age of prereqs

Hi, I’m new here and still getting used to the fact that I’m seriously considering med school. I have a question regarding the age of prereqs. It seems like everytime I mention to someone that I might be interested in med school they say, “oh, they won’t accept your prereqs if they are more than 10 years old.” Or, “You can’t take the MCAT if your prereqs are more than 10 years old.” Does anyone know if this is actually true? All I have been able to find that schools won’t consider is MCAT scores over X years old.

A little background. I graduated in 98 with a BS in Engineering. The only prereqs I am missing are Biology and Organic Lab (yes, only the lab - I am kicking myself for not doing it the first time around). My grades are good enough that I don’t need to retake anything to help my GPA. SO, can I simply take the classes I need, take the MCAT and apply, or am I missing something?

Hi there Moonshine

This question has been asked many times on oldpremeds; the answer is that it depends on what school. You should contact the medical schools you’re interested in applying to and see what their requirements are. The rule of thumb is about 5 years, though. They tend to be more forgiving of a course if it was your major, like physics for example. Best of luck,

okay i don’t know if things have changed- i applied to med school in 1990 at that time i had taken orgo bio etc about 15 years prior i also finished an MS in chemistry in 1977 I did well on the MCAT and got into 2 US MD programs and 1 DO program I went for the MD graduated med school in 1996 finished residency in 1999 and am a practicing internist- go for it - do well on the MCAT

There are no prerequisites, per se, for the MCAT. The MCAT score needs to be taken within a few years of starting (not applying to) med school - this varies, but is usually two to three years.

The schools will set different standards for prerequisites, and there does seem to be some flexibility even when they give a hard-and-fast number of years.

As Terry said, you’ll need to talk to some med schools. Obviously you’ll need to fill in the holes from before. But you should also expect to do more coursework now for a couple of reasons. First of all, you need to show schools that you’ve “still got it,” academically. When it’s been almost ten years since your last coursework, you’ll need to make a good case for why you’re up for the academic rigors of medical school.

The other thing is, while physics, gen chem and o-chem are pretty much the same as they were ten years ago, biology is ever changing and there is a LOT of stuff that might not have been in your earlier courses. I’d recommend cell biology and genetics as good coursework to pick up. Good luck!


The question is not so much “how old the pre-reqs can be” (although some schools DO have a time limit)…but what YOU need to find out is IF you are competitive NOW. I will be plowing through applications soon…and I will be looking for RECENT excellent grades that prove to me NOW if you can handle medical school. Sure, it is great to have the pre-reqs or whatever from ten years ago but to be honest that proves nothing regarding current academic potential. The MCAT does tell me if you can sit for an exam and in ONE day do well, but recent grades tell me more about long term potential to sit in classes and go through 1000’s of ppt slides.