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pretysmitty

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Anyone know of applicants with retakes (say, 505 --> 520) getting into top schools?

I'm aware that the score will be averaged by most schools to a ~513, but I am curious if there are any applicants who've had success with a bad first score in the past.

Particularly interested in MCAT jumps from under the national median accepted (508) to above 515.
 
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TheBiologist

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there are top 20 schools where a 513 is within the IQR; and a 520 is nothing to cough at..
 
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personperson

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I increased my score from a 512 --> 523. I'll let you know how it goes lol
 
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ScreenName23

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I have a friend with an equivalent score jump who was accepted to top 10 schools including Harvard. She was rejected at lower tier schools. Seemed pretty clear to me with a jump that big lots of schools were not averaging...
 

pretysmitty

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I have a friend with an equivalent score jump who was accepted to top 10 schools including Harvard. She was rejected at lower tier schools. Seemed pretty clear to me with a jump that big lots of schools were not averaging...

What was her profile outside of her stats? URM, non-trad etc?
 

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I'll let you know how this cycle goes for me. Went from a 33 (514) to a 528.
 
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DBC03

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I increased my score from a 512 --> 523. I'll let you know how it goes lol

I'll let you know how this cycle goes for me. Went from a 33 (514) to a 528.

Would either (or both) of you be willing to DM me about how you accomplished this? I'm tutoring some really awesome students right now and most of them have taken the MCAT once. I would love to get some insight into how to jump this much on a retake so I can coach them through it.
 

efle

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Would either (or both) of you be willing to DM me about how you accomplished this? I'm tutoring some really awesome students right now and most of them have taken the MCAT once. I would love to get some insight into how to jump this much on a retake so I can coach them through it.
Step 1 - don't properly prepare/don't try too hard first time. Still score well because you're capable of much better.

Step 2 - actually try this time. Score 100th percentile.

People like to credit study methods a lot on SDN but I honestly think the above is always the case for massive jumps. Someone that fully prepped , had a good test day and got a 512-514 can't be coached into a 10pt jump.
 
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DBC03

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Step 1 - don't properly prepare/don't try too hard first time. Still score well because you're capable of much better.

Step 2 - actually try this time. Score 100th percentile.

People like to credit study methods a lot on SDN but I honestly think the above is always the case for massive jumps. Someone that fully prepped , had a good test day and got a 512-514 can't be coached into a 10pt jump.

I totally agree wit the "Score 100th percentile" mentality. While I failed to do that with my exam, I *aimed* for that and came darn close. Everyone asks what score you're aiming for and I always said "528 - why aim lower?"

I feel like these kids are putting the time in and trying to learn the material. So let's say it's possible that someone can just plateau and not score amazingly high. So are nearly all the applicants who score that much higher just not fully prepared the first time and the applicants who plateau are just not capable of getting that much higher? I'm going through test strategy with my students and they seem to be picking up on it, but the truth is that people think in different ways and my brain just starts clicking as soon as I see a problem. I'd love to teach others how to do this, but I'm not sure how much of it is innate and how much can be learned.
 
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PreMedMissteps

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Step 1 - don't properly prepare/don't try too hard first time. Still score well because you're capable of much better.

Step 2 - actually try this time. Score 100th percentile.

People like to credit study methods a lot on SDN but I honestly think the above is always the case for massive jumps. Someone that fully prepped , had a good test day and got a 512-514 can't be coached into a 10pt jump.


I think this is very true. I have a relative who for a variety of reasons did not study at all for the MCAT. She got a 32, which was good enough and she got several MD acceptances. She knows that if she had studied, she would have likely scored a 35-36. In the end it didn't really matter except she might have gotten some merit awards for a higher score.
 

DBC03

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I think this is very true. I have a relative who for a variety of reasons did not study at all for the MCAT. She got a 32, which was good enough and she got several MD acceptances. She knows that if she had studied, she would have likely scored a 35-36. In the end it didn't really matter except she might have gotten some merit awards for a higher score.

When I was first thinking of taking the MCAT, I asked the girl who sat in front of me during biochem how she studied. I think she did some very informal studying, but she got a 515 without doing anything official. She really wants to go to a fairly prestigious school and is fine with her score now, but just think of what it could have been if she'd put just a little more effort in! On the other hand, it gave me some hope.
 
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DokterMom

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If your second score is crazy high, "stat ******" will bite because that's the score they can use in their matriculant averages...
 
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personperson

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Step 1 - don't properly prepare/don't try too hard first time. Still score well because you're capable of much better.

Step 2 - actually try this time. Score 100th percentile.

People like to credit study methods a lot on SDN but I honestly think the above is always the case for massive jumps. Someone that fully prepped , had a good test day and got a 512-514 can't be coached into a 10pt jump.

Agree with this. Took my test 3 months apart. No big change, just should've practiced CARS a lot more the first time around.
 

moggat

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Step 1 - don't properly prepare/don't try too hard first time. Still score well because you're capable of much better.

Step 2 - actually try this time. Score 100th percentile.

