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What would you do with these stats?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Perseverant 1, Nov 18, 2002.

  1. Perseverant 1

    Perseverant 1 Senior Member
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    Ok, i am gonna put myself out there with the hopes of some guidance. At this point, I have no clue what i should do. Maybe someone could provide some unchartered insight?

    Nontraditional applicant (non URM)
    Undergrad GPA (state school) 2.5
    ***extreme family illness combined with major case of immaturity
    Grad GPA (private school) 3.7
    7 years of volunteer work
    1 year experience as phlebotomist/EKG tech on telemetry unit
    3.5 years experience in clinical oncology research
    6 months (so far) in basic research (Heme malignancies)
    2 poster presentations
    5 abstracts (co author)
    3 journal articles (co author)
    Speaker at oncology research seminar
    Several positive recommendations from influential university professors
    MCAT 3xs (19,22,23) :( and that is after taking TPR AND Kaplan!

    This is my second time applying. I wrote a letter to accompany my secondary applications stating my MCAT score does not reflect my true intellect and that test anxiety played a major part in my performance.

    I received my first rejection this week (vermont). I am pretty sure the others will be arriving shortly. This is my first year applying to osteopathic school. I would much rather go to an allopathic school because i am most interested in neurological research. (I have 4 family members with severe neurological disorders)

    Can anyone give me some advice? I feel like the rest of my application is being overlooked because of my MCAT score! I am so frustrated!
     
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  3. whyme

    whyme Member
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    hey perseverant, hang in there. i am in the application process right now as well and it isn't going so well. i have a feeling though that eventually i'll get an interview somewhere...it may be in feb or march or even april but i'll get an interview. the best thing to do is not read the posts on sdn as much. i was at home from june to mid sept and i probably read sdn a handful of times...now that i'm back at school i seem to check sdn a lot more and it honestly makes me more anxious. there is nothing we can do now..it is truly out of our hands...i'm planning on sending updated grades/activities in dec after the quarter is over...also, someone told me letters of support from 3rd or 4th year students at a medical school might help...adcoms value the judgments of their own students...hopefully everything will work out by next spring. :)
     
  4. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    if you want my honest opinion, it's not just your mcat score that is holding you back. i've seen your posts, and every time i feel like telling you that even if a school could look past the mcat and give you an interview, it would be hard to look past such a low undergrad gpa (even if you were having a rough time in undergrad). i know you've done well in graduate school, but as discussed on this board, grade inflation is rampant in many graduate schools. it was in mine.
    i know it sounds horribly boring and tiring, but perhaps you could retake your prerequisites (or some of them) along with a couple of other undergrad science courses. if you can show medical schools that you can get a's in these courses they will be more likely to overlook your undergrad gpa. it will also help you with the mcat.
    do you have any sort of an upward gpa trend in college?
    your ec's look great, and you seem very dedicated. if you can bring up your numbers a tad you will have a much better shot.
    good luck :)
     
  5. cabruen

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    Perseverant 1--

    You have accomplished a lot in your graduate studies, and have demonstrated remarkable perseverance and dedication. I believe the admissions committee would have easily looked passed your undergraduate GPA, but unfortunately the MCAT score is staring them in their face. As you know it is a low score, that has been repeated three times.

    Nevertheless, do not lose hope. The admissions process does have some randmoness in it, and something may catch the eye of the person screening the applications, and they will grant you an interview. If you get to that stage, I believe you will impress them with your dedication and passion.

    Best of luck. You demonstrate why this process is not entirely fair, and robs our country of great doctors just because they fail to fit a mold. My prayers are with you.
     
  6. lola's advice is generally good.. while you may have had test anxiety, the science sections of the MCAT are to at least some degree a reflection of how well you have learned the material in undergrad/grad. I would suggest retaking at least some of the undergrad science courses than retaking the MCAT. Unfortunately, a 23 is well below the average for the vast majority of allopathic schools, and when I applied with a 26 and 3.55 in 1998 I did not get in anywhere. I retook the MCAT, scored a 29 (my VR section was the problem before and I am a native English speaker) and reapplied with 3.62 undergrad GPA (state school) with more success.

    also, I really don't think that it is helping you to explain to the admissions committees that you have test anxiety or that the score doesn't reflect your intelligence. First of all, it tends to make them think "uh oh, how is this guy going to get through the first anatomy practical if we take him." It's not really fair, but such is life. Also, many schools do not like you to send supplemental materials with your application. If you reapply again, definitely do NOT take this tactic.
     
  7. Dr. Wall$treet

    Dr. Wall$treet Membership Revoked
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    Hey honestly dont take this the wrong way, but if you studied and put legit time into the mcat prep and you cant break a 23 after 3 tries i think it would be dangerous to let you practice medicine.. i mean perserverence is one thing but you need aminimum level of intelligence to since peoples lives will be inr your hands.. honestly no offense but maybe med is not for you.
     
  8. abw

    abw Senior Member
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    Hey Perseverant!
    Don't be so quick to discount osteopathic schools because of your interest in neurological research. There's actually a thread in the osteopathic forum by someone who said the same thing - try doing a search in that forum. I think NYCOM has a pretty famous professor who does neurological research. Hope that helps at all!
     
  9. Megalofyia

    Megalofyia 425 lbs and growing
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    Have you contacted the dean of admissions at any of the med schools you are interested in to ask for their suggestions? They know what they are looking for in a student and can maybe help you lay out a plan for making your application more competative.
     
  10. ItNeverEnds

    ItNeverEnds Senior Member
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    Have you considered a career in neurological research? What motivates you to pursue medicine?

    If you're deeply passionate about a career in medicine, re-taking advanced undergrad science courses (biochemistry, molecular genetics, etc.) and acing them may be a good start. If possible, take a Kaplan course and re-take and do well (30 or higher) on the MCAT.

    Osteopathic medical schools, while not research powerhouses, do offer some opportunities for neurological research. As mentioned above, NYCOM has a few faculty with active research programs focused on Parkinson's Disease. Other osteopathic medical schools offer DO/PhD degrees. Osteopathic medicine will be expanding as a profession over the next several decades and neurology is actually quite popular among DO graduates.

    GOOD LUCK!

    INE
     
  11. Adcadet

    Adcadet Long way from Gate 27
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    well, what was your grad GPA in? Was it a "hard science." In general, I think that if your science GPA was pretty low in undergrad, doing a grad degree (or classes) in the hard sciences is probably a good thing, as lola suggests. But if your grad GPA is mostly in the "hard sciences" then perhaps that is more of a moot issue.

    pathdr2b makes many good points in this thread, and I think I make a good case for somebody with a more solid undergrad science background doing an MPH. Here's the link: http://www.studentdoctor.net/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=49027
     
  12. history _ice

    history _ice Member
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    All i have to say is good luck, and be persistent, and don't give you seem highly motivated and dedicated.

    GOOD LUCK:)
     
  13. DoubleDoctor

    DoubleDoctor Ceder Dog's Daddy
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    I totally agree with the suggestions to retake some of the undergrad stuff and improve your GPA because like someone pointed out, there is good inflation at some schools in grad school. You have to look at the same things that the schools look at and a major portion of that is GPA and MCAT score and you did poorly on both. If your GPA was the only sub par thing then you might could get them to cut you some slack with the family problems and immaturity but you have taken the MCAT 3 times and scored poorly.

    I understand that test anxiety can effect your performance but it has to be something more than just that. Could your performance in undergrad have left you with a poor foundation in basic sciences that is effecting your MCAT performance? I think that sometimes students fail to realize how essential that the basic sciences are for understanding more complex scientific issues. If you are weak in the sciences then by retaking them and really doing well, you will improve your MCAT performance.

