TwoLegacies

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Hi all,

I'm currently trying to decide whether I should take the MCAT in August and apply this cycle for Fall '06 entry, or wait another year to apply and take the MCAT in April.

I've searched for threads regarding the August MCAT in several forums but haven't found much that's helpful.

Anyhow, here's my deal:
Graduated from UCSD in '03 with a 3.6 in psychology, including some pre-req's.
Decided to apply to med school after graduation, and have been taking the rest of my pre-req's at community college (all A's so far).
I've done volunteering, research, other ECs, and plan to shadow a physician this summer.

So my GPA is average, and the only things I see as setbacks are being from California and taking the MCAT in August (taken together, could be a BIG setback...).

How many of you took the MCAT in August of the year you applied (and didn't get in, hence the reapplication...)? Do you wish you'd waited to apply with an April MCAT?

Thanks so much for advice, in advance.
 

PBMaxx

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The August MCAT doesn't hurt everyone. If you do decide to take the August MCAT, DO NOT wait to submit your AMCAS. Then when the scores are reported in October, you will be on top of your game. I would even go so far as to fill out any secondaries you recieve before October.

This is all provided you are confident you can post a decent score on the MCAT.
 
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TwoLegacies

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PBMaxx said:
The August MCAT doesn't hurt everyone. If you do decide to take the August MCAT, DO NOT wait to submit your AMCAS. Then when the scores are reported in October, you will be on top of your game. I would even go so far as to fill out any secondaries you recieve before October.

This is all provided you are confident you can post a decent score on the MCAT.

Thanks for the input. I'll definitely get everything in as early as possible.
 

civic4982

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TwoLegacies said:
I'm currently trying to decide whether I should take the MCAT in August and apply this cycle for Fall '06 entry, or wait another year to apply and take the MCAT in April.
I got my @$$ beat for taking the August MCAT. In Texas interviews begin in August/September for the TMDSAS system and so a TON of people already had interviews when my MCAT hadn't even come in yet. I ended up getting only one MD interview in-state and happeened to make the cut but if I could've done it over again I would've taken the April MCAT instead.

ON THE OTHER HAND:
Taking the MCAT in August gave me time to devote all my efforts into it. I holed myself up in the local library for 30 days straight. 8AM-midnight everyday for 30 days. I know I wouldn't have been able to do the same if I hadn't taken it during the summer and instead chose to take it during the final semester of my Sr. year in undergrad.

One choice may be to take it in August, then wait a full cycle before re-applying. It seems to not make sense to not just apply but I know some schools limit you on how many times you can apply and it would really be (in my opinoin) a waste to put yourself through all the trouble of applying (then remember you'll have to change your app for next year to make it even more competitive than it was this year) and still have a decreased chance of getting interviews b/c of how late your file was complteted.
 
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TwoLegacies

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civic-

thanks for the reply.

yeah... in an ideal world i would have started studying last fall and taken the April MCAT this year. as it happens, i work full-time and am currently taking OChem II + lab at night, so the April test isn't an option.

the reason i'd rather not wait until next year to apply is i'm getting a little stir-crazy. i graduated almost two years ago, and am facing another 2 1/2 years if i wait until next year to apply.

but regardless of what i WANT to hear, i appreciate the honesty of your post. congratulations on getting into school, by the way.
 

civic4982

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TwoLegacies said:
civic-

thanks for the reply.

yeah... in an ideal world i would have started studying last fall and taken the April MCAT this year. as it happens, i work full-time and am currently taking OChem II + lab at night, so the April test isn't an option.

the reason i'd rather not wait until next year to apply is i'm getting a little stir-crazy. i graduated almost two years ago, and am facing another 2 1/2 years if i wait until next year to apply.

but regardless of what i WANT to hear, i appreciate the honesty of your post. congratulations on getting into school, by the way.
Just don't set yourself up for dissappointment I think. If you give yourself ample time to be the best applicant you can be (which includes applying early) then you won't be beaten up by the process and will be less likely discouraged. I think someone above or on another thread mentioned this line that is good enough to quote "Medical school is not a race, it's a marathon"

This is a good post to read as well :D

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showpost.php?p=2268212&postcount=13

Take your time. Med school isn't going anywhere, it'll wait for you.
 
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TwoLegacies

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true, true. that's what i've been telling myself this entire time-- "what's one more year going to matter in the end?"... (disregarding fertility at the time i finish residency. minor detail, right?)

i've taken the marathon approach, but i feel like i'm walking the marathon. i kind of want to start jogging, you know?
 

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civic4982 said:
One choice may be to take it in August, then wait a full cycle before re-applying. It seems to not make sense to not just apply but I know some schools limit you on how many times you can apply and it would really be (in my opinoin) a waste to put yourself through all the trouble of applying (then remember you'll have to change your app for next year to make it even more competitive than it was this year) and still have a decreased chance of getting interviews b/c of how late your file was complteted.
I took my MCAT in August of 2003 and waited a year to apply. I am glad I did it. It gave me time to be prepared for the MCAT.I was able to enjoy my senior year because I was not stressed about applying.
 
