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Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by JJ, Jan 21, 2000.

  1. JJ

    JJ New Member

    Jan 20, 2000
    Can anyone tell me how important calculus is in gaining acceptance to medical school? According to the 1999 MSAR, it is not listed by most schools. I am currently a junior Biology major with a 3.8 GPA and I have completed all my pre-med requirements. Math is not my strong point, and I am concerned it could lower my GPA if I don't do well. My school only requires advanced algebra for a Biology degree, which i received an A.

    Thank's in advance!!
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  3. hoozle

    hoozle New Member

    Jan 20, 2000

    It's one of those judgment calls. Although most schools do not REQUIRE calc, and you will never use it as a medical student or physician, to some admissions deans it can show that you will go the extra step to get what you want (i.e., into med school). It doesn't necessarily show you have more math skills but it does go towards motivation and personal character. It's not required for me either, and math is definitely not my strong point, but I am going to take it. Ask around school for a really good calc professor. You can even go to the Math Dept. office and ask the secretary. You might even consider taking it Credit/No Credit. You should also talk to your pre-med advisor and see what they say. I even know some people who have called the admissions office of some med schools and asked them if they put any weight on it.

    Good luck and continued success!!
  4. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 1999
    New York, New York
    Calculus is not on the list of standard premed prerequisites for AAMC schools. Some med schools, however, will require one year of mathematics, recommending one semester in calculus.

    If it is not your strong point, and calculus isn't required at any of the schools you're considering, then don't do it. Plain and simple. Taking calculus when you don't believe you'll do well carries enormous risk. The benefit is that taking calculus will allow you to conquer your fear of math (it isn't scary stuff! math is your friend!), and help you develop strong cognitive skills.

    Tim of New York City.
  5. gp

    gp Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 16, 1999
    Chicago, IL
    Some schools require Calculus as a prerequisite - you should check the MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements) for information on each school that you are considering applying to. The MSAR is available at many university bookstores, Amazon, or from the AAMC (

    Otherwise, I'm not sure how useful Calculus really is. It might help you understand Physics a little better - for example, how velocity and acceleration are related - even if you take the trig based variety (which, by the way, is definitely sufficient for admission to medical school).

    If you are interested additional math classes, I would recommend taking at least an intro to stats course. A course on research methodology would also be helpful. Even if you never plan to do research yourself, these will both help you understand the medical journal articles you'll be reading. Also, many schools seem to be teaching blocks or courses on biostatistics as part of their curricula - having some stats background will help you understand these courses down the road.
  6. ny911

    ny911 Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 1, 1999
    Hi, just putting in my two cents. I always had a hard time with math. My school requires one year of calc for the bio degree. You can substitute applied stats for second semester calc. This is what I did, and let me tell you every premed should take a stat course. It is very relevant to the field of medicine. Stats will give you the ability to critically interpret the results published in most scientific journals. That's an invaluable skill for future physicians.

    Good luck.

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