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Should I redo the MCAT for a 3rd time and risk not getting into US med schools?

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I increased my score on my 2nd attempt to a 515 (but 127 CARS). I've been rejected from Mac, Western, Ottawa and most likely will be from Queens and UofT (my ABS is subpar in number of activities and hours dedicated). I did try to do ABS that I enjoyed but looking back on them, they're really basic, plenty are cookie cutter like and I have almost no research. I know people say to do what you like, but I am dedicated to stepping outside those bounds. It's crappy but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Of course, I'm going to try to get involved in more ECs this summer and onwards and study harder for the MCAT, hopefully getting a 129 at least in CARS, but if I do so, I'll have 3 MCAT attempts and I understand that's a red flag for US medical schools. While I do really want to stay in Canada, I can probably only handle being rejected twice and after that, I'll most likely resort to the US.

I have a cGPA of 3.92 btw.

What should I do? 

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what do you mean you can only handle being rejected twice? Many people on here have gotten on their fifth or sixth attempt. The Dean of UofC Medical School has stated time and time again to treat your goal of getting into medicine as a five year journey. I personally know many people who are on their third or fourth attempt now and they have great stats and still have yet to get into a Canadian school. Yes, it was not the easiest to handle the rejections mentally but they persevered. Don't put your life on hold as you try to get into medical school. Work towards a secondary career path/ work/ hobbies/ etc and keep applying. Going to the US should not be taken lightly. Even if you get into a US MD school do you have $500,000 (Tuition + Room + Board + expenses * US Conversion Rate for 4 years)? and are ready to leave family/friends behind? 

PS- if you are applying to the US- apps open in June so any EC's you would do won't count for this upcoming cycle

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Prep for a retake, but only allow it to be scored if you're confident at the very least you wont go down in your score...and hopefully improve CARS.

What was your first cars and total score? How have you prepared?

Its a valid concern to not want a 3rd attempt, especially with a strong score already, for US consideration. Getting into a US program isnt a gaurantee either, but i would say a 3.92 and a 515 is very good odds to at least get to interview stage at a few places. But your ECs have to be up to snuff. That said, worst comes to worse, you can easily explain why you retook it a 3rd time by simply pointing out that your CARS score made you ineligible for many Canadian programs.


Slight correction to @YesIcan55: US apps open in June of the year prior to matriculation, so for example: June 2018, for Summer 2019 start date.  When you submit your app, it will be all inclusive. That said, if you do anything during the year (i.e. from July 2018 to whenever seats are filled), you CAN send them updates on your ongoing achievements and involvements. THIS is a STARK contrast to Canadian schools which will NOT consider ongoing involvements past the application submission point(and some schools months prior to when apps are due).

OP: what is your status? Are you a undergrad? how many undergrad years have you completed? We need more info. 
 

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people always gloss over the fact that it costs half a million dollars to get a US MD.....assuming you get in of course and everything is smooth are you ready to be $500,000 in debt once you finish medical school? I always feel that either there are many posters on this site with VERY wealthy parents or people are naive about the money issue like it will just take care of itself and worry about that later...

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31 minutes ago, YesIcan55 said:

people always gloss over the fact that it costs half a million dollars to get a US MD.....assuming you get in of course and everything is smooth are you ready to be $500,000 in debt once you finish medical school? I always feel that either there are many posters on this site with VERY wealthy parents or people are naive about the money issue like it will just take care of itself and worry about that later...

There are many programs that are a decent amount less than 500,000$, but i agree 100% that US med schools are expensive. But with 275K LOC, and bank loans, some people CAN make it work with a bit of extra support from generous family members or saved earnings as a non-trad.  

I am an avid supporter of US med schools as an option, but i always make it clear: DO NOT even consider applying until you figure out finances first.  Especially adding a fudge factor for currency conversion variations. 




 

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16 minutes ago, JohnGrisham said:

There are many programs that are a decent amount less than 500,000$, but i agree 100% that US med schools are expensive. But with 275K LOC, and bank loans, some people CAN make it work with a bit of extra support from generous family members or saved earnings as a non-trad.  

I am an avid supporter of US med schools as an option, but i always make it clear: DO NOT even consider applying until you figure out finances first.  Especially adding a fudge factor for currency conversion variations. 




 

Tuition is 60-80K depending on the school, living expenses (room+food+misc) is 20K. So thats 80-100K per year. Multiple that by 4 and you get 320-400K US. So let's say an an average of 360K US...convert that to CAD and you get $450,000. This does not even include the possibility of the Canadian dollar slipping more, or the fact that you will have an interest on your loans...

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I feel like this really depends on how confident you are on scoring higher than your current score. If you do a lot of practice and score 520 or above consistently, I say you should definitely retake it. Anything lower you risk performing worse.

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I totally get you!

my situation is the same. However, I took the time to email every Canadian friendly school and they mentioned they understand the attempt. Emory is the only school that considers the first three attempts. A number of US schools consider all the scores collectively. It's funny how we both have exactly the same stats! 

