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Replies to: ***2018-19 Medical School Applicants and Their Parents***

  • oxfordtennismomoxfordtennismom 12 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Hi folks. Hoping to get this thread started for 2018-19 med school parents and applicants. I posted this as well on last years 2017-2018 thread. We are just starting this journey. My son is planning on submitting his primaries any day now. He just took the MCAT's last Saturday, and is feeling really bad that he didn't do well. He has a very high gpa 3.97 and great extra curriculars, but feel is poor MCAT score will cause him to not be accepted. Trying now to research for schools that might be okay taking a lower MCAT (guessing close to 502) and high gpa. Can any of those parents who have been through or currently on this journey help with how to research schools to best apply and put his time into completing secondary? Seems both MSAR and US news World Compass and searching on the schools website is what we need to do. Any thoughts what particularly to look for best fit? It's hard that most schools just give you average gpa and average mcat. My son told me to look at scatter plots of admitted students, but it doesn't seem they are available for each school. Trying to see which schools have accepted students with a low MCAT score. Son is already planning on studying and trying to take it again.
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  • texaspgtexaspg 16496 replies340 threadsForum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Forum Champion
    @oxfordtennismom

    What is your home state?

    When do the MCAT results come?

    How does his school provide recommendations - individual or committee?

    Are you considering D.O. schools? If the MCAT is 502, most MD schools might be out of reach.
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  • momworriedmomworried 650 replies65 threadsRegistered User Member
    @oxfordtennismom How was your son doing on the tests at home? What were the scores he was getting? If he was doing well he might stil he ok. When I picked up my son after his mcats few year back he said he did terrible and wanted to cancel his score. We spent an anxious month waiting for his score and he ended up getting a 36.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10147 replies201 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    Most people feel like they didn’t do well immediately after the MCAT. You really need to just be patient & wait for his scores. But he can do 3 things while waiting for his score to come back—

    1) he can open and fill out his AMCAS application, have his transcripts sent and choose one “throwaway” school— a school he would never consider actually applying to— so his app can get in the verification queue.

    2) he can do the same for AACOMAS (osteopathic schools)

    3) he can start pre- writing some secondary essays ( esp for your instate public med schools which are every applicants’ best chance for an acceptance) Secondary topics are all very similar so he can revise and submit the essays to many schools.

    A 502 is really out of range for MD schools, but fine for DO schools. The median MCAT last year for allopathic school matriculants was 511-512

    He should delay any immediate plans for a retake— MD schools probably won’t get it in time to consider the new score this cycle. He should also not retake until his FL practice exams scores are solid and consistently hitting his ideal target score. A hasty retake with a similar score could get him a poor decision maker label which could be more damaging as a low-ish score.
    edited July 2018
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  • oxfordtennismomoxfordtennismom 12 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    edited July 2018
    home state: PA, results come July 31, individual rec letters, I think for this round he plans to try for MD schools, and if he doesn't get in, try DO schools next round. We heard that DO schools is a different application and requires a letter from a DO, which my son doesn't know any.
    edited July 2018
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  • oxfordtennismomoxfordtennismom 12 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I love your name mom worried! :) AMCAS last practice exam: Total: 502, CARS 122, Chem/Phys: 128, Psy/Soc: 127, Bio/Biochem: 127.
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  • momworriedmomworried 650 replies65 threadsRegistered User Member
    @oxfordtennismom this is going to sound harsh, but why in the world would he go in for the real exam if he was was getting such a low score at home? I’ve seen this time and again. Kids thinking that they will somehow magically get a better score on the test day. Normally it just doesn’t happen. How many practice tests did he take before the test and were they all this low or the last one was a fluke?
    My friend’s kid is applying this cycle. He’s a very smart but a bad test taker. He was getting low 500s on practice test. On the last test he got a 510. It was a one time thing though. Kept getting low 500s afterwards. I advised him not to take the test but he went in anyway. After the test he felt that he did really badly. But somehow he got a 513! So miracles do happen.
    Good luck to your son and hopefully he pulls out another miracle.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10147 replies201 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Pa is a tough state without any true instate publics.. Pitt and Temple have high admission stats. Penn State
    Hershey is slightly lower but has only a small instate bias. Penn is private so no help there. Geisinger is mission oriented with a particular eye for applicants with service to rural communities. Would your son fit Geisingers mission?

    A CARS below 125 will get him auto screened out at a good number of schools.

    DO is a separate application service, AACOMAS. Not all DO programs require a DO letter; many of those that do will accept a letter from a MD. But your son should make an effort to find a DO to shadow in the near term future. Just in case. Philly and a Pittsburgh have tons of practicing DOs. Time to start cold calling.

    He should research PCOM— which is one of the best osteopathic med schools in the country— and instate to boot.

    Given your son’s low practice scores, he should NOT submit to AMCAS because the risk of applying with a poor score. Re applicants face tougher scrutiny than first time applicants and have a higher bar to jump. A 502 simply is not competitive for MD programs.

    What are your son’s plans for the coming year? Is he still in school or has he graduated?


