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I just got my MCAT score back and got a 514 (130/124/130/130). I am really sad about my CARS score and am thinking about retaking it because it is sooooo low and wanted to try to get into a T50 med school. I go to an Ivy League school have a 4.0 GPA & majoring in Biochemistry. I am ORM, female, asian, & from California.

Extracurriculars:

- Ivy League student-athlete

- Dermatology research 1 year & 2nd author publication

- 300+ hours volunteering in free clinic

- 100+ hours shadowing doctors



Do you think I should re-take the MCAT or just try to apply to low-tier schools?
 
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Banco

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You seem to have a strong application overall. The MCAT is admittedly on the low side for the top tier schools. But unless you were consistently scoring around 520 on practice exams and better on CARS, I don't see the point in retaking.

You can always apply to all the reaches/top schools you want as long as you have enough reasonable options available too.
 
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Hi! On the 4 AAMC Practice exams I scored:
FL 1: 515 (125 cars)
FL2: 514 (124 cars)
FL3: 519 (128 cars)
FL4: 521 (128 cars)

Have you heard of anyone who has gotten into a top tier school with a 514 (and 124 cars)???
 
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Isomerase

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If you re-take a great score of 514, you need to be confident that you can get a massive improvement or else re-taking it will hurt your application substantially. With two of your four AAMC's full-lengths around your actual score, I'm personally not convinced.
Do you think I should re-take the MCAT or just try to apply to mid-tier schools?
Neither. Regardless of whether you have a 514 or 520, you should apply to all your public schools and then a large range of private or OOS-friendly schools that fall near your stat range.
I would honestly be happy going to Dartmouth, USC, Emory, Tufts, or a mid-tier California school.
This is an incredibly humbling process. Even with high numbers, you should be happy to get into any continental med school. You will have a chance at high ranked schools with a 514, but there are also tons of people with much higher MCAT's who don't get into the schools you desire.
 
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Faha

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You do not need to retake a MCAT of 514. You also do not need to attend a "top 20" medical school in order to obtain a license to practice medicine.
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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Hi! On the 4 AAMC Practice exams I scored:
FL 1: 515 (125 cars)
FL2: 514 (124 cars)
FL3: 519 (128 cars)
FL4: 521 (128 cars)

Have you heard of anyone who has gotten into a top tier school with a 514 (and 124 cars)???
I remember reading somewhere that for most actual score is similar to FL2 and your score proved that. It's risky to retake given your FLs unless you do lot of prep and lot of FLs and score above 520 in each of them I won't take it. You should get into mid tiers and given research exp you may get IIs at some T10s.
 
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Orims

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A 514 is more than enough! I debated on retaking my 513 and I I glad I did not. So far my cycle is going a lot better than I anticipated.
 
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Having your heart set on a T10 or T20 school is a great way to set yourself up for disappointment.
 
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Rogue42

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I just got my MCAT score back and got a 514 (130/124/130/130). I am really sad about my CARS score and am thinking about retaking it because it is sooooo low and wanted to try to get into a T20 med school. I go to an Ivy League school have a 4.0 GPA & majoring in Biochemistry. I am ORM, female, asian, & from California.

Extracurriculars:

- Ivy League student-athlete

- Dermatology research 1 year & 2nd author publication

- 300+ hours volunteering in free clinic

- 100+ hours shadowing doctors



Do you think I should re-take the MCAT or just try to apply to mid-tier schools?

I would honestly be happy going to Dartmouth, USC, Emory, Tufts, or a mid-tier California school.
Alright, lets break this bad boy down.
1. Do not retake the MCAT.
2. Your ECs are great, and should carry the weight of what you're missing MCAT wise.
3. Your goal should be to get in; not to, "Get in to a top "x" school." Which you should be able to do with what little you have presented.
4. This is a truly humbling process, people with 525's do not always get accepted.
5. You should be happy to be called a "doctor" regardless of where you go to school.

Goodluck!
 
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Talldoctor96

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I think you should be incredibly proud of what you have accomplished. You will clearly be an amazing physician and get into an amazing school.
 
