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> Hi I was wondering if you know
how long an MCAT score is "good" for. Is
> there a certain time period that a score will be considered
recent by a med
> school (for example, after say 4 years is the score old
and they would
> rather see a new score). The reason I ask is because I'm
a junior right
> now and am planning an taking the August MCAT, but I will
> until Dec. 2001 and then I want to work for at least a year
before I go to
> medical school.
> Any advice?
------ reply 04/30/00
It varies from school to school. See MSAR for the specifics:
> Hi Rich! I am a Canadian student
planning to apply to US Medical schools,
> however, I do not know which schools accept Canadian students
> considered international or foreign?). Basically I am Really
hoping you would
> know of a place where I can find a listing of US schools
> Canadians (I do not have US citizenship, nor have I ever
attended an undergrad
> institution in the US). Your help is tremendously appreciated.
------ reply 05/22/00
Basically the issue is not whether you are a Canadian or not,
you are a foreign student and a non-U.S. citizen. Still the application
procedures for ALL applicants are essentially the same -- see
MSAR 2000 -
See page 30-31 of MSAR 2000-2001 for info on residency polices.
You will find the requirements for entrance in MSAR in the
list the individual schools, some schools restrict applicants
citizens and permanent residents, others do not. If a school
specifically state that it will not accept or consider foreign
non-U.S. citizens, then it generally will.
*MSAR info is at http://www.premed411.com/home.html
Your best bet is to use MSAR and other resources, including
the AAMC web
site (see http://www.premed411.com/pages/pmr.html)
to become as informed
about the application as possible. It will take some time, but
its the smart
thing to do.
Best of luck,
> First of all, I want to to thank you for putting up a great
web site that I
> am sure helps a lot of people. I have a few questions. I
am a Canadian
> citizen who is studying at an American university, specifically
> University in New York state. I am interested in going to
medical school in
> the US. However, I have come to realize that since I am
not a permenant
> resident (I do not have a green card) in the US, many school
will not take
> my application. Where can I get information regarding what
schools I can
> apply to. (I have been going thru the web sites of various
> looking for this info, but the the info posted on these
web sites are
> usually regarding international students, and I am not sure
whether I would
> be considered an international student.)
> Also, I went to high school in Ontario, Canada and I attended
Grade 13 as
> required by the Ontario ciriculum. In Niagara University,
I recieved some
> credit for my OAC (Gr.13) courses. SInce, I got these credits
and since I am
> going to attend summer school, I am planning on finishing
my degree in 3
> years. Is this looked down about by med schools? If so,
should I repeat the
> courses that I got credit for (I got credit for 1 year of
> Thank you very much.
> Yours Truly, D.K.
------ reply 05/22/00
Any student who is not from the U.S. is a foreign (or international)
student. You can find a complete listing of schools that will
application in MSAR 2000-2001*. Look at each school's requirements
entrance. If a school does not specifically state that it will
not accept or
consider foreign students or non-U.S. citizens, then it generally
As far as repeating the courses you mentioned, as long as
you have a good
record, I see no advantage in repeating them.
Thanks for your kind words about the web site, and best of
luck to you!
*MSAR info is at http://www.premed411.com/home.html
> Do you happen to know anything
about the different courses available? I am
> trying to decide between the Princeton Review and the Columbia
> home-study course. I wanted to take the Columbia review
in California, but
> was too late to sign up for that one as it starts earlier
than the rest. I
> now have the choices of the Princeton Review in Dallas (I
live in Arkansas,
> and the home-study course. I am having a tough time deciding.
Have you heard
> any thing about either?
------ reply 06/02/00
I am not familiar with the Columbia Review's materials. I do
have an MCAT
prep book that I bought at a local bookstore by Columbia Review
that is well
written, but perhaps of necessity, incomplete. How this piece
translates into their home study course, I'm not sure. You may
kind out more
on-line on premed message boards.
I am familiar with Princeton Review's course, the course materials
friendly and are well organized, but have a greater number of
one would expect from a professional test preparation company.
course has certain potential advantages, notably the individual(s)
teach(s) the course. This is a variable with a considerable degree
variation. If you do explore taking the Princeton course you
on meeting the instructor before signing on the dotted line.
line is "All our instructors are extremely qualified and
well trained", but
the range in teaching ability and enthusiasm for teaching vary
The bottom line, whichever you choose, is that the brunt of
responsibility is on your shoulders, prep courses and materials
but their influence is slight when compared to the contribution
have to make in order to do well on the MCAT.
Best of luck,
> I have decided to take the Mcat in August, but can not afford
your fee at this
> moment. I am sure, it is worthwhile.
