***2018-19 Medical School Applicants and Their Parents***

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.

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.

@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.

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.


Here is some strategies to improve your CARS


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.

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.

Thanks. He took Kaplan practice tests and saved it to the end to use the aamc exams.

he can still get in with a 502 mcat. see the attached grid


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


Reapplying for the MCAT is worthwhile for some kids. AAMC data shows about a 3 point improvement for lower scores.

@skalmadi adi

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.

@WayOutWestMom @iwannabe_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?.

@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.

n = 1, but my D had 2 MCAT scores that were not great, probably would have screened her out. She then took it a 3rd time after taking a prep course, and did significantly better. She got IIs followed by acceptances at 3 MD schools. The MCAT was discussed at interviews, and it was the highest score that they looked at.

“One and done” is absolutely the best advice, but if that ship has sailed, a subsequent better MCAT can improve your chances.


For reporting purposes (US News, AAMC data reports, etc), med schools always use the highest MCAT regardless of their internal score policy. (Because it makes them look more competitive.) But for adcomm discussion/decision purposes, some schools do and some don’t. Several of the adcomms posting on SDN report that their schools definitely average since that’s the best indicator of future standardized exam (USMLE) performance. (Several studies have specifically examined at this and that was their conclusion.)

AMCAS can recommend, but neither AAMC nor the LCME has any power to regulate how individual med schools use/weight MCAT scores in admissions. It’s not an issue/topic covered by LCME or AAMC guidelines, nor something that’s examined for accreditation. Individual schools are not require to report their policy to AMCAS or to any reporting/accrediting organization. MSAR doesn’t list any information about how schools handle multiple MCATs and neither do individual school admission webpages. That info is available, but only to individuals who contact a med school and ask specifically about their multiple MCAT policies.

So, no, I don’t think schools say they average just to appease AMCAS.

But as you said–two wildly different scores? It would be natural to wonder which one’s the fluke.

Also, from my brief experience seeing applicants’ scores, unless the sittings are separated by >9 months, the score is rarely significantly different. I.e. the students who take it during junior spring and then take it again junior summer to try and still apply that cycle don’t end up helping themselves at all. Even with significant time many don’t raise their score much, but short turnaround time between tests was a highly sensitive predictor for “no improvement”

EDIT: and I’m fairly certain my school openly says to applicants they consider the best MCAT sitting.

Did i miss the big reveal about what school this is. :smiley:

{highest) Tulane, Rowan, Cooper, Hofstra, Columbia, SUNY-Buffalo, Frank Netter, Harvard, Northwestern, NYU, Ohio State, SLU, Rush, Pitt, Colorado, Illinois, VCU, Western MI, UNM

{most recent) all TX med schools, Baylor, Georgetown, UA-Phoenix, Einstein, Albany, Rosalind Franklin, Temple, UCSF, Utah

(all considered but most recent given greater weighting) Dartmouth, Drexel, Duke, JHU, Loyola, Miami, VA Tech, Yale, NYU

(average) UWash, Stanford, Wisconsin, Stonybrook, Boston, Michigan, Oakland, Jefferson, Penn State, UCLA, UCSD, Cincinnati, SUNY-Upstate, USC, Vermont, Wake Forest, Geisinger, NYMC (last 2 scores only), EVMS (last 2 scores only), Tufts (last 2 scores only)

(superscore) MCW, Vanderbilt

So…there’s no rhyme or reason to policies on multiple MCATs

That’s one secret I’ll never tell … You know you love me. XOXO, IWBB

Checking in here after a hiatus from CC. DD submitted her app the 2nd week of June and is in the final stretch of writing and submitting the secondaries that she’s received. There are less than a handful that she hasn’t received yet, but that will give her more time to pre-write those essays after she submits the the ones she is currently working on. She just graduated in May and is taking a gap year. She is working in research pretty much full time and is working on secondaries in the evenings and on weekends. The time sure has flown by! It seems like she just started college and now in what seems like the blink of an eye, she’s applying to med school.

Two of my good friend’s kids are applying this cycle. Both have an amazing application. One kid has mcat of 513 and the other one around 515. Both have volunterering, shadowing, research. Basically the works. Amazing recommendation letters. I know because their school give recommendation letters based on low to highest recommendation. Both got highest. Both applied first day application opened. And their school list is good.
Neither got any interviews yet. I know this is a long cycle and they say you don’t panic until thanksgiving. But this doesn’t make sense to me. My son started getting interviews in mud July and at this point had bunch of invites already. And I think these kids application is a thousand times better then his. Anyone have any ideas?

If they are Texan applying to Texas schools with those scores and GPA over 3.8, they would have gotten some interviews by now. It all depends on where they are from, where they went to school, and where they applied. If they are from a state with lots of med schools and strong in state preference, most OOS schools wait.