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MCAT question (HELP for AUG!)

Guest Mo

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I have just decided to write the MCAT this coming Aug...am I making a horrible mistake? A few questions...


1) will I have enough time to study (will I be ready)? (1.5 months)

2) should I release my scores to all Canadian schools? Or should I wait until I see my results? (any way of them using a bad score against me in the future?)

3) If I do badly...and if I release my scores...and apply next year (i.e. not this oct), would the admissions comittee see my "bad" score, if I improve on the MCAT the 2nd time around...

4) What happens if I write the MCAT twice? Would both score show? Would I be penalized for doing bad the 1st time?


BOTTOM LINE...if I am penalized for a bad MCAT score...I may not write...I just feel that I should go for it...and try it out (a little stupid, I know)

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Guest medicator007

Hey Mo,


I'll take a stab at your questions.


1) It is certainly doable, all depends on ur level of comfort with the material and how much of the remaining 1.5 months you are willing to devote to studying.


2) see 3 & 4


3 & 4) When you apply to a medical school you are required to send them MCAT results from all sittings of the MCAT that you have taken. So there is no way to hide a "bad score". However, I think most canadian schools will only take either the highest or most recent writing of the test... can someone else confirm this?


Hope this helps.



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Guest maxell

My take:


1. Do you have enough time? Certainly if you are very comfortable with your knowledge of first-year physics, chemistry, organic chem, and biology (including molecular biology). However you do need to devote a significant amount of time from now on in preparing for the MCAT test format and verbal reasoning / essay.


To my knowledge, you don't have to take the test once you are registered. IF you cancel or don't show up, it will not count as a failure or an attempt. Only those who break the seal of the test are considered as having taking it. However DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT - CHECK THE MCAT BULLETIN FOR ACCURATE INFORMATION.


2. With regards to releasing test score, you have five or six choices you can realease to immediatley , release to OMSAS counts as one option. Some schools tell you to release all scores (e.g MUN), others only the best, some the most recent score (UofT). I don't know why some want all scores, but frankly I don't see how it can hurt you. Achieving a 24 on the first sitting, and a 32 on the second only shows that you weren't prepared the first time. The MCAT is consistent from one sitting to the next, and is in fact is becoming harder over the years (according to Kaplan). My personal opinion is that there are too many factors that take precedence over a previous MCAT score - interview, personal profile, GPA, current MCAT, place of residence. You can always check with the schools that you are interested in by giving them a phone call.


4. As far as you are concerened, your MCAT slip only shows your current sitting. You won't know what information the medical schools receive. Just based on wild speculation on my part (AGAIN, DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT), if you don't release your scores, they shouldn't inform the medical schools of those results simply because of the privacy laws that exist. But this is not sound advice - if you write it, count on releasing your scores.


My personal opioion is that the MCAT is not a take that should just be taken to try it out. It requires significant and serious preparation. If you want to write it now, you have to aim at succeeding this time, and not have the attitude that you might write it again. Also, be aware that the test format is changing slightly next year, with molecular bio emphasized at the expense of organic chemistry, and apparently or seemingly higher obtainable scores on the verbal part. Check the MCAT website for details.


More details regarding your questions can be found under this thread:



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Guest therealcrackers

About writing the MCAT for "practice"---


I think it's useful, all others things being equal. It's expensive, time-consuming, but the ability to look at your stamina, your stress level, your ability to cope with the questions in the exam setting is the best preparation. Most schools will look only at your most recent MCAT---the difficulty with writing it a second time is that if you do WORSE, your second score set will count. I improved by 5 total points and one letter on the writing sample after having the experience of writing the test once; having an idea of the layout, the pacing needed, and a sample of writing those essay questions under time pressure.


Look at your strengths from your undergraduate subjects, and think about the potential changes in format, the courses you will take over the next year, and your long-term memory capacity. Those might help you decide if you want to write it again next April or August.


Good luck!

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Guest UWOMED2005

Also keep an eye out for "free" opportunities to write mock MCATs. Some of the commercial MCAT prep course providers offer opportunities to write mock MCATs to see how much practice you need. It's a chance to get a feel for the stamina and format without shelling out the $$ and risking that policies might change and schools will start looking at ALL scores (a HIGHLY unlikely scenario, BTW.) But I wouldn't put too much stock into your results one of these "free" tests, as I wouldn't be surprised if they'd like to convince you that you need to take their course, even if you are in fact adequately prepared. . .

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I sincerely appreciate all your advice. It's so nice to hear what others think...


I still haven't decided...however, I'm studying...


If anyone else has an opinion...please post!


Thanks =)

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You should decide soon.... I think the last day to sign up to write the MCAT is coming soon. I think July 15ish, but don't quote me on that. Remember it is a post-marked deadline and not a receipt deadline.


If you are planning on writing in Toronto, you should apply RIGHT now.... those spots fill up real fast. I had a friend who had to drive up to Hamilton instead to write her test.


I think that if you are confident in yourself, then take off the rest of the summer, study hard and practice a lot, you will be fine. Majority of the people writing the test dont start until now anyways. Trust me, I teach an MCAT prep course.



