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What to do now? Advice needed.

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ciestar, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. ciestar

    5+ Year Member

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    I'm asking for honest (please don't be too harsh..) advice here.

    Honestly, I've always questioned if I had what it takes to me a doctor. From the criticism I've received on my overall "application" (minus my mcat, more on that later), I have a great overall application on paper. However, I'm stuck on the mcat. It's a bear of a test that I can't seem to get past. I've postponed it twice now. This alone has me questioning everything. It makes me wonder if I can't do this, how could I possibly pull off the usmle? Confidence is a huge issue here. I almost feel like the fear of doing poorly on this test is crippling me.

    Money is obviously a concern here but I don't think it's more of a concern for me than it is for anyone else.

    I'm most interested in primary care fields, I always have been. I've read a lot on here about how the PA/NP route is good if you're gunning for primary care. But, I tried the nursing thing once, it didn't work out. I knew I'd never be happy just being an RN. I always wanted to do so much more during my clinicals than I was doing. The idea of better hours in general does appeal to me as well. My fiancé said he wouldn't want me to just settle for anything just because I am unsure of myself.

    In a sense, I am asking almost what should I do. I know none of you can answer that for me, but i just need advice. Can I make it past the mcat?
     
    Osteoth likes this.
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  3. Afford

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    What are you getting on your AAMC practice tests? If they're good, you should be fine.
     
  4. ciestar

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    I haven't even taken one yet. :(
    I don't want to waste them...

    I know. I sound ridiculous.
     
  5. ciestar

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    I should also add that I haven't finished my content review yet. My life is a bit of a mess (in a sense) because I have a lot going on in my life, so I'm overwhelmed trying to keep up with everything I need to. My mcat is the only thing that "gives". I can't blow off work or anything unfortunately, so I get completely disheartened not being able to do it all.
     
  6. mspeedwagon

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    Here is my advice:
    - Take AAMC 3 immediately and get a baseline.
    - Studying for the MCAT... with no baseline and no goal in mind is pointless.
    - Stop questioning things far in the future. How you do on the USMLEs is not really a matter of concern at this point.
    - Don't give up on this route till you have sat for and bombed the MCAT (twice). You will always regret what you never tried. However, if you sit for it and don't do well after prepping for it well, then you'll know this is not a feasible route for you.

    Good luck!
     
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  7. Goro

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    Time to talk to a therapist, STAT. I see a ton of plain old test taking anxiety. This is easily fixable. So quit fussing and start working!

     
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  8. Cyberdyne 101

    Cyberdyne 101 It's a dry heat
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    I'm sure you remember when Ryan Howard put the fear of God into opposing pitchers. Approach the MCAT with that type of confidence!
     
  9. optimistic3

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    You have to at least try your hardest in your studies and give the MCAT your all before you give up. I haven't take my mcat yet but my Kaplan prep class was one of the best purchases I've ever made. I've learned so much from it (both content- and strategy-wise) that I know I never would've learned on my own. Maybe you need something like that to boost your confidence. And since you don't want to waste your exams (I completely know what you mean on that one), there are plenty of Kaplan full lengths that come with the class as well as all of the AAMC full lengths and lots of subject and topic tests.

    I promise I don't work for Kaplan lol. I've just been pretty impressed with them and I hope it translates into a high score for me.
     
  10. PlasticBag

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    Those feelings and thoughts might be more common than you think. It's a weird combination of self-doubt and perfectionism (wanting to review and perfect absolutely everything before taking a practice test). What helped me was setting my initial expectations really low and telling myself I still have time to improve. So just tell yourself it's absolutely okay to "bomb" aamc 3. Most people do. The good thing about it is that you will start seeing improvement once you review your weak areas and practice more. This will give you hope and some motivation to study more. I would also practice some things I was already "okay" with, just to gain confidence that there are at least some topics I'm comfortable with
     
  11. hoihaie

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    tkae aamc 3 for baseline first
     
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  12. user12

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    take the LONG version of aamc 3. the longer exams will build confidence, trust me. if you don't have it, message me and ill get it to you
     
  13. ciestar

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    My friend gave me access to her Kaplan account and I'm working through it. I just don't think I'm going to finish in time for the October 25th mcat that I'm signed up for currently.

    Haha, well, I'm part way there. My expectations are horrifyingly low right now.
     
  14. ciestar

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    Well, my baseline has been created. I got a 25 (8/9/8). Still not done with content review. I'm a hair over a month out. I don't think taking the exam October 25th is actually an option for me. I have no idea what to do. I cannot postpone this exam, again. This testing cycle is almost over and I've put a lot into studying for THIS exam, that I couldn't bear having to retake on the new exam….

    So, now what?
     
  15. lumpyduster

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    How much more content do you have? I still had almost all of physics and a few bio chapters a month from the exam. I found doing a practice exam every few days while hitting the weaknesses I knew I had + any weaknesses the practice exam exposed and I improved A LOT over the course of that month. I was disappointed with my first AAMC after reviewing when I got a 31 (I know it's not a bad score and id honestly be okay with it but I wanted to shoot for a 35.) I scored a 34 on the next and 36-38 on the rest of AAMCs. So you can definitely make great strides in your scores in a month. Just systematically fill in those knowledge gaps!
     
  16. ciestar

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    The score report revealed to me what I already knew, pretty much. I'm super weak in physics. But this test had questions on harmonic motion, sound, and optics. My biology deficits I think can easily be fixed, organic was the main issue with BS (a bunch of questions on lab techniques…haven't gotten that far yet). Gen chem wasn't too bad.

