Nov 16, 2010
8
0
California
Status
Pre-Medical
I am looking for advice on how it might be possible for me to get into med school. Any opinions are welcome, please help me!

I have a degree in biology from a prestigious school. However, my first two years were horrible, partied way too much etc.. Got my act together the last few years and finished with a 3.22 cumulative, 2.99 BCPM. However this is with a strong upward trend, with many A-/A's in upper division biology including cell bio, genetics, anatomy, physiology, neurobiology, immunology, and endocrinology.

I eventually went through an accelerated second degree BSN program, got 3.9 GPA, graduated Summa Cum Laude.

I have worked as a critical care RN for three years now, two of those at a very busy level-1 trauma center. I love patient care. However, I am starting to feel like I need to move up in the level of my practice before I get totally bored with nursing. I have no interest in mid level practice, however I would consider DO school if no other options were available.

I have all of my pre-med requirements done, however most of the basic ones are with poor grades:

Calculus 1 and 2: C/C
Honors physics: B-/C/C (three semesters)
Honors chemistry: C/B
Honors organic chem: C/B+
plus three semesters upper division chem with grades A/A-/B
Biology: opted out with an AP exam score of '5'
I have taken 12 semesters of upper division bio, including those mentioned above. 2 semesters of lab classes however both were anatomy related.

So as of present, my cum gpa is 3.36 and my BCPM is 2.99, with a strong upward trend. I have not taken the MCAT.

I have extensive clinical experience however NO research, volunteer, or shadowing.

I know I need to absolutely ACE the MCAT to have any prayer of a US MD school, however that is not likely given that it has been almost ten years since I finished my undergrad.

So what are my options?

Do I need to go back and take basic bio even though I have a degree in biology?

Should I enroll in a post-bacc to redo all of those C classes and increase my chances of doing well on the MCAT?

And during which, volunteer and/or shadow and/or conduct research?

Possibly enroll in an SMP after that?

Should I just take the MCAT and apply this spring and hope some DO school or Caribbean school accepts me?

Should I can the idea of being an MD and go to CRNA school instead?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I realize I am way behind the ball and need to really get on it and work hard if I am to have any hope of success in this.

Thank you.
 

0919mmk

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Oct 27, 2009
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I think that a lot depends on the MCAT. If you had a 30+, DO would be a strong possibility, or even your state MD school, as long as the rest of your app is ok in terms of ECs etc. I was in a somewhat similar boat - applied with a 3.1/3.0 last cycle and got 3 MD interviews, and one MD acceptance. I had a 32 MCAT. My acceptance didn't pan out in the end due to personal stuff, so I am reapplying, and focusing on the MCAT. If you can get a 33-35 MCAT, then MD is def a possibility I think, considering your clinical experience. Make sure you have some community service too tho!

Thus, if I were you, I'd think hard about an MCAT prep course or something like that. If you do well on the March-April MCAT, you could apply this summer (2011) without worrying about post-baccs etc. But def apply DO as well as MD. That was my mistake last time- this time I am def applying to both. Good luck!
 

0919mmk

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Oct 27, 2009
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Also, retaking science classes that you got a C in will help if you apply DO because they replace your grade, whereas MD schools average the grade. Retaking those on a part-time basis would probably be a good idea to show you can handle the work.
 

FrkyBgStok

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i don't know why you think DO=Caribbean but going MD would be incredibly difficult but possible and if you rock the MCAT you may be able to go DO. like the above poster, you might want to consider retaking some classes.
 

0919mmk

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Oct 27, 2009
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Yes - it should be noted that DO >> Carrib. For example, if you got a 26 MCAT, DO is basically out, but carrib is still in play.
 
OP
pyrosis
Nov 16, 2010
8
0
California
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you for your response, guys.

Retake classes, community service, MCAT, apply this spring and see what happens. It sounds like a rational plan.

What about basic bio? Does anyone have feedback on whether or not I need to take that in order to be even considered?

