Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Answers

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Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Answers

Postby DrDave » Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:49 am

<Updated 2/23/11 with additional info on GPA and MCAT acceptance rates>

Medical school requirements seems to be the most common topic for questions and issues on this website and my former website. So - here's the information most people sought:

Q. What classes do I need to take in college to go to medical schoool?

A. Most medical schools have the same basic requirements:

1 year physics
1 year general chemistry
1 year biology
1 year organic chemistry
1 year english

The above classes are sometimes referred to as the "pre-med requirements". Those students who are "pre-med" are going to take the above classes. See below about majors.

A few medical schools also require calculus. You can usually find out what the requirements are for any specific school by looking at that medical school's website. There is also a book, Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR), which gives the specific requirements for each medical school. I know that my college had a copy of it in the library, and my guess is that would be true for most colleges.

Q. What is the MCAT?

A. Medical College Admissions Test. For those that like the SAT's (at least from when I took it):

SAT : MCAT :: College : Medical School

For those who don't care for the SAT's, the MCAT is the test you take to get into medical school. Almost all medical schools require the MCAT. It is a multiple choice test (with an essay section) in the areas of biological sciences, physical sciences, verbal reasoning, and a writing sample. Each section (except the writing sample) is scored from 1 to 15, with 15 being best. The courses mentioned above are basically what the MCAT tests on. You can often find out what the average MCAT scores were for people who got into a specific medical school. Great MCAT scores alone will never get you into medical school (but they do help). Bad MCAT scores can probably keep you out of medical school.

Q. What should I major in? Do I major in 'pre-med'?

A. First off, there is no such major as 'pre-med'. Pre-med is a term which refers to students who are planning on going to medical school and therefore take the classes required for medical school. You can major in any field and be pre-med if you took the above classes and are planning on going to medical school. As to what any specific person should major in, the general advice I've heard is that you should major in what you find most interesting to you. Medical schools don't select applicants based on their majors. You will find more doctors that majored in the sciences, just by the nature of the people that become doctors. Also, if you take all of the pre-med courses, you will be close to having completed a major in biology or chemistry. Once you are in medical school, though, you will be taking all of the science courses that you could possibly want. Take advantage of the courses that are offered at your college that you won't have a chance to take again later in life. I've known doctors who major in just about every field imaginable - from philosophy to religion to music to physics. Take what is interesting, as long as you take all the pre-med requirements.

Q. What GPA do I need to get into medical school?

A. I have never heard of a particular GPA that will keep a person out of medical school, or any particular number of bad grades that will keep you out, but the more C's you get, the more unlikely it becomes you will get into a medical school. I'd say that the closer you get to a 3.0, the more difficult it becomes as well. Most people probably have GPA's around the 3.5 range or better. Generally, I'd say that the worse your MCAT scores are, the better your GPA would have to be. Better MCAT scores definitely seem to help lower GPA's.

<Update 2/23/11 - see this thread with detailed tables on MCAT and GPA requirements>

Q. What MCAT score do I need to get into medical school?

A. Similar to the GPA question, there is no definite answer. I'd say most people have 10's to 12's but some people have 8's and 9's and may still get into medical school.

Just to give some more specific statistics, based on this page from University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign's website, in 2003 they give some of the averages for MCATs and GPAs for the Illinois schools.

Northwestern: 6800 applicants, 660 interviewed, 170 accepted. GPA avg=3.7, MCAT avg=11
Rush: 3700 applicants, 475 interviewed, 120 accepted. GPA avg=3.55, MCAT avg=10
Chicago Medical School: 6000 apps, 617 interviewed, 189 accepted. GPA=3.3, MCAT=28
Univ of Chicago: 3780 apps, 500 interviewed, 104 accepted. GPA=3.6, MCAT=10.8
Loyola: 6300 apps, 600 interviews, 130 accepted. GPA=3.61. MCAT=10
Southern Illinois: 1000 apps, 250 interviewed, 72 accepted. GPA=3.5, MCAT=30
Univ of Illinois: 4000 apps, 740 interviewed, 300 accepted. GPA=3.56, MCAT=30

<Update 2/23/11 - see this thread with detailed tables on MCAT and GPA requirements>

Q. What other factors are there in getting accepted into medical school?

A. I'd have to say that GPA and MCAT scores account for a large majority of what admissions boards look into when deciding whether you would get an interview. Based on what I've heard, the other factors are - what school you went to for undergraduate (some schools have a reputation of having much more rigorous pre-med courses than others), extracurricular activities, research experience, letters of recommendation, volunteer experience, and just plain other factors. Additionally, if you have a problem on your transcript, you'd better have a good explanation as to why it happened and how you will make sure something like that doesn't happen again.

