Medical school is a 4-year journey of learning and experiences that prepares you for the rigors of a career as a physician. In this journey, your med school requirements are not your enemy, but your friend! From biochemistry to anatomy, you’ll study and be tested on the scientific foundations of medical treatments and ailments. While you will learn the ins and outs of the medical practice, you’ll also spend countless hoursstudying the medical sciences.
Med school requirements are “core” to your success
To prepare you for the journey, nearly every medical school requires you to complete a core group of classes that you’ll have to take if you’d like to be considered for admission, often referred to as med school requirements, or “pre-med” classes. Below is a list of courses required by the majority of medical schools. Do understand that some schools require more or less classes. Make sure to check out the requirements of the schools that interest you. Also, make an appointment to speak with your college’s pre-med advisor to set a plan in action for the classes you will need to be taking. Today’s premed students need to be on track in the first semester of their freshman year.
Online vs. in-person
Something to keep in mind is the fact that a majority of medical schools WON’T accept the online versions of any of the pre-med core classes, and a small few won’t accept community college credits for these classes. Check each school’s websites for specifics.
Why bother with this list? Well….these pre-med courses are the key to preparing you for the MCAT, and subsequently, the rigors of medical school. Most schools also encourage you to take a few “recommended classes.” These are not required for acceptance into their class, but they do prove helpful in preparing for a medical education—and the MCAT.
Aside from required undergraduate courses, medical schools require that you take the Medical College Admissions test, or MCAT. The MCAT is a 7.5-hour long test comprised of 4 sections—Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. The sections are separated by short breaks on test day. Even though the med school requirements will prepare you for the MCAT, you’ll likely spend time focused on studying for the actual test.
Universally Required Courses:
General Biology, and lab—1 year
General Chemistry, and lab—1 year
Organic Chemistry, and lab—1 year
Physics, and lab—1 year
English Composition—1 year
Molecular Biology*—1 semester
Upper level Biology courses**—6+ Credits
*WARNING: I highly recommend that you take 1 semester of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, as those two subjects are heavily tested on the MCAT!!
** Many schools require at least 6 credits of upper level Biology, which is satisfied by Molecular Biology and Biochemistry coursework.
Don’t let all of this freak you out! If you’re early in the process of preparing for medical school, understand that countless students have gone before you and there is plenty of time for you to succeed. If you’re further down the road and trying to wrap up your studies and take the MCAT, recognize that you’re almost there and your hard work is paying off!
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