My introduction and a question

Dear friends,

I have been reading the posts on this website for the past three months and have found it very helpful and encouraging and I just joined as a member. So I would like to introduce myself and then ask a question. Please bear with me:

I am 45 years old with a PhD degree in Engineering and have been working in the industry as well as academia in my field for the past 20 years. Now that my daughter is grown up and getting ready to go to college, I have decided to go back to my earlier passion in life, which is becoming a doctor (my wife is also trying the same with a Psychology degree in her background). I got my bachelor degree in 1990, Master degree in 1998 (both outside the US) and my PhD in 2006 (in the US). so I have decided to re-take all the prerequisites, even general ones. I am currently taking my first set of prerequisites.

I have a question for more experienced members.

According to my study plan around May or June of 2011, I will be quite ready for taking MCAT (hopefully aiming for a high score). By that time the only courses left out of my prerequisites would be Organic Chem I&II and Biology III (required by some medical schools). I am also planning to take a few extra science courses between the time of application and the time of starting the Med school (if I am accepted of course!). If everything goes according to the plan and I can get a good MCAT score I will apply at the beginning of the application period in Jun next year (for Fall2012). Considering the difficulties in the addmission of older applicants, my other option is to wait until I have taken Organic Chem and other recommended courses and apply in May 2012 (for fall 2013) with a fuller hand (more science courses). In this case I will lose one year but I might (not sure) increase my chance. I am also doing volunteer work at a hospital and planning to continute this for the next 2 years.

Here is my question: What do you think? Is it really important to have all prerequisites done at the time of application (as I have seen recommended by some schools) or can I have some in progress?

I would really appreciate your advice.

Others will chime in but very briefly:

1, taking MCAT without o-chem and biology sounds highly risky to me

2, applying without complete prerequisites, even though you have a strong academic background, is also very risky. You will have that many fewer current grades to demonstrate your ability. You’ll be up against people who HAVE completed the prereqs.

On the other hand, your background is quite different from that of most med school applicants. I would suggest that you identify a few schools you’ll be interested in applying to, and invest some time in talking to them to find out their views on your situation.

Good luck!


I definitely do NOT recommend taking the MCAT without O-chem and biology. Biology is an entire section of the exam and that section also has some o-chem in it. Way too much to risk, especially when med schools look at a recent strong MCAT score as evidence of a non-trads ability to handle the course work (in a twisted way).

Dear Tara (and Mary).

Thank you both for your prompt responses. I think I have confused you when I mentioned about Org Chem and Biology. I am fully aware of all subjects covered in MCAT, so I am studying both subjects on my own and I see the potential in myself to do this (with help from my wife who has recently taken all of them with A+ grades). Also I will have Biology I and II done before taking MCAT. That is why I said that I would be ready to take the test next year. Having said that your points about “being compared with people who have completed their prerequisites” and “having many fewer current grades in my GPA” were very useful. Most probably I will take my second option and wait another year to finish all prerequisites plus some extra courses.


I agree with what Mary and tec said about the O. Chem. I think having Biology I and II will be fine for biology preparation for the MCAT.

I think the experience of Organic Chemistry lab was probably even more helpful to me in answering MCAT questions than was the class itself. Also the MANY hours working O. Chem problems each week, for being able to gain some quickness and some problem solving strategies.

Courses which are not CORE prerequisites but that SOME schools require (Biology III, biochemistry, etc) would, I think, be fine to complete after applying. Those schools would see that you would arrive having had those courses.


the AAMC gives you the ability to take a full practice MCAT on their website. In addition, Kaplan and Princeton Review always have mock MCAT tests that they give periodically.

MY advice would be to take the AAMC test and see how you fair. But make sure that you do it under testing conditions. And then if you like, do the kaplan or PR tests and then check.

There is no harm on doing these but rather gives you a fairly good idea of how you would perform on the real test. the AAMC is a real MCAT that is no longer in use and Kaplan and PR write their own questions.