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> Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 22:17:37 -0700 (PDT)
> Hi Rich,
> I have just received my April 2001 MCAT scores (7VR 12PS 12BS and M for WS). I
> have a question on whether my application to medical school would be screened
> out early in the process because of the low VR and WS scores. My previous MCAT
> scores were 8VR 10PS 10BS and M for WS. My GPA's for science and non-science
> are about 3.4. What are my chances of getting in? For a 36 years old engineer,
> would my chances decrease with age? Any helpful advice is very much
> appreciated.
> Thong

Hi Thong,

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.

> Would I be screened out early in the application process because of low scores
> in VR and WS?

No, WS is no big deal, and with a pair of 12's in PS and BS a 7 in VR is not
so not so big a liability that you would be screened out early.

See "U.S. Medical School Applicants, New Entrants", and "Total Enrollment by
Residence and Sex" and Acceptance Rates of Applicants by Age and Sex in MSAR This data is also available on-line at Note: while percentage
acceptance decease's with age, there is no data available on how GPA and
MCAT scores vary with age, so it is not clear if part of the reason for this
decline is due to less competitive candidates.

You have about a 20% chance of acceptance.

Good luck,

> Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 11:44:49 -0700 (PDT)
> Dear Rich,
> Thanks so much for, it has been a very valuable resource.
> I would like to ask you for your advice on my specific situation.
> I graduated from Harvard in 1999 with a 2.7 GPA and a degree in English,
> having taken 4 or 5 premed classes with about the same GPA. After working for
> a year in consulting, I came back to the Harvard postbac premed program and
> took all of the prerequisites, in some cases retaking classes I had
> unsuccessfully taken as an undergrad. I finished with a 3.96 GPA, and will be
> taking a few more classes over the summer and possibly in the fall. I also
> received my April 2001 MCAT scores: 10 V, 13 P, 12 B, "S".
> Should I retake in August? I am a little disappointed in my verbal score,
> since I had been consistently scoring 11 (50%) and >12 (50%) in practice. I
> scored a perfect 800 verbal on the old SAT and really do not feel that a 10 is
> an accurate evaluation. In addition I have to think about my low undergrad
> GPA. Are my GPAs (undergrad and postbac) considered separately, even though
> I'm only two years out of school?
> If I retook, I am pretty confident I could maintain or perhaps even slightly
> increase my science scores, since I consistently scored 12s and above in
> practice. In addition, having taken the test in April, I did not have the
> benefit of really absorbing or even having the last month or so of material in
> bio, orgo, and physics (the term here ends later than most), which is really
> the material I tended to have the most difficulty with in practice.
> I guess my question is really what the marginal utility of each additional
> point is at this level of scoring. I assume a 35 is about the same as a 36.
> What's the difference between a 37 and a 35, or between a 38 and a 37? Is
> there a downside to retaking the test and getting a similar score (34-36)?
> I would appreciate any advice you may have for me. Thanks again!
> James

Hi James,

You probably should not retake in August because you have a good chance of
acceptance as it is. If you retake the MCAT and your scores drop your chance
of acceptance will as well. If you do retake you should void (NOT SCORED)
your test should you have any doubts as to your performance.

As far as the way MCAT scores are evaluated, its not the summation of the
scores, but the scores themselves that matter. For example a 10, 13, 12 is
good, but a 11, 12, 12 is better. Should you retake, an increase in VR to a
12 without dropping below a 12 in PS or BS, might increase your chances of
acceptance from 65% to 75%, but an increase only in PS, from 13 to 15 may
not be terribly important.

The difference in weight between a 9 and a 10 is HUGE, between a 10 and an
11 BIG, between an 11 and 12 SIGNIFICANT, between an 11 and 12 NOTEWORTHY,
and there really is a small difference between a 13, 14, and 15.

Good luck,

> Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 17:52:29 -0400 To: Subject: Retake or no?
> Hi Rich,
> FIrst off, your site is awesome. Most informative site out there. Well, I'm
> applying to med school this summer and had a questions as to how applications
> are handled. I just received my MCAT scores the other day. They're
> competitive, but not great. I'm considering taking the August exam and wanted
> to know how my application would be handled if I choose to do so. I know this
> is a rolling admissions process so timing is crucial. Once my secondaries and
> letters of recommendation have arrived, would my file be reviewed and could I
> potentially be invited to interview based on my April scores? Or would they
> just throw my application in a pile and wait until the August scores arrived?
> Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.
> Jamal

Hi Jamal,

> Once my secondaries and letters of recommendation have arrived, would my file
> be reviewed and could I potentially be invited to interview based on my April
> scores?

