Do you want to become a doctor? Medical school is a key step on your journey … but you might be unsure what you even need to do to get into medical school in the first place.
Here are the steps you need to take:
Get High Scores on the SAT and ACT Exams
To go to a great college after high school, you’ll need great scores on your SAT and ACT exams. This means 1,400 or higher on your SAT and an ACT of 33 or higher.
One of the best ways to improve your scores is to do lots of practice. This helps you figure out your weak areas so you can focus on improving them. Whether it’s your vocab or your math skills, you can do extra studying to make sure you get as high a score as possible.
With the ACT, again, taking practice tests is a great way to improve. Remember, the highest possible ACT score is 36 and the average is around 23, so getting a 33 isn’t easy.
Get an Appropriate Pre-Med Degree
In some countries, like the UK, it’s possible to study medicine as an undergraduate. In the US, though, medical school only begins after your four-year Bachelor’s degree.
This means you need to do the right classes in order to be able to apply to med school. The exact classes you need will vary a little depending on what medical school you want to attend, but it’s likely to include biology, chemistry (general and organic), physics, biochemistry, math, and English.
There’s a lot to fit in, and you may feel like you’re struggling at times. Be proactive about managing the stress of college life.
Take Your MCAT Exam
In order to go to medical school, you need to take the MCAT exam. There’s no specific score for passing the exam, and different med schools will have different requirements. Keep in mind, though, that your MCAT score is not the only element that the admissions committee will consider.
Realistically, you’ll need a score of 509 or above. Since 500 is the average score, just bringing your performance up by a few points can make a big difference.
Even if you’re doing well on your pre-med courses, it’s still important to study hard for the MCAT. Most people recommend doing around 200–300 hours of studying: that’s around 2 hours a day, every day, for three–six months. Your study materials matter here: make sure you choose a good MCAT prep course to help you study effectively.
Apply to Medical School
This might seem a bit obvious … but to get into medical school, you need to actually apply! The application process varies depending on which medical school you want to go to. For instance, some medical schools will interview you before offering you a place.
For all medical schools, you’ll need to write a personal statement. This can be a great chance to make the most of everything you’ve achieved up until this point. It also lets you explain areas of your application that might not be so strong – for instance, perhaps you had a low SAT score due to hardships as a teen.
Even if you have great scores on paper, medical school is very competitive. A weak personal statement or poor performance at your interview means you won’t get in – so make sure you get all the help, advice, and practice that you can.
Getting into medical school isn’t easy, but it’s very worthwhile. By studying hard, and being diligent in fulfilling all the requirements for your chosen medical schools, you could be well on your way to a career in medicine.