Thanks again
 
OP
pyrosis
Nov 16, 2010
8
0
California
Status
Pre-Medical
Also..

Where I am living now there is no university, just a community college. Is it a bad idea to retake a class that I took at a university, here at a community college?

And..

How about shadowing? Is it necessary? Because I feel that I really don't need it, but how will the adcoms feel? Is it a strike against me if I choose to not shadow an MD? (no DO's around to shadow, I live in California)
 

zebalong

10+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2007
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I am looking for advice on how it might be possible for me to get into med school. Any opinions are welcome, please help me!

I have a degree in biology from a prestigious school. However, my first two years were horrible, partied way too much etc.. Got my act together the last few years and finished with a 3.22 cumulative, 2.99 BCPM. However this is with a strong upward trend, with many A-/A's in upper division biology including cell bio, genetics, anatomy, physiology, neurobiology, immunology, and endocrinology.

I eventually went through an accelerated second degree BSN program, got 3.9 GPA, graduated Summa Cum Laude.

I have worked as a critical care RN for three years now, two of those at a very busy level-1 trauma center. I love patient care. However, I am starting to feel like I need to move up in the level of my practice before I get totally bored with nursing. I have no interest in mid level practice, however I would consider DO school if no other options were available.

I have all of my pre-med requirements done, however most of the basic ones are with poor grades:

Calculus 1 and 2: C/C
Honors physics: B-/C/C (three semesters)
Honors chemistry: C/B
Honors organic chem: C/B+
plus three semesters upper division chem with grades A/A-/B
Biology: opted out with an AP exam score of '5'
I have taken 12 semesters of upper division bio, including those mentioned above. 2 semesters of lab classes however both were anatomy related.

So as of present, my cum gpa is 3.36 and my BCPM is 2.99, with a strong upward trend. I have not taken the MCAT.

I have extensive clinical experience however NO research, volunteer, or shadowing.

I know I need to absolutely ACE the MCAT to have any prayer of a US MD school, however that is not likely given that it has been almost ten years since I finished my undergrad.

So what are my options?

Do I need to go back and take basic bio even though I have a degree in biology?

Should I enroll in a post-bacc to redo all of those C classes and increase my chances of doing well on the MCAT?

And during which, volunteer and/or shadow and/or conduct research?

Possibly enroll in an SMP after that?

Should I just take the MCAT and apply this spring and hope some DO school or Caribbean school accepts me?

Should I can the idea of being an MD and go to CRNA school instead?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I realize I am way behind the ball and need to really get on it and work hard if I am to have any hope of success in this.

Thank you.
If i were you, I'd retake bio, to get your sci gpa above 3.0 and also so that you have a strong foundation going into the MCAT, I'd take a MCAT prep course since your courses were awhile ago (i took princeton and loved it but i hear good things about berkeley review too if you are in the cali area) and aim for a score above 30. Your cum gpa + a sci gpa above 3.0 as well as a decent MCAT 28+ i believe would put you in a competitive spot for a DO school (sorry though im not super familiar with osteo programs). if you want to do Allo i think at this point the only way to go would be to do SMP because allo does not let you retake your classes to improve your gpa which means your Bs/Cs on your prerequs will always be there.. and for an allo unless you are an URM a sub 3.5 is really really tough to overcome unless you have a strong state school with lower stats. You seem to have lots of credits so bringing up your gpa just by taking post-bac classes doesn't seem very feasible.

Get some volunteer under your belt a year should be great in just one interesting activity. You don't need research at all. Everyone on this board told me the same thing and I was doubtful at first but when i applied my non-research but strong clinical background was more then sufficient (i applied with around 5 yrs as an ED RN). Good luck!

You don't need shadowing, a community college should be fine.
 
OP
pyrosis
Nov 16, 2010
8
0
California
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks, zebalong, I appreciate your feedback.

Do you have any suggestions for volunteer work? What exactly do you consider 'interesting?' I am trying to get into a trip to Haiti in december as an RN but it's only for a week. Don't think that will be nearly enough.

