Medical school admissions requirements are actually very simple. What isn't as easy is knowing which extra classes will help you to get into medical school, and which ones will help you do well during medical school. If you haven't had a chance yet, look at the general steps of medical school admissions success.
Step 1 -Understanding the admissions process,
Step 2 -Killing the MCAT, and finally
Step 3 -Researching medical schools. Once you get this foundational information behind you, it will be much easier to move forward with the rest of this information.
Quick note about the MSAR: The MSAR, published by the AAMC, details some decent information about every school in the country. It has information about each schools range of scores, information about tuition and has course information about what each school requires. I recommend getting the MSAR but not getting the US NEWS ranking book. The information is fairly similar but the US NEWS information is just a little less accurate, and less helpful. Beyond that the ranking system that the US News report uses has been researched and seems to be fairly inadequate. Also, while this website has good information about medical schools, the AAMC will always have just a little bit of information than I cannot get access to. Though I have information they don't publish either so use both of us as resources.
Every medical school in the country requires:
- 2 Years (16 hours) of Chemistry with labs - one year of inorganic (general) chemistry and one year of organic chemistry
- 1 Year (8 hours) of Biology with lab
- 1 Year (8 hours) of Physics with lab
These are the classes that have the content of the MCAT as well. You should plan on taking these classes by Christmas break of your junior year for 2 reasons. First, so you have them on your application when applying. And second, so that you give yourself the best chance on the MCAT. Take these classes seriously and learn the material well.
Some schools have other requirements that should be checked out on a school-by-school basis. These requirement may be any of the following:
- Extra Biology classes
- College Mathematics
- Computer Science
- Social Science classes
Once you get an idea for the medical school admissions requirements for each school, make sure you make a schedule that gets the requirements done as early as possible. You should think of medical school admissions requirements as classes that should get done before your application, that way schools will see how you did on the classes they deem most important. Which is your time to shine.
While not medical school admissions requirements, many students ask what they should take with their elective classes. Some schools don't offer many classes that will help in medical school, but most do. The following is a list of classes you should consider, listed from most likely to help you in medical school to least likely:
- Biochemistry - preferably human specific classes. You really should have clear certain pathways in the human body. Glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, and other basic pathways are vital to the success of medical school and if you know them beforehand you will have a nice head start. In my experience biochemistry is the most failed class of first years.
- Human Physiology - many medical students struggle with this class first year. Anatomy seems to be a bigger emphasis in class so less people fail that. It isn't particularly difficult, but a head start will let you focus on the anatomy class and still be ok here.
- Human Anatomy - preferably with a cadaver lab. This will help give you a good foundation for anatomy and more importantly, you'll get used to working with a dead human being.
- Neuroscience - This is a less big class of first year, but often overlooked and for that reason many people struggle with it. Neuroscience is also extremely dense material and a foundation can help a lot to take pressure off of you and give you a little more time to focus on "bigger" classes.
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