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Medical school requirements

Most common medical school requirements

Before you send out any school applications, you will need to know what the most common medical school admissions requirements are to ensure you will be accepted at the school of your choice. Entering medical school is an exciting time; however, it can be frightening and stressful, as well. While dealing with loans and scholarships, tuition, housing, travel needs and other essentials can be quite trying, many students find simply understanding the most common medical school requirements can be somewhat difficult.

What medical school admission requirements will you have to meet? What subjects do you need and what coursework should you complete? While it can be somewhat hard to understand, you will discover that having just a bit of information can be an enormous help.

And as more schools offer online courses, you'd be wise to weigh whether it's acceptable to meet premedical requirements through online programs.

Coursework requirements

Your MCAT scores and your GPA play a pivotal role in whether you will be accepted at the medical school of your choice. However, you will find that numerous other requirements must also be met. While there are no “hard and fast” requirements for every school out there, you will need at least a year of the following courses: organic chemistry, English, calculus, general chemistry, biology and physics.

Another medical school requirement includes a GPA of at least 3.5; anything below this can raise warning signs in the admissions department.

And while you don't have to have a perfect MCAT score, doing well on your MCAT is also immensely important. You should plan for your MCAT results to constitute a considerable portion of the decision making process for admission to medical schools. Consider taking MCAT test prep courses to ensure a competitive score.

GPA and MCAT

Whether medical school admissions is really a numbers game is a matter of constant debate. The fact is, most medical schools use your MCAT and GPA numbers as an initial screening tool at the primary application (AMCAS application) stage. The easiest way to understand the medical school requirements for GPA and MCAT scores is to use the medical school search tool - because medical schools don't advertise their initial screening criteria, looking at the distribution of scores for accepted students gives an idea of competitiveness.

In addition to general coursework, your GPA and your MCAT score, you’ll need a few other things. First, you’ll need a degree (though not necessarily in the sciences). Many different types of degrees can be acceptable (depending on the school); the key is to show that you have passion, diligence and the ability to stay with something you love.

The following are not hard requirements, but they go a long way in helping the school decide whether to accept you or not. For instance, volunteer service can certainly help make a favorable impression on the admissions department, while a research project (started early) is a great way to show just how much you do care about the sciences.

Other resources

Harvard Medical School information about medical school requirements

AAMC information about medical school requirements

AMA information about medical school requirements

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