May 24, 2014
I am a fourth year student at a Canadian university. I am planning to take a fifth year to increase my GPA. Do medical schools look down upon fifth year students?
During fifth year, should I retake pre-reqs for medical school to improve those marks? Or take upper levels courses and do well in them?
Is retaking pre-req courses looked down upon?


2+ Year Member
Nov 9, 2015
5 years is kind of the norm nowadays, especially considering some pre-meds with majors outside of the sciences already take 4 years for their courses and then they have to add that extra year of pre-reqs. For example, my school only has a 4 year graduation rate around 20%, with the majority of students graduating in 5-7 years. I am going in to my 5th year as well, I took a full load every quarter (12-17 units), and every summer, and I still need my 5th year to finish.

Regarding retaking your pre-reqs, it has been advised by many people on SDN to avoid retaking any classes you have already passed (C or higher). Retaking them would mean that you are expected to get an A the second time around, and you risk it negatively impacting you if you do not get that A. If the class was a series class and you showed improvement in the next class, that will show them that you figured out what went wrong the first time around and that you worked to improve it.
You could retake some classes you got C's in if you have a lot of them, but having 1 or 2 shouldn't be a problem.
Also, taking upper division science courses may look nice, but you want to make sure you will be able to do well in them. You don't want to have a decrease in GPA your last year, it may come off as laziness or an inability to do well in more challenging classes.


*breathes in* boi
2+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2016
Medical Student
In the 2016 matriculating students questionnaire, 36.7% of incoming MS1s decided on premed during college, with 38.1% of those deciding in junior or senior year. Another 11.1% decided after graduating or finishing an advanced degree (9.2% after a bachelors and 1.9% after an advanced degree). Numbers were extremely similar the two years prior.

If you decide to be premed in junior or senior year, you are probably not looking at 4 years of undergrad, and you are certainly not looking at 4 years of undergrad if you already graduated. Obviously med schools don't look down on it, given the demographics.

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