    I think that this has little to do with your intelligence and in no way do I support your abandoning your med school dreams. I had a friend growing up that had parents that basically did not do anything to help him be successful. He was very intelligent but had a really rough time when we got to HS because he was a poor reader and basically had not mastered the skills in grade school and junior high that were needed to be successful in HS. He struggled the entire time and I ended up helping tutor him. To make a long story short, we basically went back to grade school stuff like grammar and punctuation and retaught the skills that he should have already mastered. It was a tedious process but it paid off as he is now a senior in college. His grades in college aren't stellar but they are satisfactory and I think most of his problems in college still are from the poor reading skills as he has to read very slowly for comprehension and then requires rereading several times to retain the info which ends up being a real problem considering how much reading is assigned in college.

    You may want to look at your study habits also because a large portion of being successful on the MCAT is knowing what they expect and how they test it. I suspect that you may have problems with the concepts and therefore have problems applying the knowledge you have. I see this often in people I tutor that try to memorize the material and skip the understanding of the concepts. This just will not work in a lot of college classes or on the MCAT because you have to be able to understand how something will occur in a given varied set of circumstances and why it will happen.

    Good Luck and hang in there. I think if you can bring up that MCAT, then you may be able to get in somewhere because the rest of your app is strong.
     
  14. phinicky

    phinicky Senior Member
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    Have you considered one of the MS programs. Maybe proving that you could do well in MS1 classes through an MS 1 program would help your chances of admissions to an MD program
     
  15. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    try getting into a post bacc/ms program that has linkages to a med school. The finch masters of physiology program is one frequently mentioned, supposedly you need to get a 3.0 in some first year med school classes and they let you start in their med school, or something. I dont know all the details but i think there are a few posters around here (dr.will ?) who are at that school.

    good luck
     
  16. LoveDoc

    LoveDoc Respect the Rhesus Monkey
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    Gosh you are rude. If no constructive advice go jump in a lake.

    1 LOSER/1 POST

    +pissed+
     
  17. 2badr

    2badr **Switch**
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    Whoa that is a little harsh.While I do agree with all of the advice (from people more in the know than I am;) ),I don't think it is very constructive to insult the poster.If you look at his ec's they are really good as far I can see.The low gpa is what seems to send out that proverbial red flag. There is probably a lot more to this than written.It cannot be easy to put yourself on the line like this.
    And by the way,I do agree that you need a good foundation for the MCAT.I have not taken it yet but have scoured a few books to know this is true.To the OP: Do you think you honestly understood the material before going into the MCAT? You might have to be really honest with yourself on this.DO take the test again.I think you have shown that you are dedicated and genuine.Unfortunately the adcoms have to get beyond that gpa and MCAT score.With so much research under your belt,maybe what you really need is a class on test-taking abilities/strategies.I believe you can do better on that MCAT.Your background seems to support that.I do not think you should give up just yet.And definitely take the advice of the people who have been or are going thru this process.Well some of them anyway.
    Good Luck
     
  18. Gumshoe

    Gumshoe LARGE Member
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    To be brutally honest, and this is what these posts are about (not sugar coated bullcrap), I tend to agree with Dr. Wallstreet on this one. I wouldn't be quite as harsh but the fact that the gpa is where it is and that the MCAT 3 times is in that range means that you won't really get a higher score than 23, and I would think adcoms really couldn't let you in with this. If one is high and the other is low, it's possible, especially with those OUTSTANDING EC's. Kudos on those. I think the process is random, but if you aren't near a 3.0 (which is more important than MCAT) I just don't see an adcom letting you in ...

    Seriously, ever just think of going to grad school and doing research? That is what I've considered at times and I think it would be great. You can help out many people doing that work, and it could be very exciting all the while.

    I don't mean this, but I can't pass up the chance, sorry ...

    Don't you think it's funny that the poster put in his message that his family has major neurological disorders? Haha. No offense, just ironic.

    Gumshoe
     
  19. scootad.

    scootad. Senior Member
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    and what exactly is the irony?
     
