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When to take the MCAT? (pre-med)

pinkpanda12pinkpanda12 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
Please advice me on when to take the MCAT.

I recently took her MCAT and got a 486 so i am not applying to medical schools this cycle. However, I want to apply to an MPH or SMPs and both of them require a mcat score of 500 or more. The applications for masters are rolling and open mid-nov 2019 and close mid-april 2020. I want to take the mcat again in September 2019 to get a score to apply to masters and take the mcat again in January 2020 to get a score to apply for medical schools for the next cycle. Is this a good idea?

Here is what I am afraid of:
1) I have no problem just taking the mcat in jan 2020 and applying for both masters and med schools, if my score is good, but i am afraid that i wont be accepted into a masters program if i apply that late since they are rolling.
2) I think there will be a big break between my recent mcat and the one in Jan 2020, and am afraid i am gonna lose the tempo in studying.
3) If i dont do well enough in jan 2020 to apply for masters or med schools, i will have 2 gap years and am afraid of what i can do during those years.

What should i do? take the mcat in sept 2019 to apply for masters and take it again in jan 2020 to apply for med schools OR just take it in jan 2020 and apply for medical schools and take a chance for masters?

Some background info about me:
- I am is working full time this summer (2019) and will be taking 18 hours in the fall.
- My cGPA and sGPA are well above 3.0
- I am is graduating spring 2020

Thank you so much!

Replies to: When to take the MCAT? (pre-med)

  • artloversplusartloversplus Registered User Posts: 8,606 Senior Member
    edited April 3
    You should take as few Mcat as possible, you do not take Mcat until you are ready. It is not SAT where the school will take the highest score in the bunch of tries. Based on what I see, as of now, your chances to be in a med school (MD or DO) is very slim, slim to none to say the least. However, MPH is still viable alternative and you can find jobs in that field. MPH, however, will not increase your chances to get in a med school.

    Do not waste your money in SMP, it is a boom or bust situation, if you do well in it, you can get into Med school, otoh, you just waste of money and diminish your chance to get into a med school. The best SMPs, you are competing for As with med school students.

    There is a DO school who's SMP program concentrate on improving your Mcat, how effective, I don't know.
  • allyphoeallyphoe Registered User Posts: 2,327 Senior Member
    So a 486 is 10th percentile, and a 500 is 49th. In SAT / ACT terms, that's like raising your score from an 800 / 13 to a 1050 / 19. What's the story there, either regarding the decision to test despite practice scores below your target, or regarding how your actual score fell so short of your practice scores?

    Do not take the MCAT in September. If you're working full time over the summer and taking 18 credits in the fall, you won't have time to either strengthen your knowledge base or adequately prep for the exam.

    Do not take the MCAT in January unless your practice scores are coming in closer to 505 on tests you haven't previously taken. In the meantime, you should be doing content review, not practice tests. You only have a limited number of practice tests, and ones you've seen before (even a long time ago) will not give you accurate results.

    What are your actual GPAs? Does "well above" mean 3.049, or 3.95?

    What's your backup plan, if med school doesn't happen for you? You might consider doing that for a while, particularly if it pays the bills while leaving enough time to devote to additional coursework or test prep.
  • pinkpanda12pinkpanda12 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    My actual MCAT score did fall really short from my practice tests. I have been getting around 500 on my practice exams. Okay, I will keep studying and concentrating on my content review and will only take the MCAT in January if my practice test scores are above at least a 505 and I feel confident enough.

    My overall GPA is 3.51 and science GPA is 3.23

    As of right now, the only backup plan I had in mind were MPH or SMP but I might look into an actual MS which takes 2-3 years.
  • allyphoeallyphoe Registered User Posts: 2,327 Senior Member
    Not your "if I don't get in this cycle" backup plan. Your "I'm never going to be a doctor" backup plan. Right now you have a GPA that will keep you out of med school (which is why you need an SMP) *and* an MCAT that will keep you out of med school (and will stay on your record forever; med schools will often average your MCAT scores) *and* you are attempting to enter a field where high stakes tests with no possibility for retakes is the reality (Pass Step 1 with a 194? That is your score forever, and it will limit you to undesirable residency or a failure to match, leaving you with med school debt and no employment).

    IMHO putting some time between you and your grades and test scores might be a wiser choice.

    Don't go to a Caribbean school.
  • pinkpanda12pinkpanda12 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    If I don't get into medical school, I want to get a PhD and go into research.

    Okay, I will only take the MCAT once I'm actually confident and am actually seeing good results.

    What else do you suggest I do after I graduate? Do the MS? and once I score really well on the MCAT apply to an SMP?
  • twogirlstwogirls Registered User Posts: 6,964 Senior Member
    edited June 14
    Do you have research experience? You need that for PhD programs.

    I think you need a backup plan ( everybody does). I also agree that putting some time between graduation and applications would be a wise decision. Have you met with an advisor?
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