> Or would they just throw my application in a pile and wait until the August
> scores arrived?

No, but they might file it away after viewing it, and then review it after
the August scores arrive.


> Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001
> Hi Rich, I am looking for some advice. I want to go to med school, but am
> getting stumped by the MCAT. I have taken it 4 times, the most recent was this
> past April. I made a 20. I took a prep course, studied tons, and took every
> practice test and practice passage they had. In other words, I don't think I
> could have done more. I am dissappointed because on my last practice tests, I
> was making 24s and 25s, which I think would have given me a chance of getting
> in, but now I don't know what to do. My main problem is the time factor - I
> cannot complete the test in the time allotted. I was diagnosed with a reading
> disability when I was young, but just worked through it on my own with extra
> effort and determination. I never got any special treatment or extra time. I
> majored in Biology in college, GPA of about 3.6, science was about 3.7. Time
> was never a problem on tests in college, but as you know, the MCAT is a
> completely different kind of test. My wife thinks I should get retested for
> my reading problems, and if diagnosed again, submit a request for extra time
> and take the MCAT once more. I REALLY dont want to to that, because I think
> schools would look down on it, but mostly because I don't want special
> treatment for something that I have always conquered through hardwork. What
> do you think? Is there anyplace that might consider me? I have been in the
> military for 4 years working with medics, PAs, and doctors. I could get some
> really good rec's from my superiors and my old proffs. I have a friend who
> got into a school last year with a 19, but she's female and a minority - I am
> neither. I don't want the MCAT to stop me from something I know I can do. I
> KNOW I would do well in med school; I just don't know how to get there.
> Thanks for any advice.


By working hard you have accomplished a lot. Unfortunately this formula has
not worked for you on the MCAT, and without a higher MCAT score it will be
very difficult for you to be admitted to a U.S. medical school. If you are
unable to increase your MCAT scores, you may want to consider D.O. schools
and/or foreign medical schools.

The intent behind providing extra time on the MCAT is not to give out
special privileges, but to provide individuals who could otherwise become
good physicians, the opportunity to do so. The MCAT, because of its emphasis
on timing, may not adequately reflect your actual abilities. While hard work
can overcome most obstacles, this may be a case were hard work and a little
extra time are called for.

Good L

Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2001 17:54:53 EDT

Dear Rich,
I have taken the MCAT twice and was wondering if schools will consider
my best individual MCAT test score or if they will take my hightest VR,
highest PS, and highest BS from the two tests and give me an overall
composite score. Thanks.


It varies from school to school, but most schools simply look at all scores.


Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 12:56:37 EDT

My name is Mindy and I just found your website on the internet. I am
currently studying for the August MCAT, (I have taken the MCAT two times
already with pitiful scores). Anyway, I just had a question...there used to
be a website that had analyses of past MCAT exams. I believe it was a Kaplan
website, and the info was given to them by Kaplan students after taking the
exam. The page is no longer up, but I was wondering if you knew of a site
that had the same info? I just wanted to see what some of the topics in the
past were. Any help would be appreciated!
Thank you,

Hi Mindy,

Yes that was a Kaplan site. While I do not know of any other sites that give
out the same information, I would recommend that you don't waste your time
worrying about it. Even though there have been reports of some repetition of
material on the MCAT, the odds of this information being of any use to you
is very small, due to the large number of test forms and the continual
production of new MCAT materials.


PS Hope the third time is the charm.

> Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2001 17:02:58 -0000
> Hi,
> I found your website very helpful. I am applying to med schools right now
> (filling out AMCAS, etc.) and had a question for you. I just received my
> April MCAT scores back and got a 29 (10V,10P,9B). You can probably guess
> the question: should I retake in August? Here is some info. about me that
> might be helpful: I am going to be a senior at Washington U. in St.Louis
> next yr., my science GPA: 3.6, overall GPA: 3.8, double English and Bio
> major. I have really strong rec letters, excellent research experience,
> good extracurr. actvities. My premed advisor said my personal statement was
> really good. Also, I am a Texas resident and good at interviewing.
> So, basically, the only 2 things bad in my application is 1-MCAT and 2-I got
> a C+ in Organic I. (All my other science grades are mostly B+, A- range).
> I am pretty sure I can get into a Texas school, but what chances do I have
> at a top 20 school, or any school outside Tx. for that matter? Will schools
> look at all my other stuff and downplay the MCAT, or will it really keep me
> from get interviews at top schools? Is it worth retaking in August? I had
> hopes of going to a really good med school, and I want to know if that looks
> impossible now due to my score, or if I still have decent chances of getting
> accepted into a school like Columbia, Baylor, Northwestern, etc.
> If you need any more information, please let me know. I am really
> struggling with this. Thanks in advance for your help,
> Himani

Hi Himani,

To have a good shot at a top 20 school you need a 30+. You can retake the MCAT
and have your test voided if you are not sure how you did--no record of you
taking the test will be sent to medical schools. If you are SURE that you
improved on your previous scores you should release the results immediately,
but based on the information you have provided, you probably should not take
the chance.


> Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 03:07:58 -0700
> First of all, I would like to say thanks for your attempt to help me. I
> have finally found out the way to convert Canadian scores to AMCAS GPA.
> Does the GPA include all of the courses I have taken in my University
> life? (e.g. from 1st year University up to my final 4th year?)
> I got one more question, my GPA throughout my university courses is 3.74
> and my MCAT score is 29 (VR 8, PS 10, BS 11, and essay N).
> Do you think it is sufficient just for the academic part?
> Thank you very much for your precious time and bless you to have a bright
> future.
> Peter.

Hi Peter,

Yes, your GPA and MCAT are competitive. The average GPA and MCAT of those admitted to medical school is 3.6 and 30 respectively. The only problem is the 8 in verbal reasoning, which puts you at a significant disadvantage.

Good luck!

> Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 14:27:58 EDT
> Dear Rich,
> I am currently applying to medical school and have a few questions about
> what schools I should apply to. I am an upcoming senior at an Ivy League
> university with an overall GPA of 3.60 and a science GPA of 3.50. My MCATs
> score is 33 (11 VR, 13 PS, 9 BS). As for my basic extracurriculars, I play
> Varsity Baseball at my university and have volunteered for over 120 hours at
> a local ER.
> With this in mind, I was wondering if I should even bother applying to the
> big name schools (e.g. Stanford, Harvard, Duke, Columbia, etc.), for my GPA
> and MCAT scores are both below their averages. Do you think that I have a
> chance at these schools or should I try elsewhere? Is there anything I can
> still do to improve my chances of getting admitted?
> Also, are there any schools that you might recommend given my GPA and
> MCATs? I am a residence of Louisiana, if that helps. Thanks in advance for
> your time.
> -Neil P.

Hi Neil,

You have about a 1 in 5 chance of being accepted to a "big school". I do not
recommend specific schools but do suggest you look through MSAR:

Good Luck!

> Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2001 10:44:28
> Hi Rich! Thank you for a wonderful website. My name is Christina and I'm 26. I
> moved to the US 7 years ago. I am a pediatric Physical Therapist. I've
> graduated in September of 1999 and then finished taking my pre-med
> requirements in the fall 1999 and spring 2000 semesters. I have a 4.00 GRA and
> over a year of clinical experience. I've taken an April 2001 MCAT and got 7 in
> VR, 9 in PS, and 11 in BS. I did not time myself well in PS section and had 45
> questions to answer when there was only 35 min left. I've already registered
> for the August MCAT and ordered additional practice tests and VR study
> materials from Berkeley Review (I already practiced AAMC practice tests
> 1,2,3,4, and 5 for my April MCAT). I also used Kaplan books to prepare for the
> April MCAT. Can you suggest any other study materials? And also what do you
> think my chance is with a 27 MCAT score and a 4.00 GPA? Which schools, if any,
> do you think will seriously consider my application? Thank you.


Thanks for your comments about the site. I'd recommend the Columbia Review
MCAT book. Its has a large number of practice tests that are of good
quality. With a 7, 9, 11, and a 4.00 you have about a 30% chance. For
schools, please see MSAR:

Good Luck!

> >Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 13:32:15 -0700

>> First of all thanks for the very informative website! I am what I consider
>> a nontraditional student. I am 25 work for a brokerage firm received a
>> degree in finance from a state school with a gpa of 3.3. My problem is I
>> went to a local junior college after high school for electrical
>> engineering (to transfer to Purdue). My grades at the local university
>> were about a 3.0 but my Chem II and Phy II grades were c's. I transferred
>> to Purdue did terrible and transferred back to the state school which I
>> did ok. I really want to go to med school but I am afraid that my grades
>> from the past will a haunt me. Should I take the classes over? I dont want
>> to make further mistakes by going to many schools. Should I apply to grad
>> school? Do I need to go back to the university were I want to replace the
>> grade? I dont know what do but I'm willing to give it my all. Please
>> help.... Thanks

Hi Derrick,

Your best bet is to enroll in a graduate masters program in a medically related science,
while at the same time obtaining clinical experience in medicine. Your undergrad grades
will be of almost no importance once you establish a graduate record.



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