For the time being - that should be a start. Feel free to ask your questions and I'll do my best to answer.
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Postby nikki9822 » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:19 am

Does the one year of biology mean Bio I and II, or can anatomy/physiology take the place of Bio II?
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Postby DrDave » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:49 pm

nikki9822 wrote:Does the one year of biology mean Bio I and II, or can anatomy/physiology take the place of Bio II?


Medical schools typically expect it to be Bio I and II - with a lab to go along with it. Same with General Chemistry I and II (with lab). At decent colleges, these are often "weed out" classes that tend to be fairly demanding.
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Postby cristy » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:00 pm

I was just wondering if I will still be able to get into medical school if I received a letter grade of a D for physics II and organic I but took them over and received an A or B the second time around? I will really appreciate if you answered my question. Thank you.
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Postby DrDave » Fri May 01, 2009 3:53 am

Cristy,

Getting D's in the pre-med courses is definitely a problem. If you retook them and got A's, and your other grades are all decent (meaning your overall GPA is over 3.5), then I think you could potentially still get into a medical school. I would also think you would need to have a good explanation as to why your grades were so low. I think it also depends on what college you are attending, what your MCAT scores are, and how you did in your other classes.
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Postby Arzo » Sat May 09, 2009 11:33 pm

doest it matter what school you go to for your undergraduate? i mean does it matter if you go to UC's or CSU's ? if you can please answer this thanks :)
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Postby DrDave » Sun May 10, 2009 4:02 am

Arzo,

I assume by UC you mean Univ of California, and by CSU you maybe mean Colorado State.

I would say the college you go to, assuming it is a full four year college, won't make that much difference to most medical school admission boards. It probably does make a difference if you are applying to one of the very elite medical schools, such as Harvard. You do want to make sure the college does have a pre-med track - their basic science courses need to be sufficient to meet the requirements of someone who is applying to medical school.
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Postby Arzo » Sat May 16, 2009 4:25 am

Thank you so much for the information :)
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Postby kdobbsrn » Wed May 20, 2009 8:42 pm

I am an RN. I have been a nurse for three years and I have decided to try to go to medical school. My current GPA is a 3.31. I had a D in pharmacology when I was in nursing school but I did retake it. I will be transferring to Mississippi State University this Fall from a community college. I have had an A in all of my classes since returning to school. Do you have any advice for me?
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Postby DrDave » Fri May 22, 2009 1:30 am

kdobbsrn,

I think it is very promising that you have gotten all A's since returning to school. You should be prepared to have a good explanation why you got a D in pharmacology the first time through. I think that you will have a much better idea of your chances of getting into medical school once you start taking the pre-med classes at a four year college. If you find that you do well in the pre-med science classes, then medical school may be the right fit for you. Those classes will be much more challenging than the classes you've taken at a community college. I wish you luck.
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Postby pharmd » Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:10 am

Hi. Just curious. I am currently enrolled at Ohio Northern University in the Pharmacy college which is a direct entry 0-6 year PharmD program and have a GPA of 3.15 and am involved in many extra cirriculars and also have lots of volunteer experience. However, several of my credit hours have been transferred into ONU from the post-secondary option in high school as well as a few others including OChem and religion. Is medical school a likely option for me?
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Postby mandarynka » Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:47 am

