Caecilius11

2+ Year Member
Mar 29, 2018
7
0
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Hey all!

I have been averaging 505 on TPR MCAT tests and 511 on the AAMC full lengths. I really am aiming for that 518. Should I just take the MCAT in September to have a score in hand and then take it again in January or shoot straight for the Jan date? My worry is that if I choke in Jan, I won't have a solid second attempt (I aim to apply in the 2021 cycle). Alternatively, I would be sacrificing studying as much for my midterms which are around the MCAT date. I haven't booked anything yet either. Thanks in advance!
 
Mar 14, 2019
4,235
4,358
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Hey all!

I have been averaging 505 on TPR MCAT tests and 511 on the AAMC full lengths. I really am aiming for that 518. Should I just take the MCAT in September to have a score in hand and then take it again in January or shoot straight for the Jan date? My worry is that if I choke in Jan, I won't have a solid second attempt (I aim to apply in the 2021 cycle). Alternatively, I would be sacrificing studying as much for my midterms which are around the MCAT date. I haven't booked anything yet either. Thanks in advance!
You probably don't have to worry about this, because word on the street is that many dates at many locations are already gone, so you might not be able to get a date in September at a location you want if you haven't already booked.

That said, is 518 a wish, or is it realistic for you with more practice? Forget the TPR scores -- they are deflated to get you to buy a course from them. AAMC is pretty accurate, so 511 is where you are now.

How much work did you do to get to this point, and is there a lot more you can do to increase by 7 points? If so, you should wait. If not, you should try to take it now. But don't take it just to see what happens with an intent to take it again. Retakes are not viewed favorably, and, while lots of folks on reddit have been reporting big improvements on retakes, who knows what's real and what isn't? AAMC reports median gains of only 2-3 points for people below 518, and zero points for people above 517, with variances from that all over the place, both up and down.

Don't worry about and plan around choking. Plan on doing everything you can to be as prepared as you can be, and taking it once and doing your best. This isn't the SAT, and taking it "just to have a score in hand" is not a good plan. All scores are reported to all schools, and most of them will nto totally ignore an early, low score. Some will average, some will take the high score, but they will see everything, and adcom members can do what they want with them, regardless of what the school's official policy is. Good luck!!
 

GoPenguinsGo

2+ Year Member
Dec 19, 2017
284
486
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
I'm gonna go against the grain here and say a 518 might be a little out of reach for a September test date. You can test in September and get 511 +/- 2 (a reasonable confidence band) but I wouldn't hold out hope for a 518. As you get into the upper ranges of scores, increases tend to be harder to come by and so your progress slows until it eventually plateaus altogether. The other option you have is to wait until January by which a 518 is pretty possible but you risk knowledge decay and so you might also be risking a lower score.

Bottom line: 518 in September is probably unreasonable given where you are. But a 511 is a mighty decent score unto itself.
 
Mar 14, 2019
4,235
4,358
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
I'm gonna go against the grain here and say a 518 might be a little out of reach for a September test date. You can test in September and get 511 +/- 2 (a reasonable confidence band) but I wouldn't hold out hope for a 518. As you get into the upper ranges of scores, increases tend to be harder to come by and so your progress slows until it eventually plateaus altogether. The other option you have is to wait until January by which a 518 is pretty possible but you risk knowledge decay and so you might also be risking a lower score.

Bottom line: 518 in September is probably unreasonable given where you are. But a 511 is a mighty decent score unto itself.
You didn't go against the grain -- That's exactly what I said!! :)
 

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