Hey guys so I recently had a pretty big wake up call on what I’d like to do as a career. I’m 24 years old and I’m about to finish my undergrad in Emergency Services Administration. I graduate in about 2 months and realized a few weeks ago that being a Firefighter Paramedic isn’t what I want to do for the rest of my life. I’ve pretty much spent every free moment I’ve had in the last 2 weeks trying to figure out if I’d be able to apply for medical school anytime soon. I pretty much don’t have any of the science prerequisites like a year of bio, chem, o-chem, or physics. I have basic physical science and biology prerequisites along with anatomy and physiology, but that’s about it. I am a paramedic and I’ve had some really awesome experiences from that. I’ve also gotten a good look into the medical field which has sparked my interest in going to med school and becoming a doctor. I had never ever thought about becoming a doctor until recently and I’m pretty far behind because of that. I have a 3.8 gpa and I’m pretty confident I can get a good MCAT score if I put my mind to it. Just don’t really know how to proceed from here and if this means I have to go do another year or two of school after graduating this semester. Is there any way I can work on getting a good MCAT score and not have to do more schooling or am I out of luck?
Are you asking if you can take the MCAT or apply to med school without pre-reqs? Because yes you can but I wouldnt recommend taking the mcat without taking chemistry, ochem and physics at the very least. You can apply to med school without having all the prerequisite classes completed but you will have to complete them by matriculation. There is very little A&P on the mcat so that doesn’t really help you there.
I don’t think it’s realistic at this point to apply to medical school for 2019, unless you have shadowing experiences, letters of recs lined up and you can take mcat by June or July… med schools accept on rolling admissions so if you get your app in late this year you’ll really be putting yourself behind the game. Does that make sense?
I know there are several people that can offer better advise but honestly I would take all prerequisite before you take the mcat.
There are some medical schools that do NOT actually require completion of specified prerequisites, though all of the ones I remember seeing (3-4 years ago) did highly recommend the standard biology, chemistry, physics, etc. So yes, it is theoretically possible for you to kill the MCAT and go to medical school after you graduate from your current program. Aside from that, I don’t know anything about how many people actually get into school without those courses. Not having them would probably make the MCAT a little more difficult to study for since you would be missing the bulk of the framework on which test prep courses are designed.
Some of the prerequisites are mild-to-moderately helpful in medical school. A lot of the classes really have minimal direct application, but the foundation they give you helps you learn HOW to think about things or help you more quickly wrap your head around certain concepts. For example, organic chemistry… I can’t tell you the last time I really thought about how acid-base reactions occur and what “attacks” what, but acid-base balance, dissociation of things in acidic or basic solutions, etc, are actually important concepts to medicine. You’ll never (at least I haven’t) have to calculate an angle or a force you learned in physics, but understanding basic physics principles will give you a better understanding of kinesiology, mechanisms of injury, flow through blood vessels and airways, certain eye conditions, etc.
And don’t underestimate the MCAT. It was one hell of a test when I took the “old” version, and the new one is even longer with more testable concepts. It’s not like undergrad where you either know the fact or you don’t. It is more can you reason your way down multiple levels of thought based on the basic level of knowledge you’re supposed to have, which is actually quite broad to begin with.
I answered this in Session 116 of the OPM Podcast!