Getting Started

Hey Everyone,

I decided to quit hiding in the shadows and introduce myself, names Andrew and I live in Sarasota, Fl. I am on the doorstep of turning 30 and was medically retired from the Marine Corps last year. I dragged my wife and son here to Florida which has brought her a great job and my son loves the beaches. I have wanted to go to medical school for awhile now but would get moments of courage and then I would doubt myself and resort to some alternative. I was going to University of Tampa but had some medical issues rise and didn’t return this spring and did some online schooling. After discovering the Medical School HQ podcast which directed me to this great forum, I feel more confident than ever knowing others are in my shoes. I am anticipating going to University of South Florida this fall and finally finishing my degree next year. I just started really preparing for the MCAT and am really trying to figure out when would be the best time for me to take the MCAT, which I will probably do next year. I am excited to chat with all of you and learning as much as I can. :mrgreen:


Welcome to the Crazy Train Andrew!!! Just joking…on the overall, most of us here are pretty sane ( on most days). Delighted to have you come forth and begin to access all the GREAT experiences on here that help us to achieve this dream! I can identify with being medically waylaid from time to time in this process. When I tell people about my journey, I always add, “health permitting”. Kate helps me in this area - she has somehow managed with knee problems, eye surgery, etc, along this whole process and has “Dr.” in front of her name now. Sounds like you have a great start! Shoot, took me about 3 1/2 years just to get the pre req thing going in the right direction!!!

Again!! Welcome!!

Very jealous. USF has a pretty campus and Tampa is a fun city.

I’d say the best time to take the test is 1) when you’re ready and 2) the fall or spring before your desired application cycle opens. Don’t let MCAT studying negatively impact your coursework, and vice versa. There are worse things than applying the year following graduation if that’s what it takes to succeed.

Thanks Victoria!

Thanks Kenny, I have only lived in this area a little over a year but its been fun so far. I think you are right, sometimes I hype myself up that I have to take the test right now but I do have some time.

I’d agree in that for timing your MCAT, figure out when you’ll be applying and plan on taking it before that cycle. I mis-judged my MCAT timing due to changing between full/part-time work schedules, realizing I could drop a minor and graduate early, etc. So I effectively “wasted” 1 cycle of my MCAT score.

Definitely don’t take it until you’re ready, are consistently getting the scores you want on practice exams, etc. You only want to do that thing once if you can help it.

I’m very likely to move from Gainesville to Tampa for USF’s SMP program (already accepted), so keep in touch and let me know if you have any questions.

I took the test in June, which I don’t really recommend. I wasn’t able to submit my primary until like August and wasn’t verified until September. Yeah, don’t do that if you’re applying the same year unless you have to…

Earlier is better but later might be okay. The test Is “good” for about 3 years for most schools. That allows you to take it early and have t be good for multiple cycles if need be.

When do you think you will be headed to Tampa? Congrats on getting accepted to the SMP program

Welcome aboard. As you’re planning, keep in mind that one of the, ahem, “improvements” to the new MCAT seems to be that it’s administered April-September only. So April and May would put you at the beginning of an application cycle (good) and anything later will either put you late in the cycle (to be avoided) or applying the year after (for example, taking it in September 2016, to start your application in June 2017 and matriculate in August 2018).

Not sure this will be repeated in future years, with no late fall or winter test dates available, so keep an eye on the calendar.