member

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    Yes, but found that out a little too late after I had already taken the second MCAT. But again, I still felt it was okay to retake with a different approach to studying. Anyway, have to man up and try to move past it now. Up and onward!
     
  32. cptnemo56

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    Should I retake or apply without?

    510 (128/127/126/129)
    3.4 cGPA
    3.3 sGPA
    upward trend (4.0 last year)

    2 years paid research
    ~100 hr clinical volunteering
    ~100 hr nonclinical volunteering
    ~150 hr shadowing

    Applying this cycle to low tier MD and many DO schools. Scheduled for MCAT retake July 7th, meaning score returns August 7th. Is this too late? I wanted to retake to help boost my stats and make up for low GPA, but I'm not sure how much it will help. I applied late last time, which put me in a serious hole that I don't want to be in again. I appreciate any opinions and advice.
     
  33. mariposas905

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    How late did you apply last time? Did you get any IIs at all?
     
    cptnemo56 likes this.
  34. cptnemo56

    2+ Year Member

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    Thanks for the reply. This was terribly foolish, but my secondaries went complete until probably mid september. I received IIs from both of my two state schools and was waitlisted at both.

    I forgot to mention but I took the MCAT before biochem, orgo 2, either physics, or physiology, among other upper level courses. This is why I think I could score much higher
     
  35. mariposas905

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    I feel like it might have been a contribution of the GPA too more than timing. But I don't think the July 7th mcat retake is considered late, at least by SDN standards. Did you ask the schools for feedback after being waitlisted?
     
    cptnemo56 likes this.
  36. cptnemo56

    2+ Year Member

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    One didn't offer feedback but the other basically said the same as you. They said my GPA isn't great and an uncompetitive GPA that's also late really hurt me. I'm just worried about being "late" again, with a still weakly competitive application
     
  37. mariposas905

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    Yeah, maybe an SMP might help you? I'm in a similar situation, not with GPA but with my MCAT. It really sucks :/ but at this point, we just have to do the best we can with what options we have
     
  38. cptnemo56

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    Yeah haha it just sucks not knowing for sure what the best choice is. Right now I'm thinking I will go ahead and apply since my state schools liked me pretty well last time - and hope they have more seats for me this round. I'll apply for SMPs when they open this fall and fall back on that if I don't get any acceptances this time. Good luck to you and thanks for the advice
     
    mariposas905 likes this.
  39. TheRealCookieMonster

    2+ Year Member

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    I'm a PREMED AND REAPPLICANT
    Cool application, you seem interesting. With the MCAT the answer is almost always the same. Retake it if you can destroy it... bury it in the ground, make a statement. Otherwise, you just wasted your time and energy adding more numbers to your app and at 32 you have plenty of number lol but seriously. Don't retake for a 512 IMO.
    side note: think critically about your application and what it says to the admissions committee, I look at it and I'm a little confused.
     
  40. JustAUser

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    I'm just curious... how did it turn out for you at the end? Did you get the score you wanted/needed?
     
  41. student-of-life

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    Hey. I ended up waiting and scored a 515. I'm mostly content with that but definitely feel I was capable of a 517 if not for the time management issue.
     
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  42. thomp295

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    Just got the scores back from my first MCAT in May of 2018. Scored a 508 and am unsure whether to retake. I'm a non-trad student applying at 28 yoa. Have about 4300 hours of inner-city EMT experience and some decent non-healthcare volunteer hours. Post-bacc sGPA is 3.86, overall is 3.76, cumulative undergrad GPA is 3.30. I've already received invitations for several secondary apps and I am over the average score for the students accepted from last year at many schools. Only applying DO. Ended up taking the MCAT the week after finals for biochem/physics II/genetics and feel I could have done better with more time to study but am unsure whether it is necessary.
     
  43. medschool342

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    Just took my MCAT feeling kind of meh about how I did. Got killed by C/P took too long trying to figure out an answer on some questions tht I should’ve skipped and went back to later.
    I've been reading threads and it seems that I am not the only one who thought c/p was difficult.

    I didnt void since I'm hoping that my other sections can make up for my C/P and the possibility that the curve could be in my favour

    Worried about scores since they come out in a month. And I am trying to get my apps in. Would it be good to schedule another exam (since finding a date that isn't full at this time is hell) and just cancel it if my score ends up being ok?
     
  44. bls18

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    Very understandable. Waiting a month for test results will be something that continues throughout you medical career. I think it depends on how confident/unconfident you are in your score and if you are ok with paying for another exam if you have to cancel.
     
