How Will an Unbalanced MCAT Score Affect Me?

Session 53

If you’re like many MCAT takers, your section scores are unbalanced. Learn how that might affect your medical school application.

Check out our other podcasts at MedEd Media as well as Next Step Test Prep‘s one-on-one tutoring. They can help you score the best that you can score, not just based on the average of the class. Go check out everything Next Step has to offer and use the promo code MCATPOD.

[01:13] How Unbalanced Is Your MCAT Score?

Another aspect of students that I get an email from every now and then is a good overall score of, say, 5.6, 5.7, or 5.9. However, it’s a very unbalanced score. Their sciences are 130’s but their CARS is at 123.

Bryan has just heard back from one of his own tutoring students who had an initial diagnostic score of around 495-497. Then he brought up his score up to a 512. It’s a phenomenal score but he got a 123 in CARS, his lowest verbal score ever. So even with a 512, since he got 123 in CARS, he had to retake the MCAT. Such low score in verbal would get his application thrown out.

There are certain schools including a couple of Canadian schools where they really take a look at your verbal score because they know they can teach you the science. How bad is an unbalanced score depends on the nature of it, how extreme it is, and what schools you’re applying to.

[03:22] Some Schools Filter Out Subsection Scores

Typically, I would recommend students to make the most informed decision possible. This information includes the fact that schools have the ability to filter their applications based on a section of the MCAT. A lot of schools will filter out anything below 124 or 125 in a subsection. So if you’re getting a 123, you’re going to be filtered out by some schools.

A lot of premed advisors out there want to say that most schools have this holistic admissions review now. While I agree with that to some extent, the truth is there are thousands of applications and schools don’t have the time to look into all of them. So they will rack and stack them, put the highest MCAT/GPAs first. Yours might not get ever looked at because they’re just too low. And they’ve already interviewed everybody they want to interview for the application cycle. But there are still going to be some schools that will take a look at you. So you have to weigh out the pros and cons to determine whether or not you can still boost up your section score in a short period of time. And decide on whether you want to continue with the application cycle this year or wait till the next year.

[05:05] Assess Your Situation

Bryan points out the fact that every student is unique that’s why at Next Step, they spend so much of their focus on one-on-one tutoring. Bryan reiterates the kind of self-assessment you need to do when thinking about doing a retake. What are you going to do differently? What’s your particular situation?

In the case of the student mentioned above, Bryan recommended the student to do one additional tutoring session to make sure his skills were still there. He also told him to retake it because he had literally never scored below 125 in CARS ever. His baseline coming in was 125 and he was getting 126’s and occasionally 127. That was a fluke so he needed to retake immediately.

On the other hand, Bryan has had other students who get really unbalanced scores where their CARS or if they had a weak Chem/Phys background. But their score is actually in line with their practice tests. So the improvement they say was not enough. Hence, they need to keep working. Do they have another three months to essentially just re-study really hard on this section? Then the calculation finally comes down to exactly looking into whether you can apply this cycle or do you need to consider pushing back.

[08:38] Next Step Test Prep

Check out what Next Step Test Prep has to offer, specifically their one-on-one tutoring. They are the key to performing well on the MCAT especially if you’re struggling. If you’ve taken Kaplan or Princeton Review, etc. and you’re still not doing well, take a look at Next Step Test Prep one-on-one tutoring.

I’ve had one student who went with Kaplan and only scored a 499. So he got his money back based on Kaplan’s higher score guarantee. Then he worked with a tutor at Next Step Test Prep for two weeks now. He took his first full-length and scored a 506. A one-on-one tutor is there to help you score the best that you can score. Not just based on the average of the class. Go check out everything Next Step has to offer and use the promo code MCATPOD.


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