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This cycle vs next cycle dilemma..please help!

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hopefulstudent55

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Take the exam when you're 100% ready and only then. The DO cycle is longer, and you can apply as late as Oct or even Nov and still be in good shape at my school.
which school are you referring to? I may be in a similar situation and may need to apply later on to other schools.
 

hopefulstudent55

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TOS violation.
I'm sorry, I did not mean for that to happen.

Would you say that a Sept. MCAT is too late at most DO schools as far as receiving an interview? Do you stats have to be higher that late into the cycle to get an interview/ acceptance?
 

Goro

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Not at all.

At my school, we tend to be the least fussy at the beginning of the cycle as we want to glom onto a people with good stats, because they can get into any COM.

We start getting picky around January.

By March, we start rationing seats.


Would you say that a Sept. MCAT is too late at most DO schools as far as receiving an interview? Do you stats have to be higher that late into the cycle to get an interview/ acceptance?
 
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DrMikeP

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What are you considering average??? I only ask because I've heard students and even some advisors comment that 500 was average, but it's not the avg score for those who are accepted.

A Sept MCAT is fine if you do well. If you score a 500 that is not well!

Definitely submit to a throwaway school to get things verified so you aren't waiting an extra month.

Good luck
 

Marrowist

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What are you considering average??? I only ask because I've heard students and even some advisors comment that 500 was average, but it's not the avg score for those who are accepted.

A Sept MCAT is fine if you do well. If you score a 500 that is not well!

Definitely submit to a throwaway school to get things verified so you aren't waiting an extra month.

Good luck

This raises an important question to me... When browsing through school requirements on the websites of these programs, I see some of these programs have the "Minimum Requirements", which are often quite low (cGPA of 3 and sGPA of similar or less, <500 MCAT) and then they have "Competitive Application Statistics" which list higher GPAs and, in more than one case, an MCAT of 500 or more. Then, when you look at the average acceptances for these programs on this forum, the numbers are far higher. That being said...... Why does a school even list this broad range of scores? Why not just have a minimum? I have also heard of an "Effective Minimum" that ADCOMS might use. I can somewhat understand this, as they would want to take in a large number of applications. My point is this - are the averages I am seeing more of a median number, or an actual average? Do they compile these numbers based on students accepted, or simply students that applied?
 

DrMikeP

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This raises an important question to me... When browsing through school requirements on the websites of these programs, I see some of these programs have the "Minimum Requirements", which are often quite low (cGPA of 3 and sGPA of similar or less, <500 MCAT) and then they have "Competitive Application Statistics" which list higher GPAs and, in more than one case, an MCAT of 500 or more. Then, when you look at the average acceptances for these programs on this forum, the numbers are far higher. That being said...... Why does a school even list this broad range of scores? Why not just have a minimum? I have also heard of an "Effective Minimum" that ADCOMS might use. I can somewhat understand this, as they would want to take in a large number of applications. My point is this - are the averages I am seeing more of a median number, or an actual average? Do they compile these numbers based on students accepted, or simply students that applied?

It depends on where/what schools you are viewing the scores and some schools don't tell you. The competitive score of 500/3.0 at one particular school is their cutoff score but their average score is closer to 507/3.6 and those that got in with lower scores had special circumstances (like rich connected parents).

There will always be some unusual exception of a student getting in with a 495 or another with a 2.95, but you don't see the why behind the student that was the exception. Averages can be horribly misleading!! If you are applying later than Sept you'll want much closer to 507+ than to 502.
 
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Zinc14

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Thank you for the feedback!! By average, I meant around 500. I know that's not necessarily the average of those accepted to a particular school, but I was just using it as a reference point. In general, would it be advantageous to sign up for another MCAT before receiving the score of the first MCAT or waiting until you receive a score to sign up for a new test date? My concern is that if I wait until 8/9 to get my score and decide I need to take another exam in Sept, all the Sept spots will be filled up since those are some of the last test dates for the year....or I could sign up for a test date now before knowing my score and cancel it if my score turns out to be fine?
 

mouster

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This all hinges on your MCAT score.

