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Rewrite MCAT + submit ap later or not worth it?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by brownrobbin, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. brownrobbin

    brownrobbin 2+ Year Member

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    Jan 16, 2007
    Hi everyone,

    I'm a Canadian and I'm going to be applying to US schools this summer. But I've got a dilemma. Here are my stats:

    GPA:3.89 from U of Toronto
    MCAT:
    -BIO13, P/S10, Verbal 8, Writing S = 31S
    - BIO14, P/S11, Verbal 8, Writing R = 33R

    I don't really know how good my stats are (prob. none for the non top-5 schools; still waiting for my MSAR in the mail), but I'm debating whether to re-write the MCAT this July/August.

    Only problem is, 1) I dont know how well I'd be able to improve in verbal , 2) I'll have to wait till mcat scores come out in September until my ap is considered "complete", which decreases my cahnces for schools that are on a rolling-basis.

    Any advice would be greately appreciated!
     
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  3. baylormed

    baylormed On the Search 5+ Year Member

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    Right behind you
    I would apply. Your 33R is very good, and while a V8 is not the ideal it is still "average" enough that you may have a shot. Not to mention your gpa is pretty good, and if you have the right EC's, there is no reason why you should hold off.
     
  4. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc 10+ Year Member

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    For Canadian schools the 8 will hurt, however in AMERICA i.e. USA we tend not to be as picky with exact strict cutoffs.

    Even HMS has taken people with a 33 MCAT score. So its not impossible. The only thing that would be my consideration is how do they factor in people who are Canadian and non US residents. However, numbers wise I don't think you'd have any problem getting in somewhere here if the rest of your app is strong.
     
  5. brownrobbin

    brownrobbin 2+ Year Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Thanx for such quick responses! I'm also concerned b/c my 33R is from the 1st time I wrote the MCAT, and the 31S is the 2nd time. Some schools take your latest mcat, no? I can't seem to find anywhere whether school's take the lastest or highest mcat.... i guess this'll be in the MSAR?
     
  6. GoLAClippers

    GoLAClippers Banned Banned

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    At this pre-med meeting, one of the admissions person from UCSD said that people with any section lower than 8 should retake the MCAT (however, they do give exceptions to ESL or international students, under-represented minorities, disadvantaged background folks, & those with incredible ECs). Someone that had an overall 33 MCAT but with 8 on PS section asked the admissions lady for her advice, and she said that he should retake the MCAT. She said the school usually prefers someone who has 29 with 9 10 10 over someone with a high score but less than 9 on a section or more.

    Note: This is the UCSD admissions opinion and not any other school
     
  7. armybound

    armybound future urologist. Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Uranus
    Applying late will hurt far more than an 8 on the verbal section, in my opinion.
     
  8. PEN15

    PEN15 Member 5+ Year Member

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    Canada/Australia
    Agreed. You will get into an American school providing that you don't muck up the interview. You will realize that the 8 will hurt you when you start applying to Canadian schools.
     
  9. GoLAClippers

    GoLAClippers Banned Banned

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    Actually, his/her getting into a US school won't be any easier than getting into a Canadian one since he/she would be considered international.

    International student = higher standard for admission
     
  10. PEN15

    PEN15 Member 5+ Year Member

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    Canada/Australia
    Yes for state schools. Private schools are fair game though.
     
  11. brownrobbin

    brownrobbin 2+ Year Member

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    Jan 16, 2007
    Hey,

    I'm a girl btw. lol. Also, I forgot to mention I'd prob. be looking only @ schools that are "canadian friendly" (ie. having taken canadians b4). I already got rejected to some canadian schools b/c of my 8 ... I was hoping the US schools are not so systematic when it comes to rejecting applications (ie. holistic), cuz I think my EC's are pretty good...
     
  12. MadHopsMD

    MadHopsMD 10+ Year Member

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    DO NOT RE-WRITE. Just apply early. speaking from experience.
     
  13. healthnut

    healthnut 2+ Year Member

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    i vouch for applying early. it's hard to increase that verbal score (at least in my experience).
     
  14. Tired Pigeon

    Tired Pigeon 7+ Year Member

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    Your score is reasonably competitive -- in your position I would not retake. What you might gain from taking the test again is more than offset by the considerable disadvantage of applying late.

    I do know that a number of schools will take your best overall score, and there are even rumors of a few that take the best from each section -- check with the admissions offices at the schools you are interested in to find out specific policies.
     
  15. ryanl

    ryanl 2+ Year Member

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    I dunno if you could do this, maybe someone can shed light on if this is possible.

    But apply with your current MCAT scores, AND re-take the MCAT in july/aug. I would thing they would consider your app complete right away since you have taken the MCAT already. Then when the new scores arrive, it will be an update to your file.

    Like i said, I'm not sure how AMCAS works with multiple MCAT tries.

    Anyone?
     
  16. armybound

    armybound future urologist. Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Yes.
     
  17. brownrobbin

    brownrobbin 2+ Year Member

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    Jan 16, 2007
    Yes?

    So I could submit my new mcat scores as an update? And are "updates" in general, required? (what if my new mcat's the same....as my old scores?)


    Thanks everyone!
     
  18. Chulito

    Chulito El feucho 5+ Year Member

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    I totally agree with this. Applying early is so advantageous and waiting would be a big mistake, but retaking after you've applied is perfectly legitimate and not so very uncommon.

    Apply on the first day of the cycle with your current MCAT scores. Let them know in the application that you are retaking the test and tell them when they can expect updated scores, then study your ass off and be sure to match (or even improve) your science scores and to improve your verbal score to at least a 10. There are no drawbacks to this, as long as you don't get worse scores the third time around. If you wait to apply until after your new results are released, schools will still see all three tests scores, but they will see your whole application much later in the season rather than only your retake scores.

    As far as not telling schools that you will be retaking the MCAT and deciding whether to send in your results after you see how you perform, I don't know that you have that much control over the process. I'm pretty sure that MCAT scores are automatically reported to AMCAS unless you cancel the test right after taking it (i.e. without waiting to see how you did). I don't know whether AMCAS automatically sends updates to all of your schools, but it seems reasonable and even likely that they do. You can call AMCAS to find out about these matters in order to make a more informed decision. They have been friendly and helpful with me on numerous occasions, and always up front with "strategic" information. But really, study your sciences well to make sure that they are still fresh and fluid in your mind, and be sure to do a gazillion practice tests before hand to get yourself into the MCAT groove, especially as regards the verbal section. There's no other way to prepare for that section, but practice tests definitely make a difference. Own that damned test the third time around so that you will be eager for your scores to be reported.
     
  19. brownrobbin

    brownrobbin 2+ Year Member

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    Chulito,
    Thanx for such kind words :)

    Just a quick q, if I put in my ap to 'expect new mcat scores in the update', wouldn't that make my ap 'incomplete'?
     
  20. future_dr_house

    future_dr_house . 7+ Year Member

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    Call AMCAS and ask this question
     
  21. Chulito

    Chulito El feucho 5+ Year Member

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    As the future Dr. House has said, you should call AMCAS about that, because I don't know. If it turns out that you can't check off the scores-pending box (or whatever it's called) on your AMCAS application without delaying the formal completion, then I personally would not check it off. I would submit the application with my old scores and let it be verified and completed as soon as possible, but I would still submit the new scores later on. In that case you may want to mention somewhere in the written portions of your application that you are planning to retake the test, or perhaps mention it in an addendum when you submit secondaries if you only apply to schools that do not screen before giving out their secondaries. Basically let them know that you are eager to get in and are doing all that you can to improve your application (in case they think that a V8 is just too low), but also give them the opportunity to show you some love before your retake results will be reported, since a V8 may not bother all schools equally. I can think of a couple things that you may want to ask AMCAS regarding this approach.

    1) If you submit your application with your current MCAT scores and do not officially indicate that further scores are pending, make sure that you will be able to add retake scores to your application later on. I can't imagine that you wouldn't be able to, but it's certainly better to verify that with them rather than count on the musings of SDN speculators.

    2) If it turns out that you can't add future scores once the application has been completed and verified, ask them if there is another way to have retake scores officially sent directly to your schools without going through AMCAS. In other words, even if early submission of the AMCAS application were to leave you without the option of adding future scores to that application, you may still be able to inform your schools directly of future scores bypassing AMCAS at that point. Again, find out from the folks who know, since I can only speculate.
     
  22. brownrobbin

    brownrobbin 2+ Year Member

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    Jan 16, 2007
    :) Thanks!!!
     
  23. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    Just make sure that they know you have another MCAT pending.
     
  24. MadHopsMD

    MadHopsMD 10+ Year Member

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    Ok dude...

    firstly, DO NOT RE-WRITE the MCAT. I presume you are writing it to get Canadian interviews (queens, western)...then go ahead and write it, but with those scores you will get into a US MD school if you apply super early. Probably is harder to get into a top 20 school, but you will get in (eg. UPSTATE, Wayne come to mind). With your GPA and MCAT scores...Canadian schools like UOFT, Ottawa, Mac, UBC are possible too...but I totally understand why you are re-writing again. Getting in Canada is tough.

