omnxbeast

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AAMC FL AVG: 39
Mode: 41
Actual: 34

I know I could have done so much better. I really panicked, and just can't accept that I know I could do so much better.

Edit: took all AAMC FL's under timed conditions
 
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BerkReviewTeach

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The real question is whether you took the MCAT to apply to medical school or whether you took it to validate your intelligence. I in no way mean to be rude or curt with that statement. Few people will admit that it's the second option for them, but that is the case for some people. If you took the MCAT to apply to medical school then there is no need to repeat the exam, because you have a good score and could spend that time improving other aspects of your profile and working on essay and interviews.

What answer are you looking for? You probably already know your answer in your heart and want to read someone else post it. Be strong and make that decision on your own. You'll make the right one

I also wish to post to anyone else reading this thread and feeling bad, that a 34 is awesome and worthy of a huge smile. If you are fighting to reach a 30 and get frustrated reading a post like this, keep in mind that the application process is not purely numbers. There is a broad range of MCAT scores that get accepted to medical school because applicants are more than just an MCAT score. Great scores help, but you have to stand out in multiple areas.
 
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Your goal is to gain admission to a medical school. The question is which medical school? What are their requirements - specifically: MCAT requirements. If the average (MSAR) is 35-37, then yes retake. If you believe yourself to be within range then you have done all you can do; it is now up to the Admissions committee to decide whether you are a suitable candidate.

I don't doubt the sincerity of your post, and with an FL average of 39 your command of content is impressive. Retaking may not be as painful as you may think it to be, but know this - the next time you write the MCAT you must possess an unflappable disposition. All the best :).
 
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omnxbeast

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Wow, thank you both for such thorough, sincere, and insightful responses. Out of the frustration that I was overcome with yesterday, I failed to state a little bit about my story.

Specifically, I am set on going to Stanford, UCSF, or Vanderbilt (for specific and valid reasons that are peripheral to this discussion). That is, if I do not get in one of those three places, I am unlikely to matriculate to medical school that cycle (assuming I was not admitted to UPenn, Duke, Harvard, and the like as well). Now please do not tell me that I am setting myself up for failure, that I can't look at med school this way etc., but rather, with this in mind, does it make sense to retake?

Without getting into WAMC, if it helps the retake discussion: I have a 3.9 GPA (4.0 science/engineering) at a top engineering school, varsity athlete, president of a student group and fraternity, 1000 hours research (and hopefully 1 pub), 300 hours shadowing an orthopod in OR/Hospital and 100 hours in the clinic, limited community service (got to work on that this year).

Thanks
 
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Wow, thank you both for such thorough, sincere, and insightful responses. Out of the frustration that I was overcome with yesterday, I failed to state a little bit about my story.

Specifically, I am set on going to Stanford, UCSF, or Vanderbilt (for specific and valid reasons that are peripheral to this discussion). That is, if I do not get in one of those three places, I am unlikely to matriculate to medical school that cycle (assuming I was not admitted to UPenn, Duke, Harvard, and the like as well). Now please do not tell me that I am setting myself up for failure, that I can't look at med school this way etc., but rather, with this in mind, does it make sense to retake?

Without getting into WAMC, if it helps the retake discussion: I have a 3.9 GPA (4.0 science/engineering) at a top engineering school, varsity athlete, president of a student group and fraternity, 1000 hours research (and hopefully 1 pub), 300 hours shadowing an orthopod in OR/Hospital and 100 hours in the clinic, limited community service (got to work on that this year).

Thanks
Thank you for enumerating your wish list....now retake the MCAT and score a 37+. You don't have a content problem...possible methodology/psychological issues (anxiety perhaps?). Those can be rectified in time. Sign up for late October (21/25) / Nov 7th. I look forward to studying with you.

Be aware of my bias: I personally believe MCAT >>>>> ECs - therefore, a 34 won't cut it. Your GPA is alluring, but it's nothing to write home about...MCAT is the cat that matters here! (I am an engineering student with a similar GPA). Take that for what it is worth. Oh, and please, do not apologize for listing tier1 schools on your list. You brought a smile to my face.
 

