In need of direction

I think it must be fate that I found this forum. It has always been my dream to be a doctor. Now I’m 42, a divorced mother of three teens(my oldest is a high school senior), and ready to embark on the journey of making that dream a reality. I got my B.S in Biology in 1997 and will complete my M.S. in Healthcare Administration in 2015. My undergrad GPA is not what I want it to be to apply to medical school(2.5…hey, I was pregnant with my first son- can I get a little slack(LOL) My graduate GPA will be much higher but who’s really going to care? My first attempt at taking the MCAT was last year and I did horribly-score was not even worth applying. Should I invest in retaking those courses I didn’t do well in to increase my chances of admission and refresh my knowledge to retake the MCAT?

Some medical schools won’t take pre-reqs that are 10 years old or more. So if your M.S. didn’t require you to retake those courses, you might have to anyway. It varies by school.

I think you should do three things: 1) call a couple of med schools you’re interested in and see if someone will chat with you about your situation. Would they recommend you retake them? Would they require you to retake them?

2) And if so, perhaps look into a grade enhancer post-bac so you can get them done in a year or two. Or if that’s not for you, perhaps you can start taking a course or two next semester and summer and start pounding them out.

If you do that, it doubles as MCAT refresher material.

3) Talk to your current school’s pre-med advisors, if available. They’ll have advice and perhaps lay out a path for you.

Oh wait, two more things: don’t take the MCAT again until you’re confident you’re ready to go. Some schools average the result, some don’t, but why put yourself at a disadvantage?

And start working on the “extras” required for med school admission which aren’t really extras at all – shadowing physicians, building your clinical and nonclinical volunteering experiences.

Great advice and thank you! The "shadowing I did as an undergrad with two pediatricians so I am familiar with the advantages of doing that. One of the physicians is on the board of a well known medical school in my hometown(Nashville, TN). I will also look into post bacc programs as well.

I would bite the bullet and retake the courses:

1 year bio with lab

1 year gen chem with lab

1 semester orgo

1 semester physics

1 semester psychology

1 semester sociology

THEN take the MCAT (which will reflect the new course mandates for most med schools which I’ve listed above).

Doing anything but retaking them and trying to succeed on the new MCAT = failure.

You’ve already failed it one, your pre-reqs are too old…

I’m 50. Started my pre-reqs at 45… taking the MCAT on 1/15 (Allopathic only, btw, not DO… so don’t let that stop you either)

AND I would also suggest is this:

do or do not… take it slow, methodically, and with purpose.

Any other way = burnout, FUD, and … no med school.

I agree with everything Tallulah said, but that’s assuming your grades in all your basic science classes are in the same range as your overall GPA. If you did poorly in those courses, it’s probably better to retake them, both to boost your sGPA, and so that you have a strong grasp of the material when you retake the MCAT. But if you aced general bio and the other pre-reqs, you may be better off taking graduate level science classes instead, and just taking a refresher course for the MCAT.

Only 1 semester of physics an one of organic chem is needed for the MCAT??

Technically the MCAT has no prereqs and you can try to learn everything outside of class. In my rememberance of the test and classes I took a long time ago, two semesters of each of the sciences would be beneficial.

In my case, I took most of the core sciences, forgot all the material from disuse, then relearned it all via commercial prep course. My oldest prereqs were over 10 years old when I applied (though I had recency in bio and biochem).

This is the best place to get up to date requirements by school (Allo) for 2015 Admission.

If you are applying now, however, you are really applying for 2016 and many med schools have stated they are revising their admission requirements to include the psych/soc being tested and considering withdrawal of the full year of bio,gchem, ochem, physics. uirement…

Some medical schools no longer require;

1 full year of org

1 full year of physics

they’re prefer 1 semester of orgo + 1 semester of biochem


U of MN

Required courses

Biology with lab

Biological sciences coursework with emphasis on general principles, cell biology and/or physiology

1 semester or 1 quarter

Chemistry with lab

General or Organic Chemistry

1 semester or 1 quarter

Life sciences (additional courses)

Biology, genetics, zoology, botany, parasitology, biochemistry, chemistry (general or organic, but must be in addition to the general or organic chemistry listed above), physics, etc. At least 2 must be upper-level courses.

4 semesters or 4 quarters

Humanities or social sciences

Humanities or social sciences upper-level course, with an intensive writing requirement.

1 semester or 1 quarter

Recommended courses






Foreign language

Independent learning courses

Seminar-type courses involving small group discussions

Social and behavioral sciences and humanities

Here’s another:

English composition and literature- two semesters or three quarters

Biology with laboratory- Work in general biology, general zoology, or botany is acceptable. No more than four semester hours may be botany. Two semesters or three quarters

General inorganic chemistry* with laboratory- Work in qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis, or physical chemistry is acceptable. Two semesters or three quarters

General organic chemistry* with laboratory- This course work should include studies of aliphatic and aromatic compounds. Two semesters or three quarters

Strongly Preferred

Physics, Histology and Biochemistry. Clinical experience