My state is California so I am thinking the state MD schools are going to be really really tough to get into.

I am thinking take one more year to get my ducks in a row, retake as much class as I can (not necessarily formal post-bac.. perhaps the UCB extension program), volunteer, rock the MCAT.. Then apply, to both MD and DO, spring 2012. Solid plan?
 

zebalong

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Sep 24, 2007
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Thanks, zebalong, I appreciate your feedback.

Do you have any suggestions for volunteer work? What exactly do you consider 'interesting?' I am trying to get into a trip to Haiti in december as an RN but it's only for a week. Don't think that will be nearly enough.

My state is California so I am thinking the state MD schools are going to be really really tough to get into.

I am thinking take one more year to get my ducks in a row, retake as much class as I can (not necessarily formal post-bac.. perhaps the UCB extension program), volunteer, rock the MCAT.. Then apply, to both MD and DO, spring 2012. Solid plan?
I did hospice work and a free clinic out in fresno (far drive from the bay area)... but do whatever you like. As a nurse there were so many opprotunities, diabetes education, free clinic work, hospice, or do something non-health related, the thing that is lucky for you is that you don't need health related activites b/c being a nurse is more then enough.

I hate to say it but as someone who has just went through the allo process in Cali and is now in NY i applied with a little more then >3.65 and >34... got interviews but wasn't fortunate enough to get any UC acceptance. Yea Cali will probably be like 99.99% no- unless youre a URM or you work on your application like crazy and get your cum and sci gpa above 3.6 but even then it will be VERY tough (that alone would probably take you at least 4 years or so of a full time load if you have lots of credits), but osteo might be within range if you can get a good MCAT... both osteo schools in cali have higher then normal gpa/mcat averages but i hear that many osteo schools really like non-trad health related applicants. But like i said i think you will have to apply broadly

good luck:luck:
 
Oct 17, 2010
428
1
Status
Medical Student
Also..

Where I am living now there is no university, just a community college. Is it a bad idea to retake a class that I took at a university, here at a community college?

And..

How about shadowing? Is it necessary? Because I feel that I really don't need it, but how will the adcoms feel? Is it a strike against me if I choose to not shadow an MD? (no DO's around to shadow, I live in California)
Haha this is funny... there are plenty of DO's in California
 

jl lin

7+ Year Member
Oct 9, 2009
5,098
1,261
I am looking for advice on how it might be possible for me to get into med school. Any opinions are welcome, please help me!

I have a degree in biology from a prestigious school. However, my first two years were horrible, partied way too much etc.. Got my act together the last few years and finished with a 3.22 cumulative, 2.99 BCPM. However this is with a strong upward trend, with many A-/A's in upper division biology including cell bio, genetics, anatomy, physiology, neurobiology, immunology, and endocrinology.

I eventually went through an accelerated second degree BSN program, got 3.9 GPA, graduated Summa Cum Laude.

I have worked as a critical care RN for three years now, two of those at a very busy level-1 trauma center. I love patient care. However, I am starting to feel like I need to move up in the level of my practice before I get totally bored with nursing. I have no interest in mid level practice, however I would consider DO school if no other options were available.



Oh and CRNA is a totally different game in my view. So it really depends on what you really want to do. Can you see yourself doing anything other than being a physician? To me, I think there is much to be said about this particular question. It hits at the heart of things to me.
I have all of my pre-med requirements done, however most of the basic ones are with poor grades:

Calculus 1 and 2: C/C
Honors physics: B-/C/C (three semesters)
Honors chemistry: C/B
Honors organic chem: C/B+
plus three semesters upper division chem with grades A/A-/B
Biology: opted out with an AP exam score of '5'
I have taken 12 semesters of upper division bio, including those mentioned above. 2 semesters of lab classes however both were anatomy related.

So as of present, my cum gpa is 3.36 and my BCPM is 2.99, with a strong upward trend. I have not taken the MCAT.

I have extensive clinical experience however NO research, volunteer, or shadowing.

