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Seeking advice

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by Bbjk84, May 9, 2007.

  1. Bbjk84

    Bbjk84 2+ Year Member

    Mar 19, 2007
    Hello! I'm stressed out about this whole process and am seeking advice from those who can and are willing to help. Here's my situation...

    I applied this past cycle (only to DO schools) and have been waitlisted at my top choice school (PCOM). My overall GPA is 3.54, science GPA 3.55, and MCAT 17O with retake of 19P. I have excellent ECs and LORs, and I was told this by the interviewers. I feel that my application is fairly competitive except for my embarrassing MCAT score. I currently plan to retake the MCAT again this summer. My concern, however, is obviously with my MCAT. I know there are statistics showing that the MCAT is a predictor for the board exams. Many of the specialty fields I am currently interested in (I know this is subject to change within med school) are some of the more competitive fields and require stellar performance on the boards.

    My question/concern is whether I am being realistic that med school is right for me? Is it realistic for me to obtain an acceptable score on the MCAT? Are the boards going to be impossible for me? Should I consider other career paths, such as PA, pharmacy, or grad school?

    I have always felt drawn to medicine for as long as I can remember, but my poor performance on the MCAT has me questioning this career path. Currently, I am doing research for a government laboratory (I graduated a year ago), but I know that I do not want to do research for the rest of my life. I've also considered dentistry, but wonder if I would struggle with the DAT as well.

    Sorry for the long post, but I would really appreciate any advice. I'm just very confused, and am looking for some direction. Thanks!
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  3. emaj1n

    emaj1n M1 2+ Year Member

    Oct 16, 2006
    If you heart is set on medicine and you get into an allopathic or osteopathic school, go! Don't let a low MCAT discourage you from going just because you think your board scores will also be low. Even if your boards do end up low and you end up going into a more generalist field, what do you care if you are still getting to live your dream of becoming a physician?

    Who is to say you'd be more happy as, say, a pharmacist, than a family practice osteopath? You're still treating patients as a generalist, and you'll have free weekends. Plus, you'll get to use manipulation as a generalist. The only reason I'm not pursuing family practice osteopathy is because I got into an allopathic school in a location I preferred. Family practice osteopaths are, in my opinion, quickly becoming the most sought-after by patients. Allopathic schools better come up with an answer. Osteopathy is simply a powerful brand of medicine for generalist purposes. Period.

    Good luck with everything. If you have any more questions, visit my blog and shoot me an email. I'd like to help.
  4. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    It's true that the path of a physician is wrought with lots of standardized tests. If you don't like tests, then you might be in for a rough ride... However, you should know that while there is a positive correlation between MCAT and Step I scores, the correlation is modest. If medicine is your dream, then you should, in my opinion, do everything you can to make it happen. I wouldn't personally settle for anything else unless I've done everything I could.

    Now, I think you can raise your score. It's easier to score better if you are scoring on the lower end as you are. There appears to be something fundamentally wrong about your approach and/or your basic science knowledge, if you are scoring in the teens on the MCAT. Find out what the fundamental problems are and address them before retaking the MCAT. Don't just jump the gun and retake without sufficient preparation. That's probably what got you to where you are now. Hire some folks with experience in this area and ask them to help you assess what the problem is. Whatever the case, don't retake the MCAT until you are scoring comfortably in the mid to upper twenties (or better). It's quite possible to improve, but it might not be easy.

    There's nothing wrong with questioning your choices, but don't let some BS things get in the way of what you want to do. Unless there is some organic disorder, you can overcome your difficulties if you are willing to put in the appropriate effort and address what rightfully needs to be addressed. Of course it all depends on what you want to do. If you don't want to run this marathon any more, I don't blame you. There are other options that could fulfill a number of your career desires. Give it careful thought, but I wouldn't personally give up until I did everything I could.
  5. DoctorMom78

    DoctorMom78 Sky Glory 2+ Year Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Speedwell, TN
    I think you need to really examine the reason for your low MCAT scores. Are you not putting the time into studying that you should? Do you not understand the material? Really think about the cause for your scores. Try a different approach to studying this time. Retake the MCAT and see how you do. I wouldn't give up on your dream. Just focus on bringing your score up anyway that you can. Good luck to you!:luck:
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    I agree. It's akin to what osteopathic medicine had to do, incorporate allopathic medicine. Now the tables are somewhat reversed.
  7. Bbjk84

    Bbjk84 2+ Year Member

    Mar 19, 2007
    Thank you for the responses.

    The first time I took the MCAT, I was studying on my own while taking a full course load spring semester of my junior year. I don't believe I was prepared for the exam, and left the exam feeling uneasy about how I did.

    For the retake, I was working full time but I took a Kaplan prep course. I was studying at least 3 hours each day (more on weekends) for 2.5 months and I took several practice exams. My life for the summer consisted of working and studying. I was averaging 26 on my last 4 full length exams and felt very prepared for the exam. I left the exam on test day feeling confident that I had done well. When I received my scores, I was very surprised. I believe I may have some sort of testing anxiety (my advisor mentioned this as while since a problem for me tends to be finishing the sections, especially verbal), but I'm not sure what to do or where to look for help overcoming that problem.

    Now, looking back, I believe the Kaplan full length exams were fairly easy compared to the real thing. I am currently using TPR review books that I got from a friend who took the exam a few years ago, and scored very well. I have also purchased Examcrackers Verbal Reasoning passages.

    I do not plan on registering for the exam until my scores on practice exams are acceptable - although this was the case the last time so I'm not sure what the difference will be. If I have to take an additional year off, then I guess that is what I have to do. I don't want to ruin my chances by rushing into the 3rd time. I guess I could always do a special masters program for that additional year while I'm applying.

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