View Full Version : Help! Advice needed...
06-25-2001, 01:54 PM
I'm just finishing my third year in Brandon University. I wrote the MCAT in April, and just got my results back on Friday. I had an exam the day before I wrote the MCAT, so I studied for only a couple of hours. The idea was that I would write it, figure out what I needed help with, and study all summer to write again in the fall.
I did better than I ever expected I would have, and I'm now not so sure if I need to write again. My scores were:
VR - 10
PS - 12
WS - P
BS - 10
My AMCAS GPA is 3.83, and while I haven't calculated my OMSAS GPA, I think it should be around the same area.
I already know that I can't apply to Western with these marks, because I don't meet the '21' requirement between VR and WS. Western was a school that I was really thinking about. I think it's probably good enough to get into Manitoba, but I was hoping to go away to school.
Basically, what I need to know is, am I competitive in schools in Ontario (UofT, Queens, MacMaster) with these marks? UBC? Their web sites don't really tell me much of anything, so I'm kinda in the dark here!
06-25-2001, 02:56 PM
I can only speak for the Ontario schools, and it seems that you are more than competitive for all the schools - even Western. Western only changed their MCAT requirements this past year, and since their cut-offs are set according to the current applicant pool, one cannot assume that the previous years cut-offs will still hold true. I wouldn't rewrite the MCAT, chancing a decrease in scores. You may feel sick that day, not be as alert, etc., and seeing that is such a long exam, anything but a 100% effort and focus may in the end hurt you. You have surpassed requirements for Queens (both MCAT and GPA), U of T seems also feasible, Mac is always one of the questionable schools - you never really know with Mac. It's hard to assess your standing with U of O because the primary factor for an interview invite is GPA. It appears that you are an out of Ontario applicant, thus you require a very high GPA for Ottawa - you probably already have it - Ottawa does a strange weighting systems for their GPA (different weighting for your last 3 years-3 times best year+ 2 times next year+ 1 first year; divide that number by 6 and you have your weighted GPA for Ottawa).
06-25-2001, 03:40 PM
Congrats on the MCAT score...very soild marks for someone who was just 'test-writing' it!
I think one thing you need to address here is your OMSAS GPA. I have talked to a lot of people who applied using both systems and it almst always came out that their American GPA was higher than their OMSAS one, since a 85-90 was no longer a 4.0, but rather a 3.9.
If you OMSAS turns out to be below 3.8, I think you will be cutting it a little too close for UofT's liking...they use 60% GPA and I know people at 3.82 all the way up to 3.87 who did not make the grade. Hardly anyone, other than a grad student or someone with a Herculiean CV makes it in without a 3.8.
Ditto for Ottawa...I think it was 3.89 or somethign this year to be invitied for us out-of-Ottawa people.
In Ontario then, assuming the worst case that you are below 3.8, you will have 3 schools left. You will get a Queen's invite for sure, Western looks like a no-no if they re-use this year's scheme, and McMaster is a total crapshoot.
So, even with your stats, you could maybe end up with only 1 interview in all of Ontario! However, since you are from Manitoba, you will get invited there for sure, so you will have at least 2 interviews.
If you re-write the MCAT you can get one more under your belt. Not really worth the stress of a re-write, IMHO.
06-25-2001, 04:57 PM
I would recommend writing again. You obviously are interested in applying to the States where MCAT scores are huge. A 32P is a respectful score considering that it was a trial run. If you could push this up to a 34Q you will be a very competitive applicant. Since you already have experience writing the MCAT, you can always void your scores if you have a strong feeling you did worse.
06-25-2001, 10:15 PM
If you intend to apply to the states and are not a citizen or permanent resident, you should consider rewriting the MCAT. Your Biological Science section score is may be too low. MCAT requirements vary from school to school, but since we are canadians (requirements are easier if you're american), we can qualify only for the top schools that actually accept foreign students. You have double digit scores which are the minimum requirements at those universities, but the average going into the ivy league universities for BS is 12. This may limit you, and you may not pass the preliminary screening at some universities.
As for U of T, medcomsci mentioned that U of T needs a high GPA. While being true to some degree, do not put too much thought into gpa alone. To clarify, 60 % of the application weight goes to academic performance. That means gpa, research, and MCAT scores that pass the relatively low requirement of 8. But if you are found lacking in the other 40% (recommendation letters, interview, other activities), you will still be rejected even if you get the full 60% for high academic scores.
He may know people with 3.87 omsas gpa that didn't get in. I even know 3.9-4.0 gpa people who didn't get in too. I seriously believe that these people did not get in for other reasons. It wasn't their grades. They had all the grades. 3.83 is a very respectable omsas gpa. But as with any other application, you must have the extras that go with it (the personality, other activities, etc.). Perhaps those people were found unsuitable, or perhaps there were others that were just better in other ways (not grades) than them.
You seem to have a good amcas gpa. Your OMSAS gpa should be similar (I don't believe that amcas gpa is always higher; for me, it was the other way around) and that should not deter you from applying to U of T. You should seriously consider applying to U of T since your academic stats are quite competitive already for the ontario schools. Besides, U of T accepts more out of province students than the other Ontario schools.
06-26-2001, 05:57 PM
I'll just toss my two bits in, and say that UBC doesn't weight the MCAT very highly at all. Here, it's used much more as a flag, in that if you pass the requirements, it isn't really given much emphasis unless you did amazingly well in it. UBC actually gives the average MCAT score both for accepted students, and the rejected applicants, and there is very little difference between the two.
