order of prerequisites?

I register for school next week and I’ve been on these forums so long my eyes are burning.

I’m trying to get everything in order and understand. I need gen chem I &II, org chem I & II, physics I & II, biology I & II, calculus and two semesters of engl?! (and lab thrown in there w/them) Is that the suggested order, and are those all to be done before the MCAT by May of my junior year? I’m to take the MCAT by May right so that I can apply by June to med school? And I apply my junior year right, before I finish my B.S. (Should I being taking Calculus before one of those courses? Is it physics?)

I’m researching this all on my own and I want to be prepared before I talk with an advisor at my CC. (yes, I need to do a cc first) Because it is a cc I want to look out for myself. OPM seems to be the place to get that knowledge. I want to get a schedule going of how many classes I can handle a semester. I don’t work but I do homeschool my children. They are rather independent so I don’t foresee a problem of doing my homework while they are doing theirs.

Thank you for all of the input and encouragement you give to others on this site. Your time is valuable and you still make time to help here. That’s great!

Most schools require gen chem before org chem, but other than that, there is no set order to the pre-reqs. The English and calculus can be taken any time, as well. The school where I did my pre-reqs required the first quarter of chemistry prior to the first quarter of biology. You should plan on having the gen chem, org chem, physics, and biology all out of the way prior to taking the MCAT and submitting your applications for medical school. English and calculus could be taken during your application year, as well as any supplemental science courses (micro, biochem, immuno, A&P, etc).

FYI - many schools are starting to require biochemistry as a pre-req and you will want to make sure that at least one of your biology courses is a cell biology course.

  • Emergency! Said:
FYI - many schools are starting to require biochemistry as a pre-req and you will want to make sure that at least one of your biology courses is a cell biology course.

I know that some schools do require this (e.g. Hawaii, IIRC) - but is this recommendation mostly because understanding histology is very useful for M1? Or am I misinterpreting?

MOST undergrad institutions do make sure that at least one of the biology courses that they recommend for pre-meds is a cell bio course. However, I’ve heard at some institutions, that’s not necessarily true, and people take bio courses that are more zoology type courses or spend a lot of time on plant and animal biology. Technically, these count as bio pre-reqs, but they aren’t going to prep you for the MCAT or for med school.

It’s not so much the histology - although that is helpful. You really need to learn about basic cell structure, type, and function. What is typically good advice is to look up the MCAT biology topics and then try and take as Biology pre-reqs courses that will meet both the pre-req criteria and cover as many MCAT topics as possible.

Hope that makes sense.

Regarding math/calculus (You had quite a few questions ) Most of the med school prereqs (bioI/II), (gchem I/II), (orgo I/II), (physics I/II) don’t generally require calculus knowledge. They do however require a somewhat strong pre-calc background.

Even the two semester physics (at least at my old and post-bacc school) is entirely trig based and don’t have calc as a prereq.

Some people say that the extra math experience from Calculus has helped them succeed more in other prereqs but I find that the veracity of that statement really varies from person to person. I took Calc I and II almost 6 years ago… can hardly remember any of my integration rules and what not, but can handle the quantitative aspects of gchem I/II.

Is it possible to take some of these simultaneously? Or would that prove to be too difficult? How do I take these by the end of junior year to be prepared for the MCAT? Do I make use of the short summer and winter sessions? Which of these would be easier to take during those short sessions?

Thanks for the help!

Do I sound like I have adhd?

Some of these can be taken simultaneously indeed. I strongly recommend you speak to an academic advisor or comprable person in your school about this and confirm or dispel some of the things people tell you on this board… but as a point of reference I can share with you what I’m currently taking.

Winter 07 term (done)

Bio I

Gchem I

Spring 07 term (the madness I’m in now)

Gchem II

Fall 07 term

Orgo I

Bio II (Cell Bio)

Physics I

Winter 07 term

Orgo II

Orgo Lab

Physics II

Prep for MCAT (not a course but comprable level of effort)

Like I said… this varies a bit from school to school, but typically your advisor should be able to tell you what courses are prereqs to other courses etc.

Also in response to your other inquiries.

-Yes these are the basic courses that should to be completed before you take the MCAT (or applying to med school).

-It is riskier to take things in the summer/spring, because everything is so compressed. I would try and fit in a non-science elective or something like comp in the spring/summer if you really want to take advantage of that time. Science courses in the shorter spring/summer are just very intense and stressful.

Hope that helps.

Many med schools require biochem as a separate course, usually one “term.” (Not as part of the bio requirement, but in addition.)

Also quite a few schools require “math through calculus [single variable]” and a stat class.



You probably should take some of them simultaneously. You want to show adcoms that you can handle a tough science load. At the same time, you also want to get good grades and learn the material so you do well on the MCAT, so it is important not to overextend yourself. It’s not at all unusual for people to double up on science courses.

I agree with the summer session thing. If you have time to take your pre-reqs during the regular year, do so.

You should have no issues taking them all by the end of your junior year. You know what courses you need for pre-reqs. A good advisor should be able to help you plot out what courses you should take when based on what you need to take the MCAT, graduate, and based on when they are offered. That being said, there are a lot of crappy advisors out there - so do your own research, talk to a lot of people, and don’t take anything anyone says as gospel.

Thank you so much for all of the input and time you put into posting back, everybody!

I really just want to have a good start. I’m learning to ask questions, make goals, develop a schedule and pace myself.