7 Tips for applicants with a low MCAT score

7 Tips for Applicants with Low MCAT Scores



Getting into medical school or college with a low MCAT score is no mean feat and something which is far from easy. However, before you give up and turn your back on your dreams of a top-notch education and successful career, there are some tips and pieces of advice we’d encourage you to bear in mind.

Because while being an applicant to med school with a low MCAT score puts you at something of a disadvantage, it doesn’t make getting into college impossible. In fact, there are many ways you can seriously boost your chances of success, and demonstrate to the admissions officers overseeing your application that you’re actually a highly suitable candidate.

It’s going to take some seriously hard work, a lot of effort, and even more dedication… but you know as well as we do that it will all be worth it in the end when that acceptance letter comes through your door. Take our advice, take the steps necessary, and keep yourself focused on the ultimate goal. Who knows where your efforts will take you?


Tip 1: Strive to do Better

This may seem like stating the obvious, but there’s an important point to be made here. Your less-than-perfect MCAT score has shown that you aren’t as yet the ideal candidate for your course, but admissions officers love students who can show dedication, and demonstrate that they’re on an upward curve of success. No matter what point of your premed journey you’re currently at, there’s still time to show that you’re improving all the time, and striving for academic success that can help you shine.


Tip 2: Submit Early 

There’s a lot to be said for getting your application in as early as possible, and yes, it does actually make a difference. It demonstrates decisiveness, resolve, and a willingness to get ahead, and can actually put your low MCAT scores in a more positive light.

Late applications are – of course – still accepted by many colleges, but by submitting late you’re even further decreasing your chances of an acceptance, not least at colleges with rolling admissions.


Tip 3: Be Strategic

If you’re planning on going to med school, then doing deep research should really be second nature to you. If your MCAT score didn’t turn out the way you wanted, it’s time to get out there and start looking for the colleges at which this might not make a whole load of differences.

There are plenty of med schools which really put a huge emphasis on test results and percentages. However, there is also a decent amount which doesn’t and prefers to take a more holistic approach. Take the time to research MCAT and GPA averages, and include schools on your list which you fall into the ranges of, alongside the schools which you’re reaching to get into. This doesn’t mean you can’t dream big… it just means that everyone can benefit from an effective and realistic plan B.


Tip 4: Make sure your personal statement is perfect

 Personal statements for medical school are among the most important texts you may ever have to write in your life. They require plenty of time and effort and need to be absolutely spot on if they’re going to result in that all-important application letter (especially if you can’t rely on a star-standard MCAT score to carry you through).

If you simply don’t have the time or resources to write a winning admission paper, it might be time to call in the experts to help you with. With their help and expert guidance, the applications officers at your dream school will be so dazzled by your personal statement, they’ll surely be willing to overlook a less-than-perfect MCAT score, and give you the chance you’ve been hoping for.


Tip 5: Consider retaking the MCAT 

Everyone knows the MCAT is tough. It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming, and it’s no fun for anyone involved. However, if your score really isn’t going to do you any favors when it comes to getting into med school (and you can speak to your professors about the attainability of your ambitions), then you might just have to bite the bullet and retake the exam.

The medical profession requires plenty of humility. If you messed up the first MCAT, you’re going to have to take a long, hard look at yourself, and consider what it is you did wrong, and what you’ll have to do differently. It may be that your entire approach was off the mark, or it may be that you fell down on just one or two points. Be humble, be realistic, and be objective – it will do you a whole load of favors when it comes to your retake.


Tip 6: Ask for help

If you were able to get into med school all by yourself, without anybody helping, guiding, or advising you, well, you’d already been there with no problems whatsoever. The fact of the matter is that somewhere along the line, you’ve made a mistake or taken the wrong approach, and as such, you’re going to need some guidance and help to achieve your dreams. Speak to your professors and see if they can arrange some one-to-one sessions for you with a tutor or mentor, and accept their advice with open arms. Also, many schools hold open days, conferences, events and panels – this can be enormously useful, so make the effort and go along to boost your knowledge and skills.


Tip 7: Don’t expect the world to owe you anything

 There are plenty of medical students who don’t get into the college they want the first time around – and that’s ok. Take the time to consider what it is you need to do and be pragmatic in your approach. Have a low GPA? It can take a year or two to pick that back up, so considering something like a postback might be a great option for you. Lacking clinical experience? It’s up to you to sort out those sorts of gaps in your skillset, so get on it and find an opening. Have to retake your MCAT? Don’t leave your revision and cramming until the last minute, and expect to breeze through it. All of these things take time, patience, and hard work… and nobody is responsible for your success other than yourself.



Tell us what you think by leaving a comment down below! For more pre-med tips and advice, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook, twitter, and pinterest!
Get Pre-Med Advice and Tips
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join hundreds of others who are receiving our newsletter and get special deals, discounts, and tips on how to improve your chances of getting into medical school.
Your email address is safe with us, we will not share it with anyone else.
Did you find this article helpful? Let us know!
[yop_poll id=”12″ tr_id=“jw7tipslowmcat”]
Jilian Woods

Jilian Woods

Jilian Woods is a medical student of Pediatric Faculty at Chicago Medical School. She is a freelance journalist, writer, and copywriter. Her work appears in various online publications, including The Daily Touch, Times Higher Education, Elephant Journal, and society19.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.