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> Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 23:04:23 -1400
> Dear Rich,
> Thank you for the incredible amount of information you have put into your
> website.
> I am a biology major finishing my junior year at Georgetown and have just
> taken the MCAT in April. I am interested in taking a year off in between
> college and medical school, and I was wondering if you could give me any
> advice about how I would go about it and whether it would hurt my chances
> of admission. I would like to take the time to gain some additional
> clinical or research experience in addition to participating in a
> volunteer program in India. Is it possible, as people often do with
> undergraduate schools, to apply to medical school and then defer
> admission for a year after gaining acceptance, or would it be better to
> simply wait until June of my senior year to enroll in 2003?
> I also have a question regarding required courses for medical schools. I
> received AP credit at Georgetown for Physics, such that I did not have to
> take it for my Biology major. I decided, however, to take one semester
> of Mechanics anyway in order to help me with the MCAT. Do you know if
> medical schools will require me to take another semester of Physics in
> spite of testing out of it?
> Thanks,
> Chris

Hi Chris,

Getting a deferred admission is possible although it may be difficult unless
you have a very strong record. This would be your best bet. If you can not,
its not such a big deal. Sounds like you'll be putting that extra time to
good use. As a result, this should not hurt your chances for admission, and
may help.

Some medical schools accept AP credits and others do not. See MSAR
( for details.


> Date: Sun, 3 Jun 2001 16:36:15 EDT

> Dear Rich,
> First thank-you for your web site. I found it so useful. I wonder if you
> could give me some information on what kind of response I can expect from med
> schools given my situation and what kind of MCAT score I should be shooting
> for. In brief, my undergrad science GPA is about a 3.2 and 3.47 overall,
> with a major in Biology. I am 28 and have been working in healthcare all
> this time, doing clinical trials. I took the MCAT in 97 and got a 10-Verbal
> and 7-in the sciences. I have a lot of clinical experience but clearly lack
> in the GPA department. I live in California now, and really want to go back
> to medical school, anywhere. I am taking the August MCAT and want to know
> what I should do with the previous score in terms of sending them or not and
> what do you think I really need to get on the MCAT to be competative.
> Thanks for any information you can provide.
> Alla

Hi Alla,

I'd advise you not to send the previous scores. To be competitive you need
10's across the board. Because of the 3.2 GPA in the sciences an 11 in the
physical or in biological sciences would be very helpful.

Good Luck,

> Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2001 01:19:20 -0400

> Hi,
> I'm writing about applying to medical school for 2002. I graduated
> from Brown University with a B.Sc. in 96. I majored in Molecular Modeling,
> which was an major I designed myself, and later served as the model for an
> official degree program in Computational Chemistry. I was a pre-med student,
> and I graduated Brown with a GPA of 3.6. I took the MCAT and got an overall
> score of 40 (15 Verbal, 13 Bio, 12 Physics).
> After working for a software company in New York for a year, I applied to both
> medical school and graduate school in Computer Science in 1997. Somewhere in
> the high tech rush it slipped my mind how my whole life I've dreamed of being > a
> doctor, and I succumbed to the trend of the times and entered the graduate
> program in Computer Science at the University of Washington, Seattle. From
> there I received a M.Sc. in C.S. in 1999, with a GPA of 3.8.
> As I've learned more and more about life in the years since college, many
> times
> I have regretted not going to med school. Especially when I see my father
> (who
> is a doctor), and the joy he gets from working with patients.
> So I've decided to follow my life long dream and go to medical school. I
> have heard schools look for students with diverse backgrounds and excellent
> track records to enrich the school. I hope I fit the bill and can get in, but
> first I have some questions about the application procedure.
> Will I have to take the MCAT again, or will schools accept my current score
> (from August 1995)? Do you know which schools will (Im out of the country and
> don't have access to the MSAR)? Can I write and convince some schools to
> accept
> my old scores?
> It would be my preference not to take the exam again. I am in India working
> on
> a project for the World Bank
> until late August, so I will not be able to come back and prepare to take the
> exam this year. Taking the test next April would delay my application until
> 2003, and I would really rather not lose another year at this point.
> (By the way, I am currently working in Gujarat, site of the recent earthquake.
> I really regretted the lack of a proper medical education during that time.
> Quite often I found myself playing amateur doctor in the villages, drawing
> upon
> my pre-med education and my years of experience w/ my pops. That might have
> been the final thing to convince me I really should become a doctor.).
> Any advice or support you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
> Best,
> Tapan


Most schools will not accept MCAT scores from 1995, but with your record you
may be able to get that to get restriction waived. I'd put the odds at less
than 10% though.

In the advise and support categories:

Advice--don't phrase it like this ...
> it slipped my mind how my whole life I've dreamed of being a doctor
...when you go for an interview :-)

Support--if you want to go to medical school you certainly can. You are obviously
an individual with exceptional abilities.

Good luck,

> Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001 17:52:44 -0400 (EDT)

> I have a question about the one year accelerated masters programs available
> for students who want to boost their credentials before applying to med
> school. In many I have heard that the masters student takes courses with and
> is graded against med students to show their competence in medical school
> courses. My question is how competetive these programs are to get into for
> students with borderline grades around 3.3-3.4 and mcat scores above 30? How
> much do these programs help if the student does well in them?
> thanks


You should be able to gain admittance to most of these programs with the
credentials you mention.

The effectiveness of these programs various greatly, and I am not aware of
any independent agency that evaluates them. Some programs do keep statistics
that can be of some help in evaluating effectiveness, but it is still
advisable to try to speak with students who have completed the program you
are interested in, in order to obtain additional information.


> Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 09:44:09 EDT
> I graduated with a BS in Biology in 1995 with a science GPA of 3.0 and an
> overall of 2.5...pretty bad (my last 2 semesters I got A's & B's). Since then
> I have been working full time as a Firefighter / Paramedic for a busy City
> Dept. Now that I've gotten a bit older I've decided I absolutely want to go to
> Med School. I know I can do well at College, I simply didn't put in the effort
> before. What classes do you recommend I take. Should I just 200-300 level
> classes? 400 level ones, or take some graduate classes. I plan to take at
> least one semester of Organic even though I took it in Undergrad (10 years
> ago). For the MCAT I'm sure I can review the Bio, Physics, and most Chem
> material on my own. Basically what overall plan of attack would you recommend
> to someone who is going on 29 and wants to take the most efficient route?
> Thanks, Russ

Hi Russ,

The first thing you need to do is regain the knowledge that has "evaporated"
over the years, and to take two semesters of physics if you have not done so
already. You could do this by retaking courses, auditing courses, or self
study. My advise is to audit. You'd want to take the MCAT when you get back
up to speed, and when you'd had time to prepare adequately for the test

Concurrent with this, or subsequent to it, a graduate program in a medically
related science is your best bet because your graduate grades will stand
apart from your undergraduate grades, and will supercede all previous
grades. Just taking more undergraduate courses will not accomplish this.

Good luck,

Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2001 22:06:39 EDT
Subject: I love this site with bunch of questions

Hi, Rich:
I'm becoming a junior this upcoming spring and I didn't know anything about
how to prepare for MCAT or when to take the exam until two days ago. When I
found out that I have to take the exam in April 2002, I got scared to death
and I'm still shaking from anxiety. I have a G.P.A of 3.75 and I'm
transferring to CSULB (Cal State Long Beach) this fall to get my major in B.S
in Biochemistry and minor in B.A in Chemistry. They both have the same
subjects except B.S in Biochem has three more additional courses, so I
thought its better to take them both. However, I have no volunteering
experiences, and I haven't done any community work except being a chemistry
tutor for about a year. I also still haven't taken my physics classes yet, I
had a year of physics in high school, but that was outside the U.S; thus I
figured it out that I have to take it again to know the terms and material in
English. I still haven't taken my organic chemistries yet, basically I'm
taking them this upcoming fall and spring and I'm not planning to take my
physics until summer 2002, so what should I do? Take the MCAT this April
2002 or wait for August 2002? Or maybe wait to apply in my senior year? If I
take the exam in August, I will be finished with my physics, Organic Chems
and Biochem classes. However, If I take it in April, I will be only finished
with my Organic Chems and Biology Classes. What would u recommend?
Unfortunately none of the hospitals or clinics in the area that I'm living
now offer volunteering positions dealing with patients or doctors, they all
offer office work, so I guess I'm not gonna start volunteering until either
this fall or spring. You might then wonder what was I doing in the past two
years? Well, I tried to finish all of my general ed in community college and
I also finished taking my general chemistries and bio classes and math
classes, so that I would be left with nothing else to take except higher
division chemistry classes and physics when I transfer to CSULB.
Sorry if I wrote you a novel, I can't help it.
Oh by the way, your site RULES!
Thank You,