Do you have a preference for where you end up? You didn't state your state of residence, but would you like to end up there? Somewhere more urban? Rural? If you have a specific target "ideal area" in mind (ex: I vehemently hate tight parking spots and get anxious while attempting to park, so I probably shouldn't live in NYC), then you should probably gear your app towards that kind of area and look at what the school in that area require. If they're competitive, then I'd say if you do really well on the MCAT (maybe around 510+ish? Depends on the other aspects of your app), apply and roll the dice.

If they're not so competitive, and you do okay (500+), then if you have the money, why not apply? No one can say yes this year if you don't apply, and who knows, you might get lucky. If you find yourself tight for money when all the application-associated fees are included (ex: suit, tailoring if necessary, secondary, flights to interviews, hotels, cars, meals, etc.) or your dream school is super competitive, then hold off, build up a sizeable nest egg, and then go at next application cycle whole hog.

If you get sub-500, I'd say retake, but don't rush it. I wouldn't say an August/September retake would be a good idea...I mean you're not going to get your scores back until nearly mid-August, and then you have to allow yourself some time to get over it, reassess your strategy for next time (what sections did you feel weak on? Why?), and then attack those weaknesses with a stick. DO NOT RUSH THE MCAT. If you did badly the first time, then you are under more pressure to improve, which requires that you know your stuff COLD to overcome the anxiety rush with a retake. If you did well, then you're out $300, which seems a sizeable amount of money, and you've wasted your valuable post-MCAT de-stress time studying AGAIN. Personally, I needed at least a couple days to kind of refocus post-MCAT, and stressing about a retake right now probably isn't helping your overall content knowledge because you're probably burnt out from the studying you already did.

tl;dr: do not sign up for the MCAT now. Relax. Wait for your score, and then reassess then. Have you submitted yet? If not, submit to a throwaway just to get verified in case you kill it, which is possible. I walked out thinking I failed, and everything turned out fine. It's the nature of a seven-hour, high-stress mindslog through dense passages. Good luck! :)
 
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DrMikeP

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The issue is, how much better prepared would you be in a month or less? A month of regular studying isn't likely to add that much to your score. Have you been studying hard since you first took it? I agree with the throwaway and wait on MCAT. If you do really poorly you need to do some work to figure out why so you can fix it. Perhaps that includes coursework. If you do 501+ then you have a fair shot if you apply broadly.

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk
 

Zinc14

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Hi everyone! Thanks for all your help on my original post. I found out today that I got a 506 (126 CP, 123 CARS, 129 Bio, 128 PS). However, I'm wondering now if I should retake the exam in September due to that low CARS score (37th percentile)... I would really appreciate any feedback! the deadline is tonight to register for a Sept exam at the lower rate so I'd love to have my mind made up soon. If it helps, I have a 3.5 GPA with grade replacement, great ECs, ivy undergrad.

@DrMikeP, @Goro, @mouster, any thoughts on if I should retake the MCAT?? Would love ANY feedback!!! thanks so much!
 

DrMikeP

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Hi everyone! Thanks for all your help on my original post. I found out today that I got a 506 (126 CP, 123 CARS, 129 Bio, 128 PS). However, I'm wondering now if I should retake the exam in September due to that low CARS score (37th percentile)... I would really appreciate any feedback! the deadline is tonight to register for a Sept exam at the lower rate so I'd love to have my mind made up soon. If it helps, I have a 3.5 GPA with grade replacement, great ECs, ivy undergrad.

@DrMikeP, @Goro, @mouster, any thoughts on if I should retake the MCAT?? Would love ANY feedback!!! thanks so much!

I wouldn't personally recommend retaking it. The only reason I'd even consider it would be if you've been studying this past month and you are solely aiming for one of the few DO schools that are highly competitive, but even then I probably would stick with that score and if the rest of your application is strong you'll have a good chance of getting in somewhere. Is English by chance your second language? For MD schools your mcat score/gpa is too low unless you are a urm.

Good luck!
 

Mad Jack

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Hi everyone! Thanks for all your help on my original post. I found out today that I got a 506 (126 CP, 123 CARS, 129 Bio, 128 PS). However, I'm wondering now if I should retake the exam in September due to that low CARS score (37th percentile)... I would really appreciate any feedback! the deadline is tonight to register for a Sept exam at the lower rate so I'd love to have my mind made up soon. If it helps, I have a 3.5 GPA with grade replacement, great ECs, ivy undergrad.

