MCAT Reality Check: Should I Apply Now or Hold Off?

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Session 230

This student is not getting the support she needs from her family. But at some point, she has to have those hard conversations if she truly wants to continue on this journey!

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[00:32] Question of the Day

“I’m in year three of purposing to apply to medical school. I have impostor syndrome. I struggle a lot with like fear and anxiety, I just create my own chaos.

I’m deeply afraid of the MCAT. I always have been. In 2020, I purposed to take it after COVID and everything happened. I had to step away from studying to help with family business and things like that. 2021 was very similar, but I did get on track to Application Academy. I was studying for the MCAT here and there. I didn’t really log my hours, but it was a significant amount. 2021, beginning, I took a diagnostic. My worst fear happened… just self-sabotage. 

2022 – I would say really got into gear and I was like, it’s time. I need to take this like no more putting this off, I need to apply. I struggled with the MCAT beginning of 2022. And finally, in the summer, going into fall, I said, now it’s time to pay for services wherever I decide. 

I decided to do Blueprint MCAT. I did the Blueprint live, I would say for a good four months, I think I started in October. December – I had a family crisis and stepped away, but then got right back on it towards the end of Christmas time. January – My practice tests were still awful. I never broke a 500 as we say, I guess. And I took my MCAT on April 15. I had a downward spiral, from 495 all the way to 482, which was my official score. And so prior to knowing my MCAT score, I did submit. 

I’ve been terrified of applying for the last three years. At what point do you just bite the bullet, swallow what you have, put your best foot forward, and then just see what happens? 

Without considering my MCAT score. Let’s just say best case scenario, I had like a minimum score to apply. I’m at the point where I’m like willing to apply just to see what happens. I would rather apply and get rejected and then tell me like what to fix, or how to improve myself than just like sitting here.”

[03:41] The Impact of Support on MCAT Scores: Breaking Free from Self-Sabotage

Looking at AAMC data, for those who scored less than a 486 MCAT, the acceptance rate is 0.7%. Our student also says that New Mexico being her home, is where she wants to be a doctor. Obviously, her MCAT score is going to be a big hurdle. The question is, what are we going to do to fix that? But the bigger question is, it doesn’t sound like she has a lot of support on this journey.

Our student said that her family is very embedded in New Mexico. And her husband’s not willing to move. So she’s at the point where all her eggs are in one basket. She admits she does not have family support. Her husband supports her. But as far as applying elsewhere, it’s a hard no.

This lack of permission can dampen their motivation and self-confidence, leading to underachievement or a feeling of being restricted. When students lack the support they need from their loved ones, it can create doubts, insecurities, and added pressure. This emotional burden can hinder their ability to focus, study effectively, and perform at their best.

“If your MCAT score is a potential reflection of the psychology, of the fact that you don't have the support you need, your MCAT score can't improve.”Click To Tweet

The importance of family support in applying to medical school cannot be overstated. It plays a crucial role in the psychological well-being and overall success of aspiring medical students. With the unwavering support of their loved ones, students can face the challenges head-on, pursue their dreams with confidence, and ultimately achieve their goals in the medical field.

[08:26] Balancing Personal Responsibilities and Medical School Aspirations

This student goes on to say:

“I have two children. My son is turning 18. My daughter is six. A little bit of backstory. I graduated with my Bachelor’s with a 3.8. And then, along the way, I discovered that my son had a mental illness. That’s been in the back of my mind why I won’t apply as well and why I’m just stuck in this like, how do I get to where I’m going? 

I graduated with a 3.8 GPA, and then my cumulative is a 3.4. So I have a downward trend going here. Now, I need to work with that and then I need to redeem myself with this MCAT. I’m not shooting for 505 anymore. I’m pretty damn sure I need probably a 510 or above to even think about anything.”

Psychologically, it’s understandable. We as humans hate to do things that cause us discomfort. The MCAT causes you discomfort. Writing essays is obviously not very uncomfortable for her too because that’s what you want to be spending your time doing.

The problem is doing the easy thing is not the right thing. This student is not ready to apply this cycle based on that MCAT score. She needs to go back to the drawing board with her MCAT prep.

There are two ways to think about it. The first way is, what is the best date for your application? The second way is what is the best date for your MCAT score? As for this student, the only thing she should be thinking about is the best date for her MCAT score. If you are a student who is scoring 510s. But you just started your prep very late, then the question is, what is the best time for your application? But this is not her right now.

Ultimately, all of this starts at home by talking with family and letting them know what she needs from them – and demanding it.

[15:04] Having Those Hard Conversations

For this particular student, her daughter’s frequent school breaks posed a significant challenge. The relentless cycle of her daughter having extended weekends and multiple days off each month created a dilemma. Amidst the rigorous application process for medical school, this recurring situation made it difficult for her to allocate sufficient time for studying and preparation.

As the student grappled with this predicament, she couldn’t help but question why the application process seemed to demand less flexibility than her husband’s job. It became evident that she needed to have candid conversations with both her husband and herself about finding a viable solution.

“They're not fun conversations. But they're conversations that need to be had.”Click To Tweet

Perhaps, it might not solely fall upon her or her husband to adapt their schedules. They could explore the option of allocating resources for a babysitter on the days when her daughter is off from school. This could potentially provide much-needed support for studying and personal obligations.

[18:28] Her Next Steps

Hold off on a tutor, and jump into questions. It turns out this student took four full-length exams within five months before she took it.

Through the Blueprint MCAT account, she can start doing questions, review the questions, review the right answer, review the wrong answer, and start there to figure out where some of her weaknesses are. Until she has that understanding, a tutor is just going to come in and basically tell her to do the same thing.

'If you're getting like 20% in your questions... is it content or you just don't understand the questions?'Click To Tweet

With test anxiety, there are people out there who helped specifically for that. So she could also look into some resources to help her with this.



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