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[I] 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 ------reply 24/Jun/99------- Dear Bill, Scoring all 10's on the MCAT will make you competitive, assuming a GPA of 3.5 or better. Good Luck! -Rich
[II] 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. Maria ------------ 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 process.
[III] Hello, 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 You can also order written materials at this site, or by sending an email message to 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.
[IV] 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 Thanks Tina ------------ 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 recommendation. Good Luck!
[V] 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. Good Luck! TOP^
[VI] 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 and apply? 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 reasoning abilities. 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. ------reply 22/Jun/99------ 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. Good Luck! -Rich ------------ 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 advice. Thanks. ------------ 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?'' :) -Rich 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 scores. 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 MCAT. 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. -Rich
[VII] Hi Rich, 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. Steve ------reply 22/Jun/99------ Hi Steve, 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 test. Good Luck! -Rich
[VIII] Hello Rich, 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. Ericka :) ------reply 22/Jun/99------ Hello Ericka, 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 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. Take care, -Rich :)
[IX] Dear Rich, 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. Thanks, ----- 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 in medicine. From: 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. -Rich
[X] Rich, 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? Thanks ------------ 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. Good Luck! -Rich

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