been awhile- have taken all the classes, the MCAT is my nemesis

Hi all- I’ve been coming to this forum for almost 3 yrs now. it’s been a journey and I thought I would be announcing my acceptance by now for this fall, but it didn’t happen for me. I’ve taken all the courses, and the MCAT came and crushed me. I didn’t get any love even from the D.O. programs I applied to. My grades are excellent in all my pre-reqs… (only one B in physics) so overall science is close to 3.8 the overall cumulative is 3.51 and grad school gpa of 3.9. My mcat score was lower than my practice and I made an 18 sadly This caused me to lose steam and I feel like I don’t have the fire in me that I used to when i’d wake up checking this site and getting so pumped about medicine. Has anyone else lost the fire before and got it back? I am going to prep like crazy this time and get a higher score this summer on the mcat, but I feel like i’ve wasted so much time. I’ve even considered trying dental b/c I heard their entrance test was easier. it seems like that’s the main thing keeping me from a medical education and it’s hard to accept for me that one test is gonna keep me from my dream. help !!! i’ve tried kaplan by the way and it sucked. I just really suck at standardized tests.

Hi Miller

I am so sorry to hear about your issue, but please do not get discouraged. You did well during your pre-reqs as such you have all seen all the knowledge you need for the MCAT.

I haven’t taken the MCAT and thus cannot speak on how to best prepare for it. YOU CAN RETAKE THE MCAT, improve your score and get accepted. Nothing is lost.

I understand the lack of motivation at this point. Yet I think that you have everything to gain by keeping up the work and retaking the MCAT. Don’t give up now, it would be a pity and YOU WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOURSELF.

BTW, I am from Dallas as well.

  • Miller J. Said:
...I just really suck at standardized tests.

That may be the real problem and not a lack of knowledge. Try to get that sorted out and you'll do well on the MCAT. Typically on the MCAT you can rule out 1 or 2 choices by just reading the question carefully. So you've increased your chances of a right answer to 50-60% right there. If you can master that strategy you should be scoring at the 50th percentile or more. I don't think 18 is at the 50th percentile.

Also, you should figure out your problem on standardized tests because from what I understand med school tests are all, or nearly all, MCQ format tests.

I agree with Dazed in that if you really do have problems with standardized tests, you need to figure out how to conquer that demon. One of the admissions criteria that best correlates to how you will do on licensing exams is MCAT score. Medicine is full of standardized tests - not only do you have THREE licensing exams, you then have your specialty exams.

You said you did Kaplan - how were you doing on the Kaplan practice exams? Did you do any of the MCAT practice exams and if so, how did you do on those?

  • Miller J. Said:
My mcat score was lower than my practice and I made an 18 sadly ... I am going to prep like crazy this time and get a higher score this summer on the mcat, but I feel like i've wasted so much time. ... help !!!! i've tried kaplan by the way and it sucked. I just really suck at standardized tests.

Rule 1: Take a Breath

I mean that literally, if you are not stopping and taking a breath 10 or 20 times a day now you you drive yourself to...

Rule 10: FUD-Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

This kills more premeds than MCAT and GPA combine because it may be driving you to ....

Rule 8: Premature Application.

Taking a late MCAT and reapplying late puts you at a great disadvantage on rolling admissions that you may simply be rejected by schools and feel dejected from trying again. That's because...

Rule 6: the MCAT is your friend.

Yes the MCAT needs to be your friend and you may sound like you maybe, pardon the expression, seeking revenge on the MCAT. If you take the MCAT in that manner, you may lose

My suggestion is to strongly NOT applying this year, and preparing for the MCAT and seek to find out why standardized tests kill you. It is not content, or familiarity with the exam.

It is something that is keeping you from the focus you need, the state of mind you must have, the confidence to do well on the exam that keeps you from doing well on the exam.

You must find a process to do that, whether focus like zen, or like a NFL linebacker who is pumped, but you must YOUR path to do well on it

Complete rule list attached.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled forum already in progress

Attached files 1272937859-Rules.doc (24 KB)Â

I used to be an instructor in an RN program, and we sometimes had students who really “had a problem” with standardized tests. If they were well prepared regarding the information (which I could tell by verbal questioning), we looked at whether it was persistant poor test-taking skills, or test anxiety.

For those students who had severe test anxiety (what I’d characterize as test panic), we found that referral for a kind of therapy used for PTSD, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, I believe it’s called (google it), worked very well.

I’m not intending to diagnose or treat anything here - I’m just sharing what was helpful to some of the students I’ve advised who had a pattern of testing poorly. I was aware of EMDR, having found it very effective for me, in only a couple of sessions, in dealing with PTSD from another cause.

There are also specialists that can look at testing behavior and spot if there are process trends to one’s test-taking that can be changed.

Hope some of these ideas may be helpful.


I’ve stayed off the forums (focusing on the current semester instead of med school) for a while and was just thinking about where you were in your progress since we started about the same time. I’ve been at this since 2007 and IF I’m fortunate, will be able to take the MCAT next April.

I remember wishing you the best on your very aggressive schedule. I don’t have any advice since you are farther along than I am. I can, however, echo Richard’s advice on taking a breath.

I was in a race to finish from the beginning. It just happened to be the wrong race. It took a near academically fatal semester, waaaay too much stress at work, not to mention family obligations, that made me sit back and take that breath.

I saw it here first: Am I trying to see how fast I can apply to medical school or am I actually trying to get into medical school?

Although I will have my core requirements completed next May, I may not have a strong enough application to be competitive. I’ll meet with my advisor this fall and next spring to determine that.

Yes, this process is taking longer than I originally planned. It may take even longer with the budget cuts going on at our campuses (20% in the last 18 months and more expected) resulting in fewer sections being offered…but I’ll get there.

No, I won’t be happy to hear that I won’t be competitive next year…but I’ll get there.

I realized that the importance is on getting there with my family, sanity and health intact. I’ve been at it long enough to have already seen a few classmates crash and burn. Classmates far harder working and more intelligent than I will ever be in this lifetime.

I’ve had the good fortune of getting knocked on my ass a few times in my 42 years and have learned that I not only survived each one, but that “failure” led to new experiences I would have never imagined…and some of these “failures” were ones I was never supposed to recover from. Ooops. Guess I never got the memo.

Hang in there. Catch your breath. Refocus and regroup and get back in the game when you’re ready.