2 questions


I am new to the page and not too sure where this should go, but I need a bit of advice. I have a masters in Social Work and went beck last semester to start my prerequs for MD and DO schools. I got an A- in a gen chem lab, all other grades were A’s so I’m not sure if I should fight the grade, as the course syllabus does not include a grading scale that includes +/- which university policy indicates it must if the instructor intends to use it. It’s a 1 credit class, and really does not have that big of an impact on my GPA so is it work making waves over?

Second question is about MCAT. Should I wait for the 2015 version or not. With time and practice I should be able to nail the current version, I scored a 20 on a practice test with only taking gen chem 1 and gen biol 1, Or do I wait for the 2015 version with the psych/soc portion that I will be able to nail being that I have a BA in psych and a Masters in Social Work, but the 2014 will have biochem which I haven’t had yet.

Any thoughts would be helpful.



It sounds like if you fight the grade, there could be a drop to a B (maybe an A- was the compromise.) That looks worse than an A-. Unless you’re 100% sure this wouldn’t happen, I wouldn’t really fight it. It’s still an A and it doesn’t affect your GPA too much.

If you’ll have the prof or lab TA again, you might want to ask why the A- and what’s necessary to get the A.

In terms of the MCAT, I’ll just say what I’m doing personally - I could squeeze in the very last test for the current version, but I’m not going to. If I need to take it again for some reason, I will have just screwed myself over because now there is a new section. So I’d look at timing, how you’d handle any possible retakes and above all don’t take the test until you’re ready for it - until you’re scoring a good 3-4 points in practice tests above what you want on the MCAT.

Don’t stress it. If you have A’s in most or all the other classes then don’t worry at all. It’s a myth that you have to get a 4.0 to get accepted to a medical school. I know several people between the 3.0-3.3 range who got accepted because they did well on the MCAT and had plenty of work experience.

I would say take the MCAT when you’re ready for it, though the pre-2015 is about 3 hours shorter than the 2015. The docs and one adcom I’ve spoken to asked how many times I took the MCAT to get my score, so the fewer tries the better I think. Each school has their own policy of how they view retakes, though I’m pretty sure all of your scores get included in your file when AMCAS submits.

Just remember, the MCAT is critical thinking, not rote memorization, and tests concepts you may have covered in class in ways that you may have not seen before. Past grades may not be the best indicator of future MCAT success, although it helps to have a strong understanding of the material.


I’d agree with kennymac and say, take the MCAT when you are ready, with the caveat that it should be EARLY in the cycle, so you can apply early. If you will not be ready for the 2014 one till late (august or later), wait and take the 2015 one early. Sounds like the 2015 one may enhance your performance somewhat.

Your prep should include taking MULTIPLE practice ones, including ones you pay for, under as close to real test conditions as possible, AFTER you have finished the prereqs. Personally I found I scored about 3 points lower than I was averaging on the practice tests at the end, as my actual test did not consist of some short and some long passages, but was all long and difficult passages. So time pressure was worse. Not sure how others perceived practice vs. actual.


My real test felt by far much harder than the practices. I’m sure the pressure of a “real” score had no effect on me whatsoever I would swear, though, that the test KNEW the subjects I didn’t feel the most comfortable with and gave me ONLY those questions…

My actual score came out to be my average over the few practices I took, which was a point higher than my goal. It was a month of sweating, and AMCAS got a little bit more money out of me for a canceled retest date.