Sep 29, 2009
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This is my first time posting anything on this site, and I need some advice! I have been "pre-med" for as long as I can remember, I am one of those "I have always wanted to be a doctor" types. Because of that I never really looked into any of the other options in the healthcare field. Now fast forward 5 yrs, I have a B.S in biology and am starting my M.S in biomedical science (mostly because I was getting bored at home). I took the MCAT twice and scored 23 both times :( I get such bad test anxiety that I freak out and don't finish on time...I have a 3.7 GPA and pretty good volunteer/shadowing. I'm starting to doubt if I really am cut out for such a competitive field. I have spent many nights contemplating why I even want to go to medical school and I keep coming up with the same thing... I want to make people feel better physically and mentally, I love to learn about the human body(not to mention I think I'm pretty good at it) and I want to be in charge. Of course the pay is an extra perk, but I don't need to live an extravagant life, I just want to be comfortable and not have to worry about living pay check to paycheck. Is there anyone out there in my same situation? Any suggestions for alternate career paths?
 
Sep 4, 2006
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With your good GPA, you might be able to get into some of the DO medical schools with your current MCAT score. And likely Podiatric school is within your reach (they take the MCAT too). Or get a job in whatever your current masters is preparing you for.

Alternatively, see your physician and discuss your test anxiety, as there are ways to moderate the problem. Any route to practicing medicine will entail lifelong tests and recertifications. If you can't conquer this problem long enough to score well on the MCAT, it doesn't bode well for success in the rest of your career.
 
Sep 29, 2009
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I know I can do a lot better on the MCAT, I just feel like I havent explored the other options in the healthcare field. I don't want to get to med-school and realize that it's not for me! Is it true that its difficult to have a life when working as a physician??
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

Osteo Dullahan
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A 23 on the mcat is low for DO schools. However your a non-trad and might get some brownie points for having a masters. Pod school is probably a good fit.
There's also dental school to consider.
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

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I know I can do a lot better on the MCAT, I just feel like I havent explored the other options in the healthcare field. I don't want to get to med-school and realize that it's not for me! Is it true that its difficult to have a life when working as a physician??
I recommend you volunteer at a hospital. Also shadow a doctor, you can do a lot to figure out if you can work out with this all. Personally I think that medical school proposes a certain ability to reach out to all types of people. Remember that you'll go there but afterwords choose what specialty/residency you will find the most attractive.

However I'd also recommend exploring the other fields. Think about dental, podiatry, optometry, and pharmacy.
You can live a good life and be a physician it just takes some time to establish yourself and get your own hours set.
 

Suenya

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Podiatry is a good thing to consider. You still could get into a DO school (or maybe, unlikely, a MD school) but it's going to be very rough though. You might want to practice more for the test, perhaps see a neuropsychologist who can help you find any sort of learning/processing difficulties and help you come up with ways to overcome them if you really think its just a testing problem.

Did you take the GRE for your masters program? How did you do on that? If you really want to be involved in healthcare, nursing is a great field. If you want to make more of the determinations/orders have you considered midlevel providers? If you did okay with your GRE you could do an accelerated BSN/NP program or a PA program.
 

JJMrK

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In order to get a better MCAT score you need to practice. What were your practice test scores?
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

Osteo Dullahan
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Podiatry is a good thing to consider. You still could get into a DO school (or maybe, unlikely, a MD school) but it's going to be very rough though. You might want to practice more for the test, perhaps see a neuropsychologist who can help you find any sort of learning/processing difficulties and help you come up with ways to overcome them if you really think its just a testing problem.

Did you take the GRE for your masters program? How did you do on that? If you really want to be involved in healthcare, nursing is a great field. If you want to make more of the determinations/orders have you considered midlevel providers? If you did okay with your GRE you could do an accelerated BSN/NP program or a PA program.
It would be good to see a shrink to see indeed if there's someway to get over that. However getting the test taking gitters and then scoring low on standardized tests isn't something abnormal. I know that if your worried and your taking a test on material which is more or less spread out between the last night's memory to 3 year's ago's memory. However the best way to deal with this is to take mock tests and attempt to get over this.
 