@DrMikeP, @Goro, @mouster, any thoughts on if I should retake the MCAT?? Would love ANY feedback!!! thanks so much!
Just go for it. Of this cycle doesn't pan out, you might want to do a retake, but I think you'll be successful.
 
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Zinc14

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@DrMikeP, thanks so much for the feedback! What you mentioned is a good point. My CARS score wouldn't be a deal-breaker though, right? I'm happy with my other section scores, just of course not CARS. English is my first language--I just stink at CARS haha. and I'm actually not applying to MD schools at all--I'm more interested in DO anyway :)

If I do retake (which I leaning away from at this point), what would be the main downfall do you think? Of course, I would have to study again, risk getting a lower score (which would be detrimental, right?), and be complete a little later in the cycle (although I'm assuming not too late from what others have said in the past). Basically if I were to retake, would it hurt otherwise? and if I were to retake, would schools still not send me secondaries or send me interview invites until they receive my second score (which I would list as "planned")? Overall, I'm just wondering how a retake would play into the typical admissions timeline and if it could be a downfall. Thanks so much again! I truly appreciate all the help.
 

Goro

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I agree 100% with my learned colleague.

I wouldn't personally recommend retaking it. The only reason I'd even consider it would be if you've been studying this past month and you are solely aiming for one of the few DO schools that are highly competitive, but even then I probably would stick with that score and if the rest of your application is strong you'll have a good chance of getting in somewhere. Is English by chance your second language? For MD schools your mcat score/gpa is too low unless you are a urm.

Good luck!
 

DrMikeP

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@DrMikeP, thanks so much for the feedback! What you mentioned is a good point. My CARS score wouldn't be a deal-breaker though, right? I'm happy with my other section scores, just of course not CARS. English is my first language--I just stink at CARS haha. and I'm actually not applying to MD schools at all--I'm more interested in DO anyway :)

If I do retake (which I leaning away from at this point), what would be the main downfall do you think? Of course, I would have to study again, risk getting a lower score (which would be detrimental, right?), and be complete a little later in the cycle (although I'm assuming not too late from what others have said in the past). Basically if I were to retake, would it hurt otherwise? and if I were to retake, would schools still not send me secondaries or send me interview invites until they receive my second score (which I would list as "planned")? Overall, I'm just wondering how a retake would play into the typical admissions timeline and if it could be a downfall. Thanks so much again! I truly appreciate all the help.

If you apply now, decisions will be made on your current score. Most schools won't wait to decide and will send you secondaries now. The risk with a retake is getting a lower score and you haven't been studying since you took it last I take it. Getting a 499 or lower could be a deal killer for many DO schools so the downside is tremendous, the up side is you increase your competitiveness at maybe a handful of schools, which you might have a shot at anyway with the 506. Getting accepted and then getting a lower score could be even worse.
 

samac

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    I'm with DrMike.
    Your risk is the possibility of your score decreasing. You have to share the score with the schools.
     
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    Zinc14

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    thanks so much, @DrMikeP and @samac ! So you don't think I would get autoscreened out for the low CARS score though, right? and you're right that I haven't studied for a month now, so picking up studying again (along with a full time job) will be difficult. and now I understand that having my score decrease would be terrible... also, is it at all true that schools are a bit more lenient with the CARS score compared to the science section scores? thanks so much again!
     

    DrMikeP

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    thanks so much, @DrMikeP and @samac ! So you don't think I would get autoscreened out for the low CARS score though, right? and you're right that I haven't studied for a month now, so picking up studying again (along with a full time job) will be difficult. and now I understand that having my score decrease would be terrible... also, is it at all true that schools are a bit more lenient with the CARS score compared to the science section scores? thanks so much again!
    Not at any school I am aware of, not to say that there aren't but of those that screen individual scores they are more picky about sciences. Is it worth the risk for potentially a few schools? Only you can decide that.
     

    Zinc14

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    Great, thank you all so much for your advice!
     
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