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Which is the better plan?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by DaveinDallas, Mar 24, 2004.

  1. DaveinDallas

    10+ Year Member

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    Hi all,

    Just wanted some thought and opinions on a couple of plans I'm considering with respect to applying to D.O. school....

    First plan (the hurry up version):

    1) Finish up Orgo II.
    2) Take the Kaplan/Princeton review over the summer and take the MCAT in August.
    3) While reviewing, apply to the schools in Texas and Oklahoma.
    4) If the seats are filled by the time my MCAT scores get there, apply again next year.
    5) While waiting for the next year do those activities to enhance my admissions package...

    Caveats for this option:

    - Haven't had physics in 15 years, need to review that.
    - Haven't had A&P II or Microbiology yet. Is that needed for the MCAT?
    - If I take the MCAT and the scores are bad, I could retest in April,but I don't know how that looks....

    Second plan ( take it a little easier, but harder on the family)
    1) Finish up Orgo II
    2) Get a full time day job and take A&PII and either genetics or microbiology.
    3) Review physics during this time and start studying for the April MCAT with plans on taking Kaplan/Princeton when it's offered prior to April.

    Caveats for this option:

    I'll delay possible acceptance until 2006 which puts a bit of a financial strain on the family. At 42, I don't have a lot of time to mess around as I want to do this while the kids are young.

    Any thoughts/comments....
     
  2. Robz

    Robz La Vie Boheme
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    This is my bet. Get the classes taken and start studing now for the august MCAT. I took the MCAT over and not one school seemed to mind a whole lot. In fact they only cared about my score from this last time. I think being older has a little more disadvange than taking the MCAT a second time. You should have some experiences builtup through your life so thats why I say take the classes and knock the crap out of the MCAT. Roll the dice and see what happens.
     
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  3. JohnDO

    JohnDO MS III
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    I would try and finish up Orgo 2 and take the MCAT in august. It sounds like you're not working full time, so use the coming summer to review revew review!

    I havn't had A&P or microbio either. It doesn't seem to be a hindrance on practice exams. You do need at least some understanding of both, but not so much that you cannot pick up on your own time. If you're not happy with your score in August, you can always go to plan 2.

    I don't know whether or not taking the MCAT twice is frowned upon in any way, but I do know plenty of people do it and have no problems getting a seat somewhere.

    I think that medical schools like to see older students.
     
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  4. Eyecon82

    Eyecon82 Senior Member
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    Honestly I didn't know anything going into the MCAT....i took ap bio....but that was junior year in high school....then ap physics which was also in high school and my 2 chems during my freshman year.....I didn't even take orgo 1 or 2 by the time I took my mcat....and..the rest are just computer eng/psychology/math courses.....I took the Princeton Review for the MCAT and their review helped me a lot....in fact, it was mostly a learning experience rather than a "review".... so I wouldnt stress too much on taking courses before the mcat because it's all basic concepts on there anywayz...you just have to learn how the MCAT manipulates simple information into tough questions....and do a lot of practice passages.....I'm really lazy too....so if i can do well on the mcat with barely any prior knowledge....im sure you can do it too!
     
  5. YoungFaithful

    YoungFaithful Senior Member
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    My thoughts on the subject...


    Waiting a whole year might be much more stressful (for other reasons ie financially) but you might end up benefiting in the long run.

    With that being said, I would start studying NOW for the Aug cat and make studying for it a 20-40 hr full time job over the summer(on top of kaplan). With a score of at least 24, I think you're in at some DO schools.

    Here is the key. Make sure you take enough practice tests over the summer to give you a good idea on how you will do on the real thing. If you are scoring well on those, then go for it, if you are still gettin low scores, then wait the extra year. There is no sense in wasting time and $$. Although I'm sure that almost every school does not look down upon multiple attempts at the test. So this should not be an issue...unless you do worse the 2nd time.

    Alot of schools (KCOM for example) value older applicants, so I don't think this should be much to your disadvantage.

    I also know for a fact that schools will not have their class filled by Oct when your scores get back, so don't worry to much about this about this, although the earlier the better of course.

    Good luck. Studying is a b*tch, but worth it.

    YF
     
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  6. (nicedream)

    (nicedream) Fitter Happier
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    How's that possible? Don't schools start in August/September? Regardless, they stop accepting people in March at all schools I believe. Unless you are talking about applying for entrance in Fall 2005. If that's the case, there is PLENTY of time. I didn't start interviews until February and was accepted.
     
  7. YoungFaithful

    YoungFaithful Senior Member
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    We're talking about Fall 05.
     
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  8. DORoe

    DORoe BWAAA HAAA HAAA
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    I'd go with the first plan. Yes you do have a better shot if your app is in by the end of july/early august, but it isn't set in stone. I think a lot of us on here didn't interview until later in the cycle (I started in the end of December). I didn't have my application complete probably until early November and didn't have a problem. If you are only going to apply to those two schools you won't be out much cash and won't have to worry about the long lay-off. Just do a solid job on the MCAT and you will be golden.
     
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  9. group_theory

    group_theory EX-TER-MIN-ATE!'
    Administrator Physician Lifetime Donor Verified Account 10+ Year Member

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    Also take this into account

    TCOM doesn't use AACOMAS but the Texas Medical & Dental application services. OSU-COM uses AACOMAS so you might have to fill out two seperate applications (and seperate fees)

    also, since TCOM is in the texas system, i think they operate via match, not rolling admission (but I could be wrong on this)

    Just something to keep in mind.

    As for your plans - take practice tests - are you scoring above 26 on your practice tests? Been 15 years since physics huh? how quickly can you pick it up again? Can you rememorize various formulas? Remember also to focus on verbal section - it's the killer section for most premeds (although i don't know why). If you are doing well w/ the practice test (and getting well-rounded scores in each sections), then Plan A (the hurry) would be best.

    Again, that's my opinion (student). If you have access to premedical advising, consider taking advantage of it.

    OH - something you haven't mentioned yet - start gathering your LORS - from professors, medical professional esp DOs, your boss, etc.
     
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  10. HooahDOc

    Physician 15+ Year Member

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    Dave,

    The general consensus is that review courses are seriously not worth the money. The "instructors" of these courses are harvested from students who make a certain score on the MCAT, and I have overall heard the course isn't really worth it.

    The only courses required for the MCAT are all of the introductory prerequisite courses. If you are good at taking standardized tests or study enough, you can probably get by with just these. However, the general opinion seems to be that Physiology is the best supplemental class. (the genetics isn't very in-depth)

    I don't think anyone really knows how retaking looks to an adcom, but retaking doesn't look as bad as a crappy score.

    You don't mentioned your GPAs. If your GPA is low or around the average for matriculated students, applying early may mean the difference between admission and rejection or waitlist. Some people do get in after applying late, but what they don't tell you is that, usually, their states are average or higher.

    GET A DO letter! Start doing this now, as it can sometimes take forever to find a DO.
     
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  11. DreamJob

    DreamJob Member
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    You are getting lots of good advice here, allow me to add my 2 cents. When it comes to taking the MCAT, think of it like skydiving, You want to get it right the first time!!! This point cannot be stressed too much. Take practice tests all summer and if you are not ready DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT take the test. Wait the year prepare yourself, then apply. Best of luck.
     
  12. Eyecon82

    Eyecon82 Senior Member
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    I don't think taking the mcat again is a problem....UNLESS you do worse....i do know for a fact that if you improve your mcat score...it is looked favorably...but doing worse...then you are in a hole.....

    I took the mcat twice....the 1st time i did ok....but I knew I could do better with more studying.....I disagree with JKDMed.....i really do think a review course IS worth it because you havent had a dose of some of the material for 15 years and it really does help learning it again...the $1500 is definetly the best investment I spent on my course to medical school.....
     
  13. Aaron Earles

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Hey Dave,

    You are going to get a lot of different opinions in this area. I think that each of the previous posters has brought up good points and advice. So I will give you mine as well.

    First of all, it is good that you are carefully thinking out your options. It shows maturity and careful planning. I think that you should finish up your Organic Chem II class for this semester and then prepare to study for the MCAT. Taking the August MCAT only delays your interview a couple of months. Plenty of people take the August MCAT and gain acceptance into medical school their first attempt.

    Second, I took the Princeton Review, not once, but twice. My score raised 1 point total. On the practice MCATS, I was scoring between 25 ? 30 with Qs on the essay. But I did much worse on the real thing. I guess I still suffer from test anxiety. Those review classes are good if you are willing to complete all the work they assign, which is quite a bit. The times I took it, most of the teachers read from the textbook, so class attendance was futile. I can read the texts by myself. The positive point is that you get to take a mock MCAT 5 times before you take the real thing. My only weakness was the verbal section, which literally killed me each time I took the MCAT.

    I took the MCAT a few times. At some places it may hurt your chances, but at others, it could very much help you. Some schools look at it as you not getting your act together, while others look at it as not giving up. The schools that I finally got accepted looked at all of my scores individually and took the best scores from each. I think it is ok if you have to take it more than once, but most of the non-traditional student that I have talked with did exceptionally well on the test. So you have that going for you. It does get expensive taking the MCAT multiple times. The Princeton review was $1300.00 when I took it a year and a half ago. It did help my Bio, Phys, and Essay score.

    As far as physics goes, it is very, very important on the MCAT. You could buy a good review book and learn the basic physics you will need. In the Princeton review course, they gave us a list of the most used equations and theories that we need to know. The info on that list was on every MCAT that I took. So it helped me to prepare. If you are disciplined, you can study fine on your own. I studied about 3 hours a day for the MCAT while taking the review courses.

    There is some anatomy on the MCAT, but it is not like identify the following structure. It is mostly physiology in the form of case studies. For example, ?If a person were Type II Diabetic, what organ is most likely not functioning properly?? or they may ask ?What would happen to an individual that has a tumor on the pituitary gland? and give you a list of options of other organ systems that would be affected. Physiology is important on the MCAT, but you can buy a review book on that as well, much cheaper than you could take the course.

    My advice is that you should study and plan to take the MCAT in August. Complete your applications in May when they become available and submit them on June 1, 2004. The schools will know that you have to complete the MCAT. Also, try to get experience shadowing DO?s, if you are going to apply to DO schools. Most schools require a DO letter of recommendation and they can be very difficult to get. And by the way, medical schools do like older, non traditional students, especially DO schools. Hope this helps and I apologize for this being so long. Feel free to PM me with questions.

    Aaron
     
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