New to this! Howdy!

I am 41, BS Chemistry with Biology minor… from 1987-90 and finishing in 94-96. I was Biomedical Chemistry for the first 3 years then changed to straight Chemistry to finishing my BS. I want to help people and think that medicine is a good route for me (I love chemistry and interacting with people). My problem: it has been a long time since I was in school and I have been working in chemical labs since then. I am not sure I “have what it takes” education-wise to pass the MCAT… which ultimately means that I am really not prepared to enter med school. I have talked to a school and, on paper, I pass all their requirements except the MCAT (which I haven’t taken)… and they require an MCAT score of 20-24 as their minimum for acceptance. I tried a practice test online and was completely lost on several sections (anatomy, physics, biology). I breezed through the Chemistry.

Your thoughts? How do I know if I am ready to tackle med school? How do I know if med school (and being a doctor) is right for me? I can do the studying to come up to speed (with time). Does it take more than a passion to help people to be a good doctor? Do I need to love memorizing bacteria, etc?

Thanks in advance!


Hi, Matt!

I’m in process of getting my pre-reqs done - graduated with a BS in Nursing/minor Biology in 2001. Some of my pre-reqs include retaking & fleshing out my math classes that I did not have to take or haven’t used since in school.

I suggest you may have to take a couple of refresher courses to get up to speed again. As you seem to not need official university credits for this, could you talk to an adviser at a local community college or take some online courses to refresh? This would save you some cash versus retaking them at the university and get your knowledge current. Also, you probably need to take some sort of intensive MCAT prep course. Then you will be prepared for exactly what you need to know.

As far as “more than passion”? In my humble opinion there will always be things you don’t like - for example I HATE my lab time that I’ve had since I’ve gone back to finish my pre-reqs because all my classes are filled with 18- to 20-year-olds who are not serious at all about their academics (I’m 34) but it is something I just have to suck up and get through.

You didn’t mention what it was that you have done for a living - do you have adequate experience with helping people to make an honest assessment that you like it? Simple volunteering in a healthcare environment can help you determine that further. As I am an RN of almost 10 years I know I can handle the death and the poop and the blood of it all as I have had to be in the thick of it - so I want to make sure you are really prepared for it - this is a long journey and you don’t want to find out once in medical school that it isn’t for you

Good luck to you and keep the forum posted!

(bows) Thanks so much for the response. I have volunteered in nursing homes in the past for a few years… but that was a while ago. And there is a difference in shaving, trimming nails, and helping vs. being in the pressure of it all (bedpans, sick people who don’t feel good and aren’t in a good mood, etc).

I have been working in chemical labs (electroplating plants, chemical analysis, etc) where it is me and a bunch of instruments. It is not remotely related to working with people… and I don’t like it… but it pays the bills.

I am sure there is something that I can do at a local hospital or hospice that will get me back into working with people … and sick people.

Thanks again!!

I am new to this also, and probably older and crazier than all of you. I want to start pre med courses and I am 54. Any one heard of someone my age going through with it?

Matt - Based on what I learned at the OPM conference this summer, I would suggest that you take coquelicot’s advice regarding the volunteering/clinical exposure. I heard several times that recent experience is desirable. Also, that was good advice regarding taking a course or two to brush up on your bio. It’s pretty late in the game to take the MCAT and apply this cycle, so perhaps you can use this next year to take the refresher courses, volunteer and prep for the MCAT for next application season? Best wishes to you!

There was someone on here older than myself who, I think, started med school at 58. We’re pushing the envelope but I know my mom (at 76) would probably be physically up to it, except for the sleep deprivation in residency. Now myself, I just came off a year of night shifts, and I’ve been a midwife, so sleep deprivation is something I know I can deal with.

Welcome to OPM’s!!