I know I need to absolutely ACE the MCAT to have any prayer of a US MD school, however that is not likely given that it has been almost ten years since I finished my undergrad.

So what are my options?

Do I need to go back and take basic bio even though I have a degree in biology?

Should I enroll in a post-bacc to redo all of those C classes and increase my chances of doing well on the MCAT?

And during which, volunteer and/or shadow and/or conduct research?

Possibly enroll in an SMP after that?

Should I just take the MCAT and apply this spring and hope some DO school or Caribbean school accepts me?

Should I can the idea of being an MD and go to CRNA school instead?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I realize I am way behind the ball and need to really get on it and work hard if I am to have any hope of success in this.

Thank you.


OK, I think you need to think D.O. or maybe SMP, depending on your MCAT score. Even for DO, you may have to re-take some of your sciences. At least DO schools will replace those grades, whereas for allopathic, no. They won't. You can re-take but it's averaged out.

I would refer to Dr. Midlife's advice. She usually does a good job with giving advice for pre-meds, especially non-trads.

I also wouldn't retake pre-med science courses at a community college.

Shadowing is also a great idea. Don't assume b/c you are a RN with strong critical care experience that you won't need to shadow. Wrong thinking.

It's nice you have some hard core RN trauma experience. That can definitely rock and roll, but I don't think as things are right now you are anything close to a sure thing for med school--not even for DO, unless you reallly get into the mid to higher 30's or up on MCAT. With C's, unless you really didn't go to class or screwed off a lot, I'm not so sure mid to upper 30's or higher is doable for you, unless you are just a great STD test-taker.

Schools want to pick the best horses with the best stats. Now, of course the better stats do not always mean the better horse--during the process or as part of the end-product. But med schools still play the numbers. It's a horse race.


Must have screwed my add on up.

What I wrote that didn't come through is that CRNA is a totally different game. You have to find out what you really want to do and why. I think if you can see yourself doing anything else than being a physician then you have your answer.
 
Last edited:

zebalong

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OK, I think you need to think D.O. or maybe SMP, depending on your MCAT score. Even for DO, you may have to re-take some of your sciences. At least DO schools will replace those grades, whereas for allopathic, no. They won't. You can re-take but it's averaged out.

I would refer to Dr. Midlife's advice. She usually does a good job with giving advice for pre-meds, especially non-trads.

I also wouldn't retake pre-med science courses at a community college.

Shadowing is also a great idea. Don't assume b/c you are a RN with strong critical care experience that you won't need to shadow. Wrong thinking.

It's nice you have some hard core RN trauma experience. That can definitely rock and roll, but I don't think as things are right now you are anything close to a sure thing for med school--not even for DO, unless you reallly get into the mid to higher 30's or up on MCAT. With C's, unless you really didn't go to class or screwed off a lot, I'm not so sure mid to upper 30's or higher is doable for you, unless you are just a great STD test-taker.

Schools want to pick the best horses with the best stats. Now, of course the better stats do not always mean the better horse--during the process or as part of the end-product. But med schools still play the numbers. It's a horse race.


Must have screwed my add on up.

What I wrote that didn't come through is that CRNA is a totally different game. You have to find out what you really want to do and why. I think if you can see yourself doing anything else than being a physician then you have your answer.
About the shadowing... if you've been a critical care RN you definitely have had a group of docs you've worked with. For me that was more then enough to get a couple of good letters of recs. And in that case i say in my opinion, no you don't need to shadow. It didn't hold my application back in the least nor was it ever questioned why i didn't shadow.

Now it is a different case if you were a type of nurse with very little doctor contact - like rehab, nursing home sup. or even some med/surg where you just get orders of the phone... so you don't have a letter of rec writer... then I'd say yes shadow in order to get a letter of rec.

As a nurse you have really easy access to physician letter writers and I'd say those can go a very long way in terms of them being able to say something about working with you, not just shadowing. As a critical care nurse I'd almost say it should be expected that you could get a letter of rec from a doc, otherwise put yourself out there and get to know one.
 