Hey. Ok so, I have had a rough year. I went through a traumatic experience this year and it took a toll on my academic performance. I got a D in bio and then did a withdraw for the second bio course. I go to an ivy and its ridiculously hard for me so I was thinking about just doing my regular double major and then doing post back at a regular university. I think that that way I will have a higher GPA as an undergrad and then have a good science GPA doing the post back. Any input? I'm not sure if I should just follow through with the premed or take time off from it until postback and just take them all at once at an easier school?
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Postby jamil » Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:34 pm

hello, i was just wondering if honors classes at a community college would be worth taking to make my chances of getting into medical school better. and also do letters of recomendation and becoming a teachers assistant in community college matter?
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Postby DrDave » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:42 am

mandarynka,

I think your plan is reasonable, although I don't have experience to know if post bacc programs are really going to be any easier than your pre-med courses at an IVY league school. The path you are suggesting makes sense if you can be fairly sure you will do well in a post-bacc program. Was the class hard because of your school, or because the material is hard to learn no matter what school you attend? Make sure you aren't just putting off finding out that medical school is not a good fit for you.
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Postby DrDave » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:49 am

jamil,

I think doing extra things at a community college, while maybe helpful, are not nearly as important as doing well in pre-med level science classes. In my opinion, the two most important factors in getting into medical school are GPA (both science and non-science) and MCAT scores. I doubt the things you are suggesting will make a significant difference in getting into medical school or not.
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Postby jamil » Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:46 pm

thanks, your very helpful!
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Postby Marlene » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:53 am

Hello. My question is this : i'll be starting nursing school next year to receive my BSN. I do wish to go to med school after i finish nursing school. I have the majority of my requirements for med school. However, i am not pleased with my performance of my undergraduate career due to personal circumstances. I was thinking about retaking my classes (starting over) so that my grades are better. Would think be a likely solution for me to get into med school?
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Postby Lalita » Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:40 pm

hello, i just wonder if you know anything about a scholarship into medical school?
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Postby DrDave » Sat Jun 13, 2009 3:44 pm

Lalita,

There are both academic and need-based scholarships available. Academic scholarships are rare, but I do know a few people who managed to find and get them. Most people qualify for some type of need-based scholarship. Most people also take out a large amount of loans to cover the costs of medical school. I know that I also had considered MD/PhD programs when I was applying. In those programs, you typically get a tuition waiver and are given a stipend while working on your PhD. Those programs are competitive and are very challenging - not just academically challenging. The people I know who completed the programs had a difficult time with the transition from research back to clinical work, and then with choosing a final career path that would allow them to do everything they enjoyed. In the end I think they have all found a very satisfactory career, but there were many challenges along the way.
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Postby pharmd » Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:21 am

Hi. Just curious. I am currently enrolled at Ohio Northern University in the Pharmacy college which is a direct entry 0-6 year PharmD program and have a GPA of 3.15 and am involved in many extra cirriculars and also have lots of volunteer experience. However, several of my credit hours have been transferred into ONU from the post-secondary option in high school as well as a few others including OChem and religion. Is medical school a likely option for me?
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Postby Ani » Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:17 am

Hi,
I wanted to know if a bachelor degree is required for med school? I've looked into dental schools n they recommend it but don't require it. I wanted to know if the same applies for med school. Id really appreciate your help. thanks!

Ani
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Postby Davis » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:41 am

Hello,

I got my degree via an online studies with a 2.8 GPA. I also attened a Graduate program online, graduating with a 3.83 GPA. How likely would it be for me to get into medical school with the degrees that I currenlty hold?
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Answers

Postby cindynhuyle » Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:32 pm

Hi,

I am currently working FT with a master degree in Occupational therapy. I would like to go back for medical school. I have undergraduate GPA of 2.7 (Not great, I know...I wasn't very focueds and figured "C's get degrees too"--horrible status of mind at that time) and a graduate GPA of 3.12 at Boston University (both undergraduate and graduate). I have not completed all my pre-med requirements, should I apply for a postbac. premed program or just self study/online classes to prepare for the MCAT? Will medical school accept me even if I didn't not complete the pre-med course but did well on the MCAT (take in consideration of my low GPA)? If anyone know more about this process, please contact me. I absolutely, positively and passionately want to pursue this career greatly. Email: cindynhuyle@gmail.com
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Answers

Postby DrDave » Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:12 am

PharmD,

I'm not familiar with the post-secondary option for high school, but it sounds similar to AP classes. I am not sure how medical schools will view your particular post-secondary option courses. I know that in my case, I only took AP physics in high school and didn't take any in college. I've never heard of an AP version of organic chemistry, but I went to high school 20 years ago. I think a GPA of 3.15 is on the low side if you are interested in medical school. Your other experiences mean significantly less to a medical admission's board compared to your GPA and MCAT scores. I am not saying you couldn't get accepted to medical school, I'm just thinking you need to be prepared for the possibility that you may not get accepted.

