please, i need some help (sorry if this is long)

someone told me about this site and i am glad they did, because i haven’t found anywhere else that even considers someone who is not 21 and hoping to go to med school.
so, this is why i am unable to sleep well this past month. hopefully, someone can give me some advice.

1. the mcat. i don’t know what i was thinking…i took tpr, but since i was doing bad on the diagnostics, i didnt take it in april. i studied again for the august, on my own, but there was so much going on at work (my lab was moving to another state so i worked past midnite most days) and i was afraid of losing my job, i didn’t study as much as i hoped. but i was scoring high in the diagnostics, so i went to take it–only to almost get kicked out for having a silent desk timer (didnt know you couldnt have it) blah blah blah. i lost my nerve, misbubbled most of bio, and wound up with a horrible score.
i know that no one has a good test taking experience. but i let it get to me. i started studying for april, but i am so depressed. i feel like im too old (ill be 27 if i apply this year) i couldn’t retake any classes or take biochem like i wanted to, not with this test over my head. so:
am i too old, if i had to wait another year and applied when im 28? is there a cut off? (i want to go DO)
anybody retake? how do you get over that depressing hump?
i really dont want to give up. im just feeling really depressed, right now.

Miasma -
Sorry to hear that the MCAT was such a horrible experience for you.
Are you too old? Heck, no. Around here, you’re almost a baby! I started medical school this year at the age of 34, and there are 6 people in my class that are older than I am (including two 43 year olds), and probably ~12 who are older than 30.
I think the first thing to do is evaluate honestly why your diagnostics were so poor the first time around. Is it a matter of not knowing the material well or a matter of poor test-taking skills for a test such as the MCAT? Discovering if your main problem is one or both of these may help you formulate a strategy for April. Read through some of the many posts in the MCAT forum. Maybe someone else’s experiences there can help you out.
It’s good that you are thinking ahead toward studying for April. Devise a plan for attacking the test and go from there. Don’t get depressed by the fact that you are unable to take other classes right now. If you have all the necessary pre-reqs and are able to apply next year (assuming a decent MCAT), the MCAT should be your focus. You can always take the Biochemistry next summer, fall or spring 2007. Even if it is a pre-requisite for a school you want to attend, you usually just need to have completed it prior to matriculation.
You said something about retaking classes. What classes were you thinking about retaking and why? This may be something that you need to plot into your strategy. If you are retaking classes because they are pre-reqs you did poorly in or to boost your application, you may be better off taking these classes first and putting the MCAT off another year. You want to have the best application possible including MCAT AND grades when you apply. Better to put off the MCAT and applying for another year if necessary. You DON’T want to have to take the MCAT a third time and/or apply a second time because your application wasn’t strong the first time.
If medical school is truly what you want to do, don’t worry about how old you will be when you apply. Sit down and figure out what your best strategy is for getting in the FIRST time you apply and do that - even if it means taking another year.
If you haven’t done so already, I suggest you make an appointment with an admissions person at a medical school or two. Take your transcripts with you and ask them what you need to do in order to be competitive. Obviously, you need to improve your MCAT. But, they may have some good perspective on retaking classes or not. A lot of times, if you had at least C’s in the pre-reqs, they might prefer you take upper level science courses to prove that you can handle them. Make clear when you call to make your appointment that you are NOT applying this year (most schools won’t talk to you if you are currently applying).
Good luck!

Cheer up! I’m 41 and in med school right now (1st year). There are alot of people 25+ going to med school now! It seems like you have the right idea. Retake the MCAT and apply to the US schools. They are really the best to go to. Don’t let anyone tell you your too old cause thats darn silly! (If you think I’m old well your right ) But hey if I can do it at my age you can do it at your age!
Anything just post!
Good Luck!

Welcome! You’ve come to the right place. OPMers are known for their friendliness, and helpful answers.
Don’t be discouraged by a lower-than-hoped-for MCAT score. I think retaking it and doing well would be a good idea. You mentioned that you were interested in DO. To answer your question, no, there isn’t a cutoff for age. If there is, it is many, many years away for you. I applied this cycle, and the DO schools, without exception, made it a point to ask about my life experiences. They really value the non-trad student.
Welcome again,

hey guys,
thank you so much for the responses.
in reply to the retaking classes questions, my advisor at my old school advised me to take classes over that were on a p/f basis ( they were taken at another school so the grades did not transfer). however, most on the DO schools i asked said not to retake them, but to take biochem. i graduated with a bio/english major and a minor in history, so i do have upper level bio classes i did well in, plus four years of research. but now i am thinking maybe having those chem preregs three to five years ago is hurting me. i am not sure, i wanted to take inorganic again next semester and do the mcat…i really dont want to take a computer test. and ideas?
as far as my prep goes, i spent alot of time, i think , on what i was good at (physics, genetics, biochem) and not enough on things i stink (later chem, and anatomy). i didnt pay much attention to orgo, and it killed me, even if my diagnostics were high going in.
plus, i had a panic attack so when i panicked, i forgot all my test taking strategies.
thnaks again guys, and any suggestions are helpful.

If you have talked to several schools and they recommend upper level course work instead of repeating, that is probably the way to go. If you feel like you need to repeat that content in order to do well on the MCAT (as opposed to working on the content via Kaplan or TPR), then perhaps you could look into auditing the class, either formally or informally. If the school where you are attending has large lectures, you can probably sit in and no one will ever know. If they are smaller sections and you will be noticed, ask the prof if you can sit in. A lot of profs don’t mind as long as you aren’t disruptive and don’t create any extra work for them. If neither of those are an option, you could enroll formally as an auditing student.
I know its hard to make yourself spend time on stuff you don’t like/don’t feel like you are good at. However, you’ve identified this as a problem and must deal with it in order to do well on the MCAT. It looks like you see retaking the courses as the way that will make you focus on them.


in reply to the retaking classes questions, my advisor at my old school advised me to take classes over that were on a p/f basis ( they were taken at another school so the grades did not transfer).

I just reread this part. I don’t know how the DO application process works, but for AMCAS, even though you transferred those classes as p/f, I think (not certain) you still have to submit your transcript from the original institution (which will show your grades).

thanks for your help. i’ve been going back and forth on retaking…i guess i will ask more schools and follow your suggestions.
i just hope i can do it. i feel like this nagging weight like im not good enuf…ugh…but thank you, you are def an inspiration for someone like me!

Okay — what about re-taking classes? I had engineering based chem & physics over 15 yrs ago. I just took Gen Chem 1 & 2 and planning college phy 1 & 2 in the subsequent terms to get re-acquainted with the subject matter. These are not EXACTLY the same courses… that being, they’re a different course number (life sciences majors vs engineering majors). Not only am I now understanding the material (and hopefully helping my performance on MCAT), but also scoring better (improving my GPA). So, is this going to be a negative on my transcripts??? I’ve just enrolled in molecular cell biology and plan to take (make that Re-take) genetics and orgainic 1/2 — will that look favorably? Are the repeats going to skrew me in the end? Please say “no”!

I would think they would not “scew” you if you did very well in the retakes, the problem would be if you did not do well.
After 15 yrs having the time to retake is almost like a refresher, also getting a top score on the MCAT would make all this look good.
Good Luck.