Here are some important points to consider while studying,


1) Practice, Practice, Practice- cannot stress this enough

2) Time yourself always, and keep within all prescribed time limits. Time is a huge factor on the MCAT

3) Focus on your weak points. Getting a 11 or 15 really does not matter in the Ontario schools, as the MCAT isn't really taken into consideration (except Western, where VR and WS count for 25% of your score). However, a 6 or 8 can keep you out of an interview, despite how good you look on paper in other areas. If you stink at VR, study your bum off for it. you might as well, since this is a huge opportunity to get into a meds.

4) Never let obstacles hinder your progress. If you do a Mock MCAT and do poorly, dont say "I'm never gonna do well", instead say "I still have room for improvement, but I can do it".


All in all, work hard and the hard work will pay off. Trust me.


All the best, and good luck on Test day,



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Guest ManitobaMed

Hi Mo,


Prep time:

How much prep time you need depends on a number of factors, including your academic background, your strength in taking standardized tests/answering MCAT-type questions, and your learning style. Can a good MCAT score be obtained after a month and a half of prep work? Possibly -- depending on the aforementioned factors. Have you tried any kind of practice test yet? This might give you some indication of how much preparation you'll need. If you do pretty well on a timed practice test, chances are that with some solid review you'll do well on test day. If, on the other hand, you're really struggling, it might be better to wait and write at another time. (By "really struggling", I mean you're getting a lot of questions wrong but can't figure out why. If your answers are incorrect because, for example, you've forgotten which ring substituents are meta directors, you're probably good-to-go once you've done some review.)


Releasing scores:

My view is that you're better off releasing scores at the time of writing, thereby eliminating a number of possible hassles down the road. (having to order -- and pay for -- results, not having results held over from year to year, etc...)


The risks of a bad score:

As far as I know, there is little or no risk for a Canadian med school applicant in writing the MCAT more than once, even if one of the earlier scores is bad. As other posters have mentioned, most (if not all) Canadian schools look at your most recent or your best score.


Whether to use the August test as a practice run:

The MCAT costs a lot of money to write and can probably bruise one's ego pretty solidly with a lousy score, so doing it right the first time is generally advisable; however, if you have money to burn and can take the sting of a bad result, "trying it out" might not be such a bad idea. Aside from the fact that you could do well and not have to write again, just having the experience of one test under your belt might significantly decrease your stress level on your "real" attempt, putting you in a better position to obtain a high score.


Good luck with your decision and with your studying! :)

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The following is from the AAMC website


"In 2003, minor changes will be made to the MCAT. A few organic chemistry questions will be replaced by questions on DNA and genetics, the Verbal Reasoning (VR) section will have five fewer questions, it will be possible to achieve a 14 or 15 on the VR, and a total score will be reported (e.g., 45T). PS will become the first section of the day, followed by VR."


...so what are your thoughts?


What I find the MOST interesting is how the score would be reported as a total.


So, how do you think med schools would handle this total score report?


I still cannot figure whether a total score reported would be a positive or negative thing.


Thanks again for all your input =)

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Guest Kirsteen

Hi there,


Regarding signing up for this August's test, if your heart is set on Toronto, then as mentioned above, you may want to sign up soon. There's currently someone in my class who signed up for Toronto (about a month ago) with the UofT test location as her first choice. She just found out that the UofT test location is now full, but she did manage to lock in her second choice--the Toronto Holiday Inn on King.


(In case you don't know already, you can now register for the MCAT electronically via the AMCAS website.)




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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest igloobird


Your message caught my eye. I thought that Ontario schools used strict GPA and MCAT cut-offs. I am planning on taking the MCAT for the 3rd time this August because I have not reached 30, which I heard was a common cut-off. (9-10-9) and (8-9-10) are my previous scores. I am mainly focusing on the VR to bring that up to a 10. Still, I am not sure that taking the exam again is a good idea. Any advice?


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Guest JSS02

30 is the cutoff only at Queen's (along with a 10 in verbal). Your 9-10-9 is fine for U of T and likely fine for Western, assuming your writing score is acceptable (P for Western, N for U of T... though Western's requirements change every year). Ottawa and Mac don't count the MCAT. Whether retaking is a risk or not depends on how the particular schools look at your MCAT scores. Do they want the most recent one, average all of them, or can you just choose to submit whichever set of scores you want? If it's one of the first two options, then it's definitely a risk, as you may lose your eligibility for Western/U of T.

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I think JSS02 has it on the ball.


It all depends on where you want to go, and how the essay component went for you in you MOST RECENT MCAT. Remember, the last MCAT you wrote is the one they use in the Ontario Schools.


Remember U of T increased their MCAT requirements to 9-9-9-N so the MCAT you wrote with an 8 in verbal may disqualify you (or FLAG you as the UT meds would quickly point out).


Post your last MCATs and we will take it from there.

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Guest ManitobaMed

OMSAS sends the schools your most recent results, but, according to the their section of the OMSAS booklet, Queen's will look at another test result if you have it sent to them directly.


For non-Ontario schools, USask and the University of Manitoba will both look at your best score. I'm not sure about the others.

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