I'm 29 years old and I've been re-taking some of the med school pre-requisites that I took in college almost 10 years ago. It's been a slow process taking classes at night for the last 2 years so I decided to speed it up by quitting my job and taking 3-4 classes during the summer with the intention of taking the MCAT in August.
Now I'm having doubts about the MCAT. I took it 2x about 7 years ago and I got a 24. I think I'm scared of the test. I don't want to wait another application cycle before applying but if I have to then I guess I will. Is it wise for me to take the test? All the physics and orgo would be fresh in my head but I feel I'd be rushing it. I don't think my application is very strong: little volunteer experience, an OK GPA and average letters of recommendation.
Does anyone have any concrete advice?
You pretty much answered your own question. Taking 3-4 classes in the summer is hard enough as it is plus studying for the MCAT? IMHO I think it is too much, specially since this is your third time taking it. If you know that you are lacking other things, why not take the MCAT next April and volunteer?
I agree with efex.
The thing is, you want to maximize , not minimize, your chance of success. Right now you’ve got the deck stacked against you… a really tough summer schedule AND the MCAT? Whoa.
It is far better to take longer, spending the time to put together a really first-rate application. The competition for medical school slots is reportedly going to be stiffer over the next few years - this always happens in an economic downturn, apparently. So your application needs to be as sharp as you can make it.
Take the time to do really well on the MCAT. As efex pointed out, the delay gives you an opportunity to seek out volunteer or other opportunities to get “medical exposure” to further bolster your application.
Think of your application as you trying to sell someone your used car. Just as you would buff up the car, vacuuming, polishing, touching up paint, etc, so should you buff up your application. Make it shine!
Don’t spend even one second worrying about how you are getting older. You are in the “older student” demographic already; one year does NOT make a difference in your marketability to medical schools. And while of course it makes a difference to you - because you’d like to achieve your goal as soon as you can - applying now really strikes me as a way to increase the likelihood that you’d have to apply twice. Better to go slower and only have to do it once.
I third the motion. 3-4 classes are a boatload during the summer. It seems like your just asking for trouble by also planning to do the MCAT in August. Just out of curiosity, why were you thinking of the August date? Are you shooting for entry into medschool in the fall of 2004? Even if I was, if I was walking in your boots I would push my plans back and satart planning to take an MCAT review class and begin preparing for the April test and then apply for fall 2005. A decent MCAT score is too important. Then, as mentioned, you also have time to do some volunteering if needed, maybe shadow a doc, take some more classes. Whatever is needed in your case. Good Luck!!!
Thanks for all the replies.
Mary, you're very perceptive. I do feel the creep of time. I did tell myself a year ago that I should be in med school by the time I turn 30. I'm running against my own internal deadline.
The one pro of taking the MCAT in August I feel is that these classes (Orgo 1 and Physics 1 & 2) are really preparing me for the exam. I was glancing through a practice test and I felt like I could answer some of those questions now. And if I were to wait until April, my memory would not be so good.
Secondly, by quitting a decent job I feel like I've made a big leap already and not taking the exam would invalidate my leaving my job.
My other concern is that come the fall, I'm going to need to find another job. I'm not very good at balancing work and school and I'm not sure how that will translate into adequately preparing for the MCAT.
I'm still perplexed but I am definitely keeping all your advice in my mind.
Well, take a practice exam full length for free AAMC III at aamc.org but remember you need to get A's in your classes. Mary once mentioned that a B or C in a class cannot be changed, where as the MCAT can be taken at the right time, or taken over to improve the score…