As you enter the time of preparing to take the MCAT, taking the MCAT, and perhaps trying to decide about re-taking the MCAT…here are some WOW (words of wisdom) thoughts you should take to heart, courtesy of our very own Dr. Austerberry:
Only take the MCAT when you think it will be your last MCAT – even if it will also be your first MCAT.
Don’t take the real MCAT as a practice run. Use practice tests for that, and expect real test scores to be about a point per section lower than your practice test scores. (The MCAT 2015 currently has only one official practice test released, but the principle is the same-Dunn).
Take the real test only if and when – based on consistent scores from multiple practice tests (or practice test and practice questions for MCAT 2015 – Dunn) - you can expect to get the scores you need.
If you get the scores you need, don’t retake it merely because (before taking the real MCAT) you got higher practice test scores, and thus you think you should have scored better on the real test. You might do worse the next time, which would detract from the earlier higher scores!
But if you don’t get the scores you need, and if subsequent practice test scores are higher enough (not just higher than your existing actual MCAT scores, but also higher than your previous practice MCAT scores) then you have good reason to retake the MCAT and should not hesitate to do so. (…don’t rush a re-take!- Dunn)
From Mrs. Dunn – Of course, as we also enter the time of the new MCAT 2015 being taken by students for the first time, it might initially take some research and initiative to find out what MCAT score IS needed and what the medical school admissions offices will be looking for…My WOW thoughts: stay abreast of all MCAT 2015 news and resources (many are provided in the Modules of PMED), AND seek guidance from pre-health advisors and our own medical school admissions office when really in doubt or you have questions. OH and one last tidbit, if I may: If test anxiety is lurking out there for you, seek academic coaching or talk to a counselor in our Student Health and Counseling Office – they are EXPERTS at giving you the tools and strategies you need to overcome the impact of test anxiety!