It takes every inch of time I have to do well in my coursework (physics II and organic I). But the MCAT is now less than 6 months away-- and I would FLUNK with a capital F if I took it in my current state of preparation! The best solution would be for me to take no courses next summer and take an August exam, all rested and prepared. I’m afraid, however, that by the time the scores arrive in October all the Sept. 2006 med school slots will be taken. It’s an interesting / scary story that I’m sure a lot of people can identify with!
All of the slots will not be taken. Obviously, with rolling admissions, some slots will be taken and you will be at a slight disadvantage. However, if you score better on the August MCAT than you would if you took the April MCAT, that may cancel out the disadvantage.
You CAN have your AMCAS done, submitted and verified before you even take the August MCAT. Chances are, you will get some secondaries from some schools who don’t screen before you take it. You can then complete those. That will speed up the process considerably, as your file will then be complete with those schools as soon as AAMC sends them your scores (which is very soon after they are available online).
Also have your LOR’s completed and ready to roll. Then, as soon as you get a secondary, you can answer the questions on it and submit the LOR’s. I don’t know if your school does a committee or not. I have found Interfolio a GREAT way to submit the LOR’s. Your LOR writer only has to write one letter, and then you go online and have copies sent to the schools. Typically, they send them out in one business day for the regular fee.
You will have to weigh the pros and cons. If you wait until August, you are risking considerable $$$ in application fees without knowing your MCAT score. What happens if your MCAT score is not what you want in August?
I would probably make my best effort at prepping for the April MCAT, and take some diagnostics or actual old MCAT’s and see where you are scoring shortly before the registration deadline. If you feel comfortable with your scores on these, go ahead and take it. If not, put it off until August.
There are probably more people applying with August MCAT’s than you realize.
Good luck -
I am in pretty much the same place. Orgo I/Physics II and taking a Princeton Review MCAT class on Sundays and killing myself studying between work and class.
One small difference: I can’t get my committee letter until fall anyway, which sucks, but at Hunter you are powerless against the machine.
I am also seriously considering postponing until August, especially since there seem to be no advanced chem or bio classes anywhere in the city over the summer (except at NYU, which had a terrible schedule last summer, and I’m not expecting anything better this year) – I was hoping to take biochem or molecular bio. So, at least I’ll have time to do lots of studying.
Blah. Rant. Rant. Rant.
So many folks get their primary AMCAS in, then sit on their secondaries…and time rolls by. If you could get your personal stmt, transcripts, letters of rec completed early, submit primary & secondaries – I don’t think you’ll be too far behind the curve.
First of all, many people end up taking the August MCAT because that is the ONLY time that they can schedule the test. The important thing to realize is that you should NOT take the MCAT unless you are fully prepared. If you do not think that you will be able to prepare for the April exam, opt for the August exam.
By taking the August exam, your application file would not be complete until around October 15th but you can file the rest of your AMCAS. Some schools will not look at your information until your scores come in but other schools will review your file and keep it around for your scores. Plenty of people are interviewing in November, December, January, February and March so there are plenty of slots left.
Getting your application complete is a good thing but having a complete application with a low MCAT score is far worse than taking the August test(doing well) and having your application complete in October. Because of my graduate qualifying exams, I was only able to take the August exam and I was accepted into six medical schools. My first interview was in November and my last interview was in February.
Study hard, do well in your classes and do well on the MCAT. This is not an exam to play with. You need to take some time, do plenty of practice exams and shore up any areas where you lack knowledge. It is very difficult to do this if you are trying to study and learn coursework. Don’t let the angst of not being able to have your application complete on June 1st keep you from focusing on the importance of not taking the MCAT until you are fully prepared.