Hello, I have a unique situation and would like some advice. I am 39 and have been taking pre-med classes for the last few years. I got A’s in gen chem, org chem, physics, and genetics; and my undergrad GPA was 3.72.

However, my MCAT score on the first try was only a 20L (I even took the Kaplan prep course), not at all in line with my grades. Should I retake the test or is there a chance my high GPA could overshadow the MCAT score? I don’t want to give up at this point but I want to also be realistic. Can anyone give me any advice? Thanks!


I might not be the best person to give you advice on this one! But in my humble opinion you should retake the MCAT. Good grades will not make up for poor MCAT score.

I’ve just been accepted to EVMS off the waitlist, but I was ready to retake the MCAT and reapply this year. My pre-med advisor told me that I might got in this year, but he also stressed that if it wasn’t the case, I should seriously consider retaing the test, b/c 27 N was well below what my grades could have suggested (GPA 3.9)

I know that my answer is not what you might have expected, and I’m really sorry to disappoint you; believe me, I do understand where you come from, since MCAT was the worst part of the entire pre-med track for me. Of course if you want to try and apply this year, you have nothing to loose (except from money). You might get accepted. Did you consider applying to DO schools? They tend to be more forgiving as far as the stats. But be prepared that you might have to retake the exam.

Good luck,


You have to retake. Your MCAT score needs to be reflective of your GPA. The MCAT is the “great equalizer” between hard and easy schools, Ivies and community colleges, the tough professor and the easy grader at the same school. You have to do better on it, that’s all there is to it.

In the MCAT section of our forums you will find lots of discussion about the different ways people have approached this important test and, if memory serves me right, some thoughts on retaking and changing your study ways to do better. Peruse those topics, and good luck to you!


Another thing to bear in mind is that you want to do a lot better on your second go round. The admissions people are going to look at your first test and wonder why it’s so low and what flawed decision process caused you to take it without adequate preparation. But if you rock the test (29 or 30) second time around you’ll help to allay such doubts. I highly recommend a prep course such as kaplan or PRI which helps you to systematize your studies and track your progress with many practice exams under realistic, timed conditions.

Retake it hands down. A high GPA needs to correlate with a higher MCAT than what you received. Good luck.

Retake. Do not look at the numerous admissions requirements as trade off. You will need to be competitive in all sections of the application. No one section will “make up” for a weak point in another. However, if all elements are competitive and you have a couple of elements much more competitive, then your overall level of competitiveness may be elevated.

I’m with everyone else. You need to retake the MCAT.

And not to discount what Terry mentioned, but “rocking the MCAT” isn’t a 29 or 30. That’s the average score for matriculating students (nationwide) into MD schools. “Rocking the MCAT” is a score in low-mid 30’s and higher, say 33 (balanced) and above.



Thanks to all for your replies!

I expected to hear that I needed to retake the test but thought I would ask anyway. I did take the Kaplan prep course but didn’t find it all that helpful considering the outrageous fee. I just purchased the MCAT Audio Osmosis CDs, hopefully those will do the trick.

I am actually only interested in applying to Brown due to my family situation, so I either need to raise my score or give up on this dream.

Thanks again, this is a great website!

Warning: Brown Medical School has a unique policy on postbaccalaureate applicants. They have set up a highly exclusive postbacc premed program with a single partnering institution. (I believe it is Bryn Mawr.) Nontraditional applicants from other schools are really not considered unless their qualifications are SPECTACULAR.

I just wonder… What do you really, really want to do? Before dropping all the dough on another MCAT PREP class, maybe you should meditate two, three, four steps ahead rather than just one. Assuming all goes well, and you get a 35 on the mcat, what will be your next step? Apply to med school? Where? To what end? Are there other educational or career opportunities that would allow you to stay in RI and wouldn’t require the MCAT? these aren’t really questions for the listserv, but rather things for the individual person to mull over.

General principle: I’ve been through 2 years of applications and it is TOUGH out there to get a place. If an applicant is not ready to relocate, I wonder if he is really wasting all the backbreaking effort and expense of the AMCAS process.

Only Brown? WOW!

  • mdwannabe1 Said:
I did take the Kaplan prep course but didn't find it all that helpful considering the outrageous fee. I just purchased the MCAT Audio Osmosis CDs, hopefully those will do the trick.

I am (in)famous for too-careful parsing of people's random thoughts posted on an anonymous web forum (well, I'm not anonymous, but most of the rest of us are), and so I may be completely off-base here. But there is something about the way you've phrased this paragraph that sets off a little warning bell for me. You sound like you are putting very high expectations on an "outside influence," if you will, as you prepare for the MCAT. But in fact, the ultimate determinant in MCAT prep is not Kaplan vs. Princeton Review vs. Audio Osmosis.... it's YOU. It's not what it costs, it's what you put into it. So before you invest a lot of time and money into an alternate preparatory program, I'd spend time on the introspection that Matt advises, and specifically consider what did YOU do to get the most out of the Kaplan program and what will YOU do to maximize your benefits from EK?

All the other stuff Matt said is golden, too. If you are set on getting into Brown, I'd advise that you set up a visit with someone in their admissions office so you can find out if this is a reachable goal. Good luck!