OP
pyrosis
Nov 16, 2010
8
0
California
Status
Pre-Medical
zebalong-

thanks again. I live in a small town but there is definitely hospice volunteer opportunity here. Will look into that ASAP. And yes for LOR I am already thinking one from RN school, plus two MDs that I work with. Any of my undergrad professors are so far in the past that they will hardly remember me by now.

jl lin-
Thank you also for your feedback.

In fact I really didn't go to class, and I screwed off a lot. I am also a good std test taker. However, true enough, none of this means I can get a high 30 on the MCAT, which obviously I would need..

Also I think your advice is to be taken seriously. That is, if I can imagine myself doing anything else, that I should take that easier path instead. You are actually not the first person to give me this exact advice today. Still soul searching for the answer on this one.

As for SMP: Most of the ones that I have looked at offer core curriculum that I have already taken, and for the most part GOTTEN A's IN. IE, cell bio, immunology, neurobiolgy, endocrinology, genetics, anatomy, physiology, etc. Unfortunately, all of those A's in upper division couldn't undo how badly I screwed up my first two years of college, in lower division courses that in reality I just wasn't interested in. So what I want to know is, would taking an SMP even be helpful at this point? Since I have already taken and done well in those classes? IE, if having done well in those courses hasn't already proved that I can perform academically, what good would taking them again in an SMP do, besides cost me thousands of dollars and time?

I realize that my only option may in fact be DO, since I can replace grades and bring my BCPM way up by doing so. And I would be ok with that to be honest.

I appreciate all of the feedback so far. Thank you again.
 

jl lin

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Oct 9, 2009
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zebalong-

thanks again. I live in a small town but there is definitely hospice volunteer opportunity here. Will look into that ASAP. And yes for LOR I am already thinking one from RN school, plus two MDs that I work with. Any of my undergrad professors are so far in the past that they will hardly remember me by now.

jl lin-
Thank you also for your feedback.

In fact I really didn't go to class, and I screwed off a lot. I am also a good std test taker. However, true enough, none of this means I can get a high 30 on the MCAT, which obviously I would need..

Also I think your advice is to be taken seriously. That is, if I can imagine myself doing anything else, that I should take that easier path instead. You are actually not the first person to give me this exact advice today. Still soul searching for the answer on this one.

As for SMP: Most of the ones that I have looked at offer core curriculum that I have already taken, and for the most part GOTTEN A's IN. IE, cell bio, immunology, neurobiolgy, endocrinology, genetics, anatomy, physiology, etc. Unfortunately, all of those A's in upper division couldn't undo how badly I screwed up my first two years of college, in lower division courses that in reality I just wasn't interested in. So what I want to know is, would taking an SMP even be helpful at this point? Since I have already taken and done well in those classes? IE, if having done well in those courses hasn't already proved that I can perform academically, what good would taking them again in an SMP do, besides cost me thousands of dollars and time?

I realize that my only option may in fact be DO, since I can replace grades and bring my BCPM way up by doing so. And I would be ok with that to be honest.

I appreciate all of the feedback so far. Thank you again.

Well, in that case, I guess I'd focus in on hitting the MCAT hard. It will only help you either way--DO or MD schools.


About the advice on what you see yourself doing. . .yes. Now it's a kind of cliche' statement; but that doesn't make it any less true--IMHO, powerfully so.
 

0919mmk

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I second the opinion that you essentially do not need shadowing. All the pre-med advisors and admissions people that I have spoken with tell me that shadowing is really minimally important because you aren't really doing anything. Watching a doctor work is important only in so much as you know basically what a doctor does/her daily activities etc. YOU clearly have plenty of this type of passive exposure to life as a doctor, and some active exposure (getting your hands dirty, so to speak) that most of us do not have. So as far as shadowing goes, I think it should basically be last on your list of things to do.