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TwoLegacies

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it's less a matter of thinking med school will go away, and more "can i handle working an additional year as an administrative assistant and a hospital volunteer"? if i copy papers for the next 2 1/2 years, will i go insane?
 

civic4982

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TwoLegacies said:
it's less a matter of thinking med school will go away, and more "can i handle working an additional year as an administrative assistant and a hospital volunteer"? if i copy papers for the next 2 1/2 years, will i go insane?
lol ... good point. you don't HAVE to do something medically related though on your years off though. My Physics MCAT teacher went to go sing in a musical in his year off and is at Columbia Med now. Do something fun for you! You won't regret it later on.
 

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what is wrong with applying June '05 and taking the Mcat in august '05? you could be doing the secondaries while you wait for the return of mcat scores and you may get some interviews before and after Oct. Its worth a try isn't it? I have communicated with some applicants who did the same thing and they got interview invites before they even got back the test scores. do a search on the threads b/c this has been discussed a lot. hope this helps!! And if you decide to apply next year, please don't worry about fertility it will be OK. :D
 
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TwoLegacies

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sistahnik said:
what is wrong with applying June '05 and taking the Mcat in august '05? you could be doing the secondaries while you wait for the return of mcat scores and you may get some interviews before and after Oct. Its worth a try isn't it? I have communicated with some applicants who did the same thing and they got interview invites before they even got back the test scores. do a search on the threads b/c this has been discussed a lot. hope this helps!! And if you decide to apply next year, please don't worry about fertility it will be OK. :D
hey, thanks for the reply. :D

i did search the threads, i just didn't find anything particularly helpful, since most people were discussing taking the april vs. august MCAT of the same year, which isn't my situation.

the fertility issue is that i'm already soon to be 24, meaning if i applied next year i'd be starting med school at 26 and finishing residency maybe at 34 years old. which is pushing it a bit. but i don't suppose a year would make much difference there.
 

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you are more than welcome. I just hate when people tell others to wait to apply b/c of something that could or couldn't affect anything. I asked these same questions in '03, just b/c I was curious and got so many answers. most of them did say to apply regardless if I take the apr/aug mcat, so this topic isn't foreign to me at all. :thumbup:
 

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What if you took the MCAT last April, applied for this cycle, got no love, submitted '06 cycle June 1, and planned on taking AUGUST '05 MCAT? I wonder if schools would look at your app with the APR04 MCAT right off the bat or hold your application entirely until the august scores come in? I know there is some box you check on AMCAS app but not sure what that really means. This looks like my probable course of action. any thoughts?
 

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Hey 2legacies,

I was in similar situation- UCB graduate 03, applied June 04, took the Aug 04 MCAT.

The Aug MCAT will not affect you if you're a stellar applicant. It will hold you back if you're a good/average applicant, and kill you if you're a borderline applicant.

Stellar applicants: Many "top-notch" schools are non-rolling (Harvard, UPENN, Stanford, JH, etc). these schools look at almost every applicant before they make final decisions. Thus, If you're a stellar applicant who took the Aug MCAT, you're on the same playing field as applicants who took the april mcat.

Good/average applicant: I'm in this category. If you get over a 32 on the mcat, you're in this category as well. Applicants in this group are likely to get in somewhere. Our list of acceptance is VERY unlikely to be as impressive as those April MCAT applicants with similar numbers. In addition, I was informed by several schools that I would have been offered an interview if I had submitted earlier. Go look at my profile, I am a living proof.

Border-line applicants: If you get 29 or below on the MCAT, you're in this category. Applicants in this group scrammble to get an interview/acceptance. I actually know many people in this category. For example, a good friend of mine, 3.6gpa, 28mcat. Applied with Aug MCAT the first time, ended up with 2 interviews and 2 waitlists (no acceptance). He made no changes to his application and apply very early the following year. Second time around, he got 5 interviews, and 2 acceptances.

So, it really depends on what your goals are. If you're just looking to get in somewhere, apply in june and take the august mcat. If you score above a 30, you should have no problem getting in. If your goal is to maximize the potential of your application by attending a highly ranked school, I advise you to wait and take the april mcat.

TwoLegacies said:
Hi all,

I'm currently trying to decide whether I should take the MCAT in August and apply this cycle for Fall '06 entry, or wait another year to apply and take the MCAT in April.

I've searched for threads regarding the August MCAT in several forums but haven't found much that's helpful.

Anyhow, here's my deal:
Graduated from UCSD in '03 with a 3.6 in psychology, including some pre-req's.
Decided to apply to med school after graduation, and have been taking the rest of my pre-req's at community college (all A's so far).
I've done volunteering, research, other ECs, and plan to shadow a physician this summer.

