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Pre-med Requirements: Classes You Need for Medical School
Thinking of pursuing a career in medicine? Becoming a doctor is a popular career choice, as it’s a highly lucrative and rewarding path. If you have dreams of going to medical school and becoming a physician, you may be wondering what it takes. So, let’s discuss everything you need to know about pre-med requirements and applying to med school!
Also see: How to attend medical school for free
What is pre-med?
Pre-med is not a program or major, but rather a collection of required classes that most students complete during their undergrad. It is the term used by undergraduate students who plan to attend medical school and are taking the required courses. This means you can major in anything you’d like, as long as you complete the courses required for medical school. So you could be a Spanish major or an Economics major and be pre-med as long as you’re on track to attend medical school after graduation.
There are certain majors that are popular among pre-med students because the required courses overlap with pre-med courses. These are some of the most popular pre-med majors:
You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to apply to medical school, so the pre-med track takes four years to complete for most students.
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What are the pre-med course requirements?
Medical schools will only consider applicants who have completed certain courses during their undergrad years. Most medical schools require the following courses, without exception:
- Biology – 2 semesters with lab
- Physics – 2 semesters with lab
- General chemistry – 2 semesters with lab
- Organic chemistry – 2 semesters with lab
- Biochemistry – 1 semester
- English – 2 semesters
- Math – 2 semesters
Undergraduate course requirements vary among medical schools, so be sure to check the specific requirements of any schools that you have in mind.
Also see: How to become a nurse
Now that we’ve gone over the academic requirements you need to complete, let’s talk about a few other things that you should keep in mind as you look forward to medical school.
First up is GPA. If you plan to apply to medical school, it’s important to keep your GPA as high as you can. You don’t need a perfect GPA to get into medical school, but the higher it is, the more competitive you will be as an applicant.
Medical schools want to get to know who you are outside of academics, and extracurriculars are a great way to show them. Consider taking a job that can offer you clinical experience, shadowing medical professionals or volunteering your time!
Last up to talk about is the MCAT! The MCAT is like any other standardized test that schools can use to try and assess how well prepared students are for the material they’ll cover in medical school. In the case of the MCAT, you will be tested on these following sections:
- Critical Analysis and Reading Skills (CARS)
You should give yourself at least 4-6 months to study for the MCAT, which means you will likely be studying for it during your time as an undergrad if you plan to attend medical school immediately after undergrad.
See also: Top medical school scholarships
Final thoughts on pre-med requirements
As you can see, the pre-med track is demanding to say the least. But it’s certainly not impossible. Countless students have conquered pre-med and gone on to enjoy rewarding careers as doctors. If your dream is to go to medical school, don’t let the rigorous pre-med track and application process stand in your way.
Related: Grad school financing options
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Frequently asked questions about pre-med requirements
What major is best for pre-med?
As med schools begin to place more emphasis on well-rounded applicants, these other fields are becoming increasingly feasible for applicants. If you don’t take any classes related to med school, a humanities major will not set you up for success.
Can you do pre-med in 2 years?
Some schools also require that their students take four years of classes to earn their bachelor’s. So, while it might be challenging to complete your pre-med in 2 years, it is possible!
Do minors matter for medical school?
What majors do best on the MCAT?
Is psychology a pre-med major?