Ani,

You'd have to look at the specific medical schools as to whether they require a bachelor's degree. Some do and some don't. You would have to take all of the required pre-med classes.

Davis,

I have no idea how medical schools would view on-line degrees. Your undergraduate GPA is definitely low, but your graduate GPA is decent. I am not aware of any on-line programs that would offer the required pre-med courses, as your classes need to include a lab experience. While I have no information personally, I would be very surprised if a medical admission's board would accept someone who took mostly online courses. It would be very important for you to explain why you took your courses on-line as opposed to a typical university.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Answers

Postby DrDave » Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:15 am

Cindy,

I don't have any specific recommendations for you. Your GPA is definitely on the low side for medical school. My understanding is that you have to complete the required pre-med coursework. Just taking the MCAT and doing well is not enough.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Answers

Postby Lil » Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:35 pm

Can I still get accepted to med school with a bachelors degree from a trade school?
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Answers

Postby DrDave » Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:17 pm

Lil,

I'm not sure what type of trade school. But I think if you have any bachelor's degree you would just need to take the required pre-med classes and take the MCAT to be eligible for medical school. I would definitely suggest you check with a medical school you might consider and ask them if they would accept your credentials.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby serena » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:38 am

I am a biochem major and I am going to graduate this spring. My current GPA is 3.1. My college does not allow me to retake the classes that I got a C or higher. I have quite a lot of C's, but I can't retake these classes because it would be considered "illegal". What score (MCAT) do you think I have to get to be able to get into medical school? I don't mind getting into an unpopular/less well-known medical school. Any medical school is fine with me.lol
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:40 am

It's really hard to say what the right number is for MCAT and GPA, but I just saw a nice website that can give you a better idea of real world experiences:

mdapplicants.com

It seems like they have a lot of data, and you can search for specific criteria you are interested in - such as people who have gotten accepted into medical school with a GPA between 3.0 and 3.1

People have gotten in, but when you look through their information you'll find a large variety of stories. Just a quick scan I did it seemed like several went to DO schools instead of MD. Also, some had other careers between college and applying to medical school, or they had some graduate school experience.

The bottom line is that you will do the best you can on the MCAT and then you'll have to see if you are a competitive applicant at that point.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby ananoza » Wed May 12, 2010 7:04 pm

Hi,
So I took Biochemistry last semster and got a C+ (mostly b/c I had too much time on my plate that semester). This is my lowest grade so for and I go to Rutgers University. Overall my GPA is in the high 3.6 range and my science is over a 3.5. Will the C+ affect my chances of medical school??? or will i be ok as long as I do well on my MCATs :?: Thank you and please resond soon :o
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby Kiersten » Wed May 12, 2010 11:00 pm

Hi my name is Kiersten. I am a student who is majoring in Biology and I absolutely done poor in the subject. I have received two D's and it has completely destroyed my GPA. My intended career is to become a Pediatrician and and Immunologist in adolescence. My question is can I major in Anatomy and still get into medical school?
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Thu May 13, 2010 9:41 pm

ananoza wrote:Hi,
So I took Biochemistry last semster and got a C+ (mostly b/c I had too much time on my plate that semester). This is my lowest grade so for and I go to Rutgers University. Overall my GPA is in the high 3.6 range and my science is over a 3.5. Will the C+ affect my chances of medical school??? or will i be ok as long as I do well on my MCATs :?: Thank you and please resond soon :o


Ananoza - Your overall GPA and science GPA are both decent, in spite of your C+. I'd think that with good MCAT's, you'd still be a reasonable applicant at many medical schools. Just my opinion, as I've never been privy to actual admission's decisions other than my own.

Kiersten wrote:Hi my name is Kiersten. I am a student who is majoring in Biology and I absolutely done poor in the subject. I have received two D's and it has completely destroyed my GPA. My intended career is to become a Pediatrician and and Immunologist in adolescence. My question is can I major in Anatomy and still get into medical school?


