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Take it now or later?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by sweetz1180, Apr 5, 2001.

  1. sweetz1180

    sweetz1180 Senior Member
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    I was wondering whether i should take the MCATs now even though i dont feel totally prepared for them, so that it gives me a chance to retake them in august if i dont do well...or should i just take them in august? Any advice would be helpful. [​IMG]
     
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  3. lilycat

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Ahh, yes!! Just my kind of topic! If you really don't feel prepared, and are reasonably confident (be honest with yourself here) that you can score better than you are on the practice tests, I would wait to take the test in August. I had this exact same problem -- I had studied for the April '99 MCAT, but I was taking a full course load as well. Thus, I didn't study for the MCAT nearly as much as I thought I could have, and I didn't feel comfortable with the practice test scores I was getting -- I really honestly believed I could do better (mostly because I never saw any real improvement in my scores). Then, I couldn't fall asleep at night the week before the MCAT -- it was wreaking havoc with my life. Four days before the test, I decided not to take it, against the advice of nearly 80-90% of the people I spoke with (you've already put so much time into it, etc.) I AM SO GLAD I MADE THAT DECISION!!! Ultimately, it made me delay applying an extra year, but it was still a good decision for me. I took the MCAT the next April and did much better with the extra time to study. Plus, I feel like the extra time off definitely helped make me a better applicant.

    If you really honestly feel unprepared, and honestly think you could do better, I would suggest taking it later.

    [This message has been edited by lilycat (edited April 05, 2001).]
     
  4. Doggy

    Doggy Member
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    Hi sweetz,

    First off, just wanna let you know that NO ONE is gonna feel totally prepared to take this test from hell. I say that to remind you to double-check whether your feelings are merely the pre-MCAT jitters/anxiety or a real indication of unpreparedness.

    If you've not taken the test before, let me tell you it is more a test of reasoning than of memorized facts. About 80% of the science questions can be answered by just reading the passages and with little or no prior knowledge of the subject. If you have spent time improving on unfamiliar subjects, reviewing familiar ones, and TAKING PRACTICE TESTS, then you should be close to ready.

    It's also important to treat the MCAT as "one shot, one kill." In general, you want to aim to take the test once and have it done with. Retake only if, say, you had mono the day of the test and you know you can improve SIGNIFICANTLY. If you take it more than once, then Adcoms EXPECT slight improvements each time due to familiarity with the test format.

    Well, this is all I can tell you from my limited (thank God) experience with the MCAT. Take it for what it's worth. Best of luck to you!
     
  5. puffy1

    puffy1 Senior Member
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    If you can, make it a "one and done" situation. The MCAT is expensive and exhaustive. I thank the Good Lord that I only had to take the darn test once. I know of folks who have taken the test 5 different times (with special permission from AAMC)! Don't take the attitude of "Oh, I'll take it now just to see how it is." I didn't know people had $175 to blow and a whole day to kill (and usually, those days are pretty nice).

    An option you could take is to withhold your scores from med school...if they turn out well, then you can apply for the score to be submitted to all of the AAMCAS schools. Be careful though...med schools might take a funny eye if they see that you wanted your score withheld in the first place.
     
  6. sweetz1180

    sweetz1180 Senior Member
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    thanx for the pointers...i guess i still have 2 weeks to decide, but until then i'll be studying [​IMG]
    Krupa
     
  7. I think you should go with your GUT feeling. I know what you mean though as I have only started to study for MCATS two weeks ago.

    Anyhow, Good Luck if you're going to write!

    CHEERS! [​IMG]
     
  8. stoic

    stoic "Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted"
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    I haven't taken the MCAT yet, so maybe my advice doesn't count. But I would say that you should look at how you did in Bio, Chem, and Physics. I'm not talking about what grade you got; I mean how comfortable you feel with the concepts. If you understand them, you understand them and should do fine on the test. If you don't, you don't... Anyway, that is my $.02. Whatever you decided to do, good luck.
     
  9. loladoc

    loladoc New Member

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    another perspective:

    It can't hurt to take it. If you do poorly, you will have to retake anyway and the higher score will be sufficient to explain away the bad score (of course this varries by school, so you might do a quick check with your top choices about how they view multiple MCATs.) If you do well enough, you won't have to worry about it anymore.

    When do you plan to apply and how are your practice test going?

    lola
     
  10. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member
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    Isn't it still possible to the the August MCAT and apply for the next year (instead of loosing a year)? Has anyone done this and got accepted?
     
  11. lilycat

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    Yes, you can definitely take the August MCAT and still start applying that same year. Lots of people do get in this way. If you choose this route, make sure you turn your AMCAS in as early as possible -- you will still probably get a good number of secondaries even without the MCAT scores. Then your files will be all ready to go as soon as the schools receive your MCATs in October or so. However, it is my theory that this is not a good strategy if you are a "marginal" candidate (ie, there are certain weak spots in your application -- lowish GPA, possibly a lowish MCAT (based on your practice tests), lack of volunteer experience, etc. Basically you need to capitalize on every advantage you can, and that includes applying as early in the cycle as possible. But, if you are a very strong candidate, I don't think the August MCAT is much of a disadvantage.
     
  12. sweetz1180

    sweetz1180 Senior Member
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    I've taken 2 of the kaplan practice tests and havent done so well on them, although, both of them were taken without studying (22)...overall, i have a good major and science GPA, 3.57 and 3.475 respectively, also have volunteer experience...i'm a junior and planning on applying to med schools in the summer/fall...i had the same question as kirk...i'm seriously thinking of taking the MCATs in august instead of april, but i dont want to lose a year...i'm just confused and stressed [​IMG]
     

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