Dismiss Notice
SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

Retake with 35N???

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Soda pop, Jun 11, 2002.

  1. Soda pop

    Soda pop Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2002
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a crazy friend who thinks his 35N (8V, 13B, 14P) and 4.0 BCPM (and 3.9 over all)will not get him into medical school. He has done research for a year now. What do you guys think? Should he take the MCAT over to improve his verbal score? I should add that he's a california resident and has his heart set on UCSF. All opinions are welcome.

    I just rolled my eyes at him like this :rolleyes: , but he wants to know what other people think.
     
  2. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. Legend

    Legend Super Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2001
    Messages:
    860
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Just let him do whatever he wants.
     
  4. WaitingImpatiently

    WaitingImpatiently Long Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    3
    I'll be honest. To get into UCSF, a 35N won't blow anyone away. The 35 is fine, obviously, but the 8V and N on the writing sample stick out a little. But how much can this guy improve on those 2 things? Probably not much, so I'd stick with the score.
     
  5. The Fly

    The Fly Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    735
    Likes Received:
    0
    With such high science #'s, I'd venture to say that if he improved his VR score by a couple of points that it'd be at the expense of 3-5 points on the other sections -- but that might be a give and take he's willing to chance given his low VR.
     
  6. none

    none 1K Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Messages:
    1,903
    Likes Received:
    5
    What happened? Is this person a non-native English speaker? I'd actually recommend the TOEFL... The N or the 8 wouldn't be all that bad, but together they do demonstrate a lack of intense skill with the language, especially when intelligence is clearly not the problem. I vote for retake, but with the foreknowledge that verbal is by far the hardest section to improve in. Now a retake is almost definitely not required to just get an acceptance...but to a great CA school, probably. The person has to got to show evidence of skill with the language and the verbal section is the (only?) one that correlates with the USMLE.
     
  7. Bikini Princess

    Joined:
    May 26, 2002
    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yup. Definitely retake the MCAT, an 8 on verbal will keep you out of many schools. He also might consider taking some post-bacc courses to boost the gpa. Remember that he needs to focus more on the academic part of the application (grades/mcat) before med schools will even look at him.
     
  8. The Fly

    The Fly Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    735
    Likes Received:
    0
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by none:
    <strong>What happened? Is this person a non-native English speaker? I'd actually recommend the TOEFL... The N or the 8 wouldn't be all that bad, but together they do demonstrate a lack of intense skill with the language, especially when intelligence is clearly not the problem. I vote for retake, but with the foreknowledge that verbal is by far the hardest section to improve in. Now a retake is almost definitely not required to just get an acceptance...but to a great CA school, probably. The person has to got to show evidence of skill with the language and the verbal section is the (only?) one that correlates with the USMLE.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Suggesting that an 8 can (or should) only come from non-native speakers is unduly harsh -- the VR section is very difficult and there are a plethora of native speakers who just have a really hard time on that section . . .
     
  9. none

    none 1K Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Messages:
    1,903
    Likes Received:
    5
    But it's not just an 8. It's an 8 and an N. Like I said, either isn't all that bad, but both show a trend, especially with such insanely high science scores.
     
  10. hassan148

    hassan148 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    I say why apply to med school those grades can't get him anywhere. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
  11. lola

    lola Bovine Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    3,848
    Likes Received:
    3
    If he consistently has low scores on practice verbal and writing portions of the MCAT, I wouldn't suggest he retake it since it's really hard to dramatically improve these sections. If, however, he consistently performed better than that on practice exams, I'd suggest retaking it. It would be better to get a 35 by raising verbal and lowering the science scores. As for the UCSF thing, I don't think an N and an 8 will look very good to adcoms. He could probably get in elsewhere with those scores, but I wouldn't count on UCSF (unless English isn't his first language).
     
  12. Soda pop

    Soda pop Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2002
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't understand where people are getting the idea that he needs to increase his GPA. :confused:
    His BCPM GPA is as good as it gets, a 4.00!!! :p
     
  13. none

    none 1K Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Messages:
    1,903
    Likes Received:
    5
    The grades thing is a joke. Can't you give us some info on the primary language status of this person?
     
  14. paean

    paean Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2002
    Messages:
    515
    Likes Received:
    1
    For UCSF, your friend would do well to raise the verbal score.
     
