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Taking the MCAT twice detrimental?

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Knickerbocker

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I took the MCAT for the first time this August, and I feel that I did ok on the science sections, but my verbal is going to be very bad. I needed another 20 minutes to finish it :(

I'm hoping for the best, but there is a good possibility that my score will be pretty bad. How much will it be frowned upon that I didn't get a good score the first time taking the test?
 

sscooterguy

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Knickerbocker said:
I took the MCAT for the first time this August, and I feel that I did ok on the science sections, but my verbal is going to be very bad. I needed another 20 minutes to finish it :(

I'm hoping for the best, but there is a good possibility that my score will be pretty bad. How much will it be frowned upon that I didn't get a good score the first time taking the test?

Wait till you get your score back. Worry about it then. The issue with retaking it is that it sucks you have to study again, but other than that, most schools will forgive a bad mcat with a better one. I've heard of few schools averaging scores, but I never seen that myself. I retook it and no one mentioned it at all during interviews.

sscooterguy
 

swtiepie711

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My 2 Cents (mind you, I'm a current applicant, not ADCOM member or something) -

Wait & see your score - the first time I thought I did well & didn't do as well as I thought, 2nd time I thought I did ok & in the end did quite well

I think it's fine as long as you show improvement and preferably a lot of improvement. My story is just an example: I did "fine" the first time, but I had hoped to do better and didn't feel like the score really correlated well to my grades, etc. Statistically, I should have lost a point overall when retaking the exam. I got freaked out by this as well as the prospect of re-taking (& re-studying) and so I backed off. I took some time to just enjoy school and contemplate my goals. I decided to retake and improved by 10 points. I'm hoping that the initial lower score doesn't look bad to schools considering the time that has elapsed and the fact that I did substantially better the 2nd time. Then again, I'm just a lowly applicant and don't know what schools will think about two sets of numbers, etc.
 

Wrigleyville

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No one will care, they'll look at your best score. Don't worry till you see your actual score though.
 

Law2Doc

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Knickerbocker said:
I took the MCAT for the first time this August, and I feel that I did ok on the science sections, but my verbal is going to be very bad. I needed another 20 minutes to finish it :(

I'm hoping for the best, but there is a good possibility that my score will be pretty bad. How much will it be frowned upon that I didn't get a good score the first time taking the test?

Sure it matters, but doing extremely well on the second take is better than taking it once and doing badly. But for those who havent taken it yet and are reading this thread, the goal is to take it once when you are ready -- don't give it a shot and figure you can always retake it if it doesn't work out. Too many people cause themselves unnecessary problems "winging it".
 

swtiepie711

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Law2Doc said:
Sure it matters, but doing extremely well on the second take is better than taking it once and doing badly. But for those who havent taken it yet and are reading this thread, the goal is to take it once when you are ready -- don't give it a shot and figure you can always retake it if it doesn't work out. Too many people cause themselves unnecessary problems "winging it".


I AGREE!!! Now, I didn't wing it, per se. I took it August after my sophomore year, having had all the coursework except 2 out of 3 physics quarters. I figured I could learn it (and apparently did ok, got a 9 in that section the first time). I took a prep class, but had to take an accelerated one (8 weeks) because my college was on quarter system & we didn't get out until June. Anyways, I was "pushed" by older pre-med friends to take it early because they did poorly in April of the junior year and had to retake in August and it delayed their apps. So I freaked out about that possibility and took it early. I didn't do as well as I hoped and was reluctant to re-take because of having to restudy and possibly do worse. Time heals all wounds I guess, and I retook 3 years later - did much better. Take it when you're ready - not when others tell you to, etc. One GREAT shot is better than 2 (but, like Law2Doc said - 2 with the retake showing great improvement is better than one "ok" or crummy score, IMO).
 

NewKidin2block

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what if you ended up doing worse??

Wrigleyville said:
No one will care, they'll look at your best score. Don't worry till you see your actual score though.
 

dude1344

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I still get a kick whenever someones says they're going to 'write' a test. I had a canadian in my princeton review class that also said 'writing' an exam. :)
 

swtiepie711

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NewKidin2block said:
what if you ended up doing worse??

Don't.

Just kidding. I guess if I was preparing and consistently scoring below my first score, I'd hold off on taking the test. I'd try a different approach and keep going until I was consistently doing better than before.
 

q0192837465

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What if you really do worse. Should you still apply or do it the 3rd time.
 

Wrigleyville

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NewKidin2block said:
what if you ended up doing worse??

If your score is bad, you have to roll the dice. But the ****tier your score, the more likely you are to do better the next time, if for no other reason than the "regression to the mean" aspect of it. If your score is bad, put in your time studying and it will improve.
 

Law2Doc

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q0192837465 said:
What if you really do worse. Should you still apply or do it the 3rd time.