    Secondly, I would not tell the US schools you are writing the MCAT again. The reason is because when you do they will put your file as INCOMPLETE till they receive the score, which will be released in mid-Sept (if you write it in early Aug) and this will cause a delay (maybe not so much delay if you were submitting in AUG/Sept but delay nonetheless). And if you consider how hard it is to improve from a 33, its probably safe to assume you wont score much higher again. Even though you might improve on verbal component which is enough for you to get canadian interviews and thus worth the risk :). Now if you do score freaking amazing (35+) I would send a school an update about your scores. I wont go into the scenario where you do worse...
     
  25. MadHopsMD

    MadHopsMD 10+ Year Member

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    AMCAS is not delayed. its your secondaries that will be held back till they the schools get new scorse. But whats cool is that once they get your scores you will reviewed ASAP since you already have given them your sec essays, LORs, and money to review the application.
     
  26. Chulito

    Chulito El feucho 5+ Year Member

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    Schools that would have invited you to interview anyway based only on your existing scores will probably still invite you before your new scores are reported, though I'm sure they will still be interested to see those scores once they do come out (before the interview season begins, I might add). Schools that would not have invited you to interview based on your existing scores will be less inclined to reject you outright if they know that you have new scores coming soon (again, before the interview season actually begins), preferring to hold onto your application and consider inviting you to interview only after they see those scores. With both categories of school you are better off having submitted earlier and having informed them that you are retaking the test, as long as you are basically sure that you can improve your score. If you think that there is too great a chance that your score might drop, that's a whole different story, of course, in which case you would need to shift your attention to choosing schools judiciously (which is actually important regardless).

    As far as retaking the MCAT or not, do not underestimate the negative impact of a V8 at American schools, especially as an international student. Numbers are certainly not everything and people do get accepted with lowish scores, but these are the exception rather than the norm. The road to medical school is littered with the casualties and crushed dreams of applicants with below-average numbers who were unable to paint an overall picture of themselves that was compelling enough to overshadow these numbers. I'm a big believer in being able to improve MCAT scores with diligence and determination, but everyone does top out at some point. You need to honestly assess yourself and decide whether you've topped out or are pretty sure that you will be able to improve. Then you can decide whether to retake it or not, and begin realistically choosing where to apply.

    One final note. My opinions are based on the many things that I have seen and read, as well as what I have learned from speaking with a number of good inside sources about admissions matters as I have navigated this process myself; but they are still just the subjectively reasoned opinions of one person who does not work in an admissions context. Ultimately I think you should form some ideas about what you might like to do, call AMCAS and find out what you can from them, then call the admissions offices of schools to which you'd like to apply and ask them what they think. You can ask questions of them anonymously with no fear of hurting your eventual chances, so see if you can't get them to tell you whether they think you should let them know right from the beginning that you plan to retake the MCAT, whether they think you should even bother retaking the MCAT, how important they think it is that you apply super early. Go to the source whenever you can. The worst they can do is decline to answer certain questions, but with them as with the AMCAS folks, I have always had great luck getting help and information.
     
  27. trevagandalf

    trevagandalf 7+ Year Member

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    I have a similar situation. I have a 11 V, 10 P, 10 B , P writting on my MCAT and I'll probably take it again next year because the adcom told me to improve it. My question though is if I get a lower score, does it get automatically updated on my AMCAS profile even after I have submitted my primary? And what about Texas system TMDSAS, do I have to send the scores there or not?
     
  28. Chulito

    Chulito El feucho 5+ Year Member

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    Call AMCAS. I'm pretty sure that it gets updated automatically whether you like it or not, but that kind of information is important enough to seek out authoritative answers. They're really friendly, I promise.
     
  29. MadHopsMD

    MadHopsMD 10+ Year Member

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    there is NO way you should re-write the MCAT unless your GPA is really really low OR the exam was a total fluke (as in you were scoring Mid-30s or higher on your practice).

    Yes a lower score gets automatically updated onto AMCAS. but what use to happen was that you got your "NEW MCAT" scores in Oct 15th, by that time the decisions on your application were made already (this is if you did NOT tell the school you were re-writing; if you did you will be "incomplete" till they received it). If you did re-take the MCAT there was a reason for it (lower score), and if you did improve some schools would not even look at your new score automatically (you could have send in an update however). If you did score lower, well, you probably would never see the interview anyways (if you were on hold).

    But the new multiple MCAT system you can get new scores so much faster, that this whole process I imagine would change completely.
     

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