  45. esob

    esob Protomolecule
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    Well, I didn't think I needed to retake but after the email I received from one of my health advisors at school, I thought I might ask for some additional opinions. He was talking about a "retake next cycle." Here are my stats:

    MCAT: 509 (126/127/127/129)
    Texas Resident
    Texas GPA (Academic Fresh Start) 4.0
    OOS GPA: BCPM (3.84) cGPA (3.55)
    - last 140+ hrs of coursework were all A's, and were all UG classes because I changed majors and had not yet earned a degree)
    - Over 40, but under 45 by matriculation
    - Prior Military
    - 7k+ paid clinical hrs
    - 1k+ community service hrs (Veterans groups/hospice/food bank/habitat/tutoring)
    - 100+ hrs shadowing
    - Published research, but not a lot of hrs (~ 100)
    - Good letters (but I guess everyone assumes this, lol), including a strong D.O. letter.
    - 1st generation college, financially disadvantaged growing up, but ORM and not financially disadvantaged now

    According to the statistics published by TMDSAS, my MCAT is at the median for Texas matriculants and according to MSAR, my GPA is in the 90th percentile for all Texas schools. I am also applying to several OOS DO schools and a handful of MD schools for which my stats are still competitive.

    The backdrop is that I spent the 3 months prior to my MCAT caring for a parent who ultimately passed about a week before I took the test. I had planned to postpone but my AAMC FL's were ranging in the 515-512 range so I decided to take it and then I would have voided it if I didn't feel good about it. I thought it was fine but I did get shorted on CARS time due to delayed check-in from a break and that is where all my dropped points came from. Regardless, I know if I dropped my summer II semester course and studied for a month I could improve my score by at least 3 points.

    That said, even if I added 6 points to my score, it seems like a bad idea to make my application late because of a few points when my score is already at the median. There also seems to be some discussions about the idea that your MCAT needs to be median to get you the interview, but after making it to that stage, the MCAT becomes a much less important component about getting an actual offer, and a 509 shouldn't get me auto screened from any TX public schools except for maybe UTSW (and they show they accepted a 501 last cycle and a 510 for their 10th percentile matriculants, so they likely don't auto screen out 509's). I'm also above the median MCAT and GPA for all the DO schools I'm applying to, and I am at the 25th percentile or above for any MD schools I'm applying to (and I'm at their 25th-75th percentiles for cumulative/science GPA's). I know my age is a factor but I assume the boost from being prior military will at least partially compensate for it, especially considering I haven't had anything less than an A in the last 10 years.

    Yes, I know a 509 is the Prius of the applicant highway, but a retake at this point seems like a poor decision unless someone has some advice that contradicts what many others have told me thus far, with the exception of my school counselor.
     
  46. mistblue

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    Scored a 513 (127/125/130/131) on the April 2018 MCAT. I understand that the general consensus is I should not retake the test, but the only reasons I am considering a retake is because of my 125 CARS score and the fact that I am an Asian male/CA resident. I did not go into the test feeling as prepared as I could have, since I had little time to study two weeks prior to the test due to regular school obligations. I am currently registered to take a September 2018 test so I would have 2 months to fully prepare for the test without having to worry about school. I guess I would just appreciate some different opinions and suggestions on my situation. Any input is greatly appreciated!

    Some other facts about me. sGPA: 3.89 and cGPA: 3.90. Decent ECs and will be going into my 4th year at a public university in California. Looking to apply in the 2019 cycle. Ideally I would like to stay in California to attend a MD school, but I understand that most of the California schools are very competitive, so any information on out of state schools will be very helpful as well!
     
  47. supernova321

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    Hey everyone. Looking for some advice as to if I should retake. I took a May 2018 MCAT and got a 511 (124,131,128,128). On my first test i got 125 for chem/physics. I signed up for an early August exam to see if I could increase my physics section but I see a lot of consensus to not retake so quickly. Should I retake? Im mostly concerned about the c/p section.
    Im currently finishing a medical graduate program at Morsani COM in Fl and will have letters from the medical school professors. I have extensive shadowing and paid clinical experience and leadership roles.
     
    #4596 supernova321, Jul 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  48. trobinsonmd

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    If you retake and don't do as well, some adcoms will think it shows bad judgement. I was a CA applicant five years ago got into a top 25 CA school with a 92nd percentile score and similar GPA (also ORM male), ended up picking NYU though... If I were you I would sit on that 513 and not risk it
     
  49. trobinsonmd

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    You're a Texas resident... that is a huge advantage... yes the 509 is the prius of the applicant highway, but it will suffice in Texas. Don't retake.
     
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  50. manofthehour

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    Status:
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    MCAT: 506 (128/123/129/126)
    Overall GPA: 3.98, sGPA: 4.0
    Texas resident
    - 100+ hours surgery shadowing
    - University hospital research
    - Couple of strong LORs (committee letter)

    Maybe planning on retaking in late august, would that be too late for this cycle?
     
  51. esob

    esob Protomolecule
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    Your CARS score puts you below the 10th percentile for every Texas MD school. Retaking in late in August would make you really late for this cycle. How was your CARS on your FL?
     

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