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[I]
Date: Sat, 11 Aug 2001 17:21:27 EDT

GREAT site....to the point & informative
here goes:
I am a 44 yo female, I'm an RN, graduated from Columbia Nursing School 1980
did not take school too seriously GPA ~ 2.9), worked mostly in Emergency
Depts...began grad school for Nurse Practitioner in 1996, took 22 credits,
(Advanced Pathophys, Advanced Pharm, Research, Stats, etc. GPA ~3.8),
volunteered in a NYC community health clinic x 5 yrs, began premed courses
at Mt Holyoke College while working full time as an RN, finished..(GPA
~3.4), volunteered for a youth organization for 2 yrs. in Western Mass
(Girls Incorporated).....received excellent letters of recommendation from
head MD in ED, professors from grad school and Mt Holyoke.....am very
physically active (ran a marathon 3 yrs ago)...REALLY want to go to med
school..sent off app's to 23 schools, worked ~ a year tuning up personal
statement....I do not do well on standardized tests..I take the MCAT next
week and am scared to death...with all of the above..what scores do I need
to be viable? (I 10's are preferred)..I am pretty worried.....let me know
what you think....thanks for a great site and for your time, take care!!!

Hi,

Thanks for your comments. Your background sounds very solid, and will set
you apart from other candidates, especially due to your extensive clinical
experience. Still, to have a reasonable chance for acceptance you'd want to
get 10's across the board. While a score a point or two below this would
still give you a chance, the odds of acceptance drop off rapidly as you
depart from the "10's" standard.

While its possible to go into more detail about how your background (GPA's &
experiences) effect your chances, its probably more important to emphasis
that you have a distinctive and well rounded background, which is certainly
a plus, and your recent GPA's (that old 2.9 is not important) are
competitive. So don't worry too much about all this stuff right now. Try to
relax as much as possible, and stay focused on preparing yourself, both
intellectually and psychologically, for the MCAT...

...Good Luck!
-Rich
 

[II]
> Date: Sat, 11 Aug 2001 21:54:02 -0400
>
> Hello Mr. Hochstim!
>
> I'm a Canadian student at the University of Western Ontario, currently
> preparing for the August 2001 MCAT (yeah, what a time to ask the question eh?)
>
> I just want to know how accurate are practice tests in predicting success on
> the MCAT. Right now for VPB I'm getting >10 on all of them except Verbal which
> bounces around 9-10. I've done MCAT tests II, IV, V, and the Kaplan one.
>
> I've heard some people tell me that I drop on the real thing and others that
> say it goes up, could you help me out here?
>
> Thanks a lot,
> Lawrence

Hi Lawrence,

My experience with the students I teach is that there is a slight bias
toward improvement when compared to an AAMC practice test taken 2 to 3 weeks
before the MCAT. I find a 60% confidence interval for a score of plus or
minus 1 on VR, PS, BS, respectively, and an 85% confidence interval for a
plus or minus 2 point change. These statistics may not apply to you, but it
sounds like you have reason to be optimistic.

Good Luck!
-Rich
 

[III]
> Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2001 16:14:06 EDT
>
> Hi, I really like your website I've learned a lot from it. I am a Junior in
> High school. My dream is to become Doctor since I was 9 years old. I am
> thinking about attending a Black College or University. I am afraid that
> medical schools like Yale and John Hopkins will look down on it. If I attend a
> Black University will it effect my chances of getting excepted into one of the
> top 10 medical schools?
>
> Sincerely,
> Grag

Hi,

It is possible to be at a disadvantage when you attend a certain school.
Applicants receiving degrees from more respected institutions tend to have
an advantage, but this is just one variable out of many used to evaluate a
candidate's suitability for admission.

The significance of your GPA, and the rigor of your educational experience,
is evaluated in terms of the quality of the school which you attend. The
determination of a schools quality is typically made by each medical school
admission's committee separately, although all medical schools have access
to similar statistical information to allow them to make this determination.