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  • oxfordtennismomoxfordtennismom 12 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks Momworried and way-outwest mom for your thoughts. My son is a rising senior and had not wanted to take a gap year. He had all his letters of recommendation ready to go and applied this past Monday. He knew he wasn't getting the MCAT score he wanted after several practice tests, but since he had really wanted to apply this cycle vs gap year and all his application was in place for this year, we encouraged him to take it and see since it was getting late in the application window. We were hoping with his 3.97 cgpa and 3.93 sgpa would help offset that he has never been a good standardized test taker, and we didn't know if he'd raise his scores much if he did give himself more time. So the rationale was to try this cycle and if not successful, try again next year. Perhaps that was in our error. Thanks for the info about the DO schools. I just feel bad how busy of a process this is. Seems never-ending. He's now working on secondaries for the slim chance someone will give him a chance. We'll have to look at PCOM. Not sure if they require a DO letter. Regarding MCAT's, he seems to have a hard time with CARS and experiments in the other sections. He first started studying a little last Sept, picked it up a little this past Jan, and went full throttle at end of April when his spring semester finished, studying about 10-12 hours a day. He is a really hard worker and studied a lot. We kept pushing back the test dates (first was April, then May, then early June). He finally took it June 30th. This is all a lesson learned for when my second d needs to go through this. :0 FYI, he is a student at Pitt and his father and two uncles are both alumni from Jefferson Medical College. So were are hoping some folks will give him the chance despite his MCAT score. If it comes in bad and he doesn't get accepted, he plans to study again and retake it next spring I think.
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  • AndorvwAndorvw 340 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    CARS is the section where you can't raise the score significantly in a short timeframe (particular for science kids). Often med school admission tends to more leninant on CARS than other sections. How was your son prep'd for MCAT (class, tutor...)? If he scored higher in other sections, it can offset a lower CARS. I know someone with a 514 (CARS 124) got accepted this cycle by in-state schools (NY) and a private (with some scholarship money) with a 3.9x GPA.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10147 replies201 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Generally a high GPA won’t offset a subpar MCAT. A slightly lower one, sometimes; significantly lower, no.

    CARS is the one area of that does not respond to quick fixes. Critical reading skills take lots of time and practice to improve.

    Good luck to your son on his journey.
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  • dheldrethdheldreth 316 replies3 threadsRegistered User Member
    @oxfordtennismom if your son ends up having to retake the MCAT and reapply, he might want to look into an MCAT prep course. They are pricey, and some students can do just as well self-studying. But if self studying isn't showing improvements in practice tests, it might be worth it. My D is not a great standardized test taker, and self studying did not work well for her on the MCAT. We decided to pay for a prep course which she did online, and her subsequent retake was a respectable score and she ended up getting 3 med school acceptances. She said the main benefit for her was the course helped her approach the test differently and use different strategies than she was using.

    Good luck to your son, I hope this application cycle has a positive outcome for him.
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  • oxfordtennismomoxfordtennismom 12 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    androvw and dheldreth, My son did take a Kaplan prep class live online, he's finding out some things he's liked and others not as helpful, and has turned to other resources. thanks for everyones support.
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  • artloversplusartloversplus 8542 replies247 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @oxfordtennismom

    Here is some strategies to improve your CARS

    https://blog.jackwestin.com/blog/improve-mcat-cars-score/

    Your S probably should also look at the DO schools, LECOM has a lower admission rate and is In State. He should consider that as a safety(?), although no med school is a safety.
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  • AndorvwAndorvw 340 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    MCAT in-classroom classes may not be effective depending on the instructor, not sure how online classes run. We found private tutor (especially good one that has previous successful track records) much better, although they are expensive ($100/hr) but we only needed 2 sessions per week (each session can run 1-2 hrs). If your son has a strong science background (bio, chem, phy) then the tutor's function is mainly keep everything on-schedule and help out the weak areas. One summer was all it needed to achieve 515 (practice FL tests were 510 + or - couple points). What FL (full-length) tests did your son try? We used Next Step and AAMC.
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  • oxfordtennismomoxfordtennismom 12 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks. He took Kaplan practice tests and saved it to the end to use the aamc exams.
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  • skalmadiskalmadi 5 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    he can still get in with a 502 mcat. see the attached grid

    https://www.aamc.org/download/321508/data/factstablea23.pdf

    Defintely have him apply to some of the less competitive programs. here is another grid

    http://www.mcattestscores.com/usmedicalschoolsmcatscoresGPA.html

    Reapplying for the MCAT is worthwhile for some kids. AAMC data shows about a 3 point improvement for lower scores.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10147 replies201 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    @skalmadi adi
    Reapplying for the MCAT is worthwhile for some kids. AAMC data shows about a 3 point improvement for lower scores.

    3 points is the SEm for the MCAT. (Which means a 3 point improvement is not a meaningful improvement)

    Also AMCAS recommends that med schools average all MCAT attempts for each applicant. Most mes school follow AMCAS's guidance in this area.

    edited July 2018
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  • Jugulator20Jugulator20 1530 replies18 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @WayOutWestMom @i_wanna_be_Brown
    Obviously a strong score from single sitting is best, but do you think med schools just say/give lip service that they average to appease AMCAS? Adcoms are humans and two scores, especially widely different, you have to wonder what it means, yeah?.
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  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown 8238 replies73 threadsForum Champion Brown Forum Champion
    @Jugulator20 When I was screening apps for interviews, they were scored based on highest single sitting. I would occasionally mention the super score if it would be really different. Never did a straight average.
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