classes to take before MCAT

Hi, I am a new member and excited to be here!

Is it realistic to do well on the MCAT with only the prerequisite classes behind you?

I will have completed GenChem I & II, BIO I & II, Physics I & II, Orgchem I - then finishing up on Orgchem II and one semester of biochemistry right before taking the MCAT. I have a 3.9 science GPA.

Most students seem to have two more semesters of advanced science classes behind them before taking the MCAT. That would mean they have a year more knowledge in their head than I will when I take the MCAT.

Does that mean I am at a significant disadvantage for the MCAT compared to most others? I know that the description of the MCAT is for material to only cover prerequisites; but if that is so, why do most people wait until they have two more semesters of advanced classes behind them (above and beyond bare prerequisites)? I am wondering if there is some unspoken common knowledge out there, and I am just not aware of it as I am mapping out my timeline.

Your input is highly appreciated, thanks in advance! I am dying to hear from you.

Most people have an additional two semesters of course work because a traditional student has typically completed most of the pre-reqs during their freshman and sophomore years. Since a traditional student applies to medical school between their junior and senior years, they usually wait to take the MCAT until the end of their junior year.

I could argue that you might actually have an advantage by not having the extra year between your pre-reqs and the MCAT because those courses with be fresher in your mind. By and large, the MCAT tests concepts learned in the pre-reqs. I took all of the pre-reqs over the course of a year and took the MCAT immediately following - I did fine on the MCAT. The only thing that I felt might have helped me was a little more background in genetics.

MCAT science questions are based on concepts you’re expected to master in Gen Chem, O Chem, Biology (science major level) and physics. While biochem, genetics and cell biology may be of some benefit, they are by no means absolutely required to do well, or even to get into med school. If you need reinforcement and/or confidence-building, consider a prep course. I agree it’s probably a better strategy to take the MCAT as soon after completing the basics so the material is fresh.

I took Cell Bio and Physiology and have found material covered in both of those classes to be helpful during MCAT studying (esp Physiology). For me, they helped reinforce concepts or dig deeper into them or even present some new material. For example, in regular Bio the renin-angiotensin process was briefly mentioned but we went over it in-depth in Physiology so I found that very useful.