Attending medical school can be a long and grueling process. In fact, just getting your foot in the door of some medical schools is quite a feat in itself. While there’s no doubt medical school students will have to devote an incredible amount of time and money to their craft, the rewards down the road can be limitless.
Here, we’ll examine what you need to attend medical school as well as what you can expect as you go through the process.
What You Need to Attend Medical School
Every student must meet a number of requirements before they can attend medical school. First and foremost, students need to get their transcript and apply for school through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). AMCAS provides standardized application services for more than 95% of medical schools, and become available in April for students wishing to medical school in the fall of the following year.
All students wishing to enroll in medical school must have also completed several prerequisite courses before they are even considered for acceptance. General prereq courses include:
- General Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
Each school can be different, so it’s important to inquire directly with institutions about the required prereq courses.
What to Expect While Attending Medical School
So what can you expect while attending medical school? Often referred to as “hell year”, the first year of medical school will likely be the most difficult you’ll endure. While the first year of medical school includes traditional lectures, assignments and studying, the level of difficulty increases dramatically.
During the second year of medical school, students are more likely to be out in the field with clinical-bases courses. Problem-solving groups are also a big part of second-year curriculum, as students will work together to diagnose fictional health problems.
By the third year of medical school, many students are able to be a part of medical teams and clinical rotations. This provides students with invaluable experience they will use going forward. Students can also expect to take a licensing exam – usually the USMLE – at the end of their third year.
By the time students enter their fourth year of medical school, they will be ready to sharpen their skills and find an area of expertise. Entirely medical team-based, students will making their final preparations for starting their new career.
Medical School FAQ
How long is medical school?
It generally takes 3-4 years to complete basic medical school. Specialized areas of study will take longer.
How much does medical school cost?
This greatly depends on where you attend school. In 2008, the median amount of debt for medical students was $140,000.
What grades to get into medical school are required?
By and large, applicants need at least a B+ average to go along with an MCAT score of 30. Some will require even better grades to get into medical school.
When is the best time to apply to medical school?
It is advised to apply to medical school whenever your candidacy is at its strongest point. It’s better to take your time and make sure your application is robust and complete instead of rushing just to get into a school.
How many medical schools should I apply to?
Students on average apply to 15-17 medical schools. It is recommended that you apply to no more than 20.
Are Caribbean medical schools comparable to American medical schools?
In many cases, yes they are. You can learn more about Caribbean medical schools here.