Intro and pre-med plans

Hi, I’m new to the forum. I’m 25 years old and graduated w/ a BS in Media Management, Anthropolgy and Minor in Pol.Sci. in '04. I had always wanted to do medicine but wimped out at the last minute and changed my major. I finished it, never liked it, tried to look for jobs that I liked but it just wasn’t me. I decided I needed to go back to medicine and feeling that I had lost too much time to become a doctor I began to do my pre-reqs for PA this Spring Semester. But I knew that when I completed my PA career I would not be satisfied because I really really want to be an MD. So I decided to go for it and make it happen. So, I am trying to get into Med School for 2010.

I am currently taking the pre-reqs for PA in a Comm. College and I will probably finish the semester because I am learning a lot so don’t want to drop my classes. I will begin taking my pre-med reqs this Summer '08. Below is some data and my plan broken down by semesters. Your opinions and advice on my timeline would be very much appreciated. I’m a little scared about the whole thing and just want to be sure I’m taking the right path. Thank you!

University of Miami (Go canes!)

3.25 GPA

Major1: Media Management

Major2: Anthropolgy

Minor: PolSci

Miami-Dade College

No GPA yet but have Aced everything as of now

Currently taking…

Chemistry for Health Sciences w/ lab

Anatomy & Physiology w/ lab

Microbiology w/ lab

Future Plan

Florida International University

Summer '08 (3 months)

Gen Chem I w/ lab

Biology I w/ lab

Fall '08

Gen Chem II w/ lab

Bio II w/ lab

Calculus (I already have Statistics from UM)

Spring '08-'09

Org Chem I w/ lab

Physics I w/ lab


Summer '09

Cell Biology or Equivalent (req. for a school I’m applying to)

Re-Take MCAT if necessary

Fall '09

Organic Chem II w/ lab

Physics II w/ lab

Spring '09-'10

Take about 2 extra recommended courses

ex. Genetics/Embryology

Fall 2010


What’s up, Mel. I’m also a 'Cane (journalism, 07) shooting for medicine in 2010 (ideally). I’m taking intro chem at MDC this semester, with plans to take more math and bio I at FIU this summer. I’ve always been fearful of math-related subjects, but after some soul-searching I finally mustered enough cojones to go for it.

Study hard and best of luck,


Hey Mel,

I definitely think that your schedule looks doable.

I have one question, though, concerning your biology courses. What does Biology I and II mean? It looks like very basic classes to me, and you probably don’t need to invest your time and money in something like this… unless these classes are required as prerequisites for other classes you intend to take (like cell biology, genetics etc.)

At least in my college, bio I and II were classes designed for non-science majors, or for science majors who didn’t feel comfortable jumping straight into cell biology. Since you’re taking Anatomy and Physiology + micro right now, I would think that you definitely don’t belong to the group that wouldn’t handle more advanced class. As an undergrad I could start my prerequisites with cell biology, so maybe you could do the same.

And one more comment: if I were you, I wouldn’t take embryology (unless you have some special interest in this particular subject). Embryology is only a small part of anatomy course in med school (nothing that you wouldn’t be able to handle). I think much better idea would be to take biochemistry. It wouldn’t get you a free ride in med school, but would definitely give you some foundation for what to expect.

Hope it helps.

Good luck with your prereqs and welcome to OPM.


Thanks for the responses. As far as the biology courses go I always thought that when med schools say you need 2 semesters of Biology they meant the regular biology 1 and 2 that comes with labs. Does this mean that I can take any upper-level biology or is there specific Biology courses that they look for as far as pre-reqs go?

Your best bet is to ask a pre-med advisor what biology courses they recommend for pre-meds. Generally, you should take the whatever the intro biology series is for biology majors. It may indeed be called Bio I and Bio II at your school - the names vary from school to school. You could possibly take upper level courses instead and fulfill pre-req requirements, but taking those courses usually requires that you have taken whatever the introductory biology series is at your school. You may also want to check and see what topics are covered in the major’s intro bio series at your school. At many schools, one of those courses is considered “cell biology”. The schools that state that are usually trying to prevent people from taking courses like zoology and plant biology.

I agree with Kasia on the embryology. You would be better served with microbiology, genetics, biochem, immuno and that kind of stuff for med school prep.

Bio I at my school was basic, introductory bio for science-types; it was good I took it. Bio II was more planty, so I took some upper level bio coursework instead.

I have seen schools specify that they prefer the Bio I/II track (to give you a broad survey, general understanding). Definitely look into it, though it probably won’t make or break your app.

And welcome, and gluck!

You may also want to check out the biology topics that are testable on the MCAT. If your school doesn’t recommend a “pre-med” bio series, then you want to choose biology courses that cover most of the topics for the MCAT. See

One concern I have is taking the MCAT having taken only the first half of the ochem and physics series. Although most of the ochem topics on the MCAT are covered in the first half, you may be missing some fairly substantial physics. You should check the course syllabi and compare the topics to those on the MCAT and see how many you will not yet have covered. Also, with ochem I and physics I in the spring term, are you going to have enough time to prep for the MCAT? You should not go into the MCAT with the philosophy of “if I do poorly, I’ll just take it again”. You only want to take the MCAT once. Med schools see ALL of your scores and you don’t want to risk a poor score.

Thanks for everyone’s advice! Is there a big disadvantage if I wait till August to take my MCAT? I’m guessing “yes.” Thanks again,

If you won’t be ready until August, don’t take it until August . I’d be slightly preferable to get it done earlier, but August won’t put you at a huge disadvantage.

If possible, though, try not to have your MCAT prep overlap too much with your primary app. For me, at least, balancing those was a challenge.

Sorry one more question… How bad would Organic Chem II and Physics II together in the Summer be? It would be a 3 month semester. Thank you.

Be wary of late August/September MCAT exams. Last year there was discussion on the pre-med advisor list serve that some schools were considering not accepting “late” MCAT scores. That was beaten down for then, but it wouldn’t surprise me if schools put that in play for this upcoming season. We probably won’t know until the new MSAR comes out in late April.



Sorry one more question… How bad would Organic Chem II and Physics II together in the Summer be? It would be a 3 month semester. Thank you.

With or without labs? Without labs would make it slightly better, although in general it really sucks taking any of the pre-reqs in any kind of condensed summer session. Not saying it can’t be done - you will know your own capabilities a little bit better by then, but most people are going to advise you against it. If your plan for taking them in the summer is then to take a fall MCAT, it still leaves you with the problem of not having adequate time for MCAT prep.

  • Mel82 Said:
Sorry one more question... How bad would Organic Chem II and Physics II together in the Summer be? It would be a 3 month semester. Thank you.

Well, a three month semester is KIND OF feasible if you are very good at first-semester Ochem and first semester Physics. But it's going to be awful.

If it were 8 weeks, I would say it was a choice slice of crazy.