Kiersten - your major has no significant impact on your chances of getting into medical school. You just need to take the required pre-med courses and the MCAT. Any major is acceptable. However, if you received two D's in biology, you will have a VERY difficult time getting accepted into medical school. If you struggled with general biology, you likely will have a very difficult time with the basic medical school curriculum.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby Shams » Fri May 14, 2010 5:49 pm

hi, i was wondering, i have began my med school requirements at a community college, what courses can i take there that won't decreases my chance of getting in to med school, because i was told that i have to take some of the important science courses at a university like the organic chemistry courses, since the courses at the university at considered more challenging or difficult than at a community college. which would play a role in choosing applicants.so i want to know which courses can i take at the community and which courses at the university while keeping my chances good?
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Fri May 14, 2010 7:43 pm

Shams wrote:hi, i was wondering, i have began my med school requirements at a community college, what courses can i take there that won't decreases my chance of getting in to med school, because i was told that i have to take some of the important science courses at a university like the organic chemistry courses, since the courses at the university at considered more challenging or difficult than at a community college. which would play a role in choosing applicants.so i want to know which courses can i take at the community and which courses at the university while keeping my chances good?


Shams - You would need to take the required pre-med courses at a 4 year college. A medical school generally won't accept the pre-med courses taken at a community college. You can take courses at the community college that will help you complete your degree at the 4 year university reducing the amount of time and expense for the 4 year college, but make sure you take the science classes at the 4 year college and that they are at the appropriate level for pre-med (the same classes someone majoring in those fields would take - eg. biology for biology majors, chemistry for chemistry majors).

Here's another thread about transferring from Community College as a pre-med student.

Best of luck!
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby ananoza » Fri May 21, 2010 4:50 pm

Hi,
So I went through a hard school year there was a lot going on, but because of everything I ended up with 3 C+ for this year :( (in science classes) my Science gpa is around a 3.45 now and my cumulative is around 3.63. With a killer MCAT score do i still have a chance of getting into an MD medical school?
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Fri May 21, 2010 11:19 pm

ananoza wrote:Hi,
So I went through a hard school year there was a lot going on, but because of everything I ended up with 3 C+ for this year :( (in science classes) my Science gpa is around a 3.45 now and my cumulative is around 3.63. With a killer MCAT score do i still have a chance of getting into an MD medical school?


Getting C+'s in science classes will definitely hurt. I'm surprised you managed to keep a 3.45 GPA in science with 3 C+'s. Were all of your other science grades A's? Was there something specific going on in your life that could explain the low grades? If you have a reasonable explanation for the low grades, and you can show that you are able to get good grades in tough science classes, then perhaps a good MCAT may give you a chance. It wouldn't hurt to to discuss your situation with your school's pre-med advisor. I'm curious what an expert thinks. Obviously the C's hurt but the GPA isn't really that bad.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby ananoza » Sat May 22, 2010 5:20 am

This was the year I discovered Test Anxiety for the first time in my life, that in addition to a heavy course load filled with lots of upper class science classes and studying for my MCATs really hurt my grades. I haven't recieved ALL A's in my science classes but I do have mostly As and B+ and I have taken a lot of science classes I am a Cell Biology and Neuroscience and Psychology double major and I also hold a leadership position in an honors fraternity which also takes a lot of time (plus I work in a Research laboratory for more than 15 hours every week-during the weekdays when I am not in class).
:(
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Tue May 25, 2010 11:57 pm

ananoza wrote:This was the year I discovered Test Anxiety for the first time in my life, that in addition to a heavy course load filled with lots of upper class science classes and studying for my MCATs really hurt my grades. I haven't recieved ALL A's in my science classes but I do have mostly As and B+ and I have taken a lot of science classes I am a Cell Biology and Neuroscience and Psychology double major and I also hold a leadership position in an honors fraternity which also takes a lot of time (plus I work in a Research laboratory for more than 15 hours every week-during the weekdays when I am not in class).
:(


Ananoza,

Interesting situation. If the C+'s were in higher level science classes and you had done well on the basic pre-med courses, it may not hurt quite as much. I'm not sure why I think that would be the case, but it seems logical to me that other pre-med students would only have the pre-med classes in their science GPA so comparing apples to apples would be comparing their pre-med course GPA to your pre-med course GPA.

