Needing some advice and encouragement

Hello to the non-traditional community,

I’d like to start some discussion about my journey to medical school so far. Maybe I can help some others and also receive some assistance as well.

For starters, I am a 27-year-old caucasian male. I come from a disadvantaged background which includes: low-income, first-generation higher education, previous intermittent homelessness, etc. I transferred from community college to a university in California.

My grade trend coming from my CC went from barely a 2.0 to a transferring 3.1. At the university, my graduating GPA was 3.2. Most of my grades at the UC were B’s and A’s with a few pesky C’s lowering my overall GPA. I spent at least 4 years at the CC before transferring for reasons I won’t get into on here. Just know I had to fight for my education and work to pay for it.

Back in May 2021 I took my first attempt at the MCAT and got a 502 through self-study. I spent about 4 months while working 3 days a week to prepare for my exam. I found my Kaplan 2018 MCAT review set by a trash can at my university. They were surprsingly in good shape. I plan on taking it again to try to get at least a 508. My downfall was the CARS section…

Currently, I work for a biotechnology company where I mostly do manufacturing and QC for COVID-19 extraction kits. While here, I’ve also done some clincial work taking nasal swabs for COVID testing and enrolling the patients in our system. I also volunteer once a week for the coroner’s office as an autopsy assistant alongside the forensic pathologist. I found this postion by just knocking on the door and asking if I could find oppurtunities. It worked!

In terms of community service, I have worked with disadvantaged children of my community teaching them ukulele and guitar through the recreational department. The program was my own creation which I presented to them and was approved for their community catalog. Another experince I partook in is that I recently worked for the county at the evacuation shelter when the fires broke out. I also did this when I was evacuated myself.

There’s a lot of details I’ve glazed over because the story is long, but please ask if you would like to hear more about anything I have said.

I was wondering what people’s opinions might be on my journey so far? And moreover, I just wanted to share my experiences with other pre-meds.

Thank you for reading :slight_smile:

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Hello and thank you for sharing an overview of your story! I think from reading through this, you are doing well! Just remember that at the end of the day this is your story and you have to be able to tell it well. It doesn’t matter if you have as many shadowing hours as someone else or clinical hours. Just do the best you can in the hours you get and stay consistent like Dr. Gray talks about. Also, CARS is a really tough section and was my worst subsection score. I found that when I did practice every day that I started to see more improvement. I loved Jack Westin’s content that he has for the CARS section and I thought they were very comparable to the actual test. If you have money to buy a course from him, it may be worthwhile since that was the subsection score you are most worried about! Best of luck!

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Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I try to avoid buying into that part of the premed culture of comparing myself to others. I think in the end I’ll be a pretty fair applicant given my background and experiences.

Ugh… yeah, the CARS is a nightmare! I’ll be focusing on that this next time around and practicing with new strategies. I appreciate your recommendations. Not to mention, I had to travel out of state when I took my test. I didn’t get a lick of sleep at the hotel. So that may have been a major contributing factor in my failure to perform. I need to book it even earlier so I can take my test locally.

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I think you have a great story and 27 is still very young. I would recommend trying Anki if you havent used it yet for the MCAT. There are a lot of really good decks that are free on reddit and /r/mcat. Anki is free for the computer / android and $25 for iOS. I found it extremely valuable and it helped my score tremendously.

I would also recommend the official AAMC bundle or Uworld if the cost is reasonable for you. There is a fee assistance program through AAMC that make their products free if you qualify. Practicing on AAMC passages / cars sections in the bundle or individually is the closest thing you’ll get to a real exam.

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