Hi Faezeh,

Thanks for your comments about my site. Since I've much more email to
reply to I will not be able to write you a novel in return :-) but the
answer to your question is simple. Wait till August 2002 to take the MCAT.
You can start preparing for the MCAT over the course of this coming academic
year, but you should not take the MCAT until you have taken physics.

Good luck,

> Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 14:53:01 -0400 (EDT)
> Hi Rich,
> My name is Jeff and live in NY. I;m applying to MD-Phd programs
> this year and just received my MCAT scores. I got 9PS 9BS 8VR O. My GPA
> is about a 3.9 and I have two pubolications (3rd author) and one first
> author publication on the way. I have a solid research background (>4
> yrs), and was thinking about a toppish NYC school. The reason being,
> Ihave been the research business for about 6 years now and I know from
> experience that where you do your PhD will make or break your scientist
> years. Please let me know if I should retake in August. Thanks!!
> Desperately,
> Jeff

Hi Jeff,

If you feel that there is a chance of improving your MCAT scores, then you
should retake in August.


> Statistically speaking do you think I can pull it out in two
> months to get at least better than a 32? How much better do August retakers
> typically do?

Statistically with a 9, 33% increase and 39% decrease their VR score on
retake. With a 9 in PS its 38% and 38% respectively, and with an 8 in BS its
18% and 58% respectively. Individual results will vary.


> Tue, 19 Jun 2001 08:52:53
> -0700 (PDT) To: Subject: chance for MS admission...
> Hi, Rich--
> Your site is very informative! I know you get many emails, but I hope you can
> offer me some advice.
> I started my college career as a sophomore because I came in with so many
> credits attained in high school. I am an English major, have a 3.7 in my
> university's honors program, and am in a zillion extracurriculars: english
> honor society, premed society, symphonic band, pep band (we travel with the
> basketball teams on tournament trips), a service sorority, volunteer at a
> hospital, and work as a nursing assistant in a nursing home.
> All of this sounds pretty good so far--but the problem is my MCAT scores: VR
> 10, BS 9, PS 9. A 28 is decent, but does not guarantee admission. I DO NOT
> want to retake the MCAT this August; the first time was traumatic enough!! I
> do not want to go to Harvard or anything, and I already have a school in my
> home state in mind.
> What are my chances for admission into medical school? Do I really need to
> retake the MCAT? What other options do I have if I do not want to retake the
> MCAT in August? Do admissions boards consider extracurriculars when evaluating
> candidates? Sure, I could've gotten a 3.9 if I'd just studied all the time;
> isn't consideration given to those who can "hold their own" while being
> actively involved in their universities?
> Thank you so much! I know I and many others really appreciate your site!


I understand that the MCAT can, and often is, very traumatic, and certainly
understand why you do not want to retake.

MCAT scores and GPA are the most important "filters" in the application
process. Extracurricular activities, letters of recommendations, personal
statement etc. are important but far less so than MCAT and GPA.

Based on the info below (including extracurriculars) you probably have a 25%
to 40% chance of admission. If you feel that you could get a 30 or better on
the MCAT, (you can make sure your test is not scored if you are not sure)
than you should consider retaking, but should only do so if you can properly
motivate yourself to face the MCAT again. A retake where you do not release
your score, or release lower scores, will tend to hurt your chances.