The bigger issue for you may be your test anxiety. If your test anxiety was a major contributor, you'll want to get some help to address it. You aren't going to want to have to worry about test anxiety when taking the MCAT or board exams.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby akanksha » Mon May 31, 2010 1:00 am

Is it required that we get a bacchalearete before going to med school?
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Mon May 31, 2010 7:49 pm

akanksha wrote:Is it required that we get a bacchalearete before going to med school?


Most medical schools do have a requirement for an undegraduate degree, but there are some medical schools that do not have this requirement. You can check with the particular school you would be considering. In almost all cases, applicants have a degree. There was a discussion on this topic a while ago:

Do you need an undergraduate degree to get accepted into medical school?
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby Gary Barta » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:55 am

I graduated from undergrad with an abismal GPA of 2.0, which was attributed to a late diagnosed learning disorder. I recently graduated law school with a 3.5 GPA. I was a political science major with absolutely no science background. I am interested in pursuing a medical degree and was wondering if anybody would be kind enough to provide me an honest assessment of my chances for admission. Further, if certain science classes are required, would I be able to knock those out in one year and proceed to med school?
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:38 pm

Gary Barta wrote:I graduated from undergrad with an abismal GPA of 2.0, which was attributed to a late diagnosed learning disorder. I recently graduated law school with a 3.5 GPA. I was a political science major with absolutely no science background. I am interested in pursuing a medical degree and was wondering if anybody would be kind enough to provide me an honest assessment of my chances for admission. Further, if certain science classes are required, would I be able to knock those out in one year and proceed to med school?


Your undergraduate GPA is obviously very low relative to the typical medical school student's college GPA. It is interesting you were able to get into law school with that GPA. I'm curious how you managed to accomplish getting into law school, as a similar approach may work for you for medical school. As your law school GPA was very solid, I'm guessing you must have found some way to adapt to your learning disorder. You are fortunate that your learning disorder is something amenable to adaptations / treatment. If your can demonstrate an ability to do adequately in medical school, you actually may have a chance of getting in - assuming you can demonstrate to the admission's board that your learning disorder will not prevent you from learning the necessary material, as you can explain the reason for your low GPA and why that should not be significantly factored in.

Your grades in the required pre-med science courses will be essential. If you do well in those courses at this time, you would have further data to show the admission's board that your performance in college does not represent what you are now capable of doing. I think the quickest you could reasonably expect to take the pre-med courses would be a 2 year period.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby Gary Barta » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:53 am

Dr. Dave, I very much appreciate you prompt response and insight. As for attending law school with a 2.0 GPA, I was diagnosed with severe ADHD prior to taking the LSAT. With treatment and accomodation on the LSAT, I was able to do well enough for a school to take a chance with admitting me. Although having to take two years of required classes before ever being accepted to any medical school, I have a lot to think about. Thanks.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby savs » Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:07 am

hello,
I am a canadian student who is applying to med school in the states and although my GPA when converted into American Schools becomes depressingly low (probably below 3). Because although my average is high for my 2nd and third year it was increadibly low my first year of university (I go to a very competitive school and they were weening students out inorder to reach capacity) I am a pharmacy technician, and I have volunteered everywhere (from teaching little kids how to read, to volunteering over 300 hours at a hospital, to raising $13,000 to build a school in Africa), I am writing my MCAT this year but do you think that I am reaching too high with my GPA being that low.


Thanks.
savs
 

Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:44 am

savs wrote:hello,
I am a canadian student who is applying to med school in the states and although my GPA when converted into American Schools becomes depressingly low (probably below 3). Because although my average is high for my 2nd and third year it was increadibly low my first year of university (I go to a very competitive school and they were weening students out inorder to reach capacity) I am a pharmacy technician, and I have volunteered everywhere (from teaching little kids how to read, to volunteering over 300 hours at a hospital, to raising $13,000 to build a school in Africa), I am writing my MCAT this year but do you think that I am reaching too high with my GPA being that low.


Thanks.


Based on your GPA alone, you will have a difficult time getting accepted into medical school. The fact that the college was trying to weed out students won't make a difference as most decent colleges have pre-med courses that are trying to weed out students. If there was some other reason for your low grades, which you corrected to improve your grades later on, you may have a better explanation to give to medical school admission committees.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby nicose » Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:54 am

good day, is it human biology a 3-year course good for a pre-med?? thank you
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:07 am

nicose wrote:good day, is it human biology a 3-year course good for a pre-med?? thank you


I'm not sure what you mean exactly, but I'm guessing you are asking if a 3rd year level course in human biology would be good for someone interested in going to medical school?

