Hello everyone,

I’m a 31 year old Canadian pre med and began this crazy journey this past winter when I finally conjured up the courage to allow myself to consider becoming a doctor. Prior to this, I believed that medical school was for people much different than me. It was for smart people, and I was not smart. It was for strong people, and was not strong. It was for young people, and I was not young. I feel that overcoming these mental constructs that I developed regarding medicine was actually a pretty big deal, because prior to this the idea of me becoming was about as realistic as me becoming the president of the United States… And I’m Canadian.

It all started when I finished upgrading my nursing education to the bachelors level. I got a job where my scope of practice expanded and I was working closely with some of the most amazing doctors I’ve ever met. They were family physicians, and so incredibly down to earth and cared so much about their patients. I was inspired beyond words. At the same time I was also passionately in love with my expanded scope, and was becoming a huge medical nerd, addicted to MedScape and every other medical publication out there. Reading up on new treatments for autoimmune disease? Best lunch break ever! All of these experiences led to me realize that I needed to do more with my career, and I needed to be able to do more for my patients. I needed my MD.

As I slowly began to tell the docs I worked with about my intentions, they were encouraging beyond words. They wanted me to go to medical school so I would come back to the clinic and work with them. I told them my fears, about being too old and not smart enough, and they just continued being supportive and told me not to worry. They said “you WILL become a doctor”. All of this meant so much to me, I don’t think I would have the strength to do this if no one else thought I could.

So here I am, filling out my first medical school application and about to write my first MCAT in a few weeks. This is my practice year. I’m not scoring high enough on my practice tests so I know I won’t be a candidate this year. I’m not strong in hard sciences, so I am waiting for the 2015 MCAT, I think I will have a much better chance because I also have an arts degree. But despite the fact that I am carrying on, my fear of failure still persists along with the fear of looking like a fool for trying at my age. How do others deal with this fear? I have no idea if I will ever do well enough on the MCAT to even get an interview, and how many years do I try before I realize I’m just not cut out for it? Will all of this be for nothing? It is all such a gamble, and I am not a betting person!

Sorry for the long post, but this is my story. Any encouragement anyone on here has to provide is greatly appreciated. I know this is going to be a long haul, so I was glad to find this website where others are in it too

Congratulations on sticking with it. We tend to be super hard on ourselves and torpedo ourselves. Believe what everyone else is saying. It’s not an easy process, but it’s certainly within reach.

I just have a question. Are you submitting an application in this cycle just to see? And are you taking the MCAT for that reason too? Because both can really work against you. You’ll be counted as a reapplicant. For the MCAT, some universities won’t take your highest score, but an average. Why handicap yourself in the future if you know you’re not ready now?

The director of admissions at my post-bac school recommends waiting to take the MCAT until you’re consistently scoring 4 points above the score you’re targeting. (Not sure how that’ll scale with the new exam.) From my viewpoint, there’s no reason to take the actual MCAT or submit an application until you’re ready to go.

That’s awesome that you have so much support! And it sounds like you’re very passionate about medicine and are aspiring for med school for all the right reasons.

I agree with Tallulah, however. If you know you’re not ready for the MCAT, better to spend your time perfecting your score before you actually taking the real thing.

Don’t rush

Thanks for your replies!

The way canadian schools are a little different than American ones. I don’t think they care about being a reapplicant. And the school I have the best shot at only considers your highest MCAT. In the position I am in, it wouldn’t really hurt me. However, I am today really questioning the benefit. I really don’t think I’m even ready to apply this year, and the 2015 MCAT is going to be so much better for me. I’m thinking of taking a break until February (well, it’s not really a break because I have to take biochemistry starting in September), but I feel like a failure giving up on this MCAT. I feel like if I take a break I will forget everything I’ve learned, and the new MCAT is still half hard sciences. I’ve done so much, I don’t want it all to go to waste!

Full length practice tests done in a small, quiet room would be a good simulation for the test. It’s impossible to impart the stress of the real thing, but why put yourself through the pain of the mcat when you know you won’t do well. They may say they only consider the highest test, but they’ll still be able to see all of your scores. It’s money out of your pocket and a seat from someone who potentially wants to test “for real”.

Who knows though. You may blow it out of the water and never have to worry about it again. Don’t rely on luck to get you through it though. There’s a lot of knowledge base and strategy required to do well.

Also, your target school has one view of the mcat and reapps. However, the application process is a crap shoot no matter how well you try to set yourself up. It would be beneficial to make yourself competitive at as many schools as possible.

I also thought about taking a seat from someone who could really use it thing. I’m really leaning towards cancelling. The only benefit would be the experience, and I’m thinking that experience would actually be terrible instead of beneficial.

I agree with you on that – only because if you don’t feel ready, you don’t want to psych yourself out for next time if your first attempt doesn’t go well.

Also, the scoring system will be different, so taking the highest score will be kind of weird for the first year or so. Your schools might see all of your attempts.

In any case, don’t feel like you’re wasting your effort. The new MCAT doesn’t get rid of anything, it seems. It just adds. So you’re in a great position to prepare for the new test because you’ve done so much prep.

Or, alternatively, you could commit to the January test date, the last of the old MCAT and ensure you’ll be ready by then. Four months is enough time for that, considering all of the work you’ve already put in.

Continuing on with this mcat was an option, but the thing is I also need to do my biochem prereq. I was going to focus on this mcat until January, then start biochem in the spring. I decided to do the biochem first and start working on the 2015 mcat in March because of the content of the new mcat. Virtually all of the content in my biochem course is testable mcat material. As well, the new mcat will give me a chance to use the social sciences education I already have. I will still need to learn physics, orgo, ect., but over all it is worth less on the new exam than it was on the last exam. If I don’t rock the chemical and physical foundations section, I still have lots of opportunity to haul up my overall score with the material I know I can conquer. I really hope this plan works!

In saying you will still need to learn physics and organic chemistry, does that mean you have not taken those prerequisites yet? Because I"d really discourage you from trying to do the MCAT before having had all the prerequisites!


The only prerequisite my school requires is biochem. I have taken some other university science courses, but they were a very long time ago. I took a prep course which taught me all of the content which I understand, but I need to do more practicing.

Hi. This might be a little bit off topic. However, I could not help noticing your credentials. If I may ask, were you a nurse before becoming a doctor. If you were, how was the transition and what were your difficulties in med school. Trying to take the same route but am kind of second guessing myself.