Medical School Requirements Every Premed Must Know

There are four medical school requirements that you'll need as premed student for getting into medical school. These medical school admission requirements are the four premed classes that you'll take.

You need to take these basic science courses along with their associated labs if you want to have a shot of becoming a doctor. Obviously, you will want to do extremely well in these premed classes. 

Getting Into Medical School Classes

As I said there are four courses you'll need in order to become a doctor. Medical schools are going to look at your grades in these classes very closely.

To be honest the grades you get here are what each medical school will use to determine who gets in and who doesn't. Especially, when medical school is already very competitive you will want to do everything in your power to ace these classes.

Here's the classes you need for medical school entry and they are listed in the order that most students will take them.

Obviously, you do not have to follow this exact order, just do what is best for you and your particular academic situation.

Over the next two to three years be prepared to tackle:

  • 1 year of general chemistry with associated lab
  • 1 year of biology with associated lab
  • 1 year of physics with associated lab
  • 1 year of organic chemistry with associated lab

Retaking Classes Required for Medical School

One common question I get a lot is, "What happens if I get a bad grade in a required medical school class?"

For starters it is going to negatively affect your GPA , both the science and nonscience components. You should know that your grade point average means is a key factor used by the admissions committee in making a decision for admitting a student or not.

I will be upfront and tell you that if you have a grade of C or below in a required course then you will need to retake it.

Why retake?

At some medical schools your application will be rejected if you have a grade of C- in a course required for medical school entry because it can be considered equivalent to a F grade depending on the grading system used by the admissions committee.

Since you already know the medical school requirements in an already competitive environment don't try to press your luck by having a bad grade in a course needed for medical school admission.

Another option if you are concerned about doing will in your required premed coursework is to consider summer school. This will allow you to lighten your courseload during the regular academic year and then focus solely on academics over the summer because you won't have to worry about any extracurricular activities. 

Suggested Courses

Once the four medical school requirements have been satisfied it is important to carefully consider which medical schools you will be applying to. Some schools require additional coursework in areas such as:

  • Biochemistry
  • English
  • Humanities
  • Mathematics

Biochemistry: is the study of chemical processes in living organisms. It shows how the collections of inanimate molecules (protein, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acides, and other biomolecules) that constitute living organisms interact to maintain and perpetuate life solely by the physical and chemical laws that govern the nonliving universe.

I highly recommend taking biochemistry and an anesthesiologist made the decision very easy for me when he stated, "It never hurts to see the same material twice, besides once in medical school the course will be very unforgiving, so you might as well see it beforehand".

To be honest, I think a medical school applicant would be putting himself at a disadvantage if you don't take the course before medical school because many of your peers will have already taken this class. Ultimately, going forward there is a very real possibility that Biochemistry will be added as one of the medical school requirements because it is at the foundation of medicine.

Lastly, after speaking with numerous sources there is going to be a time when medical schools will almost expect that you have already been exposed to biochemistry and they will lecture on the subject as if you had seen the material before, thus if you can take biochemistry: the benefits far outweigh the costs.

English: This course is self-explanatory and does not require a definition. You take this course because medicine involves communication (writing prescriptions, treatment plans, etc). Many schools only suggest this course because you will have gained writing skills simply by being in college. There is no need to be stressed over English coursework though it is a small portion of medical school.

Humanities: covers ancient and modern languages, literature, history, philosophy, religion, and visual and performing arts. Exposure to the humanities brings diversity to medicine which ultimately deals with patients (people) and having a broad perspective will make you a better doctor.

With the MCAT having a focus on being socially aware it is to you advantage to take humanities courses.

I was a political science major while in college because I enjoy the subject matter. So never choose a college major based on whether you think it will get you into medical school, instead choose a major you like and find worthy to pursue.

Mathematics: In the words of my high school teacher,"math is the language of science."As you should already know, math plays a significant role in science and medical schools want students who have the ability to solve complex problems. So now more and more schools are requiring that you not only have some statistics but in some cases a full year of calculus.

If you are unsure or have the option to take more advanced math courses in algebra, statistics or calculus I would urge you to take those classes, it will only make you a more competitive applicant. Medical school requirements vary from institution to institution so please consult each respective medical school to find out the specifics of getting into the medical school of your choice.