Courses taken 22 yrs ago...

I am 39 now. I had taken math, phy and chem 22 yrs ago at a junior college.
I plan to use chemistry credits to fulfil pre-req. I am taking Bio and during my grad yrs in engineering I did a lot of phy and math which are only from a few yrs ago.
Could you pl share your experience regarding med schools' outlook on courses over two decades old?

You need to make sure that medical schools will accept pre-reqs that are that old, I know that some schools will not accept them if they are X or Y years old, while others may. Your best bet is to contact the schools that you plan to apply to, and ask them directly.

The prereq issue does vary by school. One med school I really wanted to reach for only allows prereq's to go back 7 years. Some of mine are 15 years old, like physics. Even though I am a mechanical engineer, have had many classes dealing with physics and mechanics beyond the intro 2 semesters, have always worked in engineering fields utilizing my education, and also have profesional certifications…that doesn't seem to matter.
Same thing with math, Cal I = 17 years ago…don't bother that I took Cal II, III, Differential Equations, Numerical Methods, Engineering Statistics w/Calculus. Maybe I can handle simple integrations even though it has been a while…
I have not contacted any school to determine how rigid this requirement truly is, but I am not holding my breath. I think it may just be a way to manipulate the demographics of the entering students. Maybe I'm just bitter because I do not qualify to pursue a fine teaching school like Duke in my case.
Maybe I will take another look during residency selection.

The acceptable age of course will vary by program. As best as I can recall, that ranged from 5 to 10 years, with 7 being the more common. Excepting English, I seriously doubt many, if any, med schools will accept coursework that old. However, as is always the case, the best resource for this answer are the schools themselves.

Although it may seem unfair we do have to realize that it makes some sense. Adcoms want to make sure that we as non-trads can handle the rigors of medical school. One of the methods to prove this is taking classes that are competitive in nature due to the students enrolled in them…

Ouch, seven years is tight. I took most of my prereqs that qualify me before any other courses. It has been 4 years since graduation, but 8 since the first coursework. The sliding window effect is going to kill me as I take prereqs I need the others will expire =(

Perhaps we can compile a list here of the expiration of reqs by school
So far I have
Baylor - no restrictions
UT Houston - no restrictions

LSU New Orleans & Shreveport - no requirements except that lack of any current classroom experience is viewed negatively

Texas Tech - no restrictions

My pre-reqs are about 25 years old - can anyone top that? ohmy.gif and I’m not going to retake them.- it’s just impractical … I also may not get in but… If you don’t ask you won’t know.
I don’t think you should assume they are that rigid without asking them. I can understand it more if you haven’t taken upper levels more recently but if you are working in a science field and have taken upper level courses since then…

I know Duke requires all pre-reqs to be taken within 7 years. That's the only school I've seen that requirement on out of Emory, Wake Forest, Vandy, UAB, Med College of GA, Kentucy, and Loiusville.

I am pretty sure that when I was researching this question four years ago, the University of Virginia required that courses be 7 years old or less.
I know someone who got into Oregon with prereqs that were >20 years old. She did have to show that she could “hack it” in the classroom by acing biochem, but did not repeat her old coursework.
Those of you who’ve got the requirements, but not recently: think about what you are going to be able to produce instead of new grades to show that you can “hack it.” Other recent coursework - people have mentioned advanced work in relataed fields - is one way, for sure. The MCAT is obviously part of it, but preparing for an exam is not the same as handling a science class. Just be aware that it WILL be seen as a deficit - and so you need to be proactive, thinking of what your education and experience will show instead.
Those of you who’ve heard me talk about admissions before know that I like to make the analogy that getting into med school is like a sales pitch. You have to make them want to talk to you, make them want to ‘buy’ what you are selling - yourself. If you choose not to retake old prerequisites, you’re making your sales pitch harder. Not impossible for many schools, but harder. So think about what else is going to go into that sales pitch to make it a good sale, that’s all.

I agree with Mary. If we can prove we can “hack” it by recent coursework I don’t see having a few old prereqs being too much of a difficulty. My Gen bio is going to be 8 and 9 years old by the time I’m planning to go to med school but I’m majoring in biology and all my other prereqs will have been taken in the prior 4 years. I’m going to “try” and get away with not retaking Gen Bio because I really don’t have room in my schedule (I’m a bio and chem double major, psych minor – and will have enough non-sci credits in about 4 other disciplines for minors but missing certain required classes like advanced writing for an english minor) and quite frankly I was bored to death in Gen Bio lol. Prereqs 20+ years old I think would be a major deficit because so many advances have been made since then. If you’re currently working in the field you’re old prereqs are in that’s one thing, but I don’t think I’d try to apply with that old prereqs in subjects I wasn’t currently working in.
Anyway good luck in this and the next app cycles! I’ll be taking my MCAT in Apr 2005 and applying that summer!
–Jessica, UCCS

My chemistry and physics prereq’s were 15 years old. The age of these courses was never an issue with the school I applied to. However, a general rule is that you should have some course work in the science area (bio, chem, and/or phys) within the past 5 years.
What I did was take 3 review courses in the Fall semester, studied for the MCATs all Spring, took the MCATs in April, applied in June, and had no problem getting in.

