Dec 10, 2019
24
1
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  1. Pre-Medical
Got my score back today and I got a 516 (130, 126, 129, 131). I know it’s a decently good score but I’m pretty disappointed by my CARS — I scored a 130 on CARS on 4/5 of the AAMC FLs and I think the nerves just really got to me on that section on test day. What I’m wondering is, is this low of a CARS score a red flag? Do I need to retake? I feel really frustrated because if I wouldn’t have choked on that section my score would’ve been so much more competitive and feel pretty down, just need advice on whether or not to worry about retaking. For context, both my cGPA and sGPA are 3.9 — would I still be a decently competitive applicant with these stats? Really don’t want to retake but will do so if it’ll greatly help my chances. Any advice is very appreciated
 
Feb 5, 2020
393
262
Status
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
Anything 515+ is great! Don't retake and risk getting the same score, which might be viewed bad for some schools. Don't worry too much on your stats and focus more on your personal statements and secondaries to distinguish yourself from others. There are hundreds of people with similar stats like you, but you need to dsitinguish yourself from others through memorable stories. Get others to proofread your essays, and you will be solid for this cycle.
 
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Dec 10, 2019
24
1
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Don’t even think about it.
Why’s that? I really want to be competitive applicant and I’m worried that this MCAT will hold me back from schools where my GPA wouldn’t. Don’t want an ego stroke but just want a really honest opinion on what I look like in terms of competitiveness as an applicant, especially in upper-mid tier schools (not talking about NYU or Harvard or T10s lol, but what schools DO you think I’d be a good match for?)
 

GreenDuck12

5+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2014
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Why’s that? I really want to be competitive applicant and I’m worried that this MCAT will hold me back from schools where my GPA wouldn’t. Don’t want an ego stroke but just want a really honest opinion on what I look like in terms of competitiveness as an applicant, especially in upper-mid tier schools (not talking about NYU or Harvard or T10s lol, but what schools DO you think I’d be a good match for?)

I wouldn’t retake because the odds are too high that your scores in CP and PS would decrease. For CP and PS it is likely that one additional question marked incorrectly would lower your subsection scores by a whole point. Retake advice generally says don’t do it unless you are A. Below a sub score minimum or B can score 4+ points higher. For your score range, the AAMC publishes data that show the vast majority of retakes score below the first score.

I can’t comment on your competitiveness or provide a list of target schools without knowing more about your application.
 
Dec 10, 2019
24
1
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
I wouldn’t retake because the odds are too high that your scores in CP and PS would decrease. For CP and PS it is likely that one additional question marked incorrectly would lower your subsection scores by a whole point. Retake advice generally says don’t do it unless you are A. Below a sub score minimum or B can score 4+ points higher. For your score range, the AAMC publishes data that show the vast majority of retakes score below the first score.

I can’t comment on your competitiveness or provide a list of target schools without knowing more about your application.
Okay thanks, this is super insightful and definitely helped to put it in perspective for me! What are sub score “minimums”?
 

GreenDuck12

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Mar 30, 2014
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Okay thanks, this is super insightful and definitely helped to put it in perspective for me! What are sub score “minimums”?

Some schools have minimum score cutoffs: usually a cumulative score of 500 and a sub score of 125 (50th percentile score). Of course some programs that are more highly ranked may have minimums that are higher than this and others may have score cutoffs that are lower. Some programs do not have cutoffs at all. Your 510+ is enough to get you through most cutoff points.
 
Dec 10, 2019
24
1
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Okay thanks, this is super insightful and definitely helped to put it in perspective for me! What are sub score “minimums”?
I wouldn’t retake because the odds are too high that your scores in CP and PS would decrease. For CP and PS it is likely that one additional question marked incorrectly would lower your subsection scores by a whole point. Retake advice generally says don’t do it unless you are A. Below a sub score minimum or B can score 4+ points higher. For your score range, the AAMC publishes data that show the vast majority of retakes score below the first score.

I can’t comment on your competitiveness or provide a list of target schools without knowing more about your application.
Also, would you mind if I PM’d you about my app?
 
Feb 5, 2020
393
262
Status
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
Okay thanks, this is super insightful and definitely helped to put it in perspective for me! What are sub score “minimums”?
125 is the highest sub section ”minimum” I‘ve seen. You have to remember that there are students with 3.8+ and 520+ who don’t get into any of upper-tier schools. Meanwhile, there are students below those stats and still get into great schools (my friend got into NYU with a 3.8 and 517, while another friend with 3.9 and 524 got rejected). The difference is that your stats are only part of the application, and your application being good as a whole is the most important part of the admissions process. If I were you, I would rather focus on perfecting my secondaries rather than worrying about retakes.
 

GreenDuck12

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Mar 30, 2014
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Yeah I haven’t seen a sub score minimum that’s set above 125 but I have seen overall MCAT scores minimums above the 500 threshold.
 
Dec 10, 2019
24
1
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
125 is the highest sub section ”minimum” I‘ve seen. You have to remember that there are students with 3.8+ and 520+ who don’t get into any of upper-tier schools. Meanwhile, there are students below those stats and still get into great schools (my friend got into NYU with a 3.8 and 517, while another friend with 3.9 and 524 got rejected). The difference is that your stats are only part of the application, and your application being good as a whole is the most important part of the admissions process. If I were you, I would rather focus on perfecting my secondaries rather than worrying about retakes.
Thank for this man, it’s just so easy to get caught up in stats. I’m applying next cycle (I had already planned to take the mcat during this godforsaken time pre-COVID lol so I was in too deep to push it back) but I obviously have plenty of refining to do in terms of my app and I agree that it’s more worthwhile to fix gaps.
 

labs998

2+ Year Member
Apr 3, 2018
17
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I would recommend against re-taking. My CARS score was also 4 points lower than any AAMC FL. While I do think there is a tangible difference between a 516 and 520, the risk of scoring +/- a few points is too high, and for most people, it isn't going to be 4 points that set you apart. In terms of stats, you should be casually competitive for most schools you set your heart to (i.e., like 90% of everyone else who is applying). PM me if you need application help.
 

Davidfromcali

5+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2014
182
284
Status
  1. Medical Student
126 in cars is the 10th percentile at a lot of the upper tier schools and a 516 overall won’t close any doors. Don’t retake
 

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