Biology class suggestions for MCAT?

As I peruse through websites of various med schools, I have begun to notice a trend. Many say the requirements for Biology is 8 credits, but suggest up to 10 biology classes in order to do well.

For example, this is from WVSOM .cfm

Credits (in semester hours or their equivalent) in each of the following:

  • English 6 hours

  • *Biology 8 hours

  • *Physics 8 hours

  • *Inorganic Chemistry 8 hours

  • *Organic Chemistry 8 hours

  • Electives 52 hours

    Laboratories are to be included with each individual course section. All required courses must be passed with a grade of C or better.

    For success in the medical curriculum, it is strongly recommended, but not required, that prospective applicants have the following:


  • Cell Biology

  • Cell Physiology

  • Microbiology

  • Modern Genetics

  • Comparative anatomy

  • Embryology

  • Histology

  • Human Anatomy

  • Mammalian Physiology

    What classes are best to take for the MCAT? Do I really NEED all these additional classes? (at 3 credits each = 27 credits, at 4 each = 36) Which biology classes do you feel are the best for MCAT success?

I took the MCAT and did well on the bio section with only the basic prereqs under my belt. I’m in Cell Bio and Biochemistry now a don’t think I really would have done better having taken them.

Well, I’m at WVSOM. Biochem would have been useful but I found it do-able without having it undergrad. Organic Chem. was a good prep. I had taken Genetics and Comparative Anatomy 35 years before…doubt they contributed much

If I were picking something to help me for MCAT’s that will also be pretty high-yield in the first year, it would be Genetics. We had a pretty substantial genetics section in my Bio premed course, and that was plenty for me, but other students did not get as much in their intro bio courses.

Comparative anatomy would probably help a lot in passing Gross Anatomy, because you learn HOW to learn anatomy - in relationships of structures to each other.


When I took the MCAT last summer I’d finished cell bio and a variation of embryology/development. Ended up with a 10 in that section, which was partially due to organic chemistry not being my strong suit.

The only thing that would have been helpful prior to taking it would have been genetics, since I had to self-teach myself the material and that time could have been better spent on physics.

Since then I’ve also taken biochem, human physiology and microbiology, and while they may help in a small way I wouldn’t say you need them. If you’ve got a good grasp on basic biology, and you like it, the subtopics aren’t a big deal.

For my 2 cents worth, I would take biochemistry. When I took my MCAT at the end of a challenging biochem class, my score for that section was 13. Not only was I happy with that score, there are many medical schools that consider biochem to be very important before med school, even if it is not required. It also can help to take the pressure off in med school, even though the biochem in med school is different from that in undergrad. Good luck to you. Loving med school at 51, in spite of the challenges.