  20. TeinVI

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    the bottom line is you have great ECs, low MCAT, and low UG gpa.
    i would advise you to take the mcat over and when you're preparing for it, to solely concentrate on that and not try to juggle work, research, or classes along with it. the most important thing to do is take everything step by step. once you've improved urself on the mcat, do a post-bac perhaps, but try not to attempt to improve your application in every aspect all at once. a 23 is even below the national average, so i would work on that first and foremost. but the important thing is to not to lose hope. if medicine is truly what you want to do, you will find a way to reach your goals. good luck
     
  21. Perseverant 1

    Perseverant 1 Senior Member
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    Hello everyone-

    First and foremost, I think we can all agree that Dr. Wall$treet and Gumshoe will make really $ucce$$ful doctors some day.

    I have to answer Gumshoe's question about the my family's neurolgical disorders. You would think that talking about an Aunt with advanced Alzheimer's would be depressing. Now, how about compounding that with another discussion about another Aunt that had ALS (for those who don't know what that is, it is a devastating disease that attacks your nervous system. The victim slowly loses all control of voluntary and then involuntary movement....all the while being conscious of everything that is happening to them). Victims usually suffocate to death.

    Do you feel like an idiot now Gumshoe? Well, don't...at least not yet. My father had a stroke on Thanksgiving day of my freshman year of college. It left him permanantly paralyzed on his right side. He (the sole provider for my family) could not go back to work. He was forced to retire.
    And that is NOT nearly the worst of it. My mom could not go to work because she has spent the last 28 YEARS taking care of my severely handicapped brother. He has Cerebral Palsy and SEVERE epilepsy. Yes, he has more seizures in a day than you could possibly count! He is now 28 years old, but has the developmental age of about 6 months. Yes, that does mean that he can not talk, walk or do anything for himself. He is COMPLETELY dependent on us for all of his needs. He has been on every anticonvulsant med you can think of. Nothing has worked!

    So, that is why i am here. There is no other way to help my brother escape the HELL of constant seizures. I have to make it to (and through) med school in order to come up with new therapies. My life would mean nothing if i didn't give it all i have.

    I would like to thank everyone for their suggestions and let them know that there will always be a Gumshoe and Dr. Wall$treet. Let's just hope that their really is such a thing as karma.
     
  22. Mike59

    Mike59 Sweatshop FP in Ontario
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    If deep down you feel ready to handle medical school curriculum, I would suggest looking into a Caribbean school. It would save you the hassle of retaking the MCAT/going back for prereqs and allow you to prove yourself at that level. Some of them have high USMLE pass rates and good residency placement rates in US hospitals. Once admitted, your only issue will be starting your MS1 year on good footing.

    I admire your dedication to this field, good luck!
     
  23. DAL

    DAL no thank you
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    Perseverant 1-

    First, I want you to know how much I'm rooting for you. I read the boards regularly and it's not often I read about someone with your amount of desire. I will not be applying until next year but I'll chip in my little bit advice which rings very similar to what everyone else has said.

    You're EC's are great, definitely not what is holding you back. Your undergrad GPA and MCAT seem to be what is holding you back. I think if you do not gain acceptance this cycle, your best plan of action would be to apply to a post-bacc program that feeds directly into their medical school. DW mentioned Finch, and other posters on the board have said they seem to be pretty faithful to their post-bacc students. There are plenty of other feeder post-bacc programs you can find by asking around here and doing some research. I'll probably be headed in that direction if I do not gain acceptance after my first attempt. One thing though, if you get into one of those programs you must treat it like your last shot. You have to bust your rump to get the best grades possibly to show them you can handle the medical school curriculum given your MCAT score. Getting into one of those post-bacc programs definitely seems like your best possibility. You are showing the adcomm can do well in the science classes, making great contacts at the school, and you will be in a program that offers admission to their med school granted you do well enough.

    As far as the MCAT goes my friend, sometime just don't do well on it. You should still try to improve your score (I read a few days ago in the social lounge of a poster taking the MCAT 7 times). You definitely should need to stay confident in your ability to do well on the test. Analyze your study habits, take more practice tests, and make sure you have the science down cold. And then......take more practice tests.