Short of retaking the MCAT or doing a great job on your personal statement,
it sounds like there may not be much left that you can do to increase your
odds in the near term.

Good luck,


> Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 12:40:05 -0700 (PDT)
> Hey Rich, I am glad that I stumbled onto your site. I am in the midst of
> panicking and would greatly appreciate it if you could answer a question for
> me about the MCAT. I just received my April MCAT score yesterday and am very
> disappointed about my biological sciences score. I took the Princeton Review
> and had been making 9's and 10's on the practice exams, but I wound up making
> a 7 on the actual MCAT. My question is whether I should take it again if I
> wish to go to a state school. I made a 9 in verbal and an 11 in physical
> sciences (I made a R in writing). I have a 3.894 GPA with a 3.857 science
> GPA. I am a Latin major and have been recognized for the past two years as
> the outstanding Latin major. I have been active in Circle K, the largest
> collegiate service organization in the world, have received numerous awards in
> this club, and have held numerous leadership positions. I have accumulated
> almost 200 hours of service in three years with this club. I am also a member
> of Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Epsilon Delta, and Eta Sigma Phi. I also know that I
> received wondeful letters of rec. Please let me know what I should do.
> Thank you, Lauren

Hi Lauren,

Except for that BS score you're in good shape. As is, with all the "good
stuff" you mention, you've got around a one in three chance of acceptance*.

If you retake the MCAT and are able to get a 9 or better on BS while
maintaining your other scores (a 10 on PS would be ok), your chances would
increase to about one in two*. On the other hand, if you were unable to
maintain your scores your chances of acceptance would tend to diminish.

Remember that if you do retake and are not sure if you "made the grade" you
can elect to have your exam NOT scored. No record of your retaking will be
made part of your application records. But if you retake and withhold your
scores, many medical schools will look upon this practice unfavorably.

Good luck,

*Assuming you have some clinical experience.

> Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 17:03:43 -0600
> Rich,
> A friend of mine refered me to your website to answer some of my questions. I
> have found that your site is one of the most helpful of all the premed sites.
> Well, I recently got my score back from the April MCAT and was saddened by my
> score (7V,10P,10B and P). I was wondering if applying early would be more
> advantageous than retaking the test and applying late. I have a 3.5 science
> and a 3.65 overall GPA with plenty of extracurriculars. I am a California
> resident but plan on applying to schools everywhere.
> Please help me with some advice! Thanks.
> James

Hi James,

You can apply now, and retake the MCAT later. When your new scores are sent
your application should be updated. Just to play it safe I recommend that
you send a letter (not email) to each school you have applied to, stating
that you have recently retaken the MCAT, and that you look forward to having
your application updated and reviewed in light of this new information. By
the way, write a nice letter. It will be added to your application file.

If you retake, do not have your MCAT scored if you feel you did poorly.
Either release your scores immediately or elect to have your exam NOT
scored; do NOT withhold your scores.


Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 17:36:10 -0700

Dear Rich,

First of all, thank you for your wonderful website!!

I just got my score(3rd MCAT: 8V, 11P, 10B) and I was wondering if I should
retake mcat next April and apply for 2003. The first time I took MCAT, I
voided; the 2nd time, my score was 9,9,9; I have overall GPA 3.3 and Sci GPA
3.4 at UCLA(neurosci major). I am VERY dissappointed with the last score
and I want to petition for the 4th MCAT. I'm determined to do whatever it
takes to become a doctor. Would it look really bad if I take MCAT 4 times?
I heard the knows if you voided your score. Is that true?

Thank you for your advice.


Hi Nikki,

No, if you void (NOT have test scored) ad.coms do NOT know. I have heard
positive comments from members concerning students that take the MCAT
several times and are able to raise their scores. They are looked upon as
hard working and determined--that's good. While its best to take the MCAT
once and get accepted. There are many students that try and try and try
and... get accepted. You are close to were you need to be...

Good luck,


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