1. If you are asking whether it will help your chances of getting into medical school, then the answer is that no specific course will improve your chances of getting into medical school. The medical school admission committees don't seem to really care much about your specific coursework or your major, as long as you complete the pre-med requirements. If you do get an A in a science class, though, it will help your overall and your science GPA. If you know you can get a good grade in that class, then perhaps in some way it may be beneficial.

2. If you are asking whether that course will benefit you once you are in medical school - that's hard to say. Some people suggest you are better off saving medical school type courses for medical school. Their reasoning is that you'll need to learn the material in medical school either way, and taking it as an undergraduate takes away an opportunity to take another course that may be of interest to you. If it is a really good teacher and it is material you think you will struggle with in medical school, then perhaps it can make the medical school experience slightly less intense. Having said that, I don't really think that any undergrad level courses could have prepared me for medical school coursework in a meaningful way. Everyone is different though and there were a few classmates of mine who seemed to already know everything before we covered the material in medical school.

If you meant something else by your question, please elaborate and I will do my best to answer.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby mjohny » Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:41 pm

Hey, I just started my first year in college and I want to go to medical school in the future, but I want to know which is better to do ?:
Take an easy major I like (non-science) like lets say an "art major" and focus on my medical school required courses like biology, etc and try get A's on both, the "easy" major courses and Med school required courses, and keep my GPA up.
OR
Take a hard science major like lets say "marine biology" and do the required medical school courses along with the marine biology courses. It will be hard but it might help my SCIENCE GPA since I got more science courses and might get a better average but im not sure if thats the right decision though.

I'll be really thankful if you'll answer my question and if there are any additional info. i should know about, feel free to add them in.
Thank you so much.
mjohny
 

Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:45 am

mjohny,

Good question but I don't think there is any definite answer on this one. It actually seems like you outlined the pros/cons of each route pretty well already.

It won't hurt you any to take a non-science major - although I would recommend you major in a field where you will have career options if medical school doesn't work out for you. Being an "art major" may not offer you the graduate school or career options for which you'd be looking. Majoring in a science field may offer you a chance to improve your science GPA, but that is a risky move since some of the high level science classes may be harder than you expect.

You can also be a non-science major and try to find some easy science classes that will pad your science GPA. Ultimately, I think it all balances out in the end. If you are on the borderline of being able to get into medical school, then perhaps course selection may make a difference in how good your GPA is.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby Sans Sciences » Sat Jul 03, 2010 12:05 am

I'm 24. I graduated from LMU with a 3.8 GPA, majoring in Film and Philosophy. I was accepted into law school, but after one year of it, I am sure that I do not wish to pursue a legal career. Now I think that my best choice for the future is to attend med school and train for psychiatry or neurobiology, though I presently have no science or math education beyond high school courses (Anatomy, Bio, AC Physics, AP Calculus, etc.), plus undergrad Math 100 and an intro science class for non-majors that wouldn't classify as any of the required pre-meds. (I had always been averse to sciences in high school and college; however, since about a year ago, I've had a growing fascination with psych and evolutionary bio.) My plan is to sufficiently learn all the necessary science in order to perform well on the MCAT. I've always been an autodidact, so I'm confident I can do so -- and rather quickly.

Do you have any recommendations for helpful study texts? Would MCAT prep courses devote significant time to covering precisely that science knowledge one needs to learn for the test? And finally, since I'll need to take the pre-med required courses, do you think I can just enroll to take them all at a community college and be finished this upcoming Spring or even this Fall? (I'd prefer online courses, but I realize the lab requirements would render that practically prohibited.)

As you can tell, I wish to get started as soon as possible. My hopeful plan is to learn all I'll need for the MCAT in the next few months and take the MCAT in time to apply for Fall 2011. Assuming I achieve a high enough MCAT score and earn A's this Fall, would schools be very likely to accept me (on condition that my Spring grades turn out to be adequate and then sent in)?

Thank you very much.
Sans Sciences
 

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