    Once you get in med school, and you will if you stay perseverant, consider picking up your PhD. It will definitely help you in your research both immediately and down the road. If not, keep close ties to your research of interest while in med school so that you can contribute to the field once you are in a position to devote time to the research.

    Ok, my last bit of advice for you. Go talk to a dean of admission at a local med school or at one where you have been rejected. All of us can give you great advice, but we don't sit on an adcomm so you need to get the word from those that have the final say. Keep us updated, stay perseverant and you'll get there. Best of luck.
     
  24. futuremd45

    futuremd45 Junior Member
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    First of all, I agree that DrWallstreet and Gumshoe are being rude and callous.

    However, I am interested to know where it says:

    "Desire to become a doctor is reason enough to become a doctor."

    No offense to you, but I think you need to seriously consider if you have the academic capabilities to succeed in med school.

    The minimum academic standards are not meant to accomodate those who have the desire to become doctors but rather convey to adcoms that the applicant has the basic academic capabilities necessary to attend med school.

    Now you have two options:
    1. Prove to adcom that you have the wherewithal to succeed in med school, by retaking and excelling in your basic sciences and MCAT.

    2. Choose another field to go into.

    Sorry for the tirade, but I just amazed to see how so many people believe that they DESERVE to become a doctor and feel it is unnecessary and UNFAIR to be burdened by having to meet the minimum requirements established to reach that goal (not that you are such a person).

    Also, I think it is 100% fair that such standards exist since adcom do not have an infinite amount of time to analyse every single piece of info about you to judge whether you will succeed or not.

    Good Luck
     
  25. closertofine

    closertofine Emerging from hibernation
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    I agree that your desire is admirable...also, I'm sorry for all that you and your family have had to go through. I do have a question, though...if your main goal is to find a therapy for seizures, why haven't you considered a Ph.D. program?

    I'm not at all saying you should give up your dream of med school, just that if a grad school program would be equally (or more) helpful in letting you reach your goals, there is no reason you'd have to be a medical doctor.

    Best of luck,

    Karen
     
  26. Stillfocused

    Stillfocused Senior Member
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    For now, screw research! You can do plenty of it during your neurology residency and afterward.

    In order to get there, apply to 10-15 DO schools now, especially LECOM, DMUCOM, PCSOM, WVCOM.

    Your stats are lower than average for DO schools so it is imperative that you get your whole AACOMAS application in ASAP, like by like by Friday.

    It will cost you about $500. If necessary, max your credit cards and/or beg from relatives.

    Educate yourself about osteopathic medicine while waiting for your secondaries so you can write persuasive, sincere essays about why you are interested in osteopathic medicine. Look beyond the web for info. Start with these three books and follow the relevant references:

    Spontaneous Healing by Andrew Weil
    The D.O.'s: Osteopathic Medicine in America
    by Norman Gevitz
    Osteopathic Medicine: A Reformation in Progress
    by R. Michael Gallagher

    You did fine in grad school, don't let arrogant, superficial people make you doubt your intellect because you scored poorly on a foolish standardized test. And, you have done better each time you took it - congrats. But, don't take the MCAT again; it doesn?t like you.
     
  27. DoubleDoctor

    DoubleDoctor Ceder Dog's Daddy
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    I agree with Karen that the PhD may be the way to go because a tremendous amount of medical research is performed by PhD's and I know of several PhD's that are doing ground breaking research in Neuro. It's just a thought, but if you got your PhD and then you wanted to get your MD it still would be possible but you would have that doctorate to hopefully open some doors for you and it seems that your interest lies mainly with research.

    I don't think that everyone deserves to get in to medical school but I know of cases where people overcome overwhelming odds and did make it in by being optimistic and persistent. I guess that is the point of my advice to you. The OP is asking what he can do to improve his chances, and he realizes that he needs to improve to be accepted.

