completing pre-reqs

hi everyone,

how soon before medical school do we need to complete the pre-reqs? i have seen some people say that there is a time limit. i was never aware of that.

here is my situation:

i graduated from a competitive college in 2000 and completed all my pre-reqs. total gpa: 3.45, science gpa: ~3.2

I have since gone to law school and am currently in graduate school. i’m looking to apply to medical school next year (2007). i feel my last hurdle is the MCAT. I took it in 1999 and 2000 and scored poorly. i took it in april 2006 and scored high on one section, but my total score was too low. my plan is to take the MCAT in April 2007 and get the score i need. but now i’m worried that i may have completed my pre-reqs too long ago. is this a problem?


Some schools have strict time limits on how old pre-reqs can be, others don’t. They vary from 5 to 7 to 10 years. The best thing to do is contact the schools that you are interested in applying to and ask them. Some may waive older pre-reqs if you take a couple upper level science courses between now and then to prove that you still have retained some of the knowledge.

I think this varies by school; most that I’ve contacted weren’t that concerned about old Chem 1 or Calculus, but they definitely wanted more recent Biology.

If you’ve already taken the standard pre-reqs, it may pay to pursue some higher level coursework in Biology and the like - it might also be more interesting than repeating the stuff. Definitely contact at least a few schools to get their take on this.

Also, look into what steps you’ll need to take for the MCAT a 4th time; I believe you need to at least write a letter and make a special request.

“but now i’m worried that i may have completed my pre-reqs too long ago. is this a problem?”

The best advise I can give you is to contact the addmissions departments of the schools that you want to apply to and simply ask them.

I saw this garbage about a “time limit” on prereqs on some other forums and I panicked! What a waste of energy that turned out to be. I emailed the 10+ schools in the Philly area that I plan to apply to and NONE OF THEM HAD ANY SORT OF TIME RESTRICTION ON PRE-REQ ELEGIBILITY.

One school (UPENN) does not even have any course specific pre-requisites.

As a very non-traditional student myself (I took Gen Chem 15+ years ago), all most addmissions orgs want to see is recent classwork (in my case, I still needed OCHEM & BIO) maybe 10-30 hrs of cousework.

Worrying about retaking Calc & English, please.


note: sorry for the harsh tone, I am simply releaving some of the stress that this kind of misinformation caused me. But do not take my word for it, call, email or visit the addmissions department!

Some schools do have policies or preferences on the age of pre-reqs. As stated by all the other posters in this thread, though, call the admissions office of the schools you are interested in and ask them. On another thread, a poster asked a similar question, but with no recent science coursework. However, he had a 41 MCAT (or something like this). When he called adcoms, they were all hesitant about the age of his pre-reqs until he told them about his MCAT score.

Most schools will accept recent science coursework without retaking old pre-reqs as long as the old grades weren’t too bad.

Do what you have to do to become a competitive candidate and do your homework. Most people on online forums are generally posting from their own experience or just from what they’ve “heard”. If you choose to take what is said in forums as gospel and not actually call schools and ask for the facts, you are only hurting yourself.

Or, as my pre-med advisor is constantly telling his advisees, “Caveat Webtor”

Isn’t being a thoroughly critical information consumer a lot of what being a good medical scientist is all about?