What you need to know about the MCAT and other pre-medical requirements.
Becoming a physician takes hard work, dedication and a commitment to tackling academic challenges. Admission to medical school is competitive, and medical schools review a candidate’s eligibility on multiple factors such as GPA, MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) scores, and service and volunteer experience. Pre-Med is considered an area of interest, in addition to your chosen major. Medical schools accept a variety of majors, as long as a student fulfills all requirements for admission.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the statistics for the 2020-2021 entering class indicate that:
- The average applicant had an average GPA of 3.60 (3.49 Science GPA), while the average matriculated student had an average GPA of 3.73 (3.66 Science GPA)
If you intend to apply to a public medical school in Texas, you may want to look at the statistics for the 2019-2020 entering class. According to the Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS)
- The average applicant had a GPA of 3.61 (3.49 Science and Math GPA), while the average matriculated student had an average GPA of 3.80 (3.73 Science and Math GPA).
While course requirements may vary from program to program, the following plan should satisfy admission requirements for most medical schools:
- 14 semester hours (12 hours of lecture and 2 hours of lab) of Biological Science.
- 8 semester hours of General Chemistry, including the corresponding laboratory experience.
- 8 semester hours of Organic Chemistry, including the corresponding laboratory experience.
- 3 semester hours of Biochemistry.
- 8 semester hours of Physics, including the corresponding laboratory experience.
- 6 semester hours of college English.
- A year of calculus or other advanced math classes, including statistics
Service & Volunteerism
Physicians and other health care professionals are expected to perform community service while in school. The Pre-Health Professions Office can assist you in researching service and volunteer opportunities; following are a few local opportunities.
What Is the MCAT and When Should I Take It?
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to help medical school admissions offices assess your problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine.
Typically, students take the MCAT in the spring of their junior year so their scores are submitted in time for the opening date for medical school applications. It is imperative that students take all of the requisite pre-med coursework prior to taking the MCAT, otherwise they will be at a severe disadvantage. It is recommended that students take some form of MCAT prep course the semester leading up to the exam. Never take the MCAT for practice. For further information on the MCAT, visit the AAMC.
In April 2015, the AAMC launched a new version of the MCAT exam. Scores are reported 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
How Do I Apply?
Students applying to one of the many Texas Medical Schools should review the application handbook provided by TMDSAS. Those applying to any private medical schools in Texas, or schools outside of Texas should review the application process and requirements provided by the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). Students applying to U.S. colleges of osteopathic medicine should review the application instructions and general admission requirements provided by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM).