| PREMED ZONE
Dear rich, My problem lies with organic chemistry. I took first organic
and lab and received B's then took second organic and received a D+. I
then retook and got a B. I have also taken two semesters of biochemistry
and received b''s in both. I also have taken the MCAT once and receoved a 9
vr, 8ps,6bs. Is this something that I can overcome, the D+? Will the
biochem grades help in that regard? Will scoring in the double digits on
the Mcat overcome that problem? Take into account that I do work 35+ hours
per week.Thanks Bill
Scoring all 10's on the MCAT will make you competitive, assuming
a GPA of 3.5 or better. Good Luck!
I need some advise, I just graduated with a BS in Biochemical Engineering and
I am considering applying to med. school, however I just recently began
considering this path, so how do I begin and how do I know I have taking all
the necessary pre-req's? Any help would be appreciated.
The best bet is to speak with a premedical advisor. Before you do, I
recommend that you buy the ''Medical School Admission Requirements'' book at a
college bookstore and read through it to familiarize yourself with the
I've been out of college for two years and I have decided to
apply to medical school and I need an application from AMCAS. How can I
contact them via email or a website?
You can download the AMCAS-E software from the AAMC's Web site at
http://aamc.org. You can also order written materials at this site, or by
sending an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also wish to purchase
the Medical School Admission Requirements book, also available from the AAMC
web site. This book should answer most of the questions you may have about
the application process.
My question/concern was the time that I apply for med-school and take the
MCAT. My advisor recommended that I wait until senior year to apply so that
my application would be more solid (more classes/sciences with better grades)
and I would be more prepared. Is this recommended? Would it effect my
chances of getting into med school? What would my general schedule then
require (most just address junior applicants)---Any other relevant
information would also be helpful
Hi Tina, I did post a reply on the message board on May 21st but there was
some kind of error and the message was lost. If your record is not really as
competitive as you would like, there is nothing wrong with waiting till your
senior year to apply. It will not significantly effect your chances of
admission. As far as your schedule, you would apply in the same manner as
before, preferably taking the MCAT in April, although you could take it this
August. You can use the extra time to more fully prepare for the MCAT, do
additional medical related work, and pump up your GPA. It is a good idea to
save for your last semester any courses that may lower your GPA, since you
will not be required to submit this last semester's work when you sent off
your transcripts to AMCAS on March 15th. If your record is not currently as
competitive as it needs to be, I would agree with your advisor's
Hi Rich, My name is ..., I am currently enrolled at Keene State
college in NH, My declared major now is BS in bio. I have future aspirations
of Med School, and was hoping for some advice re: the application process
and prereq's. I recently transferred into that school, so does the fact that
this school mainly specializes in teaching degrees hinder my chances of
acceptance, or will my GPA and Course study, along with membership in the
National Guard as a Medic speak for itself. Is the BS in Biology program a
''premed'' program? Thank you in advance
Ps. Great web site!! Keep up the 411.
Thanks ..., re: the PS above. I am not familiar with Keene State College.
But the answer to your question depends on a couple things. If you have
already established a solid record at a well respected school, then there is
no problem. On the other hand if you have not, or have not taken many
credits, then the rigor of the classes at Keene State will be taken into
consideration when your record is evaluated. Being a medic in the National
Guard will certainly work in your favor. Finally, as a premed you may major
in any area as long as you fulfill your premedical requirements : 1 year
Bio, 2 years Chm, 1 year Phy, see Medical School Admission Requirements 2000
-2001, for additional information.
Hi, I'm a premed student at UNC-Chapel Hill and I just got my MCAT scores. I
would like your advise on whether I should retake in August/April or go ahead
I scored 11 on BS, 11 on PS, but a 7 on VR and that is what I'm really
disappointed about as I'm confident that it doesn't represent my true verbal
I'm a Biostatistics (Public Health) major with a 3.9 GPA and a lot of
research/volunteer activities. I would appreciate your candid opinion as to
what I should do. Thank you very much.
Based on the information you have provided, I would recommend that you get
all your application materials off to AMCAS now, if you have not already
done so. Work hard at increasing your verbal score before this August's
MCAT. You might consider using the verbal reasoning sections in Practice
Tests I, II, III, and IV, since they are scaled based on actual
administrations of the MCAT and can give a rough guide as to your progress.
(Practice Test III and IV should be the most reliable.) Retake the MCAT this
August and release both the April and August score immediately. If you can
pull up your verbal score to a 9, you will be a competitive candidate.
Hi, so I should not release my April scores now but wait until I get my
August scores to release? Do you think that will be okay since it will near
the end of October before they are recieved. My only concern is if my VR
score goes up 1-2 points but the other two drop. Considering my GPA and
April MCAT scores, do you think that I would not be a competitive candidate
at an average med school?
I had a friend who got a 13, 13, and a 3 in VR and got into Duke. In the
interview, he just told them that it was obviously a technical mistake. I
know my situation is different but I just wanted to look at all the options.
I don't mind taking the Aug. MCAT (though I really don't want to :( ) but I
just don't want my other scores to drop. I would really appreciate your
You can release your April MCAT scores now if you wish. But I would
definitely recommend that you retake the MCAT. Where as a 3, 13, 13 ''may'' be
a winning hand, a 7, 11, 11, ''probably'' isn't. Don't get me wrong, 11's are
impressive but 13's are VERY impressive. With a 7, 11, 11 and a 3.9 you may
have a 25% chance of admission, but with a 9, 11, 11 and a 3.9 the odds
should be above 50%. My logic in releasing both scores at once is to
increase the likelihood that both your April and August MCAT will be looked
at together during the first evaluation period. I believe there is an
advantage (with some schools) in presenting your scores in this manner. If
you decide to do this, the schools will not begin to evaluate you as a
candidate until they receive both of your MCAT scores in October. If your
verbal goes up to a 9 or better, a drop to a ten in PS and BS is no problem,
especially since most schools will be looking at both the April and August
scores. Ok, what happens if you send off your April scores now (if you do,
you should still retake the MCAT). The advantage is you will be further
along in the application process. The disadvantage is that your application
will almost certainly be filed away behind others simply because of that
seven in verbal. Now there are some schools that may overlook that seven in
verbal, but at this stage of the application process, your application is
evaluated on only the most ''superficial'' factors without any serious
exploration into your background. I guess what I'm saying is that there is
an advantage to getting off your scores earlier, but only if those scores
will get your application into the right pile, otherwise the difference
between April and August is not that great. If you feel unsure about what to
do, send off your scores now. Although I believe there is a tactical
advantage to waiting to send off your scores till August, I believe the
advantage is modest.
A good friend of mine did his internship at Duke. He told me the folks there
are very nice. Normally if a candidate were to say that they got a three in
verbal due to a technical mistake, the follow up question would be ''If you
are so interested in going to medical school why didn't you follow the
procedures outlined in the MCAT instruction booklet for reporting and
rectifying errors?'' :)
Clarification (by Rich) Hi, I just reread this part of your question:
>> Hi, so I should not release my April scores now but wait until I get my
>> August scores to release?
Answer: No, don't wait till you get your August scores to release your April
Just to be clear, what I am suggesting is that you release your August
scores at the time of the test. Medical schools typically receive your
scores a week or so before you will (6-7 weeks after the test). So, mail off
the request to release your April scores a couple weeks after the August
There isn't one ''right'' answer to your question, just different risks and
benefits. To make a more informed decision, you may want to look at page 27
of the ''1999 Announcement MCAT'' booklet. Good luck.
I'm between a rock and a hard place right now. I just got my MCAT scores
back (an 8,8, and a 9 with a P on the writing sample). I sent my
application already on the earliest possible date. I'm still deciding on
whether to retake it but I think I'll be rejected by the time the medical
schools I applied to receive my second set of scores. What are your
thoughts? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
If you retake the MCAT in August and release your score immediately, the
schools you apply to should reevaluate your application in light of the new
information. You can send off letters to the schools you applied to
concerning the reason why you retook the test, for example, if you were
seriously ill, or if you had not yet completed all the course material
covered on the MCAT. If you just didn't do as well as you wanted, without
any mitigating factors, skip the letter and just study hard for the August
I was wondering if you could help me out a little. I was planning to
apply this summer for med schools.. I already started doing the computerized
version. However i am not sure on the requirement for recommendation
letters.. I would like to include some but how many , and are they required
and when do i send them?
Also, do you think it's a good idea to send applications for medical schools
and osteopathic schools at the same time.. I heard someone say that med
schools see that you applied to osteopathic schools and thus question why
you applied to medical school.. Is that true? What do you know?
Ok thank you Rich,
Thank you tonz.
Although letters of recommendation are not required I would strongly
recommend that you do include them as part of your application. The time to
send them is now! Remember most people procrastinate, including the folks
you will be asking to write the letters. Here's how the process works: If
your school's prehealth advisor/committee uses a composite letter format,
you will be asked to have 3 or 4 individuals send letters directly to the
advisor/committee. Then the letters will be edited and additional
information will be included by the advisor or committee to create what is
known as a composite letter, that will be sent to the medical schools to
which you apply, by the advisor or committee. If you wish you can have
additional letters sent directly to the medical schools by other
individuals. I recommend providing stamp addressed envelopes in this case.
If your school does not use the composite letter format (a.k.a. prehealth
letter of recommendation), then you send the letters of recommendation as
just mentioned above. Three or four strong letters is fine, the rest is
overkill. See http://www.premed411.com/pages/app.html for more about letters
of rec. Also, some schools provide a recommendation file service, which
collects and officially mails the letters of recommendation.
Ok, time for the M.D./D.O. question. MD schools do share information,
but as far as I know, M.D. and D.O. schools do not.
I have a friend who is an engineer and is currently taking the courses
that he lacks to apply to medical school. He is also planning on taking
the MCAT next spring. What are the chances of him getting into medical
school after being an engineer for five years. His GPA in college was
2.95 but he has made A's on the science classes (Biology and Organic
Chemistry) that he has taken since he has been out of school. Also, do
you have any advice that I can give him to help him.
Being an engineer for five years is not a drawback. If your friend does well
on the MCAT (30 or greater) his chances are good. I would advise you friend
to get clinical experience in medicine before submitting his application,
and to prepare for the MCAT well. MCAT scores are becoming the top factor in
differentiating who gets an interview and who does not.
What type of clinical experience are you suggesting?
The type of clinical work is not important, except that work with a lot of
patient contact that exposes you to the medical end, rather then the
administrative end of medicine is the most desirable. Admissions committees
want to see that you know what you're getting into when you choose a career
If I am not able to do both clinical work and medical research, which type
of experience do you think would be looked upon most favorably by admissions
committees?''. Both doctors (clinicians) agreed that since the majority of
members on most admissions committees are clinicians, and since clinical
work is more closely associated with the art of practicing medicine than is
research, that clinical experience would be the better choice, assuming that
all other factors were equal. They also mentioned that working for pay, beat
out volunteering, and strongly advised NOT to work for a relative.
Thanks for your web-site, it's very informative and answers
many questions that other sites have failed to do. Here's
my question: It is my understanding that you can take the
MCAT ''non-reporting'' and that in doing so no med school gets your
results. However, if you receive a high MCAT score and decide to
release them then you can. Is this true? What are the pro's and
con's to doing this?
Yes it is true. Lets say you take the
April MCAT and release your scores. The advantage is that your
application will be processed sooner. If you do well, you are ahead
of the game. If you do ok, you ''break even'' and retake in August.
If you do poorly, you may be at a disadvantage, even if you retake
and do well in August.
Now lets say you take the April MCAT and do not release your
scores. The disadvantage is that your application will be delayed.
It takes about 2 months before you receive your scores, and a few
weeks for you to have your scores released. If you did well, you
release your scores and all you've lost is time. If you did ok, you
retake in August. I'd suggest releasing your April score, but this
decision should also be based on other variables. If you did
poorly, you do not release your scores (because this will usually
cause more harm then good), and retake in August. Admissions
committees will be notified that you took the April MCAT but did
not release your scores. If all else is equal, this will probably
put you at a disadvantage when compared to someone who only took
the August MCAT.
CAUTION: The info above is a rough guide. Speak with a competent
premed adviser that is familiar with your record if you can.
See The PreMed Zone for info about what the words ''well'',
''ok'', and ''poorly'' refer to regarding MCAT scores.