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A physical scientist in need of some pre-med help

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by Lazuli, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. Lazuli

    Jun 21, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Post Doc
    My story begins when I decided I wanted to be a doctor the month before I graduated from college. This, by the way, is probably not the best time to make such a decision. There's a long story behind why I decided this, but ultimately, the only really important detail is I want to do this more than I've wanted to do anything else in my life.

    Currently, after working the past year as a geologist, I'm trying to figure out the best way to meet the requirements for med school, and this is where I desperately need some help!

    Here's the scope. I majored in geology and by planning on going to grad school for geoscience, I managed to meet the physics, calculus, and basic chem courses required for med school. However, I have not taken any of the biology courses or advanced chemistry (or psych or english for that matter), nor have I had any guidence for the MCAT or Med school applications. Also, my grades for the required courses I have taken are not exactly pretty (think along the line of lots of Cs), and my overall GPA was 3.2, which obviously is not so fantastic either.

    Clearly I have a lot of work ahead of me. So my question is, what is the best way to go about filling the pre-med requirements and boosting my GPA? Is there any possibility of doing a post-bac?

    And if I do take undergrad classes to bring up my GPA, will that replace the previous poor grads, or will the new classes be counted separately? Are med schools okay with applicates taking classes over?

    Let me know what you think and feel free to share any advice. Thank you!
  2. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
    Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    May 30, 2001
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    Attending Physician
    You can take the prerequisite General Biology coursework at any accredited college or university. You just need to be sure that your coursework is of sufficient depth and breadth in order for you to do well on the Medical College Admissions Test. Go to the MCAT website and download a list of topics on the Biological Sciences section. Compare these with any syllabus of any General Biology (and Organic Chemistry) courses that you take.

    For allopathic medical schools, every grade in every course that you have taken counts. For osteopathic medical schools, they will substitute the most recent grade. If you are planning on re-taking significant coursework, you should definitely have osteopathic medical schools on your application lists as your uGPA will go up higher faster under their system.

    You need to make sure that your premed prereq knowledge base is solid and that you have thoroughly prepared for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). You should take this very important exam one time and score well. Be sure that you allow plenty of time for preparation for this exam.

    Finally, if you truly wish to attend medical school, do not enter a graduate program in Geology. Any graduate program that you enter (outside of a SMP for grade enhancement for medical school), you have to complete and it will not raise your uGPA to make you more competitive for medical school. A SMP (special masters program) might be a great option for you with that 3.2 uGPA so definitely investigate those programs too. You must do well in the SMP but if you can accomplish this, they cast your application in a favorable light for medical school.
  3. nontrdgsbuiucmd

    2+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2008
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    Medical Student
    Another note to add - in my experience, basic bio courses can be pretty broad, covering ecology, plant biology, things of that nature. The MCAT covers human biology and cell biology, not really plant stuff, which makes sense!

    When you begin selecting courses, keep this in mind. With lots of upward GPA room, I'd focus on cell/molecular and physiology areas in addition to the basic biology coursework. Anything on human systems would be helpful.

    For Chem coursework, I found that there was not as broad of a universe taught, most chem courses I believe would cover all of the areas covered by the mcat, acid base, electrochem, titrations and the like. You should be fine with just basic chem courses.

    Ochem - tough area I thought, this will take a lot of time to master well enough to succeed for the MCAT. I'd take each one of these as a standalone class if you're working or intend to work while completing premed coursework.

    Finally, as mentioned above, prep time.. even if you know the materials well, I would strongly suggest planning on 1-2 months fulltime mcat study. It's a different art to be able to answer a relatively in depth question in less than 1.5 minutes than it is to simply understand the material well. It takes a lot of time to get good at this. Doable, just takes lots of effort. And no, I would not suggest retaking classes unless you don't feel you learned the core material that well in a class; if not, it may make more sense to audit a class (sit in without getting a grade) best of luck!
  4. meliora27

    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2007
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    Fellow [Any Field]
    FWIW, when I was at my orientation for my post-bacc program, one of the panelists (someone who had recently completed the program) was talking about their experience with the MCAT and mentioned that one of their passages was all about plant bio.

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