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Need Advice For An Ug Student

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Hi Everyone,


Long story short, I am writing in the hopes that someone can provide some of their opinions of what should I do or what can I do in this situation.


I saw my MCAT score today, and it was bad!

This was a retake and I scored worse compared to my first attempt. 


I applied to three different schools, and I already meet one of the school's preliminary requirements for my application to be considered (McMaster). I retook the MCAT in the hopes that I will meet another school's MCAT cut-off (Toronto), but now because of my atrocious VR score I lost the only chance for my application to be considered because that school only considers the most recent MCAT scores.


I am a 4th year student finishing up my undergraduate degree, and at this moment I feel so down that I do not even know whether if I should continue to pursue a medical education. At this moment, I feel like I have reached my limit of my abilities to proceed further in pursuing a medical education and I do not know if I can take another disappointment for my MCAT.



Some information about me:


1. Ontario Resident, but not in the Southwestern Ontario or Northern Ontario)


2. cGPA of 3.73 


I do meet the 2 years for Western's MD and about a wGPA 3.83 for UFT. 


3. I do have a student loan for my UG degree, and preferably do not want a huge loan by the time I finish a professional degree.


4. I did some preplanning in case I did not make it to getting a MD, and I was looking at either a PharmD degree or go for a thesis based MSc. I don’t know if this is frowned upon, but even if I do proceed for a PharmD degree, I plan to work for a couple of years before I retry for the MD Programs.



My Mindset

1. Going through a Pharmacy Education, I think I would be more mature candidate because I would have the knowledge of medications and the experience in working with patients.

2. I can possibly pay off some of the debts

3. Have a career even if I do not succeed in achieving a MD degree later in life

4. I just don’t know right now if I want to continue to Grad School. 


I appreciate your time reading this post, and I would be really thankful if anyone who was or who knew someone in similar situations can share their experience or their approach to this situation.


Thank you so much.



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So some background about me so you know where my advice is coming from:

- I did a thesis-based MSc

- I'm on my third application to med school

- I'm also applying to a PharmD program


The first thing I think is that it's an insanely long path to do an UG, then PharmD, then med school. If your MCAT is what's holding you back from med school now that's not going to improve with a PharmD program. If med is what you really want to do, you'll have to rewrite the MCAT again and find a way to improve your score. If you have to take a year off after graduating from UG, that's no big deal. You can work and earn some money, or travel/enjoy your break.  


Don't do an MSc if you're not interested in research. See if you can get some experience volunteering in a lab or something to find out if you like it. 


If you actually aren't able to improve your MCAT score enough, go for Pharm if you're interested in doing that as a career. I don't think you should consider it a stepping stone to medicine. 

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Thanks for the input.


My 4th year is starting off very well. I think I should be able to finish all my degree requirements with a decent mark.


At this time, I do not plan to write another MCAT since seats are very limited, and I do not have the time to study for the MCAT.


Instead, I am thinking of having another attempt at the 2015 MCAT, only this time I might enroll in a prep course to prepare for the new MCAT.

My rewrite MCAT score reflects that I have a good grasp of both BS and PS material. However it was VR that destroyed me.

I have not taken any prep courses before, so I was hoping to gather some input about prep courses and how useful are they in general. 


To those of you who did a prep course, did you find things from the course that you could not prepare on your own?

What things did  you find from a prep course that made you felt more prepared for the MCAT?


In addition, would a fifth year UG be a better alternative in comparison to the options I have listed above?

What I think is that I can benefit from a fifth year are:


1. I can use the time to upgrade my marks (1st year: 3.70, 2nd year: 3.82, 3rd year: 3.69, 4th year: hoping for a 3.90)

2. I can use the time to improve on getting more ECs?

3, One more year means more attempts for MCAT


Other things on my mind that prevent me going towards that route:


1. No Other UG courses that I feel that I would really want to take

2. Financial Issues


Thanks Everyone!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, I'm not in med school yet so take my advice with a grain of salt, but it seems like to me that you are in an awkward position. Your GPA is okay, but not good good enough without at least a semi-strong MCAT, which you don't have. Had your MCAT been stronger, you would have great chances at Western, Queens, Mac, and Toronto. If I were you, I would retake that MCAT until I get it right, AKA 9/11/12.

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I personally don't find prep courses useful for the verbal. In fact, i'd say that was the most useless section with respect to prep courses. However, your mileage may vary, so take my word with a grain of salt. 


With verbal, you really just have to sit down by yourself in a quiet space and really think hard and figure out where you are going wrong. You should be able to identify numerous factors and try to tackle each one at a time. Is it your reading comprehension? reading speed? sense of logic when answering questions? silly mistakes? inability to focus after 4 or 5 passages? Think of these questions on a large-scale and then think of other questions on a question-by-question basis for the questions you get right and the questions you get wrong (on your practice passages). Figure out why you got it wrong or how you knew the answer was right before looking at the solutions. Figure out what you can do to make sure you don't repeat the same type of mistake on future questions, etc. YOu've got to do a lot of critical thinking on your own. 


One thing that's really useful is to work on it with a friend who is significantly better than you at verbal. Do passages at the same time or different times and then discuss the answers without looking at the solution. They may be able to give you different points of view compared to the solution and they may be able to notice patterns in your flawed thinking that may be preventing you from doing well on the verbal. 

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