med school math requirements

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med school math requirements

Postby rms5365ar » Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:24 pm

I'm currently ending my sophomore year at PSU and I'm not sure about certain classes I need for med school. Specifically, I'm unsure about calculus. I'm a B.S. in Psychology w/ neuroscience major and minor in bio, my gpa is at a 3.96. Unfortunately, my major does not require calc, even though people use the major to get into med school. I'm currently taking calc 1 now as an extra class, but I'm not performing up to my potential. It's my first time ever exposed to calc material and I currently have around a C+ - B-. At my school it is an extremely demanding due to our top engineering program and at least half drop it their first time around. I was wondering if I were to drop the class because of it hurting my gpa, should I retake it? or should I just not even bother? I know not many schools require the class and I did take a 200-level psych class and got an A in it. I'm really unsure of what to do, especially because my current adviser has absolutely no clue of what is even needed for med school. Please help :/

Re: med school math requirements

Postby DrDave » Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:30 am


Congratulations on having such a high GPA thus far. There are a few issues regarding how to handle your current class.

1. You should find out if the medical schools in which you are most likely to apply have a calculus requirement. While you can look in the AMSA's guide to medical schools, I was able to find great current information at this link regarding math requirements for medical schools <link removed November 22, 2012 due to no longer being active>. The table is obviously the meat of the information, however, to give a brief overview of what is included:

About 40 % of U.S. medical schools have a formal requirement for mathematics, although the specific math
requirements vary extensively from school to school. Many medical schools will accept AP or IB credits to meet
the math requirement, while other schools (like some schools in the California system) do not accept AP or IB
credits for math courses.
The information in this table was compiled from the 2011-2012 edition of the Medical School Admissions
Requirements (MSAR) published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC; and
from a spring 2010 review of individual medical school websites. Only schools with specific requirements or
strong recommendations are listed in this table. These tables are only meant to be guidelines; you should review
the MSAR and medical school websites for course recommendations before applying to individual medical schools.
Note that you must complete all required math courses prior to matriculation, not prior to application to medical
Reprinted from Medical School Admission Requirements, 2011-2012, United States and Canada, which is
published by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Many medical schools don't have a math requirement. Those that do, often don't require calculus. If the medical schools you are considering don't require calculus, it seems like you are causing yourself unnecessary grief. If they do require calculus, you should see if your college offers a version of calculus for non-engineers. They may have an easier version of the course. If it is required by a medical school, I would inquire with that particular school whether they would accept the coursework from a community college. Normally you don't want to take pre-med requirements at a community college, but the calculus requirement may be worth exploring as a possible exception, especially if the medical school will say they accept it.

2. The issue I really can't comment much about is whether to withdraw from your current course. I don't know how this will appear on your transcript. If it is early enough to withdraw where it won't show up at all on your transcription, then your decision is a lot simpler. If it will show up on your transcript as a withdrawal, then you would need to be prepared to explain the withdrawal on your transcript. I don't know too much about how medical schools look at withdrawals, but I have heard that having one or two withdrawals is not a huge deal, especially if you have a reasonable explanation. It certainly looks better than a bad grade.

If your advisor doesn't even know what you need for medical school, make sure that you take the required pre-med courses: 1 year general chemistry with lab, 1 year biology with lab, 1 year organic chemistry with lab, and 1 year physics.

Best of luck!
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