Should You Retake the MCAT? 3 Key Things to Consider

Studying your butt off for months, suffering through an anxiety-inducing test day, and then waiting an entire month just to get a lower-than-expected MCAT score is by no means a pleasant experience. It truly is the worst. It is so bad in fact that many students decide to quit trying to go to medical school altogether. But, please don’t despair. You may still have a good chance without needing to take the MCAT again. In this MCAT Study Tip, let’s consider three things that will help you decide on what steps to take next:

1. What is your long-term goal?

Now if you are reading this, it is obvious that your end goal is to be a doctor. But, let’s get more specific, what do you want to do within the field of medicine? Do you want to be a physician scientist at a prestigious top-ten medical school? Or do you simply want to be the go-to doctor in your small-town community. Both are equally valuable, but it is up to you to decide what your vision for yourself is. Once you’ve got that picture in mind, think about which medical schools will get you there. Do you need to go to Harvard? Do you need to earn an MD? Or will becoming a DO be just fine? Come up with a list of some schools that will allow you to reach your dream.

2. Is your MCAT score balanced?

If one of your sections is 5 points lower than all your other sections (most commonly the CARS section), you may want to retake the MCAT in order to avoid sending a red flag to medical schools, especially if you have aspirations to attend a top-25 medical school. Admissions committees like students to have an even score, showing that they are proficient in each area.

In contrast, if one of your sections is 5 points higher than all your other sections, you can leverage that section to match up with the narrative of your application. For example, if you scored extraordinarily well in Behavioral Sciences, admissions committees may elevate your application for having a strong desire to pursue psychiatry.

3. Your score may not be perfect, but is it high-enough?

As pre-meds, we tend to be a little too hard on ourselves. I’m sure some of us might actually think, “I scored a 527… but if I only I had gotten a 528!” It may sound silly, but I think we tend to focus on those who did better than us rather than appreciating and being grateful for what we have achieved. Congratulate yourself on the success you had and plug your MCAT score, GPA, and race into SDN’s LizzyM Calculator. It will allow you to determine your chances at being accepted to any medical school. It will also generate a list of medical schools that fall within your range. If the schools that you want to go to fall in or below this range, you should move forward with confidence and start working on your medical school application.

If your score isn’t balanced and/or is not high enough for the medical schools that you want to attend, you should begin planning on retaking the MCAT. It isn’t an easy task, but improving your score is possible. Students who work with me, improve their score by up to 18 points in just a few months! I help my students create a personalized game plan for overcoming their weaknesses and achieving their goal score. If you’d like to learn more about tutoring with me one-on-one, feel free to request a free 10-minute phone consultation using the contact form in the sidebar. I am confident that we can help you achieve your dream.

Warm regards,

Andrew  George

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How we Matched up the Khan Academy Passages with the eCourse Lessons

Each lesson of the eCourse contains links to 1 to 5 Khan Academy science passages for the purpose of providing you with non-AAMC material to practice your science passage reading skills on. By completing all the linked passages within every lesson, you will have finished all the freely available Khan Academy science passages.

To match up the Khan Academy Science Passages with the eCourse lessons, we carefully examined the passage and question content of each one. Then we decided which lesson of the eCourse best correlated with that content. You may notice that some passages don’t match up perfectly with the current lesson. If they don’t match up with the current lesson, they should match up with one of the previous lessons in the module. We did this carefully so that you could practice your science passage reading skills on passages that contain the content you’ve already learned.

Why we don’t recommend non-AAMC CARS practice questions

We recommend practicing CARS by reading non-AAMC CARS passages but not doing the associated practice problems. The reason we don’t recommend doing the practice problems is because the MCAT is written by the AAMC. They have a very unique style in which they write CARS practice questions that third-party companies (try as they might) are unable to replicate. When students spend time on non-AAMC CARS practice problems, they get familiar with the wrong style of questioning, leading them to overthink and incorrectly respond to the questions written by the AAMC. Thus, it is in your best interest to solely practice on AAMC CARS practice questions.

That said, we highly recommend practicing your reading skills on non-AAMC CARS passages. In our Ultimate CARS Strategy Course, we provide you with 1,000 free CARS passages and 100+ homework assignments, giving you ample material to practice on. Reading countless passages while practicing the proper reading habits and strategies will prepare you well to conquer the CARS section as it was written by the AAMC.

Which books do the lessons match up with?

The books we use in each lesson are linked below. We plan to stick with these older editions of the books since very little has changed and the older editions are much more affordable:

First Edition of the Kaplan 7-book Series
First Edition of the Princeton 7-book Series

Do the chapters match up perfectly?

The Kaplan Books, Princeton Books, and Khan Academy Videos were all produced by different authors. For this reason, there are some chapters in the Kaplan Book or Princeton Book that are not even found in the Khan Academy Videos and vice versa. For instance, the Kaplan and Princeton Books have chapters that cover certain experimental procedures that the Khan Academy Videos do not cover.

Our goal in matching up the books with the videos was to correlate the content as best as possible while also covering ALL the content from every resource. For this reason, when nothing in the Kaplan Books matched up with one of the video playlists, instead of leaving the reading assignment for Kaplan blank, we inserted material that did not fit in anywhere else (i.e. one of those chapters on an experimental procedure that was not covered by Khan Academy). So, when the assignment doesn’t appear to match up right, please know that this was intentional.

*If you follow the reading assignments outlined, you will finish the entire Kaplan 7-book series and/or Princeton 7-book series by the time you finish all 10 content modules.

Do the sections match up perfectly?

If the sections assigned in our eCourse do not match up with the sections contained in your content review book, you may have a different edition. The sections should still match up the large majority of the time, but in the rare instance that they don’t, I’d recommend simply reading sections that do match up and saving the ones that do not for a future lesson.

MCAT Launchpad Required!

Before jumping into our free eCourse, you’ll need to complete orientation by watching MCAT Launchpad. During this free 35-minute intro session with Head Tutor Andrew, you’ll learn 6 Keys to Earning a Top MCAT Score, the 5 Essential Elements of an Effective Study Plan, 12 Tips for Taking the Best MCAT Study Notes, and more! Andrew will also provide you with a detailed overview of the Free MCAT Prep Course, teaching you how to get started.

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