Honors College Student Achieves 99th Percentile on MCAT

Senior Kendyl Stewart recently placed in the 99th percentile among Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) takers — an astonishing accomplishment that has opened the doors to many new opportunities.

By cara perry, student life | 10/22/2015

As the fall semester speeds by and graduation day quickly approaches for seniors, the excitement and curiosity for what their future holds increases. Students have begun to receive their graduate admission test scores, apply to graduate school, and receive acceptance letters and job offers.

For Kendyl Stewart, a senior concentrating in biological chemistry and minoring in Spanish literature at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, her semester just got more exciting. Stewart recently found out that she placed in the 99th percentile among Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) takers ­­— an astonishing accomplishment that has opened the doors to many new opportunities.

MCAT exam scores are an important source of information for admission committees as they help determine a student’s readiness for academic success in medical school. This 7.5 hour-long test can be intimidating to students, but Stewart was not discouraged.

Stewart has been exposed to the medical field her entire life — her dad is a dentist and her mother and aunts are nurses.

“Growing up, it seemed like a natural career path, and as I grew older and began reflecting more deeply on the vocation I wanted to pursue, I felt like God was calling me to be a doctor,” she said.

Stewart took the MCAT in August, much later than most of her peers. She began to review and prepare in June, but her efforts were briefly interrupted by a summer study abroad program. When she returned to the United States from Spain, she only had three weeks to focus on MCAT preparation before her exam. Stewart followed an intense — and at times stressful — schedule of studying for eight to 12 hours a day, six days a week.

In spite of the stress, Stewart affirms that it was all worth it. Her scores caught the attention of a number of medical schools, and she now has the privilege of selecting the one that is the best fit for her.

I addition to her rigorous study schedule, Stewart said she prepared for the MCAT by taking a Kaplan course to learn test strategies and review material she felt less comfortable recalling, keeping up with her prerequisite courses, and paying close attention in her biology and science classes.

“Taking the time to learn something solidly the first time around means less reviewing down the line,” she added.

Stewart encourages students who are interested in attending medical school to follow their dreams — and take the MCAT as soon as their prerequisite courses are completed.

“I would recommend six to eight weeks of dedicated review and taking a review course. It is immensely beneficial,” she said.

Stewart also attributes much of her success to her Honors College professors.

“I would like to thank all of my biology and chemistry professors for the excellent instruction that helped me learn all the information I needed to succeed on the MCAT,” she said. “I would also like to give my thesis advisor, Ashley Kennedy, a special thanks for recommending the Kaplan review course to me.”

For more information about the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, visit www.fau.edu/honors.