The nice thing about this article is that it will lead you to the knowledge you need to discover how to get into medical school from high school, list of medical schools without prerequisites. Read on to find out more.
You will also find up to date, recent information on requirements to get into medical school, undergraduate requirements for medical school on collegelearners.
How To Get Into Medical School
Medical schools are highly competitive. The national acceptance rate is 43 percent, according to data compiled by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Use these top tips from doctors and medical students to help you prepare.
- Get Some Medical Experience on Your Résumé
- Do Research Projects.
- Put in Time Serving Others.
- Choose a Major You Will Excel In.
- Apply to Multiple Schools.
- Study Early and Often for the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT.
- Learn Another Language.
- Don’t Skimp on Extracurricular Activities.
Be Polite and Be Yourself at Interviews.
Be Ready to Explain Why You Want to be a Doctor
Getting into medical school and becoming a physician is a dream for many, and with good reason. Beyond being a highly respected and lucrative profession, medicine uniquely allows you to combine your love for science with your desire to help people directly. While the latter—wanting to help people—is cliché, it’s true and necessary if you want to be fulfilled as a doctor. You wouldn’t be interested in so many years of training if you were simply motivated by earning potential or prestige. For instance, you could achieve the former faster as a software engineer.
How to get into medical school with bad grades
Have a Solid Overall GPA and Science GPA
There is no substitute for high grades. If you’re reading this during your senior year of college right before opening your AMCAS application and you haven’t done well in school, don’t give up hope!
Consider entering a post-bac program, because as much as people talk about the trend that medical schools care more and more about your background, personality, extracurriculars, etc., their number one concern is – will this person be able to make it through medical school?
Get a Good MCAT Score (505 or greater)
At this point you may be thinking that this is an obvious list. Well, in a way it is, but I’m being honest here.
The people who have the most trouble getting into school (besides people with bad grades, who pretty much don’t get into schools), are those who bomb the MCAT. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the MCAT, I don’t support the MCAT, in fact I hate the MCAT, but you need to post a decent score.
AMCAS opens in May of each year and the first day you can turn it in is June 1. You don’t HAVE to turn it in on June 1, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. I recommend anytime in June, preferably in the first half of the month. There are a few reasons for this, some of which everyone will tell you and some of which they won’t.
Get Recommendations Early
Gather your recommendations early and get writers who can be personal, if possible. Most schools like a committee letter, so if your premedical department or post-bac does them, get it.
Do something unique!
This is the one people forget, or don’t know about, that is really important. The best applicants are those that jump off the page.
Start something, get some unique experience, and make it legitimate. Don’t just do it because you want to get into medical school.
Get Real Medical Experience
Get medical experience to prove you know what it’s like to be a doctor. The second half of this is the important part. If you’ve had particularly cool hands-on clinical experience or responsibilities, that’s a plus, but the important thing is that you’ve spent lots of time with physicians while they’re on the job, and you know what you’re getting in to.
Do research of some kind, any kind! It’s nice to have research on your application. Obviously, if you’re applying for an MD/PhD program, this should be moved up to number 1, but if not, you don’t necessarily need tons of research.
Do Practice Interviews
Get prepared and do some practice interviews. My practice interviews helped me a lot. Some people are natural interviewers and don’t really need the practice. Decide which one you are and go with that.
Apply to lots of medical schools, expect lots of rejections, and make your own final decisions on where you apply and where you go. Consider using the LizzyM score to find the schools that are in your application range. I think applying broadly is really important. Getting into medical school is an absolute rat race. Most schools have a 1-2% acceptance rate.
Admission requirements for medical school studies in the U.S.
In the US, Medical degrees are considered second entry degrees, meaning you cannot enrol directly in a Medicine Bachelor’s. You first need to do a Bachelor’s (undergraduate) degree in a related Science subject (popular choices are Biology and Chemistry) before you apply to a medical school. Then, you can enrol in a Medicine degree that usually lasts 4 years.
Here are the general med school requirements for the US:
- High school diploma
- Undergraduate degree in the field of Sciences (3-4 years)
- Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
- Good TOEFL language scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Extracurricular activities
- Minimum MCAT exam result (set by each university individually)
Some American med schools have additional requirements, like completing premedical courses, such as:
- College Biology with laboratory, one year
- General college Chemistry with laboratory, one year
- Biology, Chemistry – minimum of 24 semester hours in areas of Humanities
- Mathematics (Calculus and/or Statistics, one year (6-8 semester hours)
- General college Physics with laboratory, one year (8 semester hours)
What is the MCAT?
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a multi-choice exam created by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Almost all US medical schools require applicants to submit MCAT exam scores during their university application.
The MCAT exam takes approximately 7 hours and a half to complete and it is comprised of 4 main parts:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behaviour
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
Throughout the Medical degree, students develop their soft skills (communication, empathy, cooperation, etc.) and advance their medical knowledge.
During the last year, students choose a specialisation based on their interests and other factors and apply to residency programmes. The vast majority are matched through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).
During residency, medical graduates train in hospitals with other healthcare practitioners. The residency can take between 3-7 years to complete depending on their specialisation. After completing this stage, residents can undertake a fellowship, which lasts 1-2 years and focuses on a sub-specialisation.
To practise Medicine, physicians or doctors have to be licensed by the state in which they want to work. The criteria for certification are established by 24 Specialty Boards. These boards require regular recertification due to the fast changes that occur in Medicine and Healthcare.
Requirements to get into medical school
We’ve listed below some of the most common requirements for applicants to medical schools in Britain. Be aware that each university is free to set its own criteria, which is why we encourage you to check the admission details on the webpage of the study programme.
Bachelor’s degree in Medicine (MBBS) in the UK
- Previous (high school) studies it at least two Science subjects. Usually, Chemistry and Biology or Physics/Maths are mandatory.
- Proof of English language proficiency: IELTS – average score of 6.0 or 6.5.
- UCAT test score. Each university can use it differently. Some establish a minimum UCAT score they’ll accept. Other universities use a “points system” for evaluating applications and will offer you more points for a higher UCAT result.
- International Baccalaureate, with at least 36 points overall, including three higher level subjects (including Chemistry and Biology), and three standard level subjects. Each subject must be passed with a minimum of six points. International Baccalaureate is not required by all universities from the UK.
- Successfully passing the interview(s)
- Evidence of voluntary or work experience related to medicine and healthcare
- Reference letter from teachers/academic supervisors
What is the UCAT?
The UCAT (previously called UKCAT, UK Clinical Aptitude Test) is an online test required by medical schools in the UK. It is designed to test cognitive abilities, attitudes, critical thinking, and logical reasoning.
The UCAT helps universities select applicants with the right abilities to pursue careers in the healthcare field. The UCAT test is not based on a science-related curriculum. The format of the test covers questions that assess logical skills, such as decision making, quantitative reasoning, and situational judgement.
Becoming a doctor in the UK
After completing the 4 or 5-year degree in Medicine, you get a provisional license.
The next step is the Foundation Programme, which involves different practical placements and training in healthcare institutions. The Foundation programme provides salaries, and it takes 2 years to complete (F1 – first year and F2 – second year). At the end of F1, you can apply for a licence and receive full registration from the GMC (General Medical Council).
You can then start General Practice or Specialty training, which can take between 3-8 years depending on what you want to focus on.
Admission requirements for medical school studies in Europe
These are some of the most common admission criteria for Medicine degrees offered by European universities:
- High school diploma (certificate)
- Good marks in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math
- Letters of recommendation
- Letter of motivation
- Voluntary or work experience related to healthcare
- Candidates taking the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) must offer three subjects including Chemistry and Biology at Higher Level, plus three subjects at Standard Level. Not all universities require an International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB).
- Minimum TOEFL and IELTS results
The requirements we’ve listed above are the most common, but Europe is a large continent, and some countries have different admission criteria or systems. Here are several examples:
Medical school admission and becoming a doctor in France
In France, each academic institution can have different admission criteria, and Medical studies are divided into 3 cycles.
The first cycle (PCEM) lasts 2 years. At the end of the first year, there’s a difficult examination which determines who goes into the second year. Usually, only 15-20% of Medicine students pass.
The second cycle (DCEM) lasts 4 years. It includes theoretical classes and exams, as well as training periods in healthcare institutions. In the last year, med students take a national examination and the grade determines their specialisation.
The third cycle is split into General Medicine and Specialised Medicine. The internships for General Medicine usually last 3 years. For Specialised Medicine, an internship can take 4-5 years to complete. At the end of the third cycle, all students receive a Specialised Studies Diploma (in French, DES: Diplôme d’Études Spécialisées).
The last step is writing and successfully defending a thesis before a jury, after which graduates receive their diplomas in Medicine. To practise Medicine, you still have to register with the Conseil National de l’Ordre des Médecins.
Medical school admission and becoming a doctor in Germany
In Germany, you’ll encounter the Numerus Clausus (NC), which stands for Limited Number in Latin. It is a system used to determine the number of available Medicine places for students. The number of available places varies from one semester/year to another and you must have a certain overall grade to be admitted.
Medicine degrees in Germany take at least 6 years and 3 months to complete, and they are not divided into Bachelor’s and Master’s courses. In order to graduate you will have to take a state examination.
The path to becoming a doctor in Germany can be split into several main stages:
- Stage I studies – 4 semesters followed by the first 3 sections of the state examination
- Stage II studies – 6 semesters
- Completion of a practical year (PJ) at a hospital or clinic
- The second and final state examination after which you receive your licence to practise Medicine in Germany
It’s very important to develop good German language skills, because most lectures and examinations are in German.
You can find more information about studying Medicine in Germany on websites like Study in Germany and Deutschland.de.
Medical school admission and becoming a doctor in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, if you cannot prove you’ve studied Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Maths, you’ll need to take an exam that will test your competence in these subjects. You’ll also need to learn Dutch. This is necessary to complete your postgraduate studies and to communicate with your future patients.
Dutch Medicine degrees fall in the category of Numerus Fixus or Decentralised Selection programmes. This means the number of places is limited and you can only apply for two Numerus Fixus programmes.
These are the stages you go through to become a qualified doctor in the Netherlands:
- Graduate a Bachelor’s in Medicine – 3 years. You’ll attend lectures and prepare assignments.
- Finish a Master’s in Medicine – another 3 years, during which you take part in different internships. You also need to write a Master’s thesis.
- To start working as a medical specialist, you have to register with the Royal Dutch Medical Association (RDMA).
Medical school admission and becoming a doctor in Italy
Italian universities use the Numerus Clausus system for both Medicine degree places and the professional training that takes place after graduation.
Some med schools in Italy require that students pass the IMAT (International Medical Admissions Test) or a similar admission exam, which tests the applicants’ logical skills and their knowledge of English, Biology, Chemistry, and other Science-related subjects.
The Medicine degree takes 6 years to complete and is followed by a 6-month clinical placement. You must then pass a national exam to become a registered physician. After passing that examination, you can start the specialisation training, which takes between 3-6 years, depending on your area of expertise.
Medical school admission and becoming a doctor in Finland
In Finland, you need to know Finnish for both basic studies and postgraduate training.
The only way to enroll in a medical school is to pass the entrance examination, which is held every year in May. The exam is in Finnish or Swedish.
The medical degree is a 6-year programme, which combines Bachelor’s and Master’s courses into a Licentiate degree. After graduation, med students can continue their education with postgraduate specialisation programmes.