There are three basic pre med requirements…
This is a test of the basic sciences one learns in their undergraduate education. This test covers biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, psychology, and sociology. There is also a difficult reading comprehension/critical thinking portion of the test.
Any bachelors degree will do, as long as the required pre reqs are completed.
Pre Requisite Courses
The basic core list of pre reqs for med school is as follows:
- Organic Chemistry
Make sure to look at your school of choice, as various schools have different additional pre reqs.
Those are the basic requirements, but what is there beyond these requirements? This can be broken up into six topics..
Medical school admission committees want to see that you are competent in the classroom. Get all A’s and B’s with the majority being A’s and you will be alright in this category. Do your best to get A’s in the pre reqs. Shoot for a 3.5 or higher GPA.
Like mentioned above, this test covers the basic sciences one will take in pre med undergraduate studies. Know the material, but also take practice tests. See my page on MCAT for a more in depth discussion. Also see the resources page for help finding useful websites and books.
The application is broken up into two parts, primary application and secondary application. The primary application is through AMCAS or AACOMAS depending on if the school of
interest is MD or DO respectively. This is where you send your MCAT, GPA, and pre requisite course list out to your chosen list of schools. This also includes your personal statement. The personal statement is a very important part of the application, it is where you share your desire for pursuing a medical education. See my personal statement example and advice page for more information.
The secondary application comes from the individual schools. They will generally email you for an invitation to fill out their secondary if you meet their minimum standards for MCAT and GPA. This is where you fill out more information,answer a few essay questions, and pay money to send it into the school. If the school likes what they see in your secondary then they typically invite you for an on campus interview.
This is where you finally get to meet and interact with all the people that have been busy reviewing your file. Look your best, be your best, and be friendly! Most of all… just relax and be yourself. There are a few different types of interviews and they each have their purpose. The types of interviews are one on one, committee, MMI (multiple mini interview), open file, closed file, speed dating, and each school can sometimes implement their own unique interview process. This is one of the most important parts of the process so learn about the school and be prepared to answer questions regarding why medicine, why that school, and also be able to talk about all the things you have done throughout undergrad any beyond. Check out my Medical school interview page for more information.
Each school has various letter requirements, so go to the school of interests website and find what they require. These letters typically come from science professors, pre med advisers, Physicians you have shadowed, employment supervisors, research supervisors, and volunteer supervisors. You want to start gathering these EARLY because it may take a letter writer some time to get the letter done and to you. I used interfolio to collect all my letters of recommendation, this was easy because it allowed me to quickly and easily deliver the document to AMCAS and to each individual DO school (MD schools typically use AMCAS letter writer service, but interfolio will send letters to AMCAS).
All of the above are the general REQUIRED things, but we all know that the minimum requirements are never good enough. So medical schools also look for students who have demonstrated a commitment to the scientific process, showing that they know what medicine is all about (experience), caring for others (volunteer), and a general sense of commitment to serve your fellow people. This is important, because a career in medicine involves a lot of caring and patience for people, so you have to have an internal drive to love and care for people and medical schools want to see you demonstrate this.
So here are the recommended extra curricular activities:
This list is by no means all inclusive, but it gives you an idea of the things you need to be doing in order to demonstrate your commitment to caring for your fellow man and to medicine.
The purpose of all the above is to help you gain admission into medical school….but please take time and enjoy the experience and learn from all of them.
It is not enough to just do all the above…. but you need to have a factor in your application that wow’s the admission committee. Do all of the above and then some, publish your research, be an EMT , create a business, pursue your passions these are all ideas that will help you application and help you overall.
A great method to stand out is to pick one specific area that you absolutely love in the pre med requirements and take it to the next level. If you love research then be engaged in research for your entire undergraduate career, then take that research and present and publish it. If your passion is volunteering then organize medical mission trips, and guide them every year! These are the things that will make you stand out, and being able to stand out in a crowd of 4,000 applicants is key! Those were the basic pre med requirements, for more detailed information you can look under the pre med tab at the top of any page.