A practical way to get a better idea concerning your chances, is to find out
the acceptance rates into medical school (and other relevant information,
GPA, etc) from the premed offices at various schools you are considering
attending. Schools that have favorable "numbers" tend to keep such records
("estimates" should be taken with a grain of salt). Medical schools have
similar data, although they may not be willing to release it to you.
However, if you narrow the focus of your inquiries you may be able to obtain
the rate of acceptance of one specific school as compared to another.

Best,
-Rich
 

[IV]
> Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2001 16:14:06 EDT

> Hi, I really like your website I've learned a lot from it. I am a Junior in
> HigH school. My dream is to become Doctor since I was 9 years old. I am
> thinking about attending a Black College or University. I am afraid that
> medical schools like Yale and John Hopkins will look down on it. If I attend a
> Black University will it effect my chances of getting excepted into one of the
> top 10 medical schools?
>
> Sincerely,
> Grag
>

Hi,

It is possible to be at a disadvantage when you attend a certain school.
Applicants receiving degrees from more respected institutions tend to have
an advantage, but this is just one variable out of many used to evaluate a
candidate's suitability for admission.

The significance of your GPA, and the rigor of your educational experience,
is evaluated in terms of the quality of the school which you attend. The
determination of a schools quality is typically made by each medical school
admission's committee separately, although all medical schools have access
to similar statistical information to allow them to make this determination.

A practical way to get a better idea concerning your chances, is to find out
the acceptance rates into medical school (and other relevant information,
GPA, etc) from the premed offices at various schools you are considering
attending. Schools that have favorable "numbers" tend to keep such records
("estimates" should be taken with a grain of salt). Medical schools have
similar data, although they may not be willing to release it to you.
However, if you narrow the focus of your inquiries you may be able to obtain
the rate of acceptance of one specific school as compared to another.

Best,
-Rich
 

[V]
> Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2001 11:44:44 -0700
> Subject: Re: a concerned future applicant
>
> Hello, and thanks for the response and terrific web-site. Just wanted to add
> a few details in response to the last e-mail-tho' my scores are fairly low,
> (10,10,10) that is for a top med school, I did graduate magna cum laude from
> a california state school, completed honors in psychology with an indpt
> research project, two minors, lots of volunteer and community experience, and
> i presently just finished a research internship at the nat. institutes of
> health and am now in west africa with the peace corps working with health care
> within developing communities and villages-this leads into my two questions
> actually. first, does this help with my competitivness-ie, i realize you have
> no magic answers (= but in your opinion am i competitive enough for top
> schools without retaking the mcat...and secondly, have you ever heard of
> medical schools doing phone interviews in lieu of face to face? i am planning
> on applying next summer, and have figured out how primary and secondaries will
> work-i will be in africa two years and will finish right before school starts
> as is-but interviews remain an unanswered question. if i continue as planned
> with twenty or so schools, and even if not, travelling to interviews seems
> close to impossible. i have recently heard of schools doing phone interviews
> on a case by case basis if students are in a situation such as my own. any
> insight or info on this is much appreciated-will send this before i get
> disconnected-thanks again
> libby

Hi Libby,

Because of your extensive range of experiences, your chances of being
accepted to a top ten medical school is certainly improved. If you were to
retake the MCAT and improve by a couple of points, it probable would not
make a big difference, though it would help. In your case someone on an
admissions committee is going to look at your background, and if you are
lucky, make a convincing case in favor of your admission. Its hard to
quantity the probability of this occurring, other than to say it is
nontrivial.

This is the first I've heard of "phone interviews". You should contact the
schools you plan to apply to in the near future. There may be special
arrangements that can be made.

