ownit

10+ Year Member
Dec 26, 2006
22
0
0
Status
This might be a dumb question and I am sure it has been asked previously but I had a hard time finding it in the search.

So I am a prospective medical student (Both DO and MD's) in my 4th year at UCLA, finishing up undergrad school. I was scheduled to take the MCAT this May 1st...but I'm simply not ready to take the exam and thinking of pushing it back to maybe September? My question is when should I apply? If I apply say this Fall...is it true I would have to wait 2 years to start med school? I've been really confused about the cycles and application timings. I want to start med school asap...could anyone help me with a timeline on how YOU would deal with my situation? Could I still apply in the 2010 cycle if I took the MCAT in say September? If I couldnt, when would be the latest? Thanks
 
Last edited:

GoodmanBrown

is walking down the path.
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2009
1,380
9
151
In the forest
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Hey ownit,

You're correct in your assesment of the application cycle. In general the cycle looks like this:

Summer/Fall 2010 - Primary app goes to AMCAS.
Early Fall 2010 - Secondary apps go to each school.
Mid Fall 2010 to January 2011 - Go to interviews.
Mid Fall 2010 to May 2011 - Hear good and bad news.
August 2011 - Start school (hopefully)

So, you can see it's a bit over a year from the point you initially submit your application to starting medical school.

As a 4th year, if you don't apply this summer, you will in fact sit out 2 years. You're already guaranteed to sit out one year already as the soonest you can go to medical school is Fall 2011.

Personally, I think the "apply early" slogan is sensible, but not everything. If you're a good candidate (3.5+ and 32+) and you apply broadly (state schools, back-up schools, etc.), you should be fine applying in August or September. Don't apply later than that though. Besides, you can do your full app and submit it except for your MCAT score. That way schools have your completed application the moment the MCAT score hits their desk.

So, I'd say feel free to push the MCAT back to August, but no later if you want to apply this cycle.
 

ownit

10+ Year Member
Dec 26, 2006
22
0
0
Status
Hey ownit,

You're correct in your assesment of the application cycle. In general the cycle looks like this:

Summer/Fall 2010 - Primary app goes to AMCAS.
Early Fall 2010 - Secondary apps go to each school.
Mid Fall 2010 to January 2011 - Go to interviews.
Mid Fall 2010 to May 2011 - Hear good and bad news.
August 2011 - Start school (hopefully)

So, you can see it's a bit over a year from the point you initially submit your application to starting medical school.

As a 4th year, if you don't apply this summer, you will in fact sit out 2 years. You're already guaranteed to sit out one year already as the soonest you can go to medical school is Fall 2011.

Personally, I think the "apply early" slogan is sensible, but not everything. If you're a good candidate (3.5+ and 32+) and you apply broadly (state schools, back-up schools, etc.), you should be fine applying in August or September. Don't apply later than that though. Besides, you can do your full app and submit it except for your MCAT score. That way schools have your completed application the moment the MCAT score hits their desk.

So, I'd say feel free to push the MCAT back to August, but no later if you want to apply this cycle.

Hi thanks for the input...would you recommend taking it early August or would mid-August still be fine?
 
Apr 8, 2010
15
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi thanks for the input...would you recommend taking it early August or would mid-August still be fine?
In my experience, earlier would most likely be better. Some schools won't review your application until they have your MCAT scores.
 

DrSmooth

Secret Recipe Soda
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2008
325
0
91
Status
Medical Student
Don't think of it as an all or nothing (May or September) thing. You have to find the sweet spot between application timeliness and MCAT performance. For every couple weeks you put off your test, your potential score may increase, but every postponement after June 17 will also decrease your chances of getting accepted this year, especially since you are a CA applicant. So it's a tradeoff. Remember you aren't trying to get the best MCAT score possible, you are trying to maximize your chances of gaining acceptance. And there is a law of diminishing returns once you get to a certain level of MCAT readiness.

And timeliness does matter. My friend was in a similar spot, and postponed till August. 3.7 GPA and got a 38, applied broadly but very late of course, and only got 3 interviews, 0 acceptances, and 1 WL at Georgetown. Luckily he got in off the WL. But he would have had much greater success applying earlier with say a 33 or 34.

If I were you I would shoot for the June 17 MCAT and then postpone to early July if you have to, etc etc. There is a LOT you can do between May 1 and June 17, especially once finals are over and you can work the MCAT prep full-time.

And whatever you do, still submit your transcripts, app and LORs by June 1, that way once you are ready you can pull the trigger with the MCAT and schools will be ready to review you once they get your score. Good luck!