BestDoctorEver

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@omnxbeast Based on your practice score and the schools you are aiming for, I think you should retake... A 37+ would make your application more solid for these schools.
 
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I'm confused as to what you expected to garner from further pushing this thread that you could not have from looking at those schools' admissions statistics online. Anyone is going to tell you that a 34 is a great score and that people with a lower MCAT than you have been admitted into those schools you listed. You have great extracurricular activities and a top-5%-of-your-class GPA. But the majority of people on this thread (with the exception of ADCOMS) do not know the answer to this any better than you do, if not less, since we don't know objectively what the issue was on your test date. Frankly it seems you did not grasp the point of
@BerkReviewTeach 's post and if you're narrowing your options to schools that are a crapshoot even for people who scored 42's I'd have to say that your personal reasons for wanting to go to those schools are not in the periphery of this discussion and should be evaluated before further soliciting anyone else's time and advice.
 
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HinduHammer

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I'm confused as to what you expected to garner from further pushing this thread that you could not have from looking at those schools' admissions statistics online. Anyone is going to tell you that a 34 is a great score and that people with a lower MCAT than you have been admitted into those schools you listed. You have great extracurricular activities and a top-5%-of-your-class GPA. But the majority of people on this thread (with the exception of ADCOMS) do not know the answer to this any better than you do, if not less, since we don't know objectively what the issue was on your test date. Frankly it seems you did not grasp the point of
@BerkReviewTeach 's post and if you're narrowing your options to schools that are a crapshoot even for people who scored 42's I'd have to say that your personal reasons for wanting to go to those schools are not in the periphery of this discussion and should be evaluated before further soliciting anyone else's time and advice.
QFT.
 
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@omnxbeast Based on your practice score and the schools you are aiming for, I think you should retake... A 37+ would make your application more solid for these schools.
Yeah, I agree. I would retake. I know what it's like being in a position where you want to go to a top school/more selective school that's slightly beyond the score you have, which happens to be above average for a majority of people (but you're not the majority of people).
 
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gettheleadout

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Ive talked to adcoms, professors and med students about this after something very similar happened to me. The response I got was no matter how well you do a second time well, having two mcats weaken your application and that unless you plan for a small handful of schools a 34 is perfectly fine especially with good GPA and ECs. According to LizzyM GPA matters slightly more than the MCAT and the difference between acceptance rates of a 35 and a 40 is about 5%. Once you reach a threshold, your MCAT stops mattering and it is the rest of you that counts. I know someone with a 33 and 3.8 who got into Harvard because they had worked in a morgue for 3 years, and thus that outweighed everything else. What I came away with was your GPA and MCAT act as simply a easy way to eliminate people. It is your PS, references, and your own activities that get you accepted. This is why there are statistically about 10% of people with 37-40s who get rejected every year from med schools that people with lower scores get into. For a lousy 34, about 13%.

Once you reach 34-35+ your mcat matters alot less. It still is a strong influence, but it is far far far from a deciding factor
 

TBRBiosadist

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Tl;Dr coming from a man with a 42 FL average who got a 35, dont retake, unless you get a 43 it will only hurt your app
 

TBRBiosadist

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Also, Adcomms really really really look poorly upon a second mcat at the 34+ mark, your above the 95th percentile and supposedly it shows poor critical thinking skils
 
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Ailleurs

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Why don't you speak directly with adcoms about whether your MCAT seems unbalanced compared to the rest of your applicant info (gpa, hobbies, ECs). I would not retake, though. I feel your pain, but a 34 is great.
 

tdod

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AAMC FL AVG: 39
Mode: 41
Actual: 34

I know I could have done so much better. I really panicked, and just can't accept that I know I could do so much better.
is that enough to get you into a school of your choice? if not, then i personally would retake, unless the wise folk on sdn give you a good reason not to.

I am expecting a score in 37-39 range, but if I got a 34 I would rejoice. I think that you should be happy, get drunk and listen that new song by Taylor swift b/c it is raw.
 

mcloaf

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is that enough to get you into a school of your choice? if not, then i personally would retake, unless the wise folk on sdn give you a good reason not to.
The only problem with this question is that a 34 is good enough to get into any medical school. Sure a higher score is always nicer, but it's unlikely that a 34 will appreciably hold an applicant back if the rest of their application is strong. I understand OPs frustration and don't know what I'd decide to do in his/her situation (I might well decide to retake), but I think it's irresponsible to advise somebody else to take a gamble with a perfectly good MCAT score and risk not improving it much (and hurt their application in the process). Anyone who gives unequivocal advice to retake a 34 doesn't have your best interests in mind, and anyone who tells you that getting a couple points higher than 34 is much more important that extracurriculars simply doesn't know what they are talking about.
 

TBRBiosadist

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The only problem with this question is that a 34 is good enough to get into any medical school. Sure a higher score is always nicer, but it's unlikely that a 34 will appreciably hold an applicant back if the rest of their application is strong. I understand OPs frustration and don't know what I'd decide to do in his/her situation (I might well decide to retake), but I think it's irresponsible to advise somebody else to take a gamble with a perfectly good MCAT score and risk not improving it much (and hurt their application in the process). Anyone who gives unequivocal advice to retake a 34 doesn't have your best interests in mind, and anyone who tells you that getting a couple points higher than 34 is much more important that extracurriculars simply doesn't know what they are talking about.
cannot agree more3
 

Ailleurs

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The only problem with this question is that a 34 is good enough to get into any medical school. Sure a higher score is always nicer, but it's unlikely that a 34 will appreciably hold an applicant back if the rest of their application is strong. I understand OPs frustration and don't know what I'd decide to do in his/her situation (I might well decide to retake), but I think it's irresponsible to advise somebody else to take a gamble with a perfectly good MCAT score and risk not improving it much (and hurt their application in the process). Anyone who gives unequivocal advice to retake a 34 doesn't have your best interests in mind, and anyone who tells you that getting a couple points higher than 34 is much more important that extracurriculars simply doesn't know what they are talking about.
What about for the low GPA-ers? Even after GPA repair there is so much you can do unless you focus solely on DO. A 34+ MCAT helps more in that scenario or not really?
 

Traumweber

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What about for the low GPA-ers? Even after GPA repair there is so much you can do unless you focus solely on DO. A 34+ MCAT helps more in that scenario or not really?
A very high MCAT score on one test day is not going to offset a low GPA from 4 years worth of undergraduate education.
There are people who score 36+ on the MCAT through lucky guessing. It is very difficult to guess your way through 4 years.
A 34 mcat is already 91-94th percentile. You could possibly be away from a 36-37 by three or four questions, and from 38+ by less than 10 questions for all three sections put together. Above 33, the scaled scores are pretty harsh w.r.t questions one got wrong.
 
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Great White Buffalo

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Wow, thank you both for such thorough, sincere, and insightful responses. Out of the frustration that I was overcome with yesterday, I failed to state a little bit about my story.

Specifically, I am set on going to Stanford, UCSF, or Vanderbilt (for specific and valid reasons that are peripheral to this discussion). That is, if I do not get in one of those three places, I am unlikely to matriculate to medical school that cycle (assuming I was not admitted to UPenn, Duke, Harvard, and the like as well). Now please do not tell me that I am setting myself up for failure, that I can't look at med school this way etc., but rather, with this in mind, does it make sense to retake?

Without getting into WAMC, if it helps the retake discussion: I have a 3.9 GPA (4.0 science/engineering) at a top engineering school, varsity athlete, president of a student group and fraternity, 1000 hours research (and hopefully 1 pub), 300 hours shadowing an orthopod in OR/Hospital and 100 hours in the clinic, limited community service (got to work on that this year).

Thanks
Well I got an interview at Vandy with a mere 33 (unbalanced too) and 3.75 GPA. Lots and Lots of community service/volunteering. But I did get waitlisted. Anyway, at U of M now as IS, so I'm not complaining.
 

Doug Underhill

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I think you shouldn't retake the 34 because of what the adcom members on this site have said about retaking a good score. Furthermore, everyone who's gotten a few full-length scores in the legendary (39-45) bracket knows that the difference between 36 and 41 is a few crappy questions about humanized religious toys and how they relate to Picasso.