George Washington University School of Medicine

Laramisa – yes!!!
I took gen chem in the summer of … 1968.
I think I took o-chem in 1972 or 1973 (tho' I re-took it in 1994-5)
Physics is probably 1974 or 1975.
Gen bio originally in 1967-1968, but I took 2 quarters of Zoo and 2 of Botany
somewhere in the years between 1972 and 1976. ( I received a degree in
Microbiology in 1976).

I have seen no restictions on time from all 7 TMDSAS schools, Baylor, Vandy, and Mayo.
Duke is indeed 7 years…so I didn’t apply. I think this is a stupid rule used to filter non-trad’s. I think you will forget as much in 2 years as you will in 10. Not to mention, there is no consideration for whether or not you have applied the knowledge during the period. You could work for CDC or a health department and be very knowledgable about the subject, yet not meet the criteria.
What to do? Just say “next” and keep going. We will have many obstacles. Find someone else who will take your $30K to $150K in tuition money.

I think that’s a good point - to continue my earlier analogy of making a sales pitch, checking schools to see which ones are more or less concerned with the age of your courses is akin to choosing your audience for your “sale.” No use wasting your breath (or money) on those that aren’t inclined to listen.
but I can’t emphasize enough that it behooves every candidate to carefully consider whether you are making your sale unnecessarily difficult by not taking recent coursework. It means that you start with even MORE to prove. That will be okay in some situations and you’re the only one who can decide how your situation stacks up. Just remember (repeating something else I’ve said ad nauseum ) that it’s their game, their ball, their rules. If you apply to a place that says “no problem!” to old prereqs, only to find out later that you might’ve made a better impression with new prereqs, you’ll be up against a painful demonstration of that principle. IF you have the ability to take some sort of coursework now, I do highly recommend it.
And as long as I’m being a bit of a downer (sorry) let me add that if your intro bio credits are much more than ten years old, you should seriously consider additional bio work - whether it’s to repeat or add on doesn’t matter, but knowledge in biological sciences has grown soooooo much; old bio credits aren’t going to age nearly as well as old credits in gen-chem or physics or even o-chem.

QUOTE (Mary Renard @ Sep 25 2003, 06:38 PM)
but I can't emphasize enough that it behooves every candidate to carefully consider whether you are making your sale unnecessarily difficult by not taking recent coursework.

Hi Mary;
I also have prequisites from the late 80's but I'm currently completing courses toward a doctorate in Pathology. I reall, really, really, hope that I won't have to take the prequisites over again. Any info you have on this will be greatly appreciated. GWU is on my list of schools ot apply to next year.
I reall, really, really, hope that I won't have to take the prequisites over again.

No, what I'm saying is that someone who is planning to apply without ANY recent classwork is putting themselves at a disadvantage. Clearly you've got great recent stuff. If you went back to take prereqs while completing a doctorate in pathology, the AdCom would wonder what the hell you were doing! tongue.gif
I'm definitely not saying that people should go back and take prereqs if their prereqs are old - although some schools make that decision easy for you by setting a time limit. Folks who aren't going to repeat their prereqs should be aware that schools do want to know if you can still "hack it" in school.... hence my comment that SOME sort of recent coursework is beneficial.

This is the first time I’ve posted, even though I’ve been a member for a little while. Here’s my 2 cents worth on "courses taken xx years ago."
I’ve been told repeatedly that med schools like recent science coursework, for several reasons: first, science is changing, and they want their med students to have the latest knowledge upon which to build even more knowledge; second, doing well in these courses shows that you can handle difficult coursework; third, it keeps you on par with other recent “traditional” applicants in or just fresh out of college.
Of course, the second item listed above (“doing well in these courses shows that you can handle difficult coursework”) is open to debate, for many
applicants to med school have taken courses well beyond the basics. But
med schools don’t require more than the basics, and so they will judge their
applicants on the basics as a minimum requirement.
In an informal survey that I took in the spring (in which I called up all the deans of admissions to every med school in my home state), the unanimous
consensus was “premed courses should [ideally] be within the last 5 years.” This was true even when the website for the school stated the otherwise.
Note the qualifier for the above statement: IDEALLY. Thus, some schools are willing to take older coursework, but – in my estimation – prefer more recent work.
Does this mean you should retake all your old coursework? It depends, upon your circumstances, how much time you have, how you finances are (in going back to school), and how badly you want to apply and get in.
(As an example: My last science courses were taken 20 years ago, so I’ll be retaking them.)