> Can you suggest books, test, and cd that I can buy. I would
> Thank you
I'd recommend Kaplan's Comprehensive MCAT Review ($65, in most
CD included), and any, or all of the AAMC MCAT Practice Tests,
from aamc.org. I particularly like the Practice Items/Practice
package ($20) and Practice Test III.
> Hi Rich,
> I am a senior at a high school and I am planning to attend
> this fall 2000.. I wanted to become a doctor. Since I moved
to United States
> two years ago, my SAT score is 1000 and my high school GPA
is 3.5. In spite of
> the language problem and background, I took AP classes in
my junior and senior
> year and did OK. I also volunteered at a hospital and shadowed
a doctor for 6
> month through my high school program. I realize that getting
> school is very competitive and requires excellent skills
and talents. I
> applied as undecided at Purdue. My biggest concern right
now is to decide my
> major. I feel I would not be a strong candidate for medical
school and so I
> don't want to take the premed route. I thought about studying
> undergraduate and then apply to medical school in the third
year of phramacy.
> This way if I don't get admitted into medical school, i
will atleast have an
> option to become a Pharm. D. My question is do you think
that candidates with
> respective background like mine are likely to get admitted
into medical school
> and will pharmacy and then med school would be a better
choice for me. Do you
> know the percentage of pharamacy students getting admitted
> school. I was talking to a doctor at the hospital where
I volunteer and she
> said that medical schools look for variety and intersting
majors. He adviced
> me to choose another intersting major like philosophy, english
or biology that
> shows my interest in the field rather than dry and hectice
major as pharmacy.
> Your advice will truly help. Once again thank you for your
Generally your high school GPA and SAT scores are not used to
qualifications to be accepted to med. school. It is your undergraduate
and MCAT score, along with all your past activities that are
used to evaluate whether or not you are invited for an interview.
have almost your entire future ahead of you, so to speak, it
is not possible
to make a meaningful interpretation of the likelihood of your
The percentage of pharmacy students who applied to med. school
accepted for the 1998-99 entering class was 29.2%. As a point
philosophy was 50.2%, english was 50.5%, and biology was 39.9%.
2000 p. 28 for more: MSAR info is at: http://www.premed411.com/home.html.
While there are other variables to consider, I do agree with
given to you by the doctor at the hospital where you volunteer.
major gives you more options, but is not as likely to result
in med. school
admission as other alternatives.
> I decided that I wanted to
go to med school after I had already completed a BS
> in an unrelated field. As a result, I'm currently finishing
up the science
> requirements for med school. My problem is this: the last
class that I have
> to finish is organic chemistry, which I will be finished
with in December.
> I've been told by advisors at various medical schools that
I should not take
> the MCATs in August before I finish up this class. However,
if I wait until
> April to take the MCAT, what are my chances of being accepted
into med school
> by the following August (like, 4 months later)? I've been
told by some of the
> same advisors that there are a few spots reserved for those
who take the MCAT
> exam in April. I was just wondering exactly how "few"
those spots might be?
I do not know of any available source of information that
would allow me to
answer your question as to how "few" spots would be
available with any
specificity other than to say that I do agree that "few"
is an accurate
characterization. I agree with the advice given to you by your
if you do decide to apply after taking the April MCAT you can
for the following year with out any serious penalties other than
> I am found your link and thought
you possibly could answer a question I had.
> What is an average score for the MCAT and what score do
you need to apply to
> most schools. I have found all this information on admissions
and they only
> say "competitive scores." My husband just received
his scores yesterday I I
> would like to know a scale. Any help is greatly appreciated.
> Thank you,
------ reply 06/17/00
24 is an average MCAT score. 30 is the average score of an
applicant accepted to a
U.S. medical school (M.D.).
> You have a great site. It's been very helpful. I am writing
to ask whether you
> think I should the MCAT again in August. I took the April
test and received an
> 11 in VR, a 13 in BS, but only an 8 in PS. I earned a double-major
BA in 1996
> in Political Science and Admin. of Justice from the Univ.
of Pittsburgh, with
> about a 2.8 gpa. I worked for 2 years and returned to Pitt
in Jan. 1999 as an
> post-bac undergraduate biology major and have just received
my second degree.
> My coursework since I came back has consisted almost entirely
> biology courses, and organic chemistry, calculus and statistics.
I have earned
> mostly A's in these classes (with a B here and there). My
overall GPA on my
> transcript has gone up to about 3.1, but since I came back
for the second
> degree, I've gotten about a 3.5 each semester. I have work
in a developmental
> biology research lab for the past year, but have not volunteered
> because I am supporting myself by working 2 jobs and don't
have the time. I
> have strong letters of recommendation from at least 3 of
> professors. If I had a higher overall gpa, I would be happier
with the 32, but
> I'm worried that the med schools will look at the 8 on PS
and my overall gpa
> instead of the 11 VR and 13 BS and my 3.5 science gpa. What
do you think?
