Pre-Med FAQ's

Here you can find answers to common questions.

Questions & Answers


What courses should I take to prepare for Medical School?

Prerequisites can vary on a school by school basis.  Please check the prerequisites for schools to which you hope to apply.

The following courses are required by most medical schools in the United States as the minimum background needed for acceptance into medical school.

Medical School Prerequisites/MCAT 2015 Preparation YORK Recommended Courses
General Biology 2 semesters BIO 201 & BIO 202
Biochemistry 1 semester BIO 412
General Chemistry 2 semesters CHEM 108/109 & CHEM 111/112
Organic Chemistry 2 semesters CHEM 231/232 (Org. Chemistry I/Lab & CHEM 233/234 (Org. Chemistry II/Lab
College Physics 2 semesters PHYS 113/115 & PHYS 114/116
English 2 semesters ENGL 125 & ENG 126
NEW* Psychology 2 semesters PSY 102 & PSY 200 OR PSY 214
NEW* Sociology 1 Semester SOC 101

Required and recommended coursework can vary by school  Some schools require one or two semesters of mathematics or one semester of mathematics and one semester of statistics.  Additionally, some schools require two semesters of English.  The Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) provides information on course requirements and recommendation, by school, for these as well as the acceptability of AP, community college and online coursework.   The MSAR can be found at https://services.aamc.org/30/msar/home .

Any undergraduate major is appropriate for medical school assuming the applicant has completed the basic pre-med requirements. Nonetheless, the majority of students applying to medical school have undergraduate majors in the biological or physical sciences. It is very important to do well in science courses.

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What GPA should I shoot for?

As you know, medical school is very competitive, so you should aim for the highest GPA you can!  A 3.5 would be a generally acceptable target, however, many schools have an average GPA for accepted students in the 3.6 - 3.7 range.  A GPA of 3.0 would be the absolute minimum for any chance of being accepted into a U.S. Medical School.  As with prerequisite coursework, the GPA range also varies school to school.  Information including average GPA for applicants and accepted students can also be found in the MSAR book from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Medical schools will break down your GPA into Science (BCPM - Bio, Chem, Phys, Math), AO (all Other) and Overall (Combined BCPM & AO).  The AO GPA would be expected to be a tad higher than BCPM, based on the difficulty level of the science courses.  Again, a high science GPA is a must!

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What is the MCAT, when should I take it, and how do I prepare for it?

Up to date information regarding the current MCAT and the anticipated 2015 MCAT is available at https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/.   Most medical schools require applicants to take the MCAT.

The MCAT is given many times a year. Students are encouraged to take the MCAT 18 months before they plan to enter medical school. For many students this means taking the MCAT in their junior year. Additional information regarding preparation for the MCAT and practice tests may be found at https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/preparing/ Some students find that it is helpful to take a preparation course for the MCAT.

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What is a "good" MCAT score?

Currently, there are 3 sections on the MCAT: Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences and Verbal Reasoning.  Each section is scored separately on a scale from 0-15.  Generally, a grade of 10 in each section (combined score of 30) would be considered a "good" score.  With all of the changes occurring with the MCAT, it is best to direct you to the official MCAT website for the most accurate and up to date information.

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Should I consider Caribbean/International Medical Schools?

This is a personal decision that must be considered on an individual basis. Here is a good article that may answer some of your questions.  We occasionally have guests from various Caribbean Medical Schools here at York to answer your questions regarding medical education in the Caribbean.

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How do I apply to U.S./Canadian Medical Schools?

The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS)

Students applying to medical schools must submit application materials through AMCAS. Information regarding the AMCA application process can be found at https://www.aamc.org/students/advisors/amcasresources/

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What are Medical Schools looking for?

Medical schools are interested in applicants with excellent academic achievements (as shown in grades and MCAT scores), strong interpersonal skills (often demonstrated in volunteer, leadership and employment situations), a clear motivation for a career in medicine (as shown by significant involvement in medical settings), and demonstrated compassion and concern for others.

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