People like to credit study methods a lot on SDN but I honestly think the above is always the case for massive jumps. Someone that fully prepped , had a good test day and got a 512-514 can't be coached into a 10pt jump.

Agreed on your second point but also: the structure of the test changed radically from pre-2015 to post. If you're good at analysis and critical thinking it's not inconceivable to jump 10 pts between a pre-2015 and post-2015 test. (Pretty sure that's what did it for me)
 
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Pleides

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Agreed on your second point but also: the structure of the test changed radically from pre-2015 to post. If you're good at analysis and critical thinking it's not inconceivable to jump 10 pts between a pre-2015 and post-2015 test. (Pretty sure that's what did it for me)
Yeah definitely agree with this. The new test suited me better. And I also spent much more time actually memorizing the **** I needed to know.
 
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mwsapphire

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Would either (or both) of you be willing to DM me about how you accomplished this? I'm tutoring some really awesome students right now and most of them have taken the MCAT once. I would love to get some insight into how to jump this much on a retake so I can coach them through it.

Step 1 - don't properly prepare/don't try too hard first time. Still score well because you're capable of much better.

Step 2 - actually try this time. Score 100th percentile.

People like to credit study methods a lot on SDN but I honestly think the above is always the case for massive jumps. Someone that fully prepped , had a good test day and got a 512-514 can't be coached into a 10pt jump.
I'd say it's 50/50. They can be coached, but maybe into a smaller jump. It's part studying and part talent.
Most of these sorts of questions have a correct answer somewhere in the middle.
 

SUP360

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@personperson @Pleides @jonny238
Or anybody else who improved.......
How much time passed between your two attempts and what did you do differently for your 2nd test?
P.s. Congrats on all your great scores!
 

Goro

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Anyone know of applicants with retakes (say, 505 --> 520) getting into top schools?

I'm aware that the score will be averaged by most schools to a ~513, but I am curious if there are any applicants who've had success with a bad first score in the past.

Particularly interested in MCAT jumps from under the national median accepted (508) to above 515.
Not really a data point, but worth sharing: Our wise LizzyM, who is at a school in the stratosphere, likes quoting a fellow Adcom member at her school:

"Him: Who retakes a [good score] MCAT?
LizzyM: Someone who wants to get into our school

Hence, there is at least one Top School out there that rewards a 2nd, higher score.
 
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personperson

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@personperson @Pleides @jonny238
Or anybody else who improved.......
How much time passed between your two attempts and what did you do differently for your 2nd test?
P.s. Congrats on all your great scores!
Took my two tests about 3 months apart. I mainly did a bunch of CARS practice every day and did some Exam Krackers FLs. My first score (512) included a 123 in CARS, so I focused on that.
 

pretysmitty

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Not really a data point, but worth sharing: Our wise LizzyM, who is at a school in the stratosphere, likes quoting a fellow Adcom member at her school:

"Him: Who retakes a [good score] MCAT?
LizzyM: Someone who wants to get into our school

Hence, there is at least one Top School out there that rewards a 2nd, higher score.

I can see how successfully retaking an already good score may not necessarily be viewed in a negative light. However, it was my impression after reading through sdn that a bad initial retake may preclude acceptance at a top school, no matter how good the second score may be. This thread seems to convince me otherwise.
 

mariposas905

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Took my two tests about 3 months apart. I mainly did a bunch of CARS practice every day and did some Exam Krackers FLs. My first score (512) included a 123 in CARS, so I focused on that.

How did you do on the second attempt?
 
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Ampharos

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Retook a 90+ percentile score. Multiple T20 accepts.


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Pleides

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@personperson @Pleides @jonny238
Or anybody else who improved.......
How much time passed between your two attempts and what did you do differently for your 2nd test?
P.s. Congrats on all your great scores!
About 3 years for me. I was much more structured with my studying the second time around. Also my first time, I severely underscored from my practice.
 

lpp06

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@personperson @Pleides @jonny238
Or anybody else who improved.......
How much time passed between your two attempts and what did you do differently for your 2nd test?
P.s. Congrats on all your great scores!

3 time taker here (each retake because the score became unusable)

34 -> 30 -> 520

The first test involved pretty minimal prep (1mo) and I got by on my test taking skills and strong physical science knowledge (14/10/10)

The second test, 5 years later, I over prepared and burnt out. I used multiple course books. I was eager to score well and took 6 practice FL's in the 7 days leading up to my test. My score was a full 4pts below what I was averaging.

The third, 3 years, I focused on how I studied well. I stuck with one prep company for the book portion and used other resources like Khan, AK Lectures, various You Tube videos, and other random web pages. I do well with full immersion. I also had a very regimented approach to taking practice FL's. I paced them out 1 per week for the month and a half prior, with scored AAMC being last. My score distribution ended up being 131/128/132/129

Moral of the story, know what works for you and stick with it while not over exerting yourself.
 