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Thanks for all the responses. The main reason I am looking to go to a t20 school is because I am hoping on getting into a competitive speciality (dermatology or plastics). my mom inspired me she's a plastic surgeon :)

I just thought it would be much easier to get into a plastics program going to a top school. that is why I was considering retaking my low CARS score
 
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Hi! On the 4 AAMC Practice exams I scored:
FL 1: 515 (125 cars)
FL2: 514 (124 cars)
FL3: 519 (128 cars)
FL4: 521 (128 cars)

Have you heard of anyone who has gotten into a top tier school with a 514 (and 124 cars)???

A retake is a risky proposition especially with two AAMC full length practice tests with CARS at 124-125 and an average of 126. The odds are you may stagnate on this section or only improve it marginally at best. The other sections; however, are more prone to go DOWN and hurt your chances of a top medical school.

Not being nosey, but is English your first language? If not, adcoms may consider that as well.
 
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Do you think I should re-take the MCAT or just try to apply to mid-tier schools?
I wouldn't cut any schools from your list. I would just apply to more schools to add the mid-tier schools. Don't cut yourself short.
 
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Aug 10, 2019
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IMO
don't retake the mcat unless you are certain you will get a 518.
As a Division 1 Athlete, with your gpa and other ECs, i dont think it will be your mcat thst would keep you out of all T20s. It will come dowm to your whole applocation. Im assuming you are a traditional student applicant. Remember, by definition, there are students in the bottom 10th percentile for each school, and at the T20s a D1 athlete is as good a reason as any for it not to matter.

I’d be curious what @LizzyM would say.
 

Screamapillar

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I just got my MCAT score back and got a 514 (130/124/130/130). I am really sad about my CARS score and am thinking about retaking it because it is sooooo low and wanted to try to get into a T20 med school. I go to an Ivy League school have a 4.0 GPA & majoring in Biochemistry. I am ORM, female, asian, & from California.

Extracurriculars:

- Ivy League student-athlete

- Dermatology research 1 year & 2nd author publication

- 300+ hours volunteering in free clinic

- 100+ hours shadowing doctors



Do you think I should re-take the MCAT or just try to apply to mid-tier schools?

I would honestly be happy going to Dartmouth, USC, Emory, Tufts, or a mid-tier California school.
Normally I would say hell no, especially since you were about one standard deviation from your average FL score. However, a CARS score that low may actually be a problem at a lot of schools, some screen for >125 for all sections and others informally don't like it. I would try to figure out how to improve your CARS score (read a lot of opinions in NYT and WaPo maybe), and consider retaking. You have a solid app otherwise.
 

Banco

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Thanks for all the responses. The main reason I am looking to go to a t20 school is because I am hoping on getting into a competitive speciality (dermatology or plastics). my mom inspired me she's a plastic surgeon :)

I just thought it would be much easier to get into a plastics program going to a top school. that is why I was considering retaking my low CARS score

You can absolutely go into plastics or derm without at T20 school. If you don't believe me, look at the schools the residents come from for a number of plastics/derm programs. Or look at the match lists for non-top 20 schools. This type of hypothetical is too premature at your stage.


Just for fun, here are the residents at two absolutely top plastics programs:




You'll notice that the medical schools they come from range from "low" to "top" tier. Not that you even need to go to top plastics programs, but I'm just giving you an example where your thinking might be flawed and/or too inexperienced at this point.


Long story short, you can get to where you need to from most USMD schools.
 
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Angus Avagadro

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A retake will not help very much. Many schools average MCAT scores. They will also question your judgement as to why you retake the MCAT with a score which is in the 92 %tile. No matter where you attend, you will have to be a star to match plastics amongst an elite group of students. Better to focus on that imo. Good luck and best wishes!
 
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Out of curiosity, would ya'll recommend retaking the MCAT with a score like that if you are a reapplicant?

I retook my 94th percentile (2018) MCAT to a 99th percentile and got accepted this current cycle (T30, super super grateful). However, I feel like turning in my primary early on and pre-writing better secondaries were probably what changed the game for me from my first cycle two years ago. It was very very very x 50 risky to retake a 94th score, I know, but I was desperate to find ways to bolster my app this time around and so I took the gamble. I am curious if I didn't receive more interview invites than expected because medical schools were questioning why I retook my MCAT. Hoping the responses on here will help future reapplicants who may be considering retaking their MCAT.

OP, good luck! You have a fine app and lots of good advice from the posts above!
 
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