There are a lot of pre med classes that pre med students are required to take in order to gain admission into medical school. The core courses are basically all the same, but some schools may require a few extra classes that they deem important. Below is a list of the core courses….and even further down is my advice on the courses.
These classes are difficult and can be very time consuming. I would highly recommend taking one sequence of classes every year in college. So for example year one take the biology sequence, then year two the inorganic chemistry classes and so on… This will make it so you can focus and get good grades in those pre reqs. This is possible only if you want to take a gap year, because it would leave you taking the MCAT and applying the year after you graduate. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a gap year, but if it isn’t something you want to do then I would recommend taking biology and inorganic chemistry your first year of college if you can. The majority of recommended courses (see below) require you to have your basic biology done, so by taking biology your first year it opens up the option to get some of these classes in as well.
I want to stress to you how important it is to pay attention and learn the material well while taking the required courses. If you do this it will pay off tremendously when studying for he MCAT. When I took basic biology and chemistry I was studying to get a grade, and I severely regretted that when it came time to study for the MCAT. I spent a lot more time relearning rather then reviewing the material tested on the MCAT. Had I learned the material better in the classes I am sure I would have saved time and dramatically increased my score.
So please…. take the classes serious and learn the material the best you can! If you focus on learning the material then the grade will follow I promise!
Then there are some classes that are not required (yet anyways) or are recommended…. see below for those
- A full year of Biochemistry (probably going to be required soon)
- Cell Biology
Psychology and Sociology are on the new MCAT, but I have yet to see them as required pre matriculation courses for many medical schools. I am sure in the future they will be required pre med classes…..
These science courses will prepare you well for the MCAT, so pay attention and really try to learn the material. I can attest first hand that it really sucks when you have to relearn subjects for the MCAT. Take the courses serious and learn all that you can, this way MCAT prep will be more of a review for you.
The majority of medical schools (MD and DO) in the United States require that all matriculating students have a bachelors degree. If you want to go to a Caribbean medical school or a podiatry school in the U.S.
A few applicants will have a masters or PhD level education when applying. While these degrees are not required for admission they can certainly help by making the applicant stand out to the admissions committee.
On the topic of degrees comes the idea that a particular major matters. Medical school admission committees will openly admit that a particular major does not matter in the reviewing of applicants. Some may think that it is advantageous to major in something other than science (i.e biology, chemistry) the fact of the matter is that you need to major in something that you enjoy, that way you can hopefully get a better non science GPA by studying an area of interest. Also, it makes your undergraduate career that much more enjoyable. If you enjoy what you are studying then you are more likely to do well in the classes. I switched my major four times while in undergrad, but in the end I graduated with a degree that I enjoyed learning about the topic, and I credit the enjoyment factor to helping me get a high science and non science GPA. (I studied Human Nutrition).
Post Bachelor Programs (Post-Bac)
These programs are abundant and very useful to the right people. These are basically a program that a student who already graduated with a bachelors degree and/or someone who didn’t do well in undergraduate can go back to undergraduate and take science courses to improve GPA and show their commitment to the basic sciences, and take the required pre requisite courses.
These kinds of programs can help a student get into medical school by….
- Displaying competence in the basic sciences
- Showing commitment to getting into medical school
- Allow you to focus solely on pre req courses and improve GPA
If this is something that you think would be useful then you can do a quick search online for “pre med post-bac programs” in your area.
If this doesn’t turn up anything of interest then you can most certainly build your own post-bac program by taking the required pre reqs as well as adding some recommended courses to your schedule. The course list above is essentially a comprehensive list of all the courses that most schools require, if you are creating your own post-bac program then be sure that you get those required ones in as well as a good majority of the recommended ones.
As far as getting a second bachelors degree goes… I wouldn’t worry about it, simply because it wont matter to admissions committees and it might wind up just costing you more time and money.
There have been many successful applicants that have done post-bac programs. If you need to do one then do not have shame about it, do what is necessary to get you where you need to go.