So my GPA is average, and the only things I see as setbacks are being from California and taking the MCAT in August (taken together, could be a BIG setback...).

How many of you took the MCAT in August of the year you applied (and didn't get in, hence the reapplication...)? Do you wish you'd waited to apply with an April MCAT?

Thanks so much for advice, in advance.
 

civic4982

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sistahnik said:
what is wrong with applying June '05 and taking the Mcat in august '05?
More than likely you will not recieve any interviews before your MCAT is released. At that point your file will be at a disadvantage due to the fact that they won't even look at your file even though you applied very early. The disadvantage is pretty big and that's why most people tell you to apply early. It DOES affect your app it's not a "could or coudln't" situation. Many schools have rolling admissions and that's another reason fro teh disadvantage. Also, earlier applicants are given the majority of the interview spaces since their files are complete way before yours is (even if you apply July '05 your file wouldn't be complete until end of October '05 i.e. they won't look at it seriously w/out an MCAT).

With all of this combined with the fact that schools only prefer you attempt applying to their school 3 or so times it is not worth it in my opinoin (if the choice is available) for you to apply after taking the August MCAT. It could make that late application of yours a waste of application fees as well as secondary fees. Not only that but the discouragement is not worth it b/c you are not the best applicatn you can be by applying later than others.
 
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TwoLegacies

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sdnstud said:
Hey 2legacies,

I was in similar situation- UCB graduate 03, applied June 04, took the Aug 04 MCAT.

The Aug MCAT will not affect you if you're a stellar applicant. It will hold you back if you're a good/average applicant, and kill you if you're a borderline applicant.

Stellar applicants: Many "top-notch" schools are non-rolling (Harvard, UPENN, Stanford, JH, etc). these schools look at almost every applicant before they make final decisions. Thus, If you're a stellar applicant who took the Aug MCAT, you're on the same playing field as applicants who took the april mcat.

Good/average applicant: I'm in this category. If you get over a 32 on the mcat, you're in this category as well. Applicants in this group are likely to get in somewhere. Our list of acceptance is VERY unlikely to be as impressive as those April MCAT applicants with similar numbers. In addition, I was informed by several schools that I would have been offered an interview if I had submitted earlier. Go look at my profile, I am a living proof.

Border-line applicants: If you get 29 or below on the MCAT, you're in this category. Applicants in this group scrammble to get an interview/acceptance. I actually know many people in this category. For example, a good friend of mine, 3.6gpa, 28mcat. Applied with Aug MCAT the first time, ended up with 2 interviews and 2 waitlists (no acceptance). He made no changes to his application and apply very early the following year. Second time around, he got 5 interviews, and 2 acceptances.

So, it really depends on what your goals are. If you're just looking to get in somewhere, apply in june and take the august mcat. If you score above a 30, you should have no problem getting in. If your goal is to maximize the potential of your application by attending a highly ranked school, I advise you to wait and take the april mcat.
thanks for the reply!

by the way, i looked at your profile and it looks like you're doing pretty well to me. obviously your interviews are later than if you'd applied earlier, but you still have them at your top 3 choices!!

i am just torn. i completely understand that it's a better idea to wait and apply next year, but it makes me sad to think about it. it's just one of those heart vs. mind situations. damn. :(
well, i certainly won't be stellar due to my average GPA. my mcat score is completely up in the air at this point. if you apply and take the august mcat, you can add more schools to apply to after you get the score, right?
 

civic4982

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well if you already have another MCAT score from before you could always apply with that and you might get a secondary but prboably no interviews unless you're already in that 30 range. however, if you don't yet have any score and a GPA that is similar to what mine was, you probably shoudln't expect to get secondaries until those MCAT scores are in.
 

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TwoLegacies said:
thanks for the reply!
if you apply and take the august mcat, you can add more schools to apply to after you get the score, right?

yes, you can add schools via AMCAS after you get your Aug scores. If you choose to do this, I advise you to be careful with which schools to add. Steer away from those schools with pre-secondary screens, long secondaries, and long respond time.

From your previous post, I sense that you're leaning towards June AMCAS and Aug MCAT. In that case, I advise you to submit your AMCAS in early June. AMCAS will take about a month to process your application. In late July/early August, secondaries start to come in. Make sure these secondaries do not have deadlines, if they don't, let them sit. Focus on the MCAT, take the MCAT in August, then begin your secondaries. For the best results, you should aim to finish all your secondaries before 2nd week of Oct, which is when the schools get your Aug scores.

You can add schools to your AMCAS anytime after your initial submission. Adding school will not put your application back in queue for verification. In fact, after you're verified, most schools get your information within a week of adding them via AMCAS. But again, if you're going to add school in late oct, steer away from schools with characteristics I mentioned above.