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Princeton Review MCAT Update/Email Blitz - 04/26

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I got this email from TPR:


This is the latest news we have about MCAT registration for August and September.




If by any chance you have already notified us that you have a MCAT test date/centre that you’re happy with, thank you for taking the time to do so and you do not need to resend that information. It’s difficult to keep up with the volume of correspondence and at this time we have to prioritize getting news out to those students who may not have seats ahead of updating our mailing list. If you have a MCAT test date/centre that you’re happy with and you have not told us yet, we’d really appreciate if you did so immediately. In terms of trying to serve students as well as possible in this difficult time, we’d like to have as concrete a sense as possible of who has a seat and who doesn’t.




Later in the message there’s more of a narrative of what’s been happening with MCAT registration since our last update. We’ve also put in some information about your course registration to answer specific questions many students have. But we know you’re most interested in a few basics about the situation and what you can do:




Where we’re at:




1. AAMC says that the technical glitch with registration has been fixed.

2. As far as we can tell based on our checking and what AAMC is willing to say, there are no spaces available right now for August or September test dates in Canada.

3. Spots may open up at any time in various locations due to students cancelling their registration. The way the AAMC system is set up, there is no method we can suggest to find and secure these seats. You’d have to be lucky enough to check the specific site and date at a moment when a student had dropped and no one else had claimed the spot.

4. Spots may open up due to additional test centres being added. This a critical point but it is the one that AAMC has so far been unwilling to say anything about. There are two things to say here. As far as we can tell based on our checking and student feedback, not all sites that have been used for July test dates have been made available for August or September test dates. For example, there was a Markham location in the GTA for July but we haven’t seen it for August or September, or heard from any students registered in that location for August or September. In Vancouver, we’ve only seen the Burnaby location for August and September but earlier test dates offered downtown Vancouver and Richmond locations. Also, a significant number of new sites were added for the July test dates after several weeks of silence that seemed to indicate that there would be no more seats. (There was no announcement, we just started to see them as did students who were checking regularly.) We appreciate that this is at least as frustrating as it may be hopeful. Evidence that there are other seats that could be opened isn’t the same as having a seat and there’s no way of knowing when or where AAMC might add sites, if at all, and how they would announce that information or if they would announce it.

5. Regular registration for MCAT CBT test dates is not scheduled to close until 2 weeks before each test date. In other words, from an AAMC point of view, a solution by July 23rd would still be a solution in time for all of the August and September test dates. Of course, we have no idea whether or not there will be any kind of “solution” but if there is, there could be a long wait for it.

6. AAMC has said repeatedly that it needs to hear from students directly in order to be able serve them better.

7. AAMC has not returned multiple inquires made by members of The Princeton Review’s headquarters in New York City, including two this week.

8. Two Canadian medical schools (UBC and Queen’s) have replied to inquiries to say that they are very aware of and concerned about the situation.




What you can do if you don’t have a seat or if you have a seat that is extremely inconvenient for you:




1. Participate in an organized email campaign




We’d encourage you to join in a day of email campaigning. AAMC says they want to hear from students but how do they keep track of the contacts? Are they keeping a tally somewhere of how many Canadian students may be without seats for August or September MCAT dates? And up until now, AAMC has been asking students to wait for the technical glitch to be fixed which would suggest that up until now they haven’t seen a need to keep a tally.




So now is the time when you need to make sure that AAMC has a clear and unmistakable sense of the scope of the problem. To make this campaign as effective as possible, we’d encourage you to follow these guidelines.




Send the email any time from when you receive this to no later than 4pm eastern time on Friday. AAMC needs to be flooded by these emails all at once. (Do not forward this email to AAMC, send a new email).




Send to: mcat@aamc.org




BLINDCOPY: infocanada@review.com (so that we can get a count and update our files, but we’d prefer that you not put us in the To or the CC field to prevent any confusion on AAMC’s part that this about the service they are providing students.)




Subject line: Canadian Student Without MCAT Seat (A common subject line is essential because email programs can sort emails by subject so a common subject line helps be able to count the number of emails quickly.)




Body of the email: We’d recommend that you do NOT send them a long message. As tempting as it is, don’t rant, don’t try to explain to them how unfair this is, don’t tell your story, etc. Simply, state when you started trying to register, roughly how many times you’ve tried to register (and/or the number of hours spent trying to register), your first choice test centre and as many other Canadian sites as you could realistically get to. For what it’s worth the organization that administers the LSAT actually defines “reasonable” as 100 miles. If you’re in Toronto and can show a long list of sites you haven’t been able to get even though you would go to, that illustrates how big the problem is. But by the same token, if you’re in St. John’s and can show there is no other site within 100 miles, that illustrates another aspect of how big the problem is.




We also encourage you to forward this same email immediately to the admissions offices of all Canadian medical schools that you plan to apply to. Queen’s provided one student a specific contact for those applying to Queen’s: saundersj@queensu.ca. Otherwise, the Canadian medical schools will be relying on AAMC’s for information on how registration is serving Canadian students.




2. Register for a test in the U.S.




This is still the only concrete solution we can offer. We haven’t heard from any student who has gotten a seat in Canada this week. But we have heard from students who got seats in the U.S. this week so there are still some there. This is really the only thing you can do now that will guarantee that you can take the MCAT in 2007 at this point.




What’s happened this week?




At some point on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 24th, AAMC took down the message about there being a technical glitch with MCAT registration and AAMC customer service representatives began telling students flatly that registration is working, that “no seats means no seats”, and that you can keep trying because spots may open up due to other students cancelling. Some AAMC representatives went so far as to tell students that AAMC has never guaranteed spots in the past and that there has always been the possibility of some students getting seats and other students not getting seats on a random basis.




On Monday, April 23rd, a student had reported to us talking to a AAMC customer service representative who had said that the technical glitch had been identified and would be fixed but that the fix might not happen for several weeks. This students was also told that AAMC was aware of the situation in Canada and would consider adding more test centres but not before the glitch is fixed and AAMC could have a better idea of how many students are without seats. At The Princeton Review Canada, we immediately asked appropriate officers in The Princeton Review’s New York headquarters to try to get confirmation of this from someone higher up at AAMC. These inquiries have not been replied to. We have held off on any updates for the past few days in the hopes of having something to pass along.




What should I know about my registration with The Princeton Review?




We appreciate that if you still do not have a seat, you are concerned about whether or not it makes sense to stay in the course at this time. As we’ve said before, we will support you in every possible way. You are eligible for a refund up through the fourth class of your course. For example, if your course starts May 23rd, your fourth class isn’t until May 29th, so you could wait at least until May 29th and know that you could get a 100% refund. That gives you at least another month to see what happens. Once the course starts, it is better for you in the long run take the whole course as designed even if you end up not being able to take the test in 2007. If you take the course this summer but in the end can’t get a seat, we will be happy to give you a free course in 2008.




Our schedules for the January, April and May MCAT administrations are already available. If you do not take the MCAT this summer, you should probably consider using one of these dates. AAMC has stated that they plan to spread the number of seats needed for Canadian test takers evenly across all test dates (As we’ve mentioned before, this decision and especially not announcing this decision until late March 2007, is one of the sources of the current problem). A good fallback option if you don’t get a spot this summer could be taking the course this summer, then taking the test in January 2008. We could offer you extended computer test access, new materials, and even an opportunity to retake classes (as mentioned above) to refresher your memory. Doing the prep over the summer would lessen the stress of prepping during the school year which is the reason why historically the vast majority of Canada students took the MCAT in August instead of April (when there were only two dates for paper and pencil tests each year).




We really appreciate communication from you on what you’re planning on doing. We’re in a position to adapt to meet student needs and the situation this spring suggests that things will be changing a lot in terms of how Canadian students approach the MCAT. If the idea of prepping this summer and then “refreshing” before the January test appeals to you, we appreciate that you might not want to retake 41 classes during the school year. If there’s an opportunity to better serve students by implementing new programs such as a shorter, targeted refresher program for students who did the bulk of their studying in the summer or simply scheduling courses for the January MCAT in locations where we haven’t traditionally offered school year courses, The Princeton Review wants to help. Hearing from you as the summer and your plans develop gives us valuable information in terms of what we should do in the future.




We wish you all the best and hope that things will work out for you and soon. In the meantime, if you do not have a seat, please send the email as suggested above and try to register for an American test centre. Keep us up-to-date on how we can best serve you in terms of your course registration.






The Staff at The Princeton Review Canada

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even the psyc chapter i'm trying to get thru is shorter than this, Law :D

hahaha true dat

LOLLL, Queen's and UBC are "concerned" dun dun dun

what does that mean?? i dont see them removing the mcat reqs... maybe decrease the mcat and increase the gpa cutoffs...

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hahaha true dat


what does that mean?? i dont see them removing the mcat reqs... maybe decrease the mcat and increase the gpa cutoffs...


Nope, I doubt that. However, they'll probably pressure the AAMC and maybe increase the length of time they accept MCAT scores for (or something like that).

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i dont see them removing the mcat reqs... maybe decrease the mcat and increase the gpa cutoffs...


i think this is wishful thinking, no school is going to "remove" mcat requirements, nor will they lower the cutoffs, its safe to say from here on out, prereqs will NEVER dip below 10s and 3.7s, NEVER!!

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Well, UBC only looks at MCAT's post-interview anyways, so they could probably accept MCAT scores way up until February. I don't know what Queen's could do though. They use their MCAT cutoffs to select for interviews. I suppose they could delay it up until December. But that's pretty much the absolute latest they could go if they were to continue using MCAT's for pre-interview selection.

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Well, UBC only looks at MCAT's post-interview anyways, so they could probably accept MCAT scores way up until February. I don't know what Queen's could do though. They use their MCAT cutoffs to select for interviews. I suppose they could delay it up until December. But that's pretty much the absolute latest they could go if they were to continue using MCAT's for pre-interview selection.


Yeah it would be tough for Queen's, I wast thinking along the lines of a delay until December too. It's apparent something needs to be done though, kind of crazy that people are having to travel like 8 hours away to write the test.

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