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Getting Into Medical School Guide

Getting Into Medical School Guide

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Published by: Premed on Feb 10, 2009
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08/17/2013

The MCAT is a necessary standardized measure of applicants. Nontradi-

tionals are expected to complete the exam as all applicants are expected

to complete the exam. A particular concern for nontraditional applicants

(shown in the 1997 , 1998, 1999 Characteristics of Examinees and Summary

Data at http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/examineedata/pubs.htm) is a

general decline in average MCAT score with age. Simply put, on average

nontraditional applicants do not perform as well on the MCAT as younger

applicants. Many explanations for this effect are possible, but it is highly rec-

ommended that nontraditionals do the best they can on their MCAT exam.

Along those lines: A. Treat this exam seriously and give it as much attention

as possible, B. Find the methods thatworks best for you (Kaplan, Princeton,

exam prep courses, AAMC pretests etc), and C. Practice! Practice! Practice!

Nontraditional Applicants

60

Two notes are worth considering about the MCAT for nontraditionals:

A. For multiple and disparate reasons, several nontraditionals choose to

take their MCATs prior to completing the BCPM. In general, this is not

advised. In fact, many nontraditionals strongly advise against this. The

general rule of thumb is to only take the MCAT prior to the BCPM if you

have an unavoidable reason.

B. For multiple and disparate reasons, several nontraditionals choose to

retake their MCATs. Again this is not advised in general and evidence

shows that retaking the MCAT on average produces lower scores. Admission

committees do not universally combine multiple MCATs in standard ways;

e.g., some committees will only take the most recent, other committees will

average the scores, still others take the highest score on each section, etc.

In general it is advised to retake the MCAT only if there is a good reason

for doing so; e.g., illness or anomaly on the first exam, significantly different

preparation (such as completion of the BCPM), etc.

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