 

BTW, guys when someone is so passionate and CAN afford, US is a great option! 

 

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3 hours ago, YesIcan55 said:

Tuition is 60-80K depending on the school, living expenses (room+food+misc) is 20K. So thats 80-100K per year. Multiple that by 4 and you get 320-400K US. So let's say an an average of 360K US...convert that to CAD and you get $450,000. This does not even include the possibility of the Canadian dollar slipping more, or the fact that you will have an interest on your loans...

You can get scholarships even as an international matriculant. Also, US doctors make an average of 30-50%, even before the conversion rate. Money should always be a concern but you should NEVER dismiss USMD on cost alone. Anyone who tells you otherwise is ill advised (let's not forget the fact that USMD isn't even THAT much easier to get into, and this is coming from someone with Canadian invites!)

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4 minutes ago, premed_thr0waway said:

You can get scholarships even as an international matriculant. Also, US doctors make an average of 30-50%, even before the conversion rate. Money should always be a concern but you should NEVER dismiss USMD on cost alone. Anyone who tells you otherwise is ill advised (let's not forget the fact that USMD isn't even THAT much easier to get into, and this is coming from someone with Canadian invites!)

Well it should be dismissed if you can't afford it. You have to have some extra family support to afford it, full stop.

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3 hours ago, YesIcan55 said:

Tuition is 60-80K depending on the school, living expenses (room+food+misc) is 20K. So thats 80-100K per year. Multiple that by 4 and you get 320-400K US. So let's say an an average of 360K US...convert that to CAD and you get $450,000. This does not even include the possibility of the Canadian dollar slipping more, or the fact that you will have an interest on your loans...

I dont disagree with the numbers. My point was with around 325k CAD available in loans, there are quite a good amount of people who can get access to family support for the difference of 125-200k(interest management).

Dont forget most people who end up in med school come from middle class or higher families, and many of them have parents that can afford it. Then there are those with really well off backgrounds who have families that can pay it all. Sure it sucks, but sooner you get over it(I was in your shoes being envious of classmates who will have far less debt than myself), the better off.  

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4 hours ago, JohnGrisham said:

Prep for a retake, but only allow it to be scored if you're confident at the very least you wont go down in your score...and hopefully improve CARS.

What was your first cars and total score? How have you prepared?

Its a valid concern to not want a 3rd attempt, especially with a strong score already, for US consideration. Getting into a US program isnt a gaurantee either, but i would say a 3.92 and a 515 is very good odds to at least get to interview stage at a few places. But your ECs have to be up to snuff. That said, worst comes to worse, you can easily explain why you retook it a 3rd time by simply pointing out that your CARS score made you ineligible for many Canadian programs.


Slight correction to @YesIcan55: US apps open in June of the year prior to matriculation, so for example: June 2018, for Summer 2019 start date.  When you submit your app, it will be all inclusive. That said, if you do anything during the year (i.e. from July 2018 to whenever seats are filled), you CAN send them updates on your ongoing achievements and involvements. THIS is a STARK contrast to Canadian schools which will NOT consider ongoing involvements past the application submission point(and some schools months prior to when apps are due).

OP: what is your status? Are you a undergrad? how many undergrad years have you completed? We need more info. 
 

I'm currently in my 4th year. Ontario. My previous MCAT was 508 (didn't take it seriously enough). I was sort of disappointed with my 2nd score of 515 as I was expecting to do a lot better because of FL scores. I didn't dedicate enough time to AAMC CARS material though, I admit, but this will change next time.

I definitely would like to remain in Canada, though what can I really do at this point to strengthen my ECs without making it look like cookie cutter stuff? I'm currently applying for research. It's something I've been interested in, but never really got the chance to pursue properly to actually know if that interest is due. 

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1 hour ago, JohnGrisham said:

Well it should be dismissed if you can't afford it. You have to have some extra family support to afford it, full stop.

Better to bite the bullet than spend 3-4 years trying to get in the Canadian cycle (number of cycles before matriculation for the average Canadian applicant). There's an old saying that goes "1 in the hand [1 acceptance to USMD] is better than 1000 in the bush [potential opportunities to get into CANMD]

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2 hours ago, premed_thr0waway said:

You can get scholarships even as an international matriculant. Also, US doctors make an average of 30-50%, even before the conversion rate. Money should always be a concern but you should NEVER dismiss USMD on cost alone. Anyone who tells you otherwise is ill advised (let's not forget the fact that USMD isn't even THAT much easier to get into, and this is coming from someone with Canadian invites!)

you obviously have no idea what you're talking about if you're bringing up the fact that US doctors make 30-50% more (which is not even true btw)....you're gonna be finished medical school with 500K in debt, then you'll be a resident earning peanuts just to survive while your debt builds interest, and you will have to go through many VISA hoops to even work as a doctor in the US especially know with the restrictive immigration/work policies...it's not like you finish residency and can just work in the US

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1 hour ago, premed_thr0waway said:

Better to bite the bullet than spend 3-4 years trying to get in the Canadian cycle (number of cycles before matriculation for the average Canadian applicant). There's an old saying that goes "1 in the hand [1 acceptance to USMD] is better than 1000 in the bush [potential opportunities to get into CANMD]

no it isn't...its better to continue alternative schooling/jobs/life/application in the meantime while you reapply to Canadian schools.  