Dec 30, 2009
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Your MCAT score is not going to get you into allopathic schools and it would even be a stretch, as someone else pointed out for osteopathic schools, maybe 1 or 2 you could try but you are in a similar situation to me! Actually, I'm in a worse situation then you. I originally wanted to do bench research and I did that for about 7 months during my junior/senior year but found out that while it was interesting I couldn't see spending 40-50 years of my life couped up in the corner of the lab barely talking to anyone, I'm much more open and like talking and interacting with people and so I began to contemplate a career in medicine, something that I could use my bio science background and would allow me to excersie my excellent people skills and be more varied and move around more often because I got sick of just sitting in the lab, plus I have a spinal problem which prevents me from being bent/hunched over at the lab bench for long periods without terrible pain in my neck! I was interested in microbio so I spent half the day bent over at the microscope so you can imagine how that can screw your cervical spine up;)

anyway despite graduating with honors, I only have a 3.45GPA but have yet to take the MCAT; but even with tremendous studying I always done avg on standardized tests (ie SAT, GRE, etc) so I would expect to only get a 28 or 29 if I'm lucky; I already know that that score with my GPA would not be enough to get me into allopathic school without at least retaking the MCAT and doing a SMP!! sometimes in life, though it pains me to say it, you have to realize what your limitations are and deal with what God gave you! you'll understand what I mean in a moment!

Unlike you, I have had a lot of medical problems which have prevented me from continuing my education at even the master's, let alone the medical doctorate level; I had a L5-S1 spinal fusion done at UPenn last year and continue to have problems with severe low back pain from the hardward along with right leg/foot radiculopathy along with bone graft pain in my iliac crest; if that wasn't bad enough, while doing my daily walking last year that my neurosurgeon wants me to do, I discovered I have collaspsed arches in both feet and I developed tibial tendenosis in my right foot caused by a bone that is tearing into my tibial tendon every time I put pressure on my foot (ie walking, driving, etc)! and on top of that I've begun developing scolosis in my thorasic spine and loss the curve in my cervical spine completely, causign terrible neck pain with any kind of flexion or extension! God was kind to me you see;)

sorry to go off on a rant like this, but you have alternatives; because of my problems, and I'm still not sure if I'll even be able to go into a career in medicine, but I was thinking of eventually, if I get my spinal and foot problem correct with surgery of going to PA school! most PA schools, not the really good ones of course, but most require only a min GPA of 2.75 so you and I are obviously way above that and if you go to the PA common app service it gives the listing of all the PA schools in the country and tells you which one's require standardized tests or not! there are a large precentage that require only 200-500 hours of healthcare related experience and the bachelor degree with a 2.75 GPA or higher for admissions! I know several people who got in with only 150 hours and a 3.2 GPA at some schools in Pennsylvania! so you never know! if that doesn't work, you can always go back for a second bachelor degree or a master's degree and become a respiratory therapist, physical therapist, etc.

yes, PA is not as prestigious as a MD or DO, yes the pay is less (only 70-80k) but the schooling time is considerably less and the admission standards not as stringent as allopathic medical school so you might have to change your career plans a little and go the PA route if you can't get your MCATs high enough for allopathic or osteopathic school! but at least you'd be able to have a healthcare career seeing and treating patient and be the next best thing after a doctor! for men, I like the flexibility the MS-PA offers because you can specialize in anything and if all your concerned with is primary care and seeing /helping patients then a PA degree is all you really need; as least that is how I look at it!

You just have to keep an open mind, that is the only way I can with all the medical problems I'm dealing with, and frankly despite all my problems, I've been in the hospital and been around all kinds of doctors, (neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, neurlogists, rheumologists, allergists, urologists, internists, dermatologists, PAs, NPs, physical therapists, you name it) all my life and I really like the work they do and hope someday I can hopefully go and become a PA so I can give back and help people like I have been by so many healthcare professionals over the years! we all have options, it just depends on your personal situation and what you can do with what God gave you!
 
Sep 29, 2009
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thanks to everyone for all the advice! I have done plenty of hospital volunteering and I am a CPR/first aid instructor for the american red cross, also i have done all my shadowing and got my LORs. The MCAT is the only thing holding me back and I think I can dig deep and give it another go. I will def try taking more practice exams this time around, I think that was where I went wrong the first two times... thanks again for the support!