Some students know it their whole life while others figure it out late in their college careers: “I want to be a doctor.” Although it is better to get the passion sooner than later, do not let that deter you. Many people who have always dreamed of becoming a physician are not necessarily cut out for medicine. The reverse is true, as well. Nevertheless, those intent on going to medical school should devote themselves to three focuses. Make sure you have have a stellar academic record. Ace the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). And life experiences that demonstrate your interest in becoming a physician.
Acing Undergraduate Coursework
You need to excel in both required pre-med classes and electives, so you have a better chance of doing well on the MCAT and getting into medical school. An overall undergraduate GPA for accepted med students usually exceeds 3.5; the science average should be higher. While in undergrad, it is recommended that you take one year of the following courses: college physics, general biology, inorganic chemistry, and organic chemistry (with a focus in biochemistry).
Also, medical colleges like to see two semesters of high-level math, i.e., calculus and above. Moreover, medical schools will look for students who have social sciences, English, foreign languages, and humanities. Thus, you need not be a science major as long as you complete the medical school prerequisites.
Take the MCAT
The MCAT is designed to winnow the considerable field of applicants, so it is purposely made to be complicated. That does not mean it is impossible. Still, since being a doctor is extremely challenging, it is no surprise that this entry test is likewise.
In 2015, the examination was revised, shifting some increased emphasis on psychology, sociology, and biology. This reflects changes in medical knowledge and professional practice over the last twenty years. These important MCAT changes do not spare test-takers of their need for competence in biochemistry or critical analysis, for example. Other revisions include decreasing the frequency of test administrations each year, and all exams are registered for and completed on the computer.
Early registration is advisable and preparation should commence three months ahead at the very least. Study consistently and avail yourself of sample tests, prep materials, and prep classes, as finances will allow. The important MCAT changes present the test in four sections:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
Activities and Work Experience Strengthen Your Application
Other indicators tell admissions committees whether or not you have the temperament and practical skills to make a good doctor. Taking part in faculty research, for instance, demonstrates literacy, industry,, and a capacity to defend ideas. Networking with and observing physicians in their work shows that patient care will not be an alien world upon entering med school.
Furthermore, taking advantage of volunteer opportunities gives evidence of consciousness of the larger world and a willingness to improve it. Clinical experience at local hospitals or outpatient facilities help prospective medical students the most recent developments in the field. Plus, do not discount opportunities to teach, coach, or counsel since communication is central to physician practice. Sports and music also pay off.
These three tips will help you on your journey to getting into medical school and one day becoming a doctor.