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Hi everyone, I'm looking for a little advice on writing the MCAT.

I have been toying around with writing the MCAT since the last cycle's results came out on May 12th. I am from Ontario and was on the waitlist for the only school I applied to last cycle (NOSM).

 

A little background/stats:

I am a non-traditional applicant.

Degrees: HBSc (Chemistry), Bachelor of Education (concurrent), Master of Education (completed Nov 2019).

GPA: cGPA 3.56, 2Y GPA for Queen's 3.67

ABS: Likely the strongest suit in my application. Lots of long term EC's. SSHRC in Master's, two conference presentations, work as a lecturer at my local college, work as a contract lecturer at a university, worked for the Ministry of Education, specializations in social justice and Indigenous education, regional lead for PPE campaign during COVID, President of various clubs, etc. etc. Lots here - more quality items than spaces. 

 

I have not written my MCAT, which is why I only applied to NOSM last cycle. My GPA does not meet cut offs for Ottawa so that was out of the question. Even if I were to write the MCAT, U of T and Western are off the table due to me not meeting course requirements or not meeting Western's two year GPA threshold.

However, writing the MCAT would make me eligible to apply to Queen's and McMaster, in addition to NOSM. I am still on the fence about writing the MCAT because I'm not sure if it will be worth it! PS the MCAT is not offered where I live, so I am looking at a 6 hour drive each and a stay in a hotel in potentially COVID times to write...but if people think I have a chance, of course it would be worth it. 

First there's Mac, which doesn't look at my ABS (strongest part of application), but does CASPER which I think I would excel on. Mac also only cares about CARS, which in my diagnostic MCAT result was my best section (scored 125 without any practice or studying). Queen's on the other hand highly values ABS (from what I gather) but requires MCAT cutoffs that are unknown. I would be very interested in attending Queen's or Mac. My areas of strength are Chemistry and Critical Reasoning/Analysis for sure. 

The other kicker is that I would be aiming to write September 27 or 28th so I have a little under 3 months. I am also working during this time about 6 hours per day (could maybe reduce to a little lower than that). Financially, I can't not work this summer, but I don't know if I have enough time. 

I have three questions:

1) Is it worth it for Queen's and possibly a slim chance at Mac? Especially when I was on the NOSM waitlist this year and potentially have a good chance next cycle?

2) Does Queen's or Mac ever take Master's graduates with a GPA like mine? 

3) Do I have enough time to adequately prepare? My Chem thesis was completed in 2015-2016, so I need refreshers for sure, even in Chem. 

 

Thank you for any advice you can give :)

 

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My guess is that you would be below Queen's gpa cutoff (its internal so I'm guessing, but just based on the stats of those I've seen who've applied), so your ECs probably wouldn't be able to help you out there. I think, sadly, you'd probably have a pretty slim shot at Mac as well, again due the cGPA. The masters helps you out a bit in that regard, but probably not by enough... with some solid casper prep though, if you're able to absolutely demolish (and I mean really destroy) casper and have a crazy CARS score (probably 130+ territory), then you could end up with a shot there. But def an uphill battle.

Regarding actually studying for the mcat, my personal opinion is that 3 months while working is probably not enough time (for most people anyways; everyone learns at a different speed). That said, even though I don't usually recommend doing this, you could consider funneling all of your time into cars and casper and hoping to knock both out of the park for the sole purpose of applying to Mac. Usually I tell people this isn't a good idea, but if you're all-in on the medicine dream, then it's ultimately up to your whether you think the sacrifice is worth it for a possible extra slim shot at 1 more school. I don't put it this way to dissuade you from giving it a go, it's just my 2 cents. Either way, the fact you were waitlisted at NOSM is a great sign; it means your experience (and Masters bonus) were able to compensate for the gpa and you interviewed well, so hopefully NOSM pans out this time around and it'll be a moot point haha. Good luck this upcoming cycle! 

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On 7/7/2020 at 6:11 PM, TheFlyGuy said:

My guess is that you would be below Queen's gpa cutoff (its internal so I'm guessing, but just based on the stats of those I've seen who've applied), so your ECs probably wouldn't be able to help you out there. I think, sadly, you'd probably have a pretty slim shot at Mac as well, again due the cGPA. The masters helps you out a bit in that regard, but probably not by enough... with some solid casper prep though, if you're able to absolutely demolish (and I mean really destroy) casper and have a crazy CARS score (probably 130+ territory), then you could end up with a shot there. But def an uphill battle.

Regarding actually studying for the mcat, my personal opinion is that 3 months while working is probably not enough time (for most people anyways; everyone learns at a different speed). That said, even though I don't usually recommend doing this, you could consider funneling all of your time into cars and casper and hoping to knock both out of the park for the sole purpose of applying to Mac. Usually I tell people this isn't a good idea, but if you're all-in on the medicine dream, then it's ultimately up to your whether you think the sacrifice is worth it for a possible extra slim shot at 1 more school. I don't put it this way to dissuade you from giving it a go, it's just my 2 cents. Either way, the fact you were waitlisted at NOSM is a great sign; it means your experience (and Masters bonus) were able to compensate for the gpa and you interviewed well, so hopefully NOSM pans out this time around and it'll be a moot point haha. Good luck this upcoming cycle! 

Thank you very much for your reply! That was very much my own line of thinking as well. I saw on the Queen's website that they have a graduate applicant pool where they determine if the GPA is satisfactory or not, so I wasn't super sure about that, or what they might consider "satisfactory" for a grad student. But I agree, it's a ton of work for an extra slim shot at basically one more school. I appreciate the feedback :) And thanks for the wishes for good luck! 

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