  15. jmejia1

    jmejia1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2001
    Messages:
    571
    Likes Received:
    0
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Bikini Princess:
    <strong>Yup. Definitely retake the MCAT, an 8 on verbal will keep you out of many schools. He also might consider taking some post-bacc courses to boost the gpa. Remember that he needs to focus more on the academic part of the application (grades/mcat) before med schools will even look at him.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Someone on this board got into Columbia and a handful of other schools with an 8VR. Slightly lower science scores. The person was non-URM, though if I remember correctly English may have not been thier firs language.

    As far as UCSF, grades and MCAT don't mean crap without a kick-ass PS and unique ECs. So it can very well happen that if your friend has a kick ass PS and ECs that standout, with his current grades and MCAT he'll get an interview at UCSF. As mentioned, it also depends if English is this person's first language.
     
  16. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  17. CANES2006

    CANES2006 Miami chica

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Messages:
    1,243
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Original Poster, I think you should club your friend over the head. Geez! Some peeps can be so anal.
     
  18. barb

    barb Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2001
    Messages:
    287
    Likes Received:
    0
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Bikini Princess:
    <strong>He also might consider taking some post-bacc courses to boost the gpa. Remember that he needs to focus more on the academic part of the application (grades/mcat) before med schools will even look at him.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I'm just curious as to why you would advise a person with a 4.0 science GPA and a 3.9 overall GPA to improve his GPA.
    I think, with grades like that, the area he may have neglected would be his EC's and should focus on strengthening that part of his application. If he has excellent EC's and a GPA like that, he should have no problem getting into a good school.
    However, having gone through this whole application process, I still find it to be a complete enigma. Some schools might reject him because of that 8, other schools will be begging him to attend because his overall score excellent and everything else is incredibly strong.
     
  19. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
    Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2001
    Messages:
    1,066
    Likes Received:
    14
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    As jmejia1 pointed out, UCSF looks for much more than just the numbers. Many applicants with great GPAs and MCATs get rejected. UCSF really wants the whole package--personal statement, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and personal qualities like signs of maturity and life experience.

    A 35N will open the door, but to walk through requires more. :D
     
  20. none

    none 1K Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Messages:
    1,903
    Likes Received:
    5
    You think an 8 VR and an N WR will open the door at UCSF? I disagree. It'll open some doors, but most likely not there. Verbal is just too important to the overall package. It's much easier to teach a person science if they can read well. The reverse just isn't true. I really think some of you are underestimating the pure importance of the verbal score and also of an overall balanced score. The issue here isn't the person's EC's or essays, we don't know what they are...we do know the MCAT and I believe there's a problem with it if someone is aiming for UCSF or similiar schools.
     
  21. EpiII

    EpiII Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2001
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with those that say it totally depends on whether or not the individual has unique ECs and the rest of the application is real solid. There is a person on SDN that got into UCSF with an MCAT less than 30 this year because they have what UCSF is interested in.

    Trust what Vader says more than the rest of us, he currently attends UCSF!
     
  22. souljah1

    souljah1 Attending

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    6
    I don't think having an 8 on verbal will definitely eliminate your chances of getting an interview at UCSF. I know someone (english as a second language) who got a 8 on the verbal section and was interviewed, then waitlisted. I think that UCSF uses a formula on for your grades, mcat, school competitiveness and your personal statement to determine whether or not you receive a secondary. Then, I think they factor in your letters, ECs, life experience and maturity to determine whether or not you receive an interview.

    I can only speak for myself. I had a 9 on the verbal section, and that is not all that different from an 8. My science GPA was lower than your friends, as was my cummGPA. However, I did get an R on the writing sample, which is very different from an N. I think they look more at your personal statement to get a sense of how you write. I wound up getting an outright acceptance (though it took them months to make the decision!). I was told that I had a solid personal statement and great life experience. It seems UCSF loves the nontraditional applicant.

    So, if your friend thinks that his numbers are the strongest part of his application, I'd tell him to try and improve his verbal score. However, if he has an excellent personal statement, unique life experiences, and an evident dedication to help those in need, I'd stay with the 8. A great personal statement will make the N seem invisible. But, if he is one of those people who only excels in science, then he may have trouble showing the adcom that he is a well rounded individual with strong personal traits and a good ability to communicate.

    I've heard (though this is a rumor from a student at ucsf)...that they take your verbal score and multiply it by 2, and then they add your P and your B score to that. If it is 40 or above, you are sitting cool for a secondary..Of course, they also take your grades and personal statement, state residency, etc..into consideration.

