From the 1960s onward, technology has been applied to Medical Science and research, making it possible for physicians, clinicians, scientists, and other professionals to study aspects and concepts that had not been possible before.
From the 1960s onward, technology has been applied to Medical Science and research, making it possible for physicians, clinicians, scientists, and other professionals to study aspects and concepts that had not been possible before. Scientists like Tom Maniatis, Gerald Edelman, Jack W. Szostak, Harold E. Varmis, Louis Ignarro, and several others have pursued the study of medicine and research in the US and won the Nobel prize. For any student seeking to train in medicine, the US has been a mainstay, especially given the advances in technology, such as applied AI, Robotics, etc., which have revolutionized the way healthcare functions, both procedurally and functionally as well.
Understanding the Pre-med Pathway
Most students do not realize that pre-med is a pathway for a student, not a major. To apply to medical school, one must complete a four-year bachelor’s program with a major in the Biological sciences, such as
- Biological Sciences and Human Biology
- Physics, Chemistry, and Other Physical Sciences
- Psychology, Economics, and Social Sciences
- Philosophy and the Humanities
- Math, Statistics, and Related Majors
Preparing for Pre-Med
To study the pre-med course, a student will have ideally completed courses like
- Biology – 2 semesters with lab
- Physics – 2 semesters with lab
- General chemistry – 2 semesters with lab
- Organic chemistry – 2 semesters with lab
- Biochemistry – 1 semester
- English – 2 semesters
- Math – 2 semesters
Additionally, recommended courses for pre-med students include
- Public Health
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
The Road after Pre-Med
Generally, students prefer to take majors that will enable their preparation for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), a standardized test for medical school, just like the LSAT, GRE, and GMAT.
The MCAT tests for four faculties
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning skills
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior
Each section scores between 118 to 132, with an average score of 125, where the total of four sections is the sum of the MCAT final score. The best one can score on the MCAT is 528, where a score above 500 is considered good, while the lowest score is 472. Most pre-med students attempt the MCAT at least once in the 2nd or early 3rd year of their undergraduate study. To complete the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), one needs to have the GPA, MCAT score, Personal Statement, Letters of Recommendation, and a few other details.
|Harvard College||Cambridge, Massachusetts||4.5%|
|Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore, Maryland||7.0%|
|Stanford University||Stanford, California||1.4%|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||5.2%|
|Columbia University||New York City, New York||4.1%|
|Duke University||Durham, North Carolina||3.2%|
|University of Washington||Seattle, Washington||4.1%|
|University of North Carolina||Chapel Hill, North Carolina||3.9%|
|Northwestern University||Evanston, Illinois||2.14%|
|Georgetown University||Washington D.C||2.7%|
Most students realize that the pre-med requirements differ from university to university, and it would be prudent to choose majors and electives, keeping in mind the target university’s medical school requirements. The stipulated courses mandated for John Hopkins University have a lot to do with the school’s pedagogy, which touches upon a diverse range of research-oriented subjects like Genetics, Developmental Biology, etc., keeping in step with the research thrust of the university. To ensure they are set on their path to the right medical school, students are advised to align their target university’s pre-med course requirements with their own majors and electives.
Yet another important fact is that the universities have a higher acceptance rate for students who have taken pre-med with them, paving the way for a smoother transition to medical school. So, an essential aspect of the game plan would be to take up pre-med and medical school with the same university, unless you are an international student.
For international students, studying medicine in the US would be a graduate program, as opposed to most countries like India, where one can enroll and study medicine right after 12th grade.
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