Keep in mind that I have a sinister ulterior motive: I'm applying to those schools with a weaker GPA and a better MCAT and I don't want you completely upstaging me.
 

emflem

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The only problem with this question is that a 34 is good enough to get into any medical school.
I know this is true, but I also hope this is true, if you know what I mean.
 

MrChance2

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If you took the AAMC FLs under strict timed conditions then I might retake. I think med schools like to pad their numbers even if most adcoms think there is no intellectual capability difference with a 35+. It would blow my mind if you wouldn't get into a few top 25 schools as you are right now.
 

efle

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Specifically, I am set on going to Stanford, UCSF, or Vanderbilt...if I do not get in one of those three places, I am unlikely to matriculate to medical school that cycle (assuming I was not admitted to UPenn, Duke, Harvard)
This is probably the single best way to be disappointed and not become a physician, it's insane to shoot for only top schools even if you have an 80+ LizzyM
 

Mad Jack

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Wow, thank you both for such thorough, sincere, and insightful responses. Out of the frustration that I was overcome with yesterday, I failed to state a little bit about my story.

Specifically, I am set on going to Stanford, UCSF, or Vanderbilt (for specific and valid reasons that are peripheral to this discussion). That is, if I do not get in one of those three places, I am unlikely to matriculate to medical school that cycle (assuming I was not admitted to UPenn, Duke, Harvard, and the like as well). Now please do not tell me that I am setting myself up for failure, that I can't look at med school this way etc., but rather, with this in mind, does it make sense to retake?

Without getting into WAMC, if it helps the retake discussion: I have a 3.9 GPA (4.0 science/engineering) at a top engineering school, varsity athlete, president of a student group and fraternity, 1000 hours research (and hopefully 1 pub), 300 hours shadowing an orthopod in OR/Hospital and 100 hours in the clinic, limited community service (got to work on that this year).

Thanks
With such a small school list, your chances are dismal. Good luck being an engineer.
 

ConfusedChemist

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Wow, thank you both for such thorough, sincere, and insightful responses. Out of the frustration that I was overcome with yesterday, I failed to state a little bit about my story.

Specifically, I am set on going to Stanford, UCSF, or Vanderbilt (for specific and valid reasons that are peripheral to this discussion). That is, if I do not get in one of those three places, I am unlikely to matriculate to medical school that cycle (assuming I was not admitted to UPenn, Duke, Harvard, and the like as well). Now please do not tell me that I am setting myself up for failure, that I can't look at med school this way etc., but rather, with this in mind, does it make sense to retake?


Thanks
Do you want to go to med school or do you want to be a doctor?
It sounds like you're only concerned about one of those things....
 

mcloaf

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What about for the low GPA-ers? Even after GPA repair there is so much you can do unless you focus solely on DO. A 34+ MCAT helps more in that scenario or not really?
A low GPA could change the risk-benefit calculations, of course. Ultimately it all depends on how confident you are in scoring higher on a retake and how strong the rest of your application is. Bumping the MCAT up five points would probably have more of an impact for someone with an alright application than an awesome one.
 
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"You really panicked." If you were to take all the vitals in the room on test day, you'd find the vast majority is "really panicked." Don't think you're going to go into your next mcat cool and level-headed. Also, everybody seems to be missing some fairly pertinent questions that are highly relevant to your practice FL performance. How many practice tests did you take? If you didn't take them all, or the majority, that number may not be the best indicator.
 

Next Step Tutor

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What answer are you looking for? You probably already know your answer in your heart and want to read someone else post it. Be strong and make that decision on your own. You'll make the right one.
I always wonder that in these sorts of threads. There's better advice much more readily available than the SDN peanut gallery (myself included). So folks are just looking for someone else to tell them what they already want to hear.

Once you reach a threshold, your MCAT stops mattering and it is the rest of you that counts.
I tell folks this all the time. The only point of the MCAT score is to NOT stop you from getting an interview. The interview gets you in. So you got a 43 instead of a 33? So what, what are they going to do? Interview you more? Interviewier! THE INTERVIEWIESTTTTT!
 