Best,
-Rich
TOP ^
 

[VI]
> Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2001 17:09:37 -0600
> Subject: MCAT the revenge, no problem with your help
>
> Rich,
>
> I just wanted to say thanks for the advice you gave me several months ago. In
> April, I did poorly on the MCAT (7,10,10). You gave me some tips on how I
> could improve my scores and I took them to heart. I just got back from taking
> the August MCAT and I felt 100 times more confident and prepared! I know I
> did a lot better. Thanks for the help.
>
> I have a question, with all the trouble that has been going on with AMCAS this
> year, do you think that taking the August MCAT puts me at as big a
> disadvantage as it would have the past years?
>
> I have already applied throught AMCAS and completed several secondaries
> already. Should I mail the schools a letter telling them that I have just
> completed the August MCAT and that I am confident that my scores will impove
> significantly? I think they already know that I took the August MCAT, but I'm
> not sure.
>
> Thanks
> James

Hi James,

Glad to hear the good news (revenge :-). My guess is that you are at less of
a disadvantage. You do not need to send a letter (they do know), but if you
do, it will go in your file and may help.

Best,
-Rich

Sat, 3 Nov 2001 19:44:21 -0700

Rich,
Just wanted to thank you again for your website. With your help and emails,
I was able to bring up my April score of 27 (7,10,10), to an August score of
31 (9,10,12). Thanks!
James

Glad to hear it!

 

[VII]
> Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 11:29:16 -0400
>
> Hello Rich,
>
> I have looked through your archives and haven't quite found a solution that
> fits me. I graduated in 1999 with my BA anthroplogy and BS in computer
> science(~3.1). I had more then considered premed and have taken all the
> required courses(~3.5), even the MCATS(31). I have some experience in the
> healthcare field. I really wasn't sure if I was prepared for the dedication I
> knew would be necessary for medical school, and was dealing with other life
> experiences. I even went as far as applying in october 1999 to a couple of DO
> schools, though I had no chance of getting in so late in the year. Well, it
> has been almost two years since that time and I have finally decided that
> medical school is what I really want to do. I have a sucessful computer
> career but I miss the science and the social responsiblity imparted by the
> health care profession.
>
> Now that you know the situation, I want to know what you feel might be the
> best option for getting back on the med school track.
>
> Should I take a post baccalaureate program even though I took the required
> courses already? I believe my physics and bio will be outdated(6 years),
> though my chem, o chem, biochem, and cell bio will not be. Most of the post
> bacc programs seem geared to those who have never taken these courses(or did
> badly). I am sure my grades would be exceptional.
>
> Or should I just take the physics, basic bio and perhaps some advance
> chemistry?
>
> Does it matter what school I take these courses in?
>
> I am volunteering and I also want to go back to school to become bilingual as
> that is a lack I find in myself and in the healthcare field today. I am also
> aware I need to retake the MCATS because they will be expired.
>
> Thank you for your time and any advice you may be able to give me.
>
> Kathryn
>

Hi Kathryn,

If you took the MCAT in 1998, you may not need to retake. Look in MSAR (see
http://premed411.com/home.html) most medical schools accept MCATs taken
within 4 years from the year of admission. Along the same lines, I do not
see any reason to retake physics and biology.

Your competitive MCAT score and GPA put you in good shape. You haven't been
out of school for long enough for that to be a problem, although it will
come up during interviews.

What you can do is take a course or two in biochemistry, microbiology, or
human anatomy and get additional clinical experience. A postbac program
would not be appropriate since you have already completed the required
courses, and a masters program would be unnecessary, considering your strong
record.

Good Luck!
-Rich
 

[VII]
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 15:22:40 EDT
Subject: med school Q's

Rich,

I am amazed by your website. you obviously care a great deal about premed's
to have made suh an outstanding website, so thank you for your generous
work. My question is regarding the difficult situation that I have been put
in. I had a tough first two years of college. I attend Loyola University
Chicago, and didn't do as well as I had hoped to in my first two years. I
accumulated a GPA of 3.20 for my first two years, so I didn't do that bad,
but not as well as I believe I could have. I just recently took both
semesters of organic chem over the summer, and got B's in both lecture
semesters, and A's in the labs. I have taken Physics, and got a B+ and an
A. I have a great passion for medicine, and I want to go to med school more
than anything in the world. So, I need your advice on what my chances are.
I feel much more motivated now, and feel I can greatly improve my
GPA(because I didnt really try the first two yrs, and I got a 3.2, so I
think if I put more effort into it, I think I can do much better.) So, I
hope you can assess my situation. Thank you so much, and again, you have an
amazing website!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

--------------Lost in Chicago------------------
Hi,

Thanks for mentioning the website. Right now you are still in the game. A
stronger performance in your course work and good MCAT scores can do the
trick. In your upcoming semesters before your transcripts are sent in make
sure to take a full load of courses. Since you did do fairly well without
putting in 100% effort, you should be able to demonstrate to admission
committees what your true potential is this time around. Show em what you
got, and you stand a good chance of admission.

