Retaking Classes for Med School & Retaking the MCAT

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Reapplying to Medical School, Retaking Classes and the MCAT

Session 55

In this episode, I talk about whether or not your chances of getting into medical school will get slimmer if you’re retaking the MCAT for the third time and whether taking a Master’s in a tech science-related course affect your application. We also talk about retaking classes for medical school.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

As usual on the OldPreMeds Podcast, our question is taken from the Nontrad Premed Forum:

Our poster is 25 years old and working in the software industry for the last 2.5 years. He/she is currently studying for a Master’s in software engineering and graduating in Spring ’18. Despite that, he/she is considering applying for medical school after listening to the OldPreMeds podcast. While taking undergrad in electrical engineering, he/she did premed simultaneously for Texas Medical Schools with a 3.6 GPA.

Our poster applied in 2015 but was screened away; taken MCAT twice (1st-27 and 2nd-29). The poster is looking to apply in 2018 and planning to take Kaplan to prep for the MCAT in 2017. Our poster is also looking at volunteering and shadowing experiences next year. They are close to finishing a Master’s in software engineering where the company pays for it.

Since this is their third time taking the MCAT, are their chances of getting in slimmer? Is everything riding on the next MCAT score? And does our poster need to be retaking classes for medical school the second time around?

A Bad MCAT Score in Your Past Won’t Stop You

  • Your chances of getting into medical school have nothing to do with your previous MCAT scores or how many times you have taken the MCAT.
  • However, there are restrictions on how many times you can take the MCAT:
    • 3x in a single testing year
    • 4x during two consecutive periods
    • 7x in a lifetime.
  • For somebody taking the MCAT 4-7 times, there’s a reason there’s a need to take it so many times. Something you were doing for your MCAT prep the first times wasn’t working. How did you prepare for the MCAT the first two times? And why are you doing Kaplan this time?
Your chances of getting into medical school have nothing to do with your previous MCAT scores or how many times you have taken the MCAT.Click To Tweet

About MCAT prep courses

Considering that it’s your third time taking the test, consider going with Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep) because they offer one-on-one tutoring (although they also have an online course now). One-on-one tutoring is especially good for MCAT retakes because they can help you focus on the specific areas where you need to improve.

[Related post: Best MCAT Course (with a Promo Code).]

Is everything riding on your next MCAT score?

Everything is not riding on your next MCAT score, but you should do well on it. Find out why you’re not doing well. There should be a reason why, and hopefully, Next Step can figure that out for you.

Should you be retaking classes for medical school or doing a postbac?

No, retaking classes for med school isn’t necessary because you have a good GPA. You took the required classes in school. Also, keep in mind that since AACOM has killed grade replacement, any new grades from classes you retake will just be averaged together with your old grades. Your old grades will no longer be replaced on the AACOMAS application (for DO schools).

The only question is—do you think you’re prepared enough for the MCAT with having taken your premed classes a number of years ago? Can you self-study to re-learn the foundational content for the MCAT so you can use that information on the test?

The MCAT is not a content-heavy test—it focuses more on critical thinking and analysis—but still you need some level of content fresh in your mind.Click To Tweet

[Related episode: What Prereqs Do I Have to Have to Take the MCAT?]

Does completing a Master’s in software engineering help or hurt your chances for medical school?

Software engineering is tech science-related, so it doesn’t help you or it doesn’t necessarily hurt you. It can only hurt you if it takes your concentration and time away from doing things like shadowing, getting in extracurricular activities, and studying for the MCAT.

Can you still submit your application in 2017?

You have 6 months to apply at the very start of June 2017. Theoretically, you could take the MCAT in June but it’s still doable to submit your applications early, get you secondaries back and by the time you submitted those, your MCAT score is back. This will not delay your application but the problem is that you won’t know your score when you submit your application.

Look at taking the MCAT in June, working with a test prep company up until then and take the practice tests. If you’re not doing well on the practice tests by the time of your exam date, then don’t apply until next year so you can figure out how to improve.

Another key point when reapplying to medical school:

Make sure your shadowing and clinical experiences are up-to-date. Medical schools want to see that you continue to be involved in medicine throughout this whole time.

Major takeaway from this episode:

Yes, you have a good shot at getting in, but you just need to work on your MCAT score and figure out why you’re not doing well on it.

Links and Other Resources: