Aug 17, 2015
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Pre-Medical
Hello,

I am an international student who studied in Canada, and I am applying to US schools that accept international students.

MCAT: 32 (12 PS, 10 VR, 10 BS)
GPA: 3.9
ECs: Fairly limited, was too busy working 2 jobs while in school... lots of teaching
Research: Couple thousand hours, 2 peer-reviewed publications as co-author
Shadowing: 300 hours across multiple specialties (primary care mostly)
Volunteering: 300 hours at local hospital in acute medicine/emerg
LoRs: research supervisor who taught me previously (mostly positive), primary care physician who I shadowed (positive), and hospital nurse from volunteering experiences (positive).

Verification/LORs will be complete by Sept 1. Late, I know, but I have been working on secondaries in the meantime.

Applying to Canada as well (and Ireland).

Q: How could I improve my chances during gap year? Should I rewrite the MCAT?

Thanks.
 

Doug Underhill

5+ Year Member
Sep 2, 2011
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Retaking a 32 can be kind of dicey: going up to 33 or 34 isn't really that much better, but going down will hurt you a lot.
 
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GrapesofRath

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May 5, 2015
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Retaking a 32 can be kind of dicey: going up to 33 or 34 isn't really that much better, but going down will hurt you a lot.
There's no easy answer here but this is what the OP has to consider

A 32 is a strong score particularly when each section is in double digits. For a US citizen I would rarely recommend retaking. But for a Canadian with a 3.9/32 they are going to be facing applicants with significantly higher MCAT scores(35+) for those select few US spots. If OP is open to DO schools then by all means apply to US, the 32 is fine.

Next thing OP has to consider is how those retaking similar scores to their's have done in the past.

https://www.aamc.org/students/download/271680/data/retestertotalscorechange.pdf

37% of those in the 30-32 range got 3+ points better the second time around. 26% in the 33-35 range. Considering the OP is at a 32 the chances of improving 3 points or more is probably somewhere in the middle of those two numbers. Meanwhile 36% of those in the 30-32 range got the same score or worse(which is a negative on your app) and 43% got the same score or worse in the 33-35 range. So if we average everything out, probably about 1/3 people who re-take with the OP's score get 3+ points better and about 40% who re-take get the same or worse. So it is a very dicey proposition re-taking. One can argue, "oh I'll just study harder and go all out I'm sure many people who re-took simply didn't study much". But the MCAT is more than studying and once you get past a certain score it is simply hard to improve without intrinsic reasoning and intelligence skills. Also worth noting is many people who re-take don't have double digit subsections in each score; you can bet a number of those 3+ point improvements came because an 8 point subsection became closer to a 11 which is alot easier of a jump to make than say 10 or 11 to 13.

So it's a tough call here for the OP. My suggestion might be to take a stab at it this cycle focusing on Canadian schools with maybe some lower tier MDs. If you get shut out then perhaps a re-take might be in order. The key as I said above though is that the OP needs to seriously consider the DO route if they want to come to the US with their current stats .
 
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Goro

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Jun 10, 2010
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Retake the MCAT and score > 36. Seriously, for American MD schools, canadians have to be in MD/PhD caliber.

OP will have much better luck with the 14 DO schools that accept internationals.
 
Aug 17, 2015
88
55
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Pre-Medical
Yeah, I am thinking that if I get shut-out for 2016, I will have to rewrite and aim for a 35+ (on the new scale). Haven't looked into DO schools. Not considering them at this point.
 
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