    As far as what I have left…well, it feels like a lot.
    Physics: Thermodynamics, electrostatics, circuits, Periodic Motion/waves/sound, Fluids/Solids, and optics.
    Gen Chem: Acids/Bases, Electrochem
    Biology: Respiratory, Urinary (exocrine), Encodrine, Cell Bio (yay DNA), and Evolution (took an entire course on evo, not too worried about this)
    Organic: Amines/Nitrogen Compounds, Lab Techniques, and Biochem
    ^^This is following the Kaplan plan

    That 9 in VR was a surprise, seeing as I've hardly touched a verbal passage in quite some time. All that tells me is that I have the potential to do so much better than a 9.
     
  17. lumpyduster

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    I guess it depends on how many of those sections are totally new to you/don't remember at all. I had pretty much the same amount of chapters for physics, and I just used Kaplan and the internet in the end actually. I find that the physics on the MCAT is fairly basic. I found the Princeton science workbook helpful but I didn't have time to do that many problems for all my sections.

    I think you should be fine for chemistry. It's only a few chapters!

    I don't even think bio will be a concern. I would definitely focus on molecular bio since that seems to come up a lot on the MCAT now. But even if you devote an entire day of studying to each chapter that's only 5 days.

    I really think you can do this! Just stay focused and take it a step at a time! I know how daunting it feels right now but I'm so glad I didn't reschedule. I don't think I could have been much more ready than I was.
     
  18. ciestar

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    Unfortunately I also work full time so I really don't have the luxury to devote full days to really anything. Really long sections get dragged out much longer and i really don't know if I have enough time left. I feel like burnout is inevitable.
     
  19. crossingthefingers

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    I studied while working full-time and it sucked but I did it. Someone told me that if you're worried about burning out while studying for the MCAT, you should worry about burning out in medical school.
     
  20. lumpyduster

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    In the end what matters is that you feel ready. I don't think you should metaphorically kill yourself over the MCAT, so if you feel like changing your date to January would make things easier on you do it :) I worked in a lab while studying and had to balance classes for about two weeks and so I managed about 6 hours a day, sometimes more.
     
  21. mspeedwagon

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    25 is a great starting point. You could already get into a D.O. school is you applied broadly.

    My advice:
    - Find a January MCAT date and stick with it. I don't see why you can't postpone again. You aren't at your potential. Why take the exam in October? End result is that you'll just have to re-take in January. Although I don't recommend it, if you want to take it Oct. 25th and then late Jan, that could work too. The earlier score will be in the mid-20s and might suffice for a few D.O. schools.
    - You still have three to four months to utilize. Go over content again and incorporate an AAMC practice exam every other week so you can build on your 25.
    - If you feel burned out, take a day off. Go for a walk, go to the mall, go dancing, do whatever. The MCAT is a test of endurance.
    - Finally, and most importantly, find a way to change your attitude about this test. If you think you can't do well, that you've studied a lot and your score won't go up... ever... it's a self-fulling prophecy. Instead be thrilled with the 25 and realize you can only get better. Learn from your mistakes and get excited to see your score increase over the next few months.

    PS - For all the talk about the new MCAT, it's not too bad. I took a look over the Kaplan 2015 MCAT books and they aren't that different. And even though it'll be longer, so will all other medical exams for the rest of your life, so it's probably a good thing.

     
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  22. ciestar

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    It's more so that Id have to approach the new mcat a little bit differently, as there's new material on it and they're changing the content of what's already tested.

    Everyone in my life seems to think I can take the October 25th test and get a 35. People ignorant to this process don't understand and it puts undue pressure on me.

    Now, my fiancé is suggesting I push back my exam until January. But is also saying he's shutting off our cable and that I should literally do nothing else from now until January but go to work and study.
     
  23. mspeedwagon

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    I voided my first MCAT and took my second after studying for several more months. I pushed back my MCAT twice. I didn't want to sit for the MCAT until I was scoring in the high 20s (that was my realistic personal goal). I'll happily take classes for and prep for a new MCAT as my long-term goal is to become a doctor, no matter the obstacle.

    Realize this... the majority of doctors in America today did not score a 35. Most med students in America today did not score a 35 (avg. for matriculates is a 31). Why aim for something that most doctors never achieved? A 35 is unrealistic for the vast majority of people that will be admitted to med school. If I told you to train for a marathon tomorrow, would you go look up the times to qualify for the Olympics or would you evaluate yourself and try to figure out what is realistic. Aim for a 30/31. You're 5-6 pts from that. You need 1/2 pts per section. It takes about a month to jump 1/2 pts (your MCAT score will also oscillate going up and down). Your realistic goal should be to go up 6 pts in three months.

    If you have a lot of pressure from outside people quit while you are ahead. You should be doing this for yourself. Ignore those around you. If you truly cannot and people are more critical than helpful of your every move and this effects you, walk away while you're ahead. Divorce, depression and desperation are all realities of the medical profession. You want a great support network that trusts you to make the correct decision before you dive in.

     
    #22 mspeedwagon, Sep 24, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
  24. GenericApplicant

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    I think you just need to buckle down, take a practice AAMC every few days until you run out of them. Focus on weaknesses! I can't stess that enough, anything you are weak at go extra hard on studying those concepts.
     
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  25. mspeedwagon

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    I'd only do this if you are aiming to take the Oct test. Otherwise, focus on content and practice passages and save at least tests 9/10/11 for a few weeks before your Jan MCAT.

     

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