Writting Sample--how much weight?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by streetdoc, Jun 7, 2002.

  1. streetdoc

    streetdoc Senior Member

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    I've heard lots of things about the WS portion not even being considered by some schools. is this true? and where are these schools? i rarely see anything in the MSAR about the WS scores.
    my problem is this...i received an L!!! yes, an L, in the 4-12% range, but my verabl was a 9. what will this say to the adcoms??? i don't know what happened? but it's there and i'm worried it'll keep me out--i'm quite satisfied with going to my state school though. any advice out there? my overall was fine, my gpa is great, lots of ECs and i'm a paramedic with a good bit of clinical experience. let me know how to handle this please!
    streetdoc
     
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  3. Assassin

    Assassin Assassin

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    normally the writing score doesn't mean anything (that's according to dean of admissions) since everyone realizes that no matter how hard they try to grade it, this score is still subjective.
    my only worry is that a score below N means you did not even follow directions (not that they didn't like your writing per se) and this cannot be a good thing.
     
  4. streetdoc

    streetdoc Senior Member

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    I just don't see how I could have gooten that low. i wrote 3-4 paragraphs and addressed the 3 questions as straightforward as possible. i had taken kaplan and done the graded practice and did just fine...is there anyway there could have been a mix up? worried and confused
    streetdoc
     
  5. missbonnie

    missbonnie floating

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    I got an N, and I'm not concerned aboutit.
     
  6. Resident Alien

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Assassin:
    <strong>my only worry is that a score below N means you did not even follow directions (not that they didn't like your writing per se) and this cannot be a good thing.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I dont agree. I got the coveted "L" too, and I just look at it as two people not agreeing on my writing ability. I have been accepted to 5 of the 6 schools i interviewed at (3 of them usnews top 50 if you are interested), and it hasnt been a problem.
     
  7. Assassin

    Assassin Assassin

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    i'd hate to make you feel any worse than you do already, but if you took kaplan, you should know that so long as your writing even vaguely resembles english, scores below N are only reserved for essays that do not address the 3 tasks the way they want you to address them.
    well, the good news is that i've never heard of the writing score being a red flag in the admissions - so don't worry too too much
     
  8. medname

    medname Member

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    Remember that you have to write essays for applications. These are way more important than the MCAT writing portion.
     
  9. SeeGulz

    SeeGulz Senior Member

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    I got an "L" too when I took last year's August MCAT. I don't know what happened ... I believe I followed the instructions, etc., so I can only assume they gave my score to the person who sat next to me and his score to me. That lucky, illiterate bastard :D

    Regardless, I was thrilled with my science scores but I coudn't savor the moment because I thought the writing sample would keep me out of med school. Then, the nice people of the SDN brotherhood eased my mind with stories of their low WS scores and how it didn't keep out. Some wrote as part of there livelihood yet scored abysmally, while others had friends who learned english a week before the exam (hyperbole) and scored very well. I personally scored in the 96th percentile on the verbal section of the GRE, and that was after guessing on two short-passage sections (I don't read so good <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> ). I read grammar books in my free time, and I have read the dictionary three times. Sure, I have forgotten most of what I have read, but an "L"!?!

    Anywho, I only applied to one school and am on the waitlist, so I can't say if I was harmed by the WS or not. I think my lack of clinical experience and late application are more likely the true issues. I think you will be in med school next year and probably won't have cause to think of that writing sample ever again. And, if they ask you during an interview to explain your low score, blame it on the lucky, illiterate bastard that sat next to you. My plan was to shrug my shoulders, say "dunno," and then quickly ask the interviewer about on-campus housing. Alas, my interview was blind.

    Good luck streetdoc!
     
  10. Resident Alien

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Assassin:
    <strong>i'd hate to make you feel any worse than you do already, but if you took kaplan, you should know that so long as your writing even vaguely resembles english, scores below N are only reserved for essays that do not address the 3 tasks the way they want you to address them.
    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">This is anecdotal, but what the heck....I took Kaplan, and got P's and Q's on their writing samples.....obviously i didnt go boinkers on test day because i did quite good on the other sections. My point is, the writing section is worthless.

    And ditto to medname's comment :)
     
  11. Mr. H

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    The writing section is NOT worthless. I can actually attest to this, because I talked one-on-one at the head of admission's here at UW-Madison (ranked 30). He told me that many, many, schools will look at the writing sample, and if you scored well (R, S, T) will actually you give you more points for admission! This is a FACT. But he said a low score or avg. will not hurt you, because that is what most people get. So a high writing score can DEFINITELY help! Do not let anyone tell you otherwise!
     
  12. brickmanli

    brickmanli Senior Member

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    If the essays are meaningless, why include it in the MCAT? Why not have a drawing sample instead?
     
  13. Toejam

    Toejam Terminal Student

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    I hope they have some meaning! It's the only part I did well on!

    Frankly, I think that they include it on the test just to weed out the geniuses who are incapable of communicating in English. The schools don't really care if you get a high score, only if you get an abysmally low one.
     
  14. Mr. H

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    did anyone read my post? this isn't heresay, What I said was the truth directly from the guy that tells you if you're in or not.
     
  15. Smurfette

    Smurfette Antagonized by Azrael
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    Though the adcom people may look favorably on a good WS score, a good WS score alone means nothing---the other scores are what they want. I believe the "insignificance" of the WS stems from the fact that AMCAS decided to add a writing portion despite most med schools being against this move due to the 1. subjective grading of the WS section and 2. the topics you are supposed to write on in this section, which can be rather difficult topics themselves to discuss, especially if the assigned topic is one with which the testee has only very basic familiarity with (especially since AMCAS wants you to provide examples for some of these topics). Also, how the essay is formatted plays very much into the scoring, despite a great variation in testees as to how they may have been taught to write. Therefore, most med schools do not put much stock into the WS score. A R/S/T may be impressive, but a L/M/N is not necessarily considered inferior. The adcoms put much more stock into your AMCAS and other application essays to get a sense of your writing abilities.

    Mr H.~
    If you are curious, you can look at the applicant rating policy for UW-Madison via the LCME link on the med school's homepage. I think you'll be surprised at how the scoring works. :p
     
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  17. seaturtle112

    seaturtle112 Member

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    yeah. i've taken the mcat twice. first an M, now an N. do i care? no. not a darn bit. i suppose i really nice score could help, but a bad one prolly won't keep me out or nothin'.
     
  18. none

    none 1K Member

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    Med schools get your essay for themselves, don't they? They can decide for themselves whether you have actual command of the English language.
     
  19. imtiaz

    imtiaz i cant translate stupid
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    ive never heard of a school telling an applicant "you need to up your writing sample, kid. we only take people with O and above." its simply not something they care about. its just there, they dont use it. i mean, if you get a J or something it will stand out or if you get a T it will stand out. but even then, it wont be something that will compensate for low subsection scores or ECs or GPA. its meaningless for the most part.
     
  20. Elysium

    Elysium Not Really An Old Beaver

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    Hello folks,

    I was recently raped (and yes, I say raped) by the MCAT. How's this for irony: VS 6 (was scoring 11/12 on TPR practice tests) Writing sample: S. I guess this means that I have absolutely no ability to understand the english language but somehow I'm able to write it. I hate this goddamn test.

    Guess I better start writing those medical thrillers (a la Robin Cook) instead of actually practicing medicine.

    <img border="0" alt="[Pissy]" title="" src="graemlins/pissy.gif" />
     
  21. Bradleyp

    Bradleyp Senior Member

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    I think it is ridiculous as well as irresponsible for schools to place much if any weight on the writing section of the MCAT. You can't expect Shakespeare in 30 minutes in the middle of an extremely stressful test. Most applicants are perfectionalists who felt like I did after turning in my essays, like I had turned in crap made up in ten minutes and written in fifteen. I scored decent, but good writing takes time and these essays are probably read by English guroos who expect good writing. My state schools didn't even factor in these in our evaluations.
     
  22. I just wanted to add mt 2 cents. I got an N on my writing sample last April. I interviewed at 11 top 50 schools and turned down an interview at a few others.

    I even had some interviewers comment on my MCAT score, without even mentioning my dismal writing sample.

    Yes, maybe an S might have helped me, but my N doesn't seem to have hurt. If the rest of your application is in order, I wouldn't sweat it.
     
  23. scootad.

    scootad. Senior Member

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    I agree, the writing section of the MCAT is absolutely unnecessary and a complete waste of time and stress.
     

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