Good Luck!
-Rich
 

[VIII]
> Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 12:27:54 -0400 (EDT)
> Subject: Caribbean medical schools
>
> Hello rich,
>
> My name is Aabeen and I just happened to run into your website. Well I
> have a little problem. I have recently applied to a few caribbean medical
> schools and have gotten into SABA and Ross. However I'm not sure which of
> the two is better?? Do you have any suggestions??
>
> Aabeen A. Hagroo
> ahagroo@umich.edu
>

Hi,
I have a link on the premed resources page concerning Caribbean medical schools
http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Field/1347/guide.htm, if you can't find the
info there, try emailing the creator of the site.

Best,
-Rich
 

[IX]
Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2001 01:28:58 -0500
Subject: If it's not to much trouble

Rich,

Hello, found your site via Goole, it is a very informative site and may use
the information in the future. However I have a question. Some background
first, I am in my last year of study for my Doctor of Chiropractic (DC)
degree. Another student and myself are looking for a medical school who
perhaps will accept some if not all of the work we have done already. Our
studies are pretty intensive but not having been in medical school before,
we are not sure if it will suffice. We have found one school in the
southeast near the Carribbean called Antigua. I was wondering if you know
of any schools within the United States that would be similar. Thank you
for your precious time, I appreciate it.

To your health,
Jared

Hi Jared,

In the states it is very tough. In fact, medical schools in the states
generally do not accept any work from other medical schools before
matriculation. The general practice is that you if you transfer to a new
medical school you enter as a first year student. There may be exceptions to
this practice, but I am not familiar with any. If you discover any, please
let me know.

Good Luck!
-Rich
 

[X]
> Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2001 15:57:18 -0400

> Dear Rich,
>
> Everyone says thank you for the site, but I hope that the sincerity is not
> lost
> in the repetition...this truly is a comforting site for those of us with the
> 'pre-med jitters,' and I appreciate it very much! :)
>
> I am a senior at a (not quite so competitive) state school, with a GPA around
> 3.3. I spent two years at a community college where my GPA was a 3.5, and my
> first year at university I did not do very well. I becan my college
> experience working toward education, but since I have decided to go to medical
> school, I have changed my majors to biology and chemistry with a minor in
> english, and also have drastically improved my grades (nearly all A's). I
> have B's in physics and organic chemisrty. I have extensive and varied
> volunteer experiences, am a student leader on campus, and did research in a
> very productive laboratory at Yale for the past two summers. By the time I
> apply to medical school, I may be primary author on one paper and a third or
> fourth on one or two others. By the time I graduate (if things go as planned)
> my GPA should be up around 3.5. I am also taking a year off before applying
> to med school, and may either use that time to do more research in a
> laboratory setting, or do one of the one year masters programs to boost my
> GPA. On the few practice MCATs I have taken, I have gotten 8s and 9s with no
> preparation at all, so I believe that with 6 or more months of hard work, 10s
> and 11s are well within my grasp. My questions are:
>
> 1-with my profile, what MCAT score do I need to be considered competitive?
> 2-would working in a lab or doing a masters program be a better use of my year
> off?
> 3-with my poor GPA, will the fact that I had all A's toward the end of my
> college career make any difference?
>
> You're the Best! Thanks for your time!
>
> El
>

Dear El,

Thanks, it does feel good to do good; and I do appreciate your comments concerning the site.

Answers to questions 1-3

1. To put you at even odds of acceptance a pair of 11's and a 10 sound about right.

2. A graduate program would work best because it would demonstrate that you can get good grades in a challenging academic environment.

3. All A's in your recent record will help offset your earlier performance.

Best of luck,
-Rich
 

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