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I'm confused as to what you expected to garner from further pushing this thread that you could not have from looking at those schools' admissions statistics online. Anyone is going to tell you that a 34 is a great score and that people with a lower MCAT than you have been admitted into those schools you listed. You have great extracurricular activities and a top-5%-of-your-class GPA. But the majority of people on this thread (with the exception of ADCOMS) do not know the answer to this any better than you do, if not less, since we don't know objectively what the issue was on your test date. Frankly it seems you did not grasp the point of
@BerkReviewTeach 's post and if you're narrowing your options to schools that are a crapshoot even for people who scored 42's I'd have to say that your personal reasons for wanting to go to those schools are not in the periphery of this discussion and should be evaluated before further soliciting anyone else's time and advice.
There can be only one.

@LizzyM, could you maybe put your thoughts in on this?
 
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Wow, thank you both for such thorough, sincere, and insightful responses. Out of the frustration that I was overcome with yesterday, I failed to state a little bit about my story.

Specifically, I am set on going to Stanford, UCSF, or Vanderbilt (for specific and valid reasons that are peripheral to this discussion). That is, if I do not get in one of those three places, I am unlikely to matriculate to medical school that cycle (assuming I was not admitted to UPenn, Duke, Harvard, and the like as well). Now please do not tell me that I am setting myself up for failure, that I can't look at med school this way etc., but rather, with this in mind, does it make sense to retake?

Without getting into WAMC, if it helps the retake discussion: I have a 3.9 GPA (4.0 science/engineering) at a top engineering school, varsity athlete, president of a student group and fraternity, 1000 hours research (and hopefully 1 pub), 300 hours shadowing an orthopod in OR/Hospital and 100 hours in the clinic, limited community service (got to work on that this year).

Thanks
Maybe I can offer some relevant experience. I know a guy who had a 3.9 GPA and a 34 from a top 15 school with fantastic ECs. He had a lot of pride and knew he could do better (he'd done really, really well on SATs and LSATs) and thought he was 38+ material. Honestly, he probably is 38+ material, but I guess nerves got to him because he retook and got a 36. I know there's a lot of reasons for rejections, but he applied to 25 schools well within his stats and has already been rejected from 7. He's getting silence from 14, and got 4 interviews, no acceptances so far (all interviews ended in waitlist or silence).

I could be wrong, but I think he'd be better off without the retake. I just don't see a 3.9/34 not having an acceptance or at least a few more interviews. You definitely risk being seen as far too intense when retaking a 34.
 
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LizzyM

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The OP has not posted in 3 mos although he visited SDN just yesterday. There are more levels of "I don't care" than I'm going to get into at this point. Who resurrected this? Why?
 

cherubb3

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I got 40, 36, and 37 on AAMC 9, 10, and 11 respectively. I got a 34 on the real thing. I was a little disappointed initially, because I knew I was scoring better, but 34 is a good score and I am more concerned with showing that I can take a test and excel at it the first time.
 

TexasSurgeon

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The OP has not posted in 3 mos although he visited SDN just yesterday. There are more levels of "I don't care" than I'm going to get into at this point. Who resurrected this? Why?
lol I love you.
 
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omnxbeast

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The OP has not posted in 3 mos although he visited SDN just yesterday. There are more levels of "I don't care" than I'm going to get into at this point. Who resurrected this? Why?
Actually, I very much appreciate @Dr.Zoidberg response. I am scheduled to take the Jan 8 MCAT and am still in limbo on whether to do so. At this point, my plan is to take it and if I feel like I just crushed it then submit. If not, then void. Now let the onslaught of "you will never accurately know how you did" smites begin..

To that end, however, I would definitely appreciate your thoughts Lizzy
 
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This is extremely relevant to my thread "Official premed advisor says: Never retake a 35". She said yes, retake a 34 if and only if the MCAT is the weakest part of your application, you are confident you can do better, and you are aiming for top schools. All conditions are true for you, so I think she would say to retake it.

I am in a different boat. If I got a 34, my MCAT would not be the weakest part of my application, my ECs would be the weakest link. She would tell me not to retake a 34. Also, although I would love to go to a top med school, I would be very happy with my state school, or a nearby low-tier school. The premed advisor declined to say what my retake threshold should be, she told me to wait for my scores on January 6th. Based on our "hypothetical" discussions, I suspect she would tell me to retake a 32 or lower, but she would tell me to keep a 33 or higher.
 
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