Which medical schools average MCAT score vs which look at best?

hugh2012

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I was wondering which medical schools will average the new MCAT 2015 if you take it say two or three times vs which ones just look at your best score?
 

studentdocftw

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I know Jefferson averages scores..but that's all I know.
 

GrapesofRath

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You won't get many(if any) clear answers from schools on this. Talk to different people from the same school and you might get rather different answers( I have). And gyngyn will often tell you there's no one way a lot of schools look at multiple scores no matter the lip service they give you suggesting otherwise
 

gonnif

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I was wondering which medical schools will average the new MCAT 2015 if you take it say two or three times vs which ones just look at your best score?
Whether or not schools have a specific formula on how they evaluate, your MCAT report will include all scores and will be seen by most adcoms
 

gyngyn

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As long as all scores are visible (and they are), there is no way to reliably predict how individual evaluators will view multiple scores. Schools comes up with a party line to reduce phone calls. I have seen at least as many people give more weight to lowest score as highest! I can tell you that the school is more likely to include the highest scores of accepted students in the class composite, though...
 
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Lawper

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I was wondering which medical schools will average the new MCAT 2015 if you take it say two or three times vs which ones just look at your best score?
Like any repeat of the same type of exam (old vs old, 2015 vs 2015), the best metric (recommended by AAMC as well) is to average the attempts. I don't know how individual schools would interpret multiple MCAT 2015 attempts though.
 

gyngyn

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Like any repeat of the same type of exam (old vs old, 2015 vs 2015), the best metric (recommended by AAMC as well) is to average the attempts. I don't know how individual schools would interpret multiple MCAT 2015 attempts though.
All the multiples I have seen of the new exam have been mistakes. The cycle is still young, though.
 
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Lawper

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All the multiples I have seen of the new exam have been mistakes.
Mistakes? Yeah, I'm not sure. It's too early for anyone to know, so I'll just play it safe and say schools average the scores :cool:
 

studentdocftw

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As long as all scores are visible (and they are), there is no way to reliably predict how individual evaluators will view multiple scores. Schools comes up with a party line to reduce phone calls. I have seen at least as many people give more weight to lowest score as highest! I can tell you that the school is more likely to include the highest scores of accepted students in the class composite, though...
I've always wondered this...so schools generally look at all MCAT scores, but when reporting use the highest score of a given applicant? Is there an incentive to do this? Other than "bragging rights" of having the highest MCAT avg in the country? Attracting better candidates?
 
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You are not going to get a clean, clear answer on this on SDN. For whatever reason, this is a hot-button topic and seems to always lead to presumptions about poor judgment on the part of applicants. Rarely do you see posts indicating that a re-take, even with major improvement, was just a good thing without so many qualifications added that by the end it's pretty much only a negative.
 
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gyngyn

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You are not going to get a clean, clear answer on this on SDN. For whatever reason, this is a hot-button topic and seems to always lead to presumptions about poor judgment on the part of applicants. Rarely do you see posts indicating that a re-take, even with major improvement, was just a good thing without so many qualifications added that by the end it's pretty much only a negative.
When the door to ambiguity is opened on the only standardized aspect of the application one must not be surprised to hear no clear answer.
 
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Lawper

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You are not going to get a clean, clear answer on this on SDN. For whatever reason, this is a hot-button topic and seems to always lead to presumptions about poor judgment on the part of applicants. Rarely do you see posts indicating that a re-take, even with major improvement, was just a good thing without so many qualifications added that by the end it's pretty much only a negative.
Success actually happened quite frequently in the last cycle and even in the current cycle. People retook 29s and 30s to get 38 equivalent and managed to get lots of interview invites and acceptances. It's a major factor driving behind reapplicants' success. Retakes aren't bad. It's just better to do well the first time.

When the door to ambiguity is opened on the only standardized aspect of the application one must not be surprised to hear no clear answer.
I think overanalyzing what goes on with the retakes helps no one. The medical school application process is already uncertain and ambiguous even with seemingly strong applicants who did well the first time.
 

gyngyn

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Mistakes? Yeah, I'm not sure. It's too early for anyone to know, so I'll just play it safe and say schools average the scores :cool:
I'm referring to the individual cases in which those who have re-taken the new test have submitted their applications! There are relatively few and there have been no cases yet where averaging became necessary.
 

Lawper

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I'm referring to the individual cases in which those who have re-taken the new test have submitted their applications! There are relatively few and there have been no cases yet where averaging became necessary.
I mean, even then, the AAMC rules of thumb are pretty handy!

Different exam formats --> take the new exam score
Same exam format --> average the scores (works best with >3 without any controversy)

And yet, questions regarding how re-takes are evaluated persist.
Well, I can't blame anxiety. But I did notice some very general trends:

Multiple attempts --> average
Two attempts with last being higher --> take the recent/highest score (or even superscore!)
Worse second/last attempt --> dead application

It seems in the case of reapplicants, people who suffered from bad test days/bad prep, those with expired scores etc. tend to show significant >3 pt improvement in the scores, and thus achieve a much more successful application cycle. And the sample size is significantly large (n>>100), but I admit, I wasn't conducting an extensive survey.

Point being that while two (and I emphasize only two) MCAT attempts certainly open doors of speculation, a significant upward trend is always a good thing. Likewise, a downward trend is a massive red flag.

But these are general trends and no way indicative of application success. There are simply too many factors involved in having a successful cycle.
 
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And yet, questions regarding how re-takes are evaluated persist.
Well, of course, because there are a ton of people who do a re-take, and they know that the MCAT is huge (hence, the re-take!), and they read here that even with major improvement the attitudes about having to do a re-take at all will trend negative.

And it doesn't have to be ambiguous. You're presuming that it must mean something by definition about one's ability or judgment, and that doesn't have to be. It's an assumption to say, as a rule, that candidate X who required no-take has by virtue of that one test proven to have more ability or better judgment (overall) than candidate Y who does a re-take.
 
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So @Lawper, are you suggesting that it is only really a serious problem if there are more than 2 re-takes? And that most schools won't average if only on the first re-take? Presumably everyone in this cycle taking the 2015 MCAT who has re-taken would only have done 1 re-take.
 

gyngyn

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Well, of course, because there are a ton of people who do a re-take, and they know that the MCAT is huge (hence, the re-take!), and they read here that even with major improvement the attitudes about having to do a re-take at all will trend negative.

And it doesn't have to be ambiguous. You're presuming that it must mean something by definition about one's ability or judgment, and that doesn't have to be. It's an assumption to say, as a rule, that candidate X who required no-take has by virtue of that one test proven to have more ability or better judgment (overall) than candidate Y who does a re-take.
A single strong score is always the best strategy.
Even when a re-take is necessary for success, the odds that a disagreement between evaluators will occur is high.
I offer this as an insight into this process, only.
 
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A single strong score is always the best strategy.
Even when a re-take is necessary for success, the odds that a disagreement between evaluators will occur is high.
I offer this as an insight into this process, only.
I think part of what happens here is that I do believe what you're saying, but debating whether the underlying logical basis for that practice in evaluating applicants is really valid. And if by chance it's not valid, what would that mean about the insistence on the practice?
 

Lawper

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So @Lawper, are you suggesting that it is only really a serious problem if there are more than 2 re-takes? And that most schools won't average if only on the first re-take? Presumably everyone in this cycle taking the 2015 MCAT who has re-taken would only have done 1 re-take.
Like I said, I don't know about the 2015 MCAT retakes. I'm talking in the cases of two retakes of the old MCAT, and an old MCAT and a new MCAT. Strong (>3 point) improvement supposedly led to much more favorable success for many applicants and reapplicants. Schools could average and still interview them; or they may note the trend was significant (and backed with a good explanation as to why the first exam went poorly) and go with that. Regardless of the method used, a strong upward MCAT trend in two attempts was viewed favorably.

Three and more attempts just mean the applicant peaked, unless the applicant really did something drastically different. It's just harder to convince the schools about the merits of 3 attempts (even with a constant upward trend), as opposed to only two.
 

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I think part of what happens here is that I do believe what you're saying, but debating whether the underlying logical basis for that practice in evaluating applicants is really valid. And if by chance it's not valid, what would that mean about the insistence on the practice?
I hope by discussing the reality of ambiguity that multiple scores produces, I may convince a few applicants to take the MCAT as seriously as we do at the schools. Every year I see thousands of applicants reduce their potential for success by indiscriminate test taking.
 
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GrapesofRath

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I hope by discussing the reality of ambiguity that multiple scores produces, I may convince a few applicants to take the MCAT as seriously as we do at the schools. Every year I see thousands of applicants reduce their potential for success by indiscriminate test taking.
Now here is a question where I am interested in hearing your response

There was a thread a couple weeks ago where gonnif did some digging and apparently now schools can see if you voided an attempt. How would a voided attempt influence an ADCOMs thought process? Obviously there aren't two scores to average in this situation, but how would a strong score look when the first attempt was a void? Would it be assumed that voided attempt would be a poor score and hence have the same kind of effect on applicant who has strong second score but poor first attempt?
 

gyngyn

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Now here is a question where I am interested in hearing your response

There was a thread a couple weeks ago where gonnif did some digging and apparently now schools can see if you voided an attempt. How would a voided attempt influence an ADCOMs thought process? Obviously there aren't two scores to average in this situation, but how would a strong score look when the first attempt was a void? Would it be assumed that voided attempt would be a poor score and hence have the same kind of effect on applicant who has strong second score but poor first attempt?
Those with the means to give the MCAT a "dry run" are using the voided test as an opportunity to become familiar with the site, work on their timing and just generally gain an advantage. We have been aware that it happens but it seems to be a more frequent strategy as we see how often the test is voided.
 

GrapesofRath

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Those with the means to give the MCAT a "dry run" are using the voided test as an opportunity to become familiar with the site, work on their timing and just generally gain an advantage. We have been aware that it happens but it seems to be a more frequent strategy as we see how often the test is voided.
Does it negatively affect applicants(ie will a high score be looked at less favorably then those for whom there was a voided attempt prior to it then a high score with no voided attempt?)
 

gyngyn

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Does it negatively affect applicants(ie will a high score be looked at less favorably then those for whom there was a voided attempt prior to it then a high score with no voided attempt?)
It just opens that door to speculation.
Maybe they got sick, maybe they are gaming. There is really no way to know for sure.
I would still recommend voiding the test if the applicant becomes ill or is unable to finish significant portions of the exam.
 
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GrapesofRath

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It just opens that door to speculation.
Maybe they got sick, maybe they are gaming. There is really no way to know for sure.
I would still recommend voiding the test if the applicant becomes ill or is unable to finish significant portions of the exam.
Well are the speculation/assumptions made more likely to be "they were sick" or "there was an error on the part of the test or the AAMC" or is it "they were gaming the system"? In other words is the worst simply going to be assumed? I would assume that given there is no way of knowing what actually happened ADCOMs probably have a set rule or principle about how they view voided attempts: ie either it is a negative or it is something they tend not to concern themselves much with.
 

gyngyn

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Well is the speculation/assumptions made more likely to be "they were sick" or "there was an error on the part of the test or the AAMC" or is it "they were gaming the system"? In other words is the worst simply going to be assumed? I would assume that given there is no way of knowing what actually happened ADCOMs probably have a set rule or principle about how they view voided attempts: ie it is a negative or it is something they tend not to concern themselves much with.
Once again, there is no way to know how a particular screener is going to view this. Some are cynics, others are more generous. Even if there were a rule (there isn't), there would be no way to enforce it.
 
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Goro

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To illustrate this, there is a person on my Adcom who will penalize people for taking the first exam sick/unprepared etc even if the rest of their app is stellar, including having a newer and better MCAT score!

This person gets voted down a lot.


A single strong score is always the best strategy.
Even when a re-take is necessary for success, the odds that a disagreement between evaluators will occur is high.
I offer this as an insight into this process, only.
 

sharkbyte

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To illustrate this, there is a person on my Adcom who will penalize people for taking the first exam sick/unprepared etc even if the rest of their app is stellar, including having a newer and better MCAT score!

This person gets voted down a lot.
Is this assuming the applicant actually reported that he/she was sick/unprepared?
 

GrapesofRath

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To illustrate this, there is a person on my Adcom who will penalize people for taking the first exam sick/unprepared etc even if the rest of their app is stellar, including having a newer and better MCAT score!

This person gets voted down a lot.
I'm assuming you mean a first voided attempt not just a first poor score correct?
 

GrapesofRath

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Once again, there is no way to know how a particular screener is going to view this. Some are cynics, others are more generous. Even if there were a rule (there isn't), there would be no way to enforce it.
So if I understand correctly the voided attempt get displayed right next to an attempt that produced an actual score on the score report correct(ie it is very easy to see)?
 

Goro

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I'm talking about actual scored test takers. I don't know if if my wily old Admissions dean knows about the ability to see voiding yet.

If it becomes apparent that too many people are "getting sick on exam day (just like how grandparents suddenly die right around exam time in med school) med schools might start punishing people as a collective, even if the innocent are penalized.

We see the same thing happening now, as the learned gyngyn has alluded to in multiple posts, that med schools want evidence of commitment to URM communities because too many unethical applicants have tried to game the system by checking the "URM" box on the app form.




Is this assuming the applicant actually reported that he/she was sick/unprepared?
I'm assuming you mean a first voided attempt not just a first poor score correct?
 

GrapesofRath

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I'm talking about actual scored test takers. I don't know if if my wily old Admissions dean knows about the ability to see voiding yet.

If it becomes apparent that too many people are "getting sick on exam day (just like how grandparents suddenly die right around exam time in med school) med schools might start punishing people as a collective, even if the innocent are penalized.

We see the same thing happening now, as the learned gyngyn has alluded to in multiple posts, that med schools want evidence of commitment to URM communities because too many unethical applicants have tried to game the system by checking the "URM" box on the app form.
I'd imagine this might start happening at schools that average multiple MCAT attempts/put significant weight in both. It's unfortunate and another hurdle applicants have to potentially deal with that nobody prior had to but it's a good thing for all applicants to be aware of. Hopefully all become aware of this.
 
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If anything, IF a stance of ambiguity and question-raising is presumed, then voiding should be punished much worse. They are leaving the door open, more so, to say they were not prepared and did not respect the test enough. At the re-takers were prepared enough not to void.
 

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:smack: Speculation just took a turn for the worse.

To illustrate this, there is a person on my Adcom who will penalize people for taking the first exam sick/unprepared etc even if the rest of their app is stellar, including having a newer and better MCAT score!

This person gets voted down a lot.
That seems to be placing undue emphasis on the performance of the first exam. There are a lot of factors beyond the applicant's control on test day. Of course, I am really underlining significant MCAT upward trends here. This isn't something anyone can do with ease (in fact, it's actually uncommon to rare).

If anything, IF a stance of ambiguity and question-raising is presumed, then voiding should be punished much worse. They are leaving the door open, more so, to say they were not prepared and did not respect the test enough. At the re-takers were prepared enough not to void.
Alternatively, test takers feel they did really bad on the exam and don't feel comfortable submitting the score. Or we have a sudden extenuating circumstance etc.

If what @gonnif said is true that schools have access to voided attempts, well, it defeats the point of voiding the exam in the first place. Even the AAMC ensured that the MCAT cannot be taken more than three times each year, and this includes voiding etc.

But I don't know anything more. It's just speculating the speculation.
 
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GrapesofRath

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Interestingly for law school admission for years schools have been able to see a cancelled LSAT. The general rule amongst almost all schools has seen to be that you get one strike (ie you can cancel once and it won't really affect you much). More than one void from what I understand definitely starts to raise a few questions.

Yes this policy defeats the purpose of voiding. What to me is the bigger thing is whether applicants will start to realize ADCOMs can see their scores. The AAMAS phrasing about this definitely makes it seem like medical schools won't find out about voids. Someone on another thread even emailed the AAMAS last week and their response was straight up medical schools won't find out. At the very least if there is a policy change like this it should be more clear that schools can now see your voided attempts.
 
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:smack: Speculation just took a turn for the worse.



That seems to be placing undue emphasis on the performance of the first exam. There are a lot of factors beyond the applicant's control on test day. Of course, I am really underlining significant MCAT upward trends here. This isn't something anyone can do with ease (in fact, it's actually uncommon to rare).



Alternatively, test takers feel they did really bad on the exam and don't feel comfortable submitting the score. Or we have a sudden extenuating circumstance etc.

If what @gonnif said is true that schools have access to voided attempts, well, it defeats the point of voiding the exam in the first place. Even the AAMC ensured that the MCAT cannot be taken more than three times each year, and this includes voiding etc.

But I don't know anything more. It's just speculating the speculation.
And that would imply that they were not prepared, and, as the rule is going, showed poor judgment in calculating to take it when they did (see the bolded in your post).

My main point is that the logic being used is faulty, seriously faulty. If a kid studies for 10 days and busts out a 525, that certainly shows the kid is smart (at least in some ways) and can kill the MCAT. BUT, we can't deduce much at all about his judgment, and we certainly could not assume he showed good judgment (perhaps quite the contrary). And if the re-takers (even just a single re-take) are by definition saddled with the judgment downgrade, then everyone else has to have an assessment of judgment and not just raw MCAT ability.
 
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Lawper

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And that would imply that they were not prepared, and, as the rule is going, showed poor judgment in calculating to take it when they did (see the bolded in your post).

My main point is that the logic being used is faulty, seriously faulty. If a kid studies for 10 days and busts out a 525, that certainly shows the kid is smart (at least in some ways) and can kill the MCAT. BUT, we can't deduce much at all about his judgment, and we certainly could not assume he showed good judgment (perhaps quite the contrary). And if the re-takers (even just a single re-take) are by definition saddled with the judgment downgrade, then everyone else has to have an assessment of judgment and not just raw MCAT ability.
That is a very reasonable assessment.
 
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gonnif

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If what @gonnif said is true that schools have access to voided attempts, well, it defeats the point of voiding the exam in the first place. Even the AAMC ensured that the MCAT cannot be taken more than three times each year, and this includes voiding etc.
Just to clarify,

Voiding means you have elected not to have this exam scored. It is never scored, it never will be scored, at anytime, therefore no score will be associated with this attempt.

Additionally, the AAMC new MCAT attempt limits

https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/faq/421622/how-often-can-i-take-the-mcat-exam.html

Starting in April 2015, there will be new limits on how many attempts you have to take the MCAT exam. Remember that you can only be registered for one seat at a time and that no-shows and voids count as attempts.

Single testing year:

  • The MCAT exam can be taking up to 3 times.
Two consecutive-year period:

  • The MCAT exam can be taken up to 4 times.
Lifetime:

  • The MCAT exam can be taken up to 7 times in a lifetime.
 

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It has not been available previously.
Um what does this mean exactly? That MCATs voided in say 2013 or 2014 remain invisible but MCATs voided in 2015 (specifically the new MCAT 2015 version) are visible? Or does it mean that even very old voids are seen?
 

gyngyn

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Um what does this mean exactly? That MCATs voided in say 2013 or 2014 remain invisible but MCATs voided in 2015 (specifically the new MCAT 2015 version) are visible? Or does it mean that even very old voids are seen?
I have not seen that an MCAT sitting was voided in the AMCAS application to this point.
 
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