Depends on what the scores were, obviously. Kind of disagree with the prior poster -- "rolling the dice" is rarely the most productive option. Crazy hail mary longshots sometimes happen, but not enough to be worth your while. You don't want to apply until your stats are at least borderline competitive, or it is a waste of money. If that means taking another year or more to figure out that test, your best bet at admission is probably to do so. Or perhaps even go do something else for a few years (work or a grad school) and you can perhaps come back fresh as a nontrad with a more impressive CV and better focus and study habits, and try again.
 

WatchingWaiting

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q0192837465 said:
What if you really do worse. Should you still apply or do it the 3rd time.


There's a reason off-shore and other non-MD options exist and are able to fill their classes every year. In general, work hard the first-time and do the best you can on it, and then you won't have to worry about the MCAT ever again.
 

swtiepie711

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q0192837465 said:
What if you really do worse. Should you still apply or do it the 3rd time.

There are various scenarios. Like - how well did you do the first time (did it warrent taking it again?), how much was the drop, was there a reason for the drop.

I mean, for example:

a) MCAT #1: 34, but thinking you do better, you take it again and MCAT #2: 29. Med schools may wonder - why did they retake? suggests ego issues, and the big drop suggests that the 34 may have been a fluke? or that you're inconsistent?

This could be totally different if you did poorly because you were trying to take it even though your grandma, who raised you, passed away the day before kind of thing - but there's still the question of why did you take it again?

b) MCAT #1: 31, MCAT #2: 30. If I were a med school, I would think - ah, student tried to do better, didn't really improve, but still very solid

c) MCAT #1: 24, MCAT #2: 21. I'd be wary.

I guess it just comes down to, which student would you want at your med school?
 

mlcal06

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mcat is one of many things they look at. just do your best.

if you really want to be a doctor there are many ways to go about it.
post bacc.. or the carribean.
at the end it doesn't matter where you go, it's the person you are that will make you a good/bad doctor
 

WatchingWaiting

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mlcal06 said:
mcat is one of many things they look at. just do your best.

if you really want to be a doctor there are many ways to go about it.
post bacc.. or the carribean.
at the end it doesn't matter where you go, it's the person you are that will make you a good/bad doctor

It always amazed me when people post stuff like this without realizing that the person you are is related to where you go. How does the person you are determine if you're a good/bad doctor, but not how well you do academically?

The MCAT is the first step in a long series of standardized tests you will be taking for the rest of your professional career. You'll take the Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 of the USMLE, then you'll take a yearly in-training exam during residency, then you'll take a board exam for certification in your specialization, and then you'll potentially have to take a re-certification exam every 10 years. Guess what? Your MCAT correlates well with how you'll do on every one of those future exams.
 

HristosKaran

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This is an interesting topic because whats going to happen in the future with the computer based mcat? Are you going to be able to take the test at each of the 19 dates if you want to (theoretically)? I'm sure they'll have limits, but what exactly going to be the new stimpulations?
 

keepdreaming

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WatchingWaiting said:
. Guess what? Your MCAT correlates well with how you'll do on every one of those future exams.


first of all, it has a very very VERY loose correlation with your USMLE 1 (i think) and that correlation is with your verbal score not your cumulative.

second of all, what if they're just a bad test taker? standardized tests does not totally measure a person's entire competence/knowledge or how well the person will be a dr. standardized tests are not the end all be all of a person's ability.
 

WatchingWaiting

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keepdreaming said:
first of all, it has a very very VERY loose correlation with your USMLE 1 (i think) and that correlation is with your verbal score not your cumulative.

second of all, what if they're just a bad test taker? standardized tests does not totally measure a person's entire competence/knowledge or how well the person will be a dr. standardized tests are not the end all be all of a person's ability.

You're putting up major straw man points here. There's a reason med schools look at extracurricular activities, research, letters of recommendation, interview performance in evaluating candidates. There is a reason residency programs look at subjective third-year evaluations and interviews in picking who they match. Interpersonal skills are essential too.

That being said, objective assessments of knowledge and reasoning ability play an important factor in making sure physicians in this country are rigorously trained and the top of the intellectual food chain. If a person is really "not a good standardized test-taker" they are not going to ever be practicing medicine in this country, because they are not going to passing the assorted stages of the USMLE or in-training exams or board certification, all of which have a large standardized test component to them. The MCAT composite score correlates better with USMLE step 1 scores than does undergraduate GPA. I'm not sure where you came up with the verbal part only. The verbal part actually has been shown to be the part of the MCAT that correlates best with third-year (clinical rotation) grades!
 

RaaMD

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You should be okay. Just rock the second one if you have to. Some schools use your highest score and some don't. It shouldn't be too detrimental. Perhaps, to the top tier schools it may be.
 
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