    Yes, an 8 is not a great score (in any category) to apply to a 'top 10 school', but to say that it will keep you from getting any love is not true. Acceptances are multifactorial. If you are great, except for the 8, I don't think it will be all that bad.
     
  23. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    2
    If he just wants to get into a medical school, then he shouldn't retake. If he really wants to go to UCSF (or any top 20 school) then he definitely needs to retake. Even if he looses a few points in the sciences, a 10V 12P 12B is a lot better score than an 8V 13P 14B.
     
  24. SicVic

    SicVic Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2001
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    0
    Pure Bull****

    There is no reason to retake the MCAT -
    WIth such a score he will get an interview anywhere - as long as he does not make a crappy Personal statement or poor LOR, or no clinical experience.

    I say his MCAT and GPA is set
    Let him worry about the rest of his Application.

    CASE CLOSED!
     
  25. none

    none 1K Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Messages:
    1,903
    Likes Received:
    5
    Here's the thing...the difference between an 8, 9, or 10 is MUCH greater than the difference between a 12, 13, or 14 due to the geometrically increasing percentiles. These super-high numbers just don't mean much. I strongly believe the difference between a 13 and a 14 is luck, not innate intelligence or studying. I think it's easy for applicants to be blinded by such a high total score, but that adcoms are more savy than that. And now you talk of the personal statement...well if the personal statement is just the best thing ever placed on paper, they're going to think the person with an N and an 8 on the MCAT...didn't write it! The writing sample isn't all that useful, but it can give the school a baseline on how well a person actually writes, since they know who wrote that essay. And yes, I'm now prepared for people to fire away with stories of their low writing sample score and how they get complimented on their amazing personal statement since every generalization on here seems to be answered with an odd specific exception. There are, of course, other ways to verify ones ability to write. The person's GPA is quite high...what university is it from? Good English grades from a competitive school can make up for a great deal... Yet...none of this really matters because we are advocating the same thing. I don't think this person should retake because I don't think the verbal will go up enough and I do think they should apply to UCSF. I just think the chance of getting in is low.
     
  26. SicVic

    SicVic Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2001
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    0
    When I was applying - everybody told me that my chances of getting into my school of choice was low based on my MCATs (which was definitely not close to a sum of 35 due to pull by my low Verbal). I agreed cause well it sound right
    I took it again, I actually improved overall but get one less pt in my Verbal.
    But I still got in!

    In his case its is a 35N - just because of an 8V and N - it drops his chances to "LOW" - This I totally disagree.

    We dont know about his other parts of his app. to make such a suggestion.

    If he does not have a solid app typical of any serious pre-med student such as. - poor excurricular, poor Personal statement and 99% course composition of sciences. Then we can say - yes - he has a low chance.
    However, there are many other ways to make up for a slight slump in the Verbal.

    If he got a 7Vr 10PS 10Bs I might suggest taking it again -
    For his score - His candidancy to be accepted to UCSF will not be hinged on the fact that he should have atleast scored 2points higher in his verbal.
    ADCOMS are humans and they dont think in Numbers - for his score (he should be worried about other parts of his app)
     
  27. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    2
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by none:
    <strong>Here's the thing...the difference between an 8, 9, or 10 is MUCH greater than the difference between a 12, 13, or 14 due to the geometrically increasing percentiles. These super-high numbers just don't mean much. I strongly believe the difference between a 13 and a 14 is luck, not innate intelligence or studying. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Oh so true, so true... bless you bringer of truth.

    Look at... <a href="http://www.studentdoc.com/medfind.html..." target="_blank">http://www.studentdoc.com/medfind.html...</a> this doesn't even ask you to distinguish between 13, 14 or 15.
     
  28. sorrento

    sorrento Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2001
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0
    But isn't it true that it is really difficult to raise your verbal score? I'm not saying it's impossible, just that it requires the kind of diligence that flat-out studying won't give you, especially when he has presumably already made such an effort and gotten and 8N. To me, a retake sounds like a recipe for disaster (what if his BS and PS dropped a point or two, and he still struggled with verbal?)

    I think you, as his wise friend, need to counsel him on the hard lessons we have all learned: at this stage in the game, don't get your heart set on UCSF, or anywhere else for that matter. You're only setting yourself up to get it broken.
     
