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So do I retake or not?

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Nottingham

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Alright, so I just got my Aug PCATs and I am super pleased with how I did. I managed to increase my scores in every section except for writing, which suprised me because I came out of the test center sure that I had done worse than in June (June score in parentheses):

Verbal Ability: 450, 97 (95)
Biology: 422, 81 (58)
Reading Comprehension: 444, 95 (83)
Quantitative Ability: 449, 96 (94)
Chemistry: 421, 76 (64)
Composite: 437, 95 (87)

Writing: 3 (4) on conventions, 3 (3) on problem solving

I'm signed up for the October test at Penn State, which also happens to be their homecoming weekend against Michigan. I consider a 95 comp to be a pretty good reason for me to avoid the hassle of Happy Valley football traffic for possibly the biggest game of the year. HOWEVER...

I have since started OChem I, Anatomy and Physiology I and Microbiology. I KNOW I could do better on both science sections now that I have had a portion of those classes. My top choice school is UMD which places a huge emphasis on the Science sections. I know I'm above their requirements (>80 comp, >60 on science) but I fear the rest of my application isn't as strong. My GPA is 3.51, I have two years pharm tech experience and I recently joined the Phi Theta Kappa honors society. The first 18 months of school were a mess, to say the least, and although I've gotten nothing but straight As for past 18th months, I still have 9 Withdraws on my transcript. I am having a helluva time writing my PS, trying to explain the deficiency without sounding whiny, so I'm not exactly enthusiastic about how that's going to turn out. I think my LORs should be decent, no reason for them not to be.

So long story short, I know I did well already but would higher scores in the science sections really improve my chances all that much when I already have a 95 comp?
 

eric4321

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If you were applying to UF, you would be good to go right now. They accept 300 per year for which the average [those who get in] prepharm gpa is 3.5, the average composite pcat is 84. You're above average on each pcat category & would probably get your first campus choice.

The gpa they look at is Calc plus bio1/2, ap1/2, genchem1/2, org1/2, and physics1/2 and all labs. If your gpa for that is 3.51 or anything above 3.3 you are in great shape at my school, as long as you explain the w/d classes: 100% positive message, the issues you had before are all behind you, family supports your pharm school all the way, etc.
 

Nottingham

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Part of my concern is that I haven't nearly finished all my pre-reqs. I'll have them done in time before school starts, but I still need to take Org2 and AP2. Plus UMD requires Biochemistry, a class I'll have to take online if I get accepted as the CC I attend doesn't offer it. I am certain that I can work hard and pull off all As, however a 'promise' of good grades doesn't really have much weight. And that 3.51 GPA is my overall GPA. My pre-req GPA is likely lower due to failing Gen Chem 1 once (family circumstances and an unforgiving professor. I got an A the next time around)
 

medicalCPA

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If you live in Maryland, go visit the admissions office and take a copy of your PCAT score with you. It's what I would do.
 

alenadoma

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When I visited UMD, they told me that if they see certain GPA and PCAT they invite for an interview right away. They wouldn't tell me what those numbers were, but I am sure you meet them. I would in no way retake that PCAT, 95 is an awesome score.

Good job on that PCAT and good luck. I am applying to UMD too, but it's not my first choice :)
 

Nottingham

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If you live in Maryland, go visit the admissions office and take a copy of your PCAT score with you. It's what I would do.

I wish I lived in Maryland, then I could qualify for in-state tuition! Do you think they'd answer an email seriously, or just give me the "we're not allowed to tell you that" spiel?
 

jiiniix2

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I got similar bio and chem scores as you but your composite and GPA is better =)
 
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Nottingham

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Thanks, that does help a little. I think I'm probably going to retake them anyway, UMD doesn't have rolling admissions so they're not going to look at my app until December anyway and a better science score can only strengthen it, especially since I have some major flaws on my transcript.

If you don't mind me asking, are you in Baltimore or at the Shady Grove campus? I'm very familiar with BC but I think I'm going to take a look at Shady Grove this weekend. I like trees :)
 

jiiniix2

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Trees are good plus there's a pond with geese and one of the buildings has walls and tables made from plants. Haha, they emphasized that so much when the Shady Grove campus (not UMB) gave the orientation there, it's a "green" campus. I like it at Shady Grove =)
 

RxAnder

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My GPA is 3.51, I have two years pharm tech experience and I recently joined the Phi Theta Kappa honors society. The first 18 months of school were a mess, to say the least, and although I've gotten nothing but straight As for past 18th months, I still have 9 Withdraws on my transcript. I am having a helluva time writing my PS, trying to explain the deficiency without sounding whiny, so I'm not exactly enthusiastic about how that's going to turn out. I think my LORs should be decent, no reason for them not to be.

Congrats on the PCAT and the great turnaround!

Explain that you made some early mistakes but that you've leaned and have grown from the experience. And that overcoming the early hurdles has given you confidence, a sense of acheivement and the motivation to achieve your PharmD goal.

I wouldn't retake the PCAT. It's a great score! Re-taking shows self-doubt.
 

5221133

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Hey wow, your scores are really impressive

I recently received my Aug score too. Generally I did really well in sciences with 94, 99 and 96 in bio, math and chem.

But I screwed up big time on verbal and reading, which I got 43 and 57. LOL

Regardless, I got 97 composite.

Questions..
1) should I retake?
2) How did you do so well on verbal? I moved to Canada when I was 10 and truthfully, I admit my vocabulary bank is limited. Do you have an tips on how to improve in Verbal?

Thanks!
 

Nottingham

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Hey wow, your scores are really impressive

I recently received my Aug score too. Generally I did really well in sciences with 94, 99 and 96 in bio, math and chem.

But I screwed up big time on verbal and reading, which I got 43 and 57. LOL

Regardless, I got 97 composite.

Questions..
1) should I retake?
2) How did you do so well on verbal? I moved to Canada when I was 10 and truthfully, I admit my vocabulary bank is limited. Do you have an tips on how to improve in Verbal?

Thanks!

Nice hijack.

As for my vocab, I've always read a huge amount. When I was a kid I was called the Walking Dictionary. I didn't do any prep for the Verbal, Quant or Reading sections whatsoever...sorry I don't have anything more helpful. But with such high scores in the sciences I'd say you're probably fine. I did well too but I'm concerned because it's my chem and bio sections that are weak, typically the most important scores schools look at other than the composite.
 
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