    As someone who has dealt with a loved one with Alzheimer's, I know what you are going through and you have my utmost respect. I can't imagine having to deal with the Alzheimers and someone with CP with severe developmental delays. I have a distant cousin that had CP with horrendous seizures and he too has been on every anticonvulsant on the market. He actually was much higher functioning but the continuous seizures have led to lose of function and severe behavior disorders and violence. My Aunt and Uncle had to institutionalize him because he was a danger to their other children but eventually the institution kicked him out for extreme violence so he is back home and they are literally living in hell. He beats on his mother all the time and sets fires as well as all sorts of other violent acts and running away. He still has enough motor skills to be ambulatory but they have zero options other than the criminal justice system. It is just so sad to see a family have to endure this kind of pain.

    Good luck with your goals and I hope that things go better for your family.
     
  28. SuzyQ

    SuzyQ Senior Member
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    I am going to have to totally disagree with you as I feel MCAT scores have no bearing on how one will do in medical school.
     
  29. Raptor

    Raptor Found one
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    Perseverant1, I am going to be praying for you and your family and there is no such thing as a close door to your dream. If it takes you going through the back, side, or anyway possible you can do it. Don't let these people scare you because although they are trying to help, they don't realize that there are many doors to medical school (although you have to search for them). I always go by my signature, please read it.good luck, and let us know because one day you might write a book about your experience.:)
     
  30. tkim

    tkim 10 cc's cordrazine
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    That's because she posted there too:

    http://www.studentdoctor.net/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=47596

    - Tae
     
  31. Medical123

    Medical123 Senior Member
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    No, I have to say that desire does not necessarily mean that one should go to medical school, but neither do high GPA's and MCAT scores.

    Though a lot of people are wonderful caring doctors, a lot of physicians should not even be allowed to practice medicine. I work as a nurse and you would be surprised to see the amount of callous, noncaring, and incompetent physicians practicing medicine today. You would not believe some of the things that I have seen and heard out of doctors and some of the medical errors that are made. It frightens me to think that one of these days, some of these practitioners could be treating me. These are the people who were accepted to medical school due to their high GPA and MCAT scores. Perhaps, these are the people that should have not been accepted to medical school in the first place.

    This person has undoubtedly been faced with some very rough circumstances in his/her life. Frankly, I would be a little concerned about an applicant that put his needs before those of his family. After all, if you don't care about your family enough to help out, how are you going to treat your future patients? When you think about it, most of the applicants to medical schools have not been faced with the adverse circumstances that this person has. If they had been, would they have performed as well as they did in undergrad and on the MCAT? It is definitely something to think about.
     
  32. Dr. Wall$treet

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    why the hell cant soem of you lose the ignorance and speak whats on your mind instead of sugarcoating thigns and telling everyone . ohh youll be fine.. work hard.. your great etc.. NO CRAP this guys ECS are amazing, your background is amazing with the problems you have overcome.. i probably coulnt have odne it and NO way id still be in pursuit. Just to let you know im no smart person in general i have gotten through with extreme motivation and working so hard. Thigns dont come that easily to me and i was defiently not a hihg numbers person. I am taking the mcat a 3rd time cause even though englihs is my first lang.. i SUCk at verbal.. but im trying. Now i was nOT trying to be mean but honestly think of if it was your child or family and you went to a doctor who was slow.. im sorry but my whole family works in the medical field.. a nurse and a bunch of docs, and i have heard a TON of storeis where some docs just are horrible technicians at surgery, E.R etc. They are great people and i am the biggest advocate of being a good poeple person and showing compassion, hell i wrote about it in my PS that i think medicien lakcs that and i could bring good communication to the field etc. But i said if you HONESTLY studied your as off three times, and barring you had no family emeergencies everytime etc.. you should be able to get over a 23.. i mean a 23 is very low..
    YOu can call me mean but if it was u or your family ask yoruself if you were choosing a doctor to diagnose or perform a life saving procedue.. you owuld you pick.. .. personally someone said they failed the mcat 3 times i would lose doubt quickly.. THis is all to say i konw NOTHING about your life so your circumstances that has effected everything.. could be the key and im sorry if they are.. Well bash me if you want but atleast im honets and you guys sugar coat like there is no tom.. for gods sake.. its the net.. be honest here
     

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