  29. Soda pop

    Soda pop Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2002
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks everyone for your opinions.

    As for my friend...
    English isn't his first language. He came from Vietnam when he was 7 years old. He is currently attending University of California, Irvine. He doesn't have much EC's, except the fact that he is in the Campus Wide Honors program, Regent Scholar, and is doing research (no volunteering that I know of). I can't say if he has an outstanding personal statement or not, because he hasn't written it yet. However, the reason why he is considering taking his MCAT over is because his scores and GPA is the strongest part of his application. On his practice test he has been consistently getting high numbers on science, so he doesn't think they'll drop by much or drop at all. For his verabl, he has gotten a range of scores, 8-11. Now about the writing score, he thinks his bad score came from the fact that he choked on the first writing sample.

    I hope that answers many peoples questions.

    All your replies were very much apprciated! :)
     
  30. none

    none 1K Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Messages:
    1,903
    Likes Received:
    5
    Ah, very interesting additional information! Your friend is in the unenviable position of being a true URM without any of the formal benefits of URM status. I've still got to say that UCSF is an extreme longshot. Perhaps your friend setting his upper goals with remaining at UCI would be better. And I'm re-recommending the TOEFL. I think that test might assauge some adcom concerns.
     
  31. lola

    lola Bovine Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    3,848
    Likes Received:
    3
    i'd suggest telling him to start volunteering or doing some other ec's right now. everything else is pretty impressive, and there is definitely no need to retake the mcat if english is not his first language. i still don't think it's good to get your heart set on one school. i've decided to wait to get too excited about any one school until i get an interview.
     
  32. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
    Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2001
    Messages:
    1,066
    Likes Received:
    14
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Given the fact that I attend UCSF and am cognizant of the admissions process, I would not characterize UCSF as an "extreme longshot" even given this additional information. As someone else suggested, it sounds like you should encourage your friend to do some volunteer work and take on some leadership roles. Also, unusual or distinguishing talents or experiences come in handy. It would probably be good for him to write about what his experience immigratng was like and how it affected him. It would be reasonable to talk about having to learn English as a second language and whatever struggles he may have gone through in the process.

    The bottom line is that no one portion of the application will sink you necessarily (unless it is something horribly disastrous, which an 8 on verbal is NOT). Given his GPA, I would tend to think he is a very diligent, good student whose only potential weakness academically is the language issue. If he has good extracurricular activities in which he has taken a leadership role, supportive letters of recommendation, a convincing personal statement, and has a mature, intelligent personality, then I would say he stands a very good chance of getting accepted somewhere.

    It is absolutely right that an applicant should not set his/her heart on one particular school, as there is a high degree of randomness to the admissions process. I was accepted at several great schools, but also waitlisted or rejected by several. You'll find similar experiences among many of your colleagues.

    Hope this is helpful. :D
     
  33. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Messages:
    3,797
    Likes Received:
    0
    Let me post here instead:

    People talking about UCSF like they know about it when they live in Indiana and ****! Come on people. You can't say that sort of stuff when you don't have a basis. If you had applied there and actually KNEW what they wanted then I would give you more credit. It's funny to see the stuff that comes out of people's posts when they say:

    "You got an 8 in Verbal?? You are gonna have to retake that for a top 20 school!!" BULL****! Defintely not the case
     
  34. T.C.

    T.C. Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2002
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Let's approach this from a different angle. Your friend gets a 36 the next time he takes the test, bumped his V up 2 but his P dropped 1. I am an admissions person. His file gets to my desk because his numbers are good enough to pass the primary phase of his application. Now I have to read to understand the person behind the numbers. I see a guy who has the security/maturity of about a 10 year old, someone who cannot sit on one of the more outstanding numerical MCAT scores on my desk, and for what? To prove that he can read? I'm sorry, but no matter what his second score is, I see him/her as simply being childish. Tell your pal to walk into the interview room with his head high, a 35 in hand, and ready to knock me on my ass because he is a great guy/gal, highly motivated, and passionate about my profession. I read this forum sometimes since my job is relatively mind numbing, and the amount of insecurity I see is just insane. I have now gone through the process and understand how insecure you feel because of what's going on around you. Don't magnify this by being insecure about yourself. Maturity, compassion, and self-reliance more than makes up for an 8. Then again, if your friend has none of these, tell him/her to re-take and pray for the 45.

    T.C.
     

Share This Page