Also, I think it is way premature to throw in the towel as far as being a physician. DO is well within your reach, and I also strongly disagree that you need to get "mid to high 30's" (sorry lin - not personal, just my opinion). Mid to high 30's will get the attention of MD schools, if you can achieve that. If you just want to be a physician, I think that DO is the way to go for you, especially as a "non-traditional" applicant (like myself), and for DO, low 30's would be just fine for sure.

SO yes, shadowing should be low on your list, scoring well on the MCAT should be high on your list, and retaking a couple classes should be somewhere in between, IMO. You can't shift your GPA much, but between your experience as an RN and, lets say, a 32 MCAT, I believe you'd be a strong competitor for DO.
 

0919mmk

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OH also, yeah, forget Cali MD schools - they are brutal, and frankly, I know URM CA residents with 3.7 / 34 who didn't even get secondary apps from the state schools. If MD is still your thing, then either move to another state, or focus on private schools!
 
OP
pyrosis
Nov 16, 2010
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California
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Thank you 0919mmk and jl lin for your replies.

Last night I spoke at length with a friend and colleague who is a recently board certified ER doc. He got into UCSF in 2000 as non-trad. His take is that I should take the MCAT this spring and do as well as humanly possible on it. He is adamant that I do not need to retake anything, and that to do so would be a waste of my time. He also states that all the EC stuff comes secondary, and that my primary focus should be to rock the MCAT.

He also tells me to apply to many many schools, like thirty.

In a way, I see his point. For one, what would retaking a class that I have already taken prove? For two, what does my GPA from ten years ago have to do with my ability to succeed today?

However, especially for DO school, I can see that retaking some of those classes (replacing my grades) could actually have a big effect on my science GPA.

Especially in the prerequisites, which are exactly the classes I did poorly in. All the upper division stuff I have taken (including upper division chemistry) I have done relatively well in.

Any opinions on this?

If he is right, and I end up putting off application for another year to buff my application, then I have wasted a year.

If he is wrong, and I take the MCAT this spring, I may not do as well as if I put it off a year. Plus I spend all the time and money applying.
 

unsung

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Mar 12, 2007
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Also..

Where I am living now there is no university, just a community college. Is it a bad idea to retake a class that I took at a university, here at a community college?

And..

How about shadowing? Is it necessary? Because I feel that I really don't need it, but how will the adcoms feel? Is it a strike against me if I choose to not shadow an MD? (no DO's around to shadow, I live in California)
Imo, you MUST retake those pre-reqs and literally get A's in all of them. And doing it at a community college will not cut it. Doing it at your state university is fine.

Acing the MCAT is not a substitute for having good grades in the "important" classes. Adcoms want to see that you have what it takes to handle the coursework. Being able to "get it together" for one test doesn't mean you'll have the discipline, etc. to manage the continuous coursework entailed in passing med school.

The shadowing, etc. is useful, but definitely the glaring aspect of your application is those grades in the pre-reqs. For what it's worth, I retook some of the courses (also prestigious undergrad) at local university when I decided to apply to med school later on in life. It was one of the most important things I did. Feel free to PM me if you want more details.
 

FrkyBgStok

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another problem is "doing as well as humanly possible" on the MCAT. This test is unlike any other test you have ever taken. people graduate with 4.0 GPAs, study specifically for this test for 3-4 months, take 20 practice exams, and still end up with subpar scores. you can do well on the test, it is possible but you really need to be realistic, as in what are you doing to do if you get a 28. You could get a 36+ but statistically the odds are so far against you that you can't plan on that.
 
OP
pyrosis
Nov 16, 2010
8
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California
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Pre-Medical
Even though something tells me that I can ace this test this coming spring if I put my mind to it, I agree that the road of taking an extra year seems to be much safer. Not only to have extra time to retake the prereqs that I did poorly in, but also time to cultivate relationships with academic professors from which to obtain letters of reference, and also time to beef up volunteer and research areas of my application.

This is also a longer and more difficult road, one on which I will likely be largely on my own.

Which spawns an entirely new set of questions.