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12 hours ago, premed_thr0waway said:

Better to bite the bullet than spend 3-4 years trying to get in the Canadian cycle (number of cycles before matriculation for the average Canadian applicant). There's an old saying that goes "1 in the hand [1 acceptance to USMD] is better than 1000 in the bush [potential opportunities to get into CANMD]

Your missing the point.  Many people simply do NOT have the finances to afford it. That is user YesICan's point, and I'm assuming you're one of the users he is referring to in his post above about being ignorant to the costs. If you dont have an extra 150k laying around, it is simply not an option.

 

And that is also assuming you have cosigner for the initial 275k bank loan. 

 

While again, many pre-meds DO have the ability to afford a US degree(and thusly should absolutely go for it) not everyone is in that position. So they must keep trying to improve.  

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10 hours ago, YesIcan55 said:

you obviously have no idea what you're talking about if you're bringing up the fact that US doctors make 30-50% more (which is not even true btw)....you're gonna be finished medical school with 500K in debt, then you'll be a resident earning peanuts just to survive while your debt builds interest, and you will have to go through many VISA hoops to even work as a doctor in the US especially know with the restrictive immigration/work policies...it's not like you finish residency and can just work in the US

just to reinforce that - many US doctors earn quite a bit less than Canadian ones. It goes field by field (radiology for instance earns less in the US than here for most things)

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2 hours ago, rmorelan said:

just to reinforce that - many US doctors earn quite a bit less than Canadian ones. It goes field by field (radiology for instance earns less in the US than here for most things)

I would also hazard to guess that there is also greater variance in earnings among US doctors: although many earn less than Canadian docs, greater income inequality means the highest earners earn more.

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13 hours ago, YesIcan55 said:

you obviously have no idea what you're talking about if you're bringing up the fact that US doctors make 30-50% more (which is not even true btw)....

you're gonna be finished medical school with 500K in debt, then you'll be a resident earning peanuts just to survive while your debt builds interest, and you will have to go through many VISA hoops to even work as a doctor in the US especially know with the restrictive immigration/work policies...it's not like you finish residency and can just work in the US

http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-doctors-still-make-dramatically-less-than-u-s-counterparts-study

USMD is a viable option for most Canadian hopefuls. It's not as prohibitively expensive as you paint it. 

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buddy you have someone who is literally a Canadian MD who is doing fellowship in the US telling you that you're wrong along with other members. Besides, this was never about how much doctors make in Canada/US. Do you even realize the hoops you have to jump through to get a US residency to even sponsor you for a VISA and/or to get a work permit in this day and age? This post was about the cost of attending a US MD school. It will cost about 450,000-500,000 by the end of the degree. That is not an opinion. That is a fact. If you can find a way to finance that money , by all means. But, people have to be realistic and mature about the money issue...

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Oh and that article you posted is from 2008 first of all and I would be weary of judging the credibility of an article that says the "average primary care physician [IM, OBGYN, Family] doctor in Canada earns $125,000 after overhead in Canada." .....

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What am I wrong about? I haven't said anything factually incorrect? Wrong about my opinion? Lol, you can disagree by all means but I'm not "wrong" for having an opinion you or anyone here doesn't support. Using up 4 years of your life is not worth it when USMD exists. 

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you're wrong about the fact that US doctors make more than Canadian doctors. You're wrong about the idea that US MD costs aren't as prohibitively expensive as they actually are.  And you're wrong about that one would be wasting 4 years of their life trying to get into a Canadian school. Having that mindset means you think getting into medical school as the only one or number one thing you would find fulfilment in life....it's always good to have side interests / jobs/ education you can pursue and so you don't feel like you're putting life on hold..

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US MD/DO is a viable option if you're prepared to do a family med residency there (3 years) and come back or get lucky and match in Canada. With parents help, you could have more controllable loans. If you're getting no help and looking to dish 400-500k... be prepared to work like a dog as an attending (or head up to the territories for a month or two of the year). 

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I applied 3 times, wrote MCAT 4 times due to ridiculous verbal cut offs/preferences among Canadian medical school. Got an offer at an USMD despite the # of times I wrote, have several interview invites from Canada.

If you can muster up the motivation to make sure to do nothing BUT study for the MCAT and get over that cut off (I ended with 521, 130 CARS), do it. It might change your life. I think admissions will likely prefer an applicant that has high MCAT over one that has less # of times but subpar scores

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