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PopShoppe

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  1. Thanks for the advice, I'm planning to do a mass application next cycle that includes applying to as many US schools as I meet the criteria for. I was mostly ruminating on whether it was worth it to give the MCAT another shot to bump up that CARS score by 1 point to be able to apply to more Canadian schools. As time goes on, the more I think that it's better to forget about doing another retake and just give up on those schools.
  2. @CapriciousCapricorn you just made my day, thank you so much. Good luck to us both!
  3. @conbrio No worries about being intrusive, I know it helps to know more to give advice haha. I truly appreciate the help! Yeah I hear what you're saying, and it's totally valid. I'll be spending the next little while weighing the pros and cons of retaking in January. The cost-benefit analysis I've been running in my head is trying to justify the benefit (scoring one measly point higher to unlock more schools, though there are no guarantees with a rewrite) for the costs involved (have to drop back hours at work again to study, about to sign a full-time contract & receive promotion that I'll have to maybe put on hold, possibility of doing worse on the exam overall, have exhausted my supply of study materials, etc.). It's part of the reason why I posted, to get some more information to help me make this decision. I'm pretty sure I do qualify for U of Ts wGPA, and I think it sits around 3.73 - I took an internship during my Undergrad though so every time I've applied I've called to ensure my app gets considered using it - so far they said it has been. Unfortunately my Master's was course-based, so I'm not considered a graduate applicant. The only other schools that consider Master's in Canada, (UBC, Calgary, from what I can tell), I don't meet cutoffs for. To be honest, I hadn't decided whether or not to pursue medicine seriously until 3rd year, which is probably why my 2nd year marks are so low. After trying to do well in first year because everything was new, I was content with simply aiming for low 80s in 2nd year while exploring different courses/career options. That and stats kicked my ass (was failing the course going into the final but managed to pull my mark up to a high 60). 3rd year was when I took more medicine-related courses and I knew I wanted to pursue it. I realized how much higher my GPA needed to be and then really grinded to get those marks. I don't know if that justifies putting into an Academic Explanations Essay haha. I have done quite a bit of sports, clubs, team-based volunteer work and done some student council-type stuff, though I only put a ton of hours into a few specific activities which I really enjoyed doing, with the rest (like intramurals and some volunteering) only being <50 hours per activity. I think have about 15 ECs/Volunteer activities listed, without listing very small hobbies. I've had some friends who've been accepted review my ABS and essays every time I've applied, but maybe there's something there that isn't doing it for Queen's?
  4. @Chels1267 1st year: 3.57 2nd year: 3.33 (FML) 3rd year: 3.72 4th year: 3.90 Master's (although no schools really care): 3.9ish, close to 4.0 @conbrio It's honestly been pretty heartbreaking. I wasn't expecting it - I thought I was on track, and test day felt good too. I am quite privileged when it comes to my medical/socioeconomic/demographic background and don't think it would be justifiable for me to apply using the ACCESS pathway. I will take another look though and see if any of the criteria relate to my circumstances. My GPA is what is holding me back from other schools I believe. Ottawa weighting does not work in my favour, and U of T weighting helps me marginally. As for out of province schools, I do not have prerequisites for some (UBC English credits), and haven't met cutoffs for others (U of Calgary CARS and GPA). I'm planning to submit to Dal and MUN next year, since I didn't have time to submit applications earlier this summer and would be doing so using my 1st MCAT scores, but with such limited spots for non-Maritimes students I'm not holding my breath. My small hope for acceptance has always been Queen's based on the way they only use best 2 years and consider entire applications, but with such a black box surrounding their review process I have a difficult time gauging whether or not I'm competitive. I haven't received an interview from them after any of the three times I've applied. Thanks to both of you for the replies
  5. Just a bit of background - I am an older non-traditional applicant, and have a Master's and tons of work/research experience. I've applied 3 times so far, but undergrad GPA really be cramping my style (cGPA of 3.63, 2-Year of ~3.81). I have considered the States, however was going to wait until I had exhausted every avenue trying to get into a Canadian school before putting serious effort towards applying. I retook the MCAT thinking that trying to improve my score was the last possible thing I could do to improve my chances at a Canadian acceptance before calling it quits on Canadian schools altogether... 1st MCAT, written in 2015: 127/126/130/129 - 512 Did loads more practice this time around AAMC FL1: 131/128/131/130 - 520 AAMC FL2: 131/129/131/128 - 519 AAMC FL3: 132/129/130/132 - 523 I felt as though I got spanked on C/P but that the other sections were very similar to my FLs, and so I was feeling optimistic about my CARS and overall score. And yet... Retake: 130/127/130/131 - 518 And so I'm under that damn 128/129 competitive cutoff for CARS for several Canadian schools. I honestly don't know what happened. I have so many mixed feelings about this, but mostly disappointment. I recognize this is a fairly good score and should be happy with it but I can't help but feel that for my purposes it just wasn't good enough... I'm not sure I have another retake in me and I'm doubting it's worth it to try and bump CARS up by just one point. Think it's time to just forget about Canada and move international? I'm currently working on OMSAS and debating whether it's worth my time to complete an application for Western. I'd be happy to hear any advice you lovely people may have on possible next steps.
  6. It always helps hearing that more people are out there with situations like mine than what it seems based on my own circle of friends/network! How are you managing to balance your study time with other commitments? Unfortunately since I've been out of school for a couple of years now, I definitely have needed to brush up on my sciences content. I've spent my first month doing that with TPR and doing all the relevant practice questions, with CARS practice at least 2ish times a week (I'm working about 3 days a week right now). I'm aiming to be done my content review by the end of May, at which time I will be switching into nothing but practice and brushing up on areas of weakness. I recall the first time I wrote, I studied CARS last. I had no experience with the test and no idea what was involved with CARS. I (foolishly) thought that since I considered myself to be a fairly strong reader/writer that I'd be able to learn it quickly. I was wrong. Now I've been practicing from the get go. I've been using TPR's guide towards ranking/ordering, mapping and working passages and questions and have seemed to have begun improving my accuracy. I did my first timed passages today and, while I didn't get everything 100% right, I did pretty well. That being said, I'm nearly done the book and will need to move on to other resources. I'd love to hear some places I could turn to for challenging CARS material to practice with. I've heard some good things about UWorld as well. That price tag is kind of making me hesitate though - I've already blown a lot of money on study material. Thanks for your offer to keep in touch! If you have any suggestions for me I'd love to hear them. I'd likewise like to extend the invitation to PM me if you have any questions yourself.
  7. @Anaik you're awesome, thanks for the suggestions and the reassurance! I started studying this week and already balancing everything is a bit of a challenge lol. I'm hoping it will get easier as I get more into a rhythm. These are all super helpful. CARS is definitely my priority since that's where I fell short last time. Do you have any suggestions for places I could find some practice material for it? Thanks again!
  8. Hey everyone, I know there's probably a million posts like mine on this forum so I apologize in advance if any of this sounds redundant or repetitive. So I've recently decided that for my one last kick at the can for medical schools I'll need to rewrite the MCAT. I've done literally everything else I can think of save taking on another Undergrad degree. My scores have expired for the States and I'll need to raise my CARS to meet cutoffs to apply to as many Canadian schools as I can. Unfortunately unlike when I first wrote the test, I have bills to pay and a job to keep. Luckily I've been able to shift to a part-time schedule. I'm planning to write in early August, giving me 4 months to prepare, working around work, a weekend trip for my dad's birthday in early June, and a bachelor party in late May. I'm expecting to work 2.5-3 days a week, and study full time 3 days a week. I plan on self-studying using TPR and other resources (Khan and other free resources). I just wanted some advice/input from you lovely people about resources or strategies/timetables I can draw upon to help schedule my time effectively. Of course there's a number of suggestions out there on the internet of hours/day, number of days or months needed etc. etc., but I was just curious to hear from other test takers what worked/didn't work for them. Basically I'm interested in learning a bit about how others scheduled their time and how you strategized to make the most out of the time you had to give me some ideas. When I wrote the first time (3 years ago) I basically went into it alone. My scores were pretty good, save for my CARS score, and I feel like that was because I focused mostly on content review and practice and not enough on exam/question strategy. This time I'm thinking of changing my approach slightly to help improve my score (but hopefully not at the expense of my scores for the other sections). I'd love to hear any tips/pointers/suggestions/comments people are willing to share Thanks!
  9. I feel your feels, very similar story with me 3.57, 3.33, 3.72, 3.90 127/126/130/129/512 Have lots of good ECs too. Also did an MPH, but I know that doesn't matter to pretty much any Canadian schools. Interested to hear the responses you get to this. In my opinion, a second degree might be your next best move if you wanna keep pursuing an acceptance in Canada, even though it is a risk as you've correctly identified. You might be able to get another one in 2-3 years if you do a degree program that carries over credits from your previous degree (or so I've been told). You'd have to be careful that the program you end up pursuing is eligible for med schools' GPA calculations, though. Unfortunately doing a second degree isn't an option for me. You also might wanna look into doing what you can to get some research pubs. I feel like your MCAT is good, so I wouldn't consider another rewrite. I wish I had those scores lol. Have you considered international? I know you mentioned Wayne state, but are other countries an option?
  10. Result: Regrets Time Stamp: 9:00am wGPA/cGPA: 3.81/3.63 Year: Completed Master's MCAT: 127/126/130/129, 512 Overall ECs: Strongest part of my app tbh Geography: IP Only school I thought I might have a shot for. Oh well... maybe 4th time will be the charm?
  11. My bad, I was speaking about schools generally, as that's what I thought rolandofgilead was asking about. I'm not aware of how UBC assesses ECs so will definitely defer to your advice on that. Also agree that relating your experiences to one or more of the CANMEDs competencies is a good idea for anything you put on an app.
  12. As someone who has had both a ton of clinical and non-clinical employment for ECs (worked in labs and a clinic but also worked at a bar, grocery store, as a janitor, washed windows for a summer) I personally think non-clinical employment is an incredibly valuable thing to showcase on your application. Being able to say that you've had jobs that have allowed you to work with, learn from, and serve people from several different walks of life is a definite strength. On your application, I'd phrase it in a way that really highlights what you learned from the experience (which it seems you've already started thinking about) instead of just stating what you did, to really demonstrate how the experience will help you become a better physician.
  13. Thanks for the advice and suggestions! I'm not planning on only applying to the US but I know my stats are not very competitive in Canada. At this point I'm considering going elsewhere, which means a rewrite. No, actually. I didn't even know that was a thing. Re-doing a 4-year undergraduate degree solely for the purposes of getting a better GPA was and is not an option for me, which is why I haven't tried to do something about directly improving my GPA. Would schools consider the GPA of a two-year degree program eligible for calculating the overall OMSAS GPA? What kinds of programs are these? A 2-year doesn't seem too bad, though I have to admit after taking 5 years (co-op) to finish undergrad and doing a Master's I don't know if I want to spend more time in school unless I'm receiving the education or pursuing a degree I really want (although I understand this may not be realistic). Thanks again for the help.
  14. Hey all, Third time applicant here. Done everything I think I could possibly do (plenty of well-rounded ECs, professional experience, Master's degree) short of rewriting my MCAT to compensate for GPA (cGPA: 3.63, 2 year: 3.81). My scores have expired for the US, so I'm thinking it's probably time to rewrite in the summer if there's no dice this cycle. Would love to hear some second opinions though. MCAT Total: 512 Phys/Chem: 127 CARS: 126 Bio: 130 Psych: 129 Thanks in advance!
  15. Hey all, Will be probably emailing OMSAS about this but figured I'd also get some opinions here. As a part of my Master's degree I authored a teaching case (real-world narrative that presents an issue w/ relevant background information but does not suggest solutions) that will be used to teach future students and will be published in my program's case book (an internal publication). I wanted to know where this should probably be entered into the ABS. I was thinking "Other," because I'm not sure it fits in the "Research" section. The teaching case is based on the research project I am currently working on at as a research assistant and I did have to do a substantial lit review to write the case, however it is far from a traditional research publication. Any thoughts you guys may have would be super helpful. Thanks in advance!
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