> Thanks in advance for your time.
------ reply 06/23/00
You have asked a tough question because you could help or
depending on how you would perform on the August MCAT. You can
read page 27
of the MCAT 2000 Announcement for more info, but I believe it
all boils down
to why you scored an 8 in Physical Science. If you did poorly
due to a lack
of recent exposure to PS, as is plausible based on your description
record, and you believe you can score a 10 with extensive review,
would suggested you retake the MCAT. On the other hand, if you
MCAT it is probable that your VR and BS scores could, and reasonably
expected to drop to a 10 and 11 respectively (see page 27). Unless
score at least a 10 on PS, you will probably not help your situation.
bottom line: (unless you feel you can definitely increase your
(lets consider a 9 in PS a breakeven point, due to a probable
decrease in VR
and/or BS), you should retake the MCAT only if you feel you did
poorly on PS
due to a lack of recent exposure to this material, and if you
have time to
review this material and can reasonably expect to make a ten
or better in PS
on the August test. If you were to retake the MCAT in August
and make the
same scores as you did in April, I believe this would be a negative
> Rich- your website is amazing.
It provided me with endless information
> that I have been unsuccessfully searching for. I just graduated
> BA in Music from a small liberal arts college in central
Illinois with a
> GPA of 3.75. I am employed by the college now as a member
of the Student
> Life Staff, thus providing me the opportunity to take classes
for free. I
> have always wanted to go into medicine, and actually came
in pre-med, but
> do to other circumstances I switched to music right away.
I now want to
> prepare for the MCAT and med school. I have read over and
over the list
> of classes necessary, two years of chem (general, organic
> and a year of biology and a physics class. My first question
> or not these classes really provide you with all that you
need for the
> test. Also, not having the science undergrad degree, does
that put you at
> a disadvantage once you are in med school, or is the material
> everyone. My last questions is although my GPA is fine,
it is from a small
> no name school. How much will that matter? Is is fine to
> science classes here, or do I need to try and take them
> like the U of I, or Souther Illinois University?
> I hope to hear from you soon.
> Thanks in advance.
------ reply 06/27/00
Thanks for your comments about my site.
In answer to your first question: "those classes"
provide you with the
factual information, but often do not fully prepare you for the
There are many critical thinking skills that are not adequately
most of these courses. While taking additional courses does not
additional information that you MUST have, extra courses, typically
biological sciences, tend to help.
In answer to your second question: it helps to take biochemistry
before medical school, but not having a science undergraduate
degree is no
cause for concern--the majority of material IS new to everyone.
Finally for small colleges medical schools have a "score
sheet" to help them
evaluate the significance of your grades. This allows a basis
between the school you are attending and other better known schools.
college is "high" on the "score sheet" there's
no problem. If not, your
grades will be adjusted downward. This may or may not be done
mathematically. Some schools use a strict formula, while others
"flag" on your transcript, indicating the estimated
"rigor" of the college
Hope that helps!
> I will be taking the August 2000 MCAT. Last year, my verbal
> was pitiful. I took a prep course, but it was not beneficial.
I would like
> to improve my total MCAT score. Your attention to this matter
> Thank you.
------ reply 06/27/00
Here's what I would recommend:
--Buy all four Practice tests and the Practice Items from
Use the above materials in the following way: --Always take
timed conditions (1.3 minutes / questions for the Practice Items
VR, PS, &
--When you are done do not look at the correct answers. Take
a break, then
come back and continue to work under unlimited time conditions.
you feel you cannot do any more work should you look at the correct
Always keep a record of the answer key changes made between timed,
un-timed conditions. Try to learn from these changes.
--For VR you should get to the point were you are able to
questions correctly under unlimited time conditions. When you
point experiment with different pacing strategies and reading
an attempt to find the optimum compromise between speed and accuracy.
--For PS & BS make the test "open book" for
the unlimited time session. You
should work on learning content (factual stuff) and conceptual
skills at the
same time, rather than one at a time.
--The time you spend under unlimited time conditions should
be used to teach
yourself as much about the MCAT, and the type of thinking required
possible. You should take a break and come back as many times
reasonable, even extending the work from one day to the next.
--Once you look at the correct answers you should spend further
learning why you made the mistakes you did.
--While you are doing all this work you should be getting
a feel of the
"MCAT style". For example the way you must extract
different sources, some in the passage, some in your own knowledge
than integrate them when evaluating a graph, table, hypothesis,
experimental result. What I'm trying to say is that the MCAT
tends to have a
certain way of asking things, the more skilled you become at
"style" the better you will score.
--Finally, believe in yourself. In my experience, the students
who have most
improved their scores on the MCAT, were those that ended up teaching
PS More advice on MCAT prep may be found at:
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