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Pleides

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3 time taker here (each retake because the score became unusable)

34 -> 30 -> 520

The first test involved pretty minimal prep (1mo) and I got by on my test taking skills and strong physical science knowledge (14/10/10)

The second test, 5 years later, I over prepared and burnt out. I used multiple course books. I was eager to score well and took 6 practice FL's in the 7 days leading up to my test. My score was a full 4pts below what I was averaging.

The third, 3 years, I focused on how I studied well. I stuck with one prep company for the book portion and used other resources like Khan, AK Lectures, various You Tube videos, and other random web pages. I do well with full immersion. I also had a very regimented approach to taking practice FL's. I paced them out 1 per week for the month and a half prior, with scored AAMC being last. My score distribution ended up being 131/128/132/129

Moral of the story, know what works for you and stick with it while not over exerting yourself.
Props to you man. That takes commitment.
 
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PreMedMissteps

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3 time taker here (each retake because the score became unusable)

34 -> 30 -> 520

The first test involved pretty minimal prep (1mo) and I got by on my test taking skills and strong physical science knowledge (14/10/10)

The second test, 5 years later, I over prepared and burnt out. I used multiple course books. I was eager to score well and took 6 practice FL's in the 7 days leading up to my test. My score was a full 4pts below what I was averaging.

The third, 3 years, I focused on how I studied well. I stuck with one prep company for the book portion and used other resources like Khan, AK Lectures, various You Tube videos, and other random web pages. I do well with full immersion. I also had a very regimented approach to taking practice FL's. I paced them out 1 per week for the month and a half prior, with scored AAMC being last. My score distribution ended up being 131/128/132/129

Moral of the story, know what works for you and stick with it while not over exerting yourself.


4 time club....is this your 4th application cycle? What happened before?
 

md-2020

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I'll let you know how this cycle goes for me. Went from a 33 (514) to a 528.
Jesus Christ, the things I see on SDN these days.
 
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lpp06

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4 time club....is this your 4th application cycle? What happened before?

Without derailing the thread too much, I made the mistakes of applying without critical experiences on my app.
 
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md-2020

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Mid to low tier with a 516?
The 503 still gets counted. I think it's smart to apply to lower tiers, it's not like the 516 was the first score (Even then, a mainly mid/lower tier app may be smart).
 

jonny238

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3.7 cgpa, 3.68 sgpa real nice upwards trend tho (started off with a 3.4 freshman year yikes!!)

-One year or research (2 poster presentations)
-150 hours shadowing a bunch of specialties
-Bunch of leadership stuff: Orientation leader for my undergrad institution, fraternity v.p , honor society officer, etc.
-250 hours of non-clinical volunteering (nursing home)
-Not to much clinical volunteering but have worked at a doctors office taking height weight and pulse ox readings on patients (250 hours).
- I just obtained my EMT-B Cert. Going to be working as a Patient Care Tech during my gap year.
- Im also a legacy for one of the Philly schools so I'm praying that helps.

The reason I restricted my apps to mid and low tier mainly due to my retake. 503-->516 would average to 509.5
My gpa also only puts me in the 30% for many top 30 schools
 
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CaffeineJunkie

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As somebody who made a big jump (510ish to 520ish) and is aiming high and applying rn, the stories here are amazing to read. I'll let you know how it goes for me, OP.

All I've ever seen on SDN are people disparaging retakes and harping on about averages.

Glad to see success is possible and top schools are on the table!


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile app
 
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Lucca

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As somebody who made a big jump (510ish to 520ish) and is aiming high and applying rn, the stories here are amazing to read. I'll let you know how it goes for me, OP.

All I've ever seen on SDN are people disparaging retakes and harping on about averages.

Glad to see success is possible and top schools are on the table!


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile app

I'm skeptical about the way SDN tends to think multiple MCATs are used. I think it's best to look at things on a case by case basis since we schools tend to approach retakes differently.
 

mwsapphire

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As somebody who made a big jump (510ish to 520ish) and is aiming high and applying rn, the stories here are amazing to read. I'll let you know how it goes for me, OP.

All I've ever seen on SDN are people disparaging retakes and harping on about averages.

Glad to see success is possible and top schools are on the table!


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile app

SDN as a whole is super conservative. @Lawper mentioned that you should take what SDN'ers tell you as the worst-case-scenario.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 

hubbsbubbs

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Would either (or both) of you be willing to DM me about how you accomplished this? I'm tutoring some really awesome students right now and most of them have taken the MCAT once. I would love to get some insight into how to jump this much on a retake so I can coach them through it.
You're free to check the link in my signature

I attribute my score jump to feeling much better my second take and actually taking practice tests
 
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ScreenName23

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Does taking a gap year for a state school ORM make a significant difference if they already have high stats?
Sorry that lacked punctuation. I was just listing answers to the person's questions about if she was URM or nontrad. I think a gap year only makes a difference as significant as what you do with it.
 

lolpremed22

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Sorry that lacked punctuation. I was just listing answers to the person's questions about if she was URM or nontrad. I think a gap year only makes a difference as significant as what you do with it.

Oh ok. Do you know what her stats were? And ECs?
 
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