Given my history, do you think it would be advisable to retake all of the prerequisites, or only the ones in which I scored a "C"?

(which would be.. calculus, second semester physics, first sememster chem, first semester ochem.. possibly basic bio..??)

Do I need to take basic bio or not? More importantly, how can I find this information out?

Would it be better to do this DIY/a-la-carte style? Or better to be enrolled in a formal post-bac?

I can see drawbacks and advantages to both. The first choice will be better suited to only taking the courses which I actually need, IE retakes. The second choice has the advantage of advisors and/or financial aid.

If a formal post-bac is the best choice, which one? The Berkeley program seems to offer what I need, but I am totally unclear if that program is worth taking or not. The University of Oregon program looks to also be what I need, but is longer and more expensive.

Please, any opinions on these matters are welcome. Thank you.
 

zebalong

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Even though something tells me that I can ace this test this coming spring if I put my mind to it, I agree that the road of taking an extra year seems to be much safer. Not only to have extra time to retake the prereqs that I did poorly in, but also time to cultivate relationships with academic professors from which to obtain letters of reference, and also time to beef up volunteer and research areas of my application.

This is also a longer and more difficult road, one on which I will likely be largely on my own.

Which spawns an entirely new set of questions.

Given my history, do you think it would be advisable to retake all of the prerequisites, or only the ones in which I scored a "C"?

(which would be.. calculus, second semester physics, first sememster chem, first semester ochem.. possibly basic bio..??)

Do I need to take basic bio or not? More importantly, how can I find this information out?

Would it be better to do this DIY/a-la-carte style? Or better to be enrolled in a formal post-bac?

I can see drawbacks and advantages to both. The first choice will be better suited to only taking the courses which I actually need, IE retakes. The second choice has the advantage of advisors and/or financial aid.

If a formal post-bac is the best choice, which one? The Berkeley program seems to offer what I need, but I am totally unclear if that program is worth taking or not. The University of Oregon program looks to also be what I need, but is longer and more expensive.

Please, any opinions on these matters are welcome. Thank you.
If your near the area Mills has an awesome post-bac with a good track record and linkages but i hear it is competitive ie they take people who would probably get into med school even w/o the program (a fellow nurse did it).

DIY post-bacs are good if you are motivated b/c they are most of the time cheaper- but get ready to put yourself out there because unlike formal ones that give you committee letters you have to collect letters of recs for yourself. I did a DIY and i don't regret it for a second.

Becareful with the MCAT, subpar grades in the preques will hurt you on the MCAT. It tests mastery not proficiency of the material- i got A's in all my pre-requs but it still took me more studying, more practice questions, and a lot of adjusting to score decent on the practice exams. Like others have said it is probably unlike any other test you've taken and is difficult in a way that is hard to explain. I would take a practice test, don't waste an official one but take a kaplan one or princeton to see how convoluted they can make the material. If it is way beyond your scope I'd say retake the prerequ. no matter what your grade was.

If you retake and master the material i'd bet your MCAT score will show it.
Like other people have said with a subpar gpa your MCAT will be weighted heavily. If your smart i think a low-mid 30's is no prob if you prep right. Don't shoot yourself in the foot though by not learning the material well the first time and think that you will learn it through a prep course. A prep course is there to prep you for the exam by strengthening what you already know,it is not to teach you the material.
 

eablackwell

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Did anyone say move out of CA? There were a few longer posts that I didn't read completely, so I'm not sure. I know this sounds weird, but I have heard CA is an unfortunately fortunate state to live in med school wise. It has tons of med schools, but they're crazy competitive and overrun with applicants.

Anyway, most things that came to mind have already been stated, and I'm not saying you SHOULD leave CA. I'm just throwing the idea out there. :rolleyes:

I also don't think you should retake bio 1 & 2. You have As in several upper division biology classes. There are better things to retake for grade padding/replacement (chem, ochem, calc, physics...aka things you have not proven proficient in via higher lvl classes in the same department). Again, just an opinion.

Good luck! :thumbup: