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mcmac

I need advice. Write the MCAT again or apply to McMaster only.. which is my #1 choice?

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Hi all,

I would be so grateful to receive some advice from some of you. I know posts like this are annoying and I apologize in advance, but I am feeling a bit desperate. 

First...

My MCAT:

129 on CARS and 128 on Behavioural Sciences. The rest of my exam score is poor and I am much too embarrassed to share it.

My GPA:

3.83 overall GPA at Western University with a strong upward trend (earned 90+ in my last 2 years of university). 

My volunteer/extra-curricular background:

Extensive. Heavily focused on Indigenous and vulnerable populations in Ontario. 

My location:

Ontario. Born and raised.

Casper:

To be completed this summer.

 

My dream is to attend McMaster University. It is, without question, my #1 choice. I have a full-time job opportunity this summer and am required to accept/reject by next week. The hours are rigorous and I would have next to no time to study for the MCAT. In my spare time I would be focused on CASPER.. and sleeping.

What should I do? Write again or apply to McMaster only? My GPA is not exceptional compared to many. 3.84 seems to be the average at McMaster and I am seeing students with 4.0s all over the place.

Please help :( 

 

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Have you considered applying to Western (also, are you SWOMEN)? Most students qualify for a 2 year GPA and since you "earned 90+ in my last 2 years of university (idk if you mean a 4.0 or what)" you would be in good standing there. The only thing is if your CP section was below their cutoff...

Since you didn't mention U of T I'm gonna go ahead and assume they are sub 125. Also, why not Ottawa who doesn't give a rat's ass about the MCAT at all?

 

I wouldn't limit myself to one school. McMaster admissions, like all other med schools, ultimately is a crapshoot. You don't know if you're gonna do well enough on the CASPer to even get to the MMI stage. A 129 is the average score of the Class of 2019 (129.1) and 2020 (128.9) so you effectively have an "average" CARS. Your GPA is on the average too so you've to do above average on the CASPer to clinch that MMI. 

Essentially, if I was you, I would consider writing the MCAT again and figure out where you went wrong last time. If you managed to do so well at Western (Med Sci/Health Sci/whatever), you definitely don't have a knowledge gap so the test-taking thing should be easily fixed. If you don't re-write, be ready to apply to Mac multiple times and don't bank on getting in on the first time.

What year are you in? If you are going into 3rd year, you could apply to just Mac and rewrite your MCAT after 3rd year if you don't get in.

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I would say your current stats are competitive for McMaster. The admission averages typically fall around a 3.84 GPA and 129 CARS score, so you're within an acceptable range there. Unfortunately Mac won't directly consider your EC's or the upward trend in your GPA during the admissions process, but both provide you with great talking points during a Casper or MMI. I wouldn't necessarily agree with the argument that medical school admissions at Mac (or any school for that matter) is a crapshoot. There is most definitely luck involved, but it is very possible to tailor yourself as an applicant to increase your chance of admission at certain schools. With respect to McMaster in particular, there are a handful of students every year who get accepted after only applying to Mac and with only a good CARS score, whether they put in effort on the other sections or not. However, I would say this strategy is heavily dependent on your perceived ability to perform well on the Casper/MMI. If you're not extremely confident in your ability to do so, I would suggest taking a different approach to increase your odds at multiple schools. But I would encourage you to be very honest with yourself when making that assessment, as trying to convince yourself that those skills are a strength when they are not will likely backfire. If you do decide to go that route, I would strongly recommend taking Casper prep (and MMI prep if you get an interview), very seriously. Despite what many applicants think, they are tests that you can improve your performance on with practice. At the end of the day it's just a decision you need to make for yourself, if you're comfortable with the risks involved of only applying to Mac and comfortable with your Casper/MMI ability, then I wouldn't rewrite. If you want to increase your overall odds of admission for med school, it would probably be better to improve your MCAT. Good luck with whatever you decide! 

As a side note, depending on what your GPA looks like after dropping your worst year, I think you'd meet the cutoffs to apply at the University of Calgary as an OOP applicant.  I believe the cutoffs for this cycle were a GPA of 3.8 (with your worst year removed) and a CARS score of 128. Calgary heavily weighs things like EC's and upward trend in GPA, which are strengths in your application. So as long as you meet those, it may be worth a shot applying there as well!

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13 minutes ago, ExerMed said:

I would say your current stats are competitive for McMaster. The admission averages typically fall around a 3.84 GPA and 129 CARS score, so you're within an acceptable range there. Unfortunately Mac won't directly consider your EC's or the upward trend in your GPA during the admissions process, but both provide you with great talking points during a Casper or MMI. I wouldn't necessarily agree with the argument that medical school admissions at Mac (or any school for that matter) is a crapshoot. There is most definitely luck involved, but it is very possible to tailor yourself as an applicant to increase your chance of admission at certain schools. With respect to McMaster in particular, there are a handful of students every year who get accepted after only applying to Mac and with only a good CARS score, whether they put in effort on the other sections or not. However, I would say this strategy is heavily dependent on your perceived ability to perform well on the Casper/MMI. If you're not extremely confident in your ability to do so, I would suggest taking a different approach to increase your odds at multiple schools. But I would encourage you to be very honest with yourself when making that assessment, as trying to convince yourself that those skills are a strength when they are not will likely backfire. If you do decide to go that route, I would strongly recommend taking Casper prep (and MMI prep if you get an interview), very seriously. Despite what many applicants think, they are tests that you can improve your performance on with practice. At the end of the day it's just a decision you need to make for yourself, if you're comfortable with the risks involved of only applying to Mac and comfortable with your Casper/MMI ability, then I wouldn't rewrite. If you want to increase your overall odds of admission for med school, it would probably be better to improve your MCAT. Good luck with whatever you decide! 

As a side note, depending on what your GPA looks like after dropping your worst year, I think you'd meet the cutoffs to apply at the University of Calgary as an OOP applicant.  I believe the cutoffs for this cycle were a GPA of 3.8 (with your worst year removed) and a CARS score of 128. Calgary heavily weighs things like EC's and upward trend in GPA, which are strengths in your application. So as long as you meet those, it may be worth a shot applying there as well!

This was very helpful. Thank-you for taking the time to offer such a clear and detailed response.

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On 6/2/2018 at 5:57 PM, ninja7292 said:

Have you considered applying to Western (also, are you SWOMEN)? Most students qualify for a 2 year GPA and since you "earned 90+ in my last 2 years of university (idk if you mean a 4.0 or what)" you would be in good standing there. The only thing is if your CP section was below their cutoff...

Since you didn't mention U of T I'm gonna go ahead and assume they are sub 125. Also, why not Ottawa who doesn't give a rat's ass about the MCAT at all?

 

I wouldn't limit myself to one school. McMaster admissions, like all other med schools, ultimately is a crapshoot. You don't know if you're gonna do well enough on the CASPer to even get to the MMI stage. A 129 is the average score of the Class of 2019 (129.1) and 2020 (128.9) so you effectively have an "average" CARS. Your GPA is on the average too so you've to do above average on the CASPer to clinch that MMI. 

Essentially, if I was you, I would consider writing the MCAT again and figure out where you went wrong last time. If you managed to do so well at Western (Med Sci/Health Sci/whatever), you definitely don't have a knowledge gap so the test-taking thing should be easily fixed. If you don't re-write, be ready to apply to Mac multiple times and don't bank on getting in on the first time.

What year are you in? If you are going into 3rd year, you could apply to just Mac and rewrite your MCAT after 3rd year if you don't get in.

All good points, thank-you very much. 

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It’s totally possible. I scored nearly the same as you on the MCAT. I have a social work background so I basically wrote the MCAT just for the CARS score and did my best in the other sections, making educated guesses. I scored 129 on CARS, 130 on psych, and like you, lower in the science sections. I think my GPA for Mac was 3.81.

I applied only to Calgary and McMaster and was accepted to both schools. I was considered IP for both locations due to growing up in Ontario (undergrad at Western) and then living in Calgary now.

Some would advise against my approach to getting into med school because it’s more limited for options and a poor overall MCAT might be a detriment for other schools. However, it worked for me and if it’s something you’re considering I wanted you to know it’s possible.

If you do decide to go this route, my recommendation would be to begin preparing for the interview early. 3.84 and 129 CARS, along with a good casper, is more than enough. Mac weighs the interview at 70% so honestly once you have the interview offer that’s far more important than your GPA or CARS in determining whether you get in. 

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On 6/3/2018 at 6:08 AM, mcmac said:

Hi all,

I would be so grateful to receive some advice from some of you. I know posts like this are annoying and I apologize in advance, but I am feeling a bit desperate. 

First...

My MCAT:

129 on CARS and 128 on Behavioural Sciences. The rest of my exam score is poor and I am much too embarrassed to share it.

My GPA:

3.83 overall GPA at Western University with a strong upward trend (earned 90+ in my last 2 years of university). 

My volunteer/extra-curricular background:

Extensive. Heavily focused on Indigenous and vulnerable populations in Ontario. 

My location:

Ontario. Born and raised.

Casper:

To be completed this summer.

 

My dream is to attend McMaster University. It is, without question, my #1 choice. I have a full-time job opportunity this summer and am required to accept/reject by next week. The hours are rigorous and I would have next to no time to study for the MCAT. In my spare time I would be focused on CASPER.. and sleeping.

What should I do? Write again or apply to McMaster only? My GPA is not exceptional compared to many. 3.84 seems to be the average at McMaster and I am seeing students with 4.0s all over the place.

Please help :( 

 

What kind of job is this? Did you feel you did your best on your MCAT? If you felt like you did your best, you might not be able to improve your score much. You should weigh that in your decision making. If you winged it the first time around and feel like with enough time you can really improve your scores enough to meet cutoffs for at least one other university then it depends on what job this is. If its a job at McDonalds and you aren't desperate for the money, you should focus on the MCAT, but if you have a job with Goldman Sachs and you are seriously considering investment banking, then... the story is different. 

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