The average MCAT's for this last year's class are still accessible on the internet at the UBC web-site, but quoting from memory, the average score for *accepted* students is, I think around 28-30. Therefore, your 32 score is actually a little higher than the average MCAT for the med class just below ours.
One thing I'll say, not really knowing much about the Ontario schools and such (I never applied there, so everything I know is second-hand knowledge), is that if you've ear-marked this summer to re-write the MCAT, you should also consider the other areas of your med school application, and see if that time might not be better spent improving those areas.
I think the major question, is whether this MCAT meets the cut-offs for the schools you are interested in. If so, then investing at least part of the summer to doing volunteer work, or research, or international work/travel, or other activities that improve your application and your personal experiences might be something to consider. Remember that numbers are only a part of a successful med school application.
UBC, Med 3
07-30-2001, 07:50 PM
Here's my problem....I'll be writing the MCAT this August, as it will open availability to apply at more schools. My average is solid, and I have taken almost all of the required science courses (except Biochem, which leaves me out of the running for Ottawa). My degree is a 4-yr. B.A., no major. The problem? I have not yet had Physics of any kind. I'll be upgrading next year at the secondary level to obtain OAC, and taking first year at the university level. Just how tough are the Physics, and how much of the Physical Science component, that will be found on the MCAT? I'm frantically reviewing every text and manual that I can find, and while I am making some headway, I fear that I will struggle to get an 8 or 9 in that section. VR/WR should be no problem as I'm used to writing essay-style questions. Suggestions?
Try out the physical sciences section of some practice MCATs. Ideally the AAMC ones if you can get a hold of them, but I believe that there's always the free online TPR/Kaplan diagnostics that you can access. If you can do reasonably well on those, then you don't have to worry. I haven't written the real MCAT yet, but from all the practice ones I've completed (3 Princeton Review MCAts, and AAMC IV), the amount of knowledge you need in physics is only around OAC level, with maybe one or two extra topics. The physical sciences section seems to be a pretty even split between physics and general chem. The difficulty level isn't high at all, but then it also depends on how familiar you are with all the material. The most important thing is to practice, practice, practice. Good luck.
07-30-2001, 08:55 PM
Have you started writing practice exams?
If not, I urge you to call around to local bookstores and get your hands on some MCAT prep books that have sample exams. You really need to write several practice exams and do it exactly as it will be on the MCAT in order to feel comfortable with the procedure.
There's absolutely nothing worse that you could do for your exam marks than to write the genuine MCAT, misbudget your time, and leave several questions unanswered.
Each practice MCAT will take you the better part of a day if you genuinely simulate the test-taking situation. However, I think at this point, getting that practice in will be more beneficial to you, especially if it helps highlight weak areas in your Physics studying.
Finally, it's also important to purchase exams that are representative of the actual MCAT. I'd try to get the AAMC practice exams, and there's a link to the AAMC webiste where you can purchase them at the top of the MCAT forum. Failing that (you probably don't have enough time to receive them and use them), I'd try to purchase the Gold Standard, by Brett Ferdinand. I used this book when preparing for the MCAT, and found the test questions to be quite representative of the actual MCAT. I think the Gold Standard questions are of slightly higher difficulty than the actual, so if you are capably handling the practice exams, you should be in good shape.
UBC, Med 3
08-01-2001, 01:30 PM
Thanks to all for the suggestions. I have indeed been working on mant MCAT reviews. I have both the Peterson and the Princeton (although if you can't pass a Peterson's you're really up the creek!), and I have been trying the Kaplan online. The problem is that the questions vary greatly--I have scored a 9 PS with no sweat (more mistakes in the Physics as you could guess), but I have also struggled to get a 7 in the same section, depending on what types of questions they ask. In general, if I can pull off a 7 or 8, I'm hoping that most schools will consider the marks. I generally score (for ex.) a 7PS, 10BS, and 13VR. I'm not anticipating a problem with the WS (crossing fingers!). Do you think that schools will take into account the current lack of physics when they regard a score like that? As stated previously, I will be taking my Physics this year upcoming, and I am reviewing a gr. 11 and MCAT Physics manual to beat the band. Wish me luck! (Methinks it shall be needed!)
08-01-2001, 05:56 PM
I took the MCAT without any physics training (since grade 12, no OAC or Univ.) and did well on the PS section, so it can be done for sure (I know of others who have done it as well). However, I doubt a grade 11 text will suffice; I think you need to be using at least a grade 12 text (I used an OAC level text).
Get yourself an OAC textbook and you should be able to cover th basics.
My biggest advie to you would be to STOP doing those useless Kaplan questions. Kaplan puts too much emphasis on calculation adn number-plugging; the acutal MCAT is more principle-oriented. That being said, the curve is usually the hardest on this portion of the test since it is usually the easiest (ie - you need to get less questions wrong to get a decent score).
Try AAMC IV and V to see what I mean with regards to the insane computation on the Kaplan stuff.
08-01-2001, 08:56 PM
I can pretty much guarantee you that the admissions committee of each medical school won't care what your Physics backgroun was when evaluating your MCAT mark. They simply don't have the time or inclination to scrutinize your academic record that closely. All they will consider is whether or not your PS score meets their cut-off, which to them indicates whether you have adequate knowledge of Physics and Chem.
Of course, I could go on and state that you'll be using little to no actual Physics and Chemistry knowledge in med school. The principles yes, but very little number crunching or derivations or other stuff like that.
UBC, Med 3
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