I’ve had a clear idea of the pre-reqs I need to take for three years, but now I understand that sociology and psychology are being added. Fine, two more classes. But maybe it’s four more classes, because I’m finding more and more medical schools that require a year of calculus. Ok, two more classes. And then there’s physics - trig-based or calc-based? The rules all seem to be changing, which is a bit frustrating. Part of me feels like I should take the most stuff possible (calc, calc-based physics) just so I don’t limit myself to where I can apply. Another part of me is like, “Really? Extra classes that probably aren’t necessary for most of the places you would apply?” I don’t know. Anyone here planning on taking a year of calc?

I actually didn’t take a year of calc; only a semester.

Other’s can chime in as well but I don’t think its necessary at all to take a year of calc. Like you mentioned in your post, it is a bit frustrating planning all these pre-reqs only for the school to which one would like to apply to begins changing the rules.

IMO, stick with algebra based physics (unless you like calc), take just enough classes per semester that make it enjoyable and fun to learn. After all, a year into your pre-reqs and you may have a sharper idea about how you are going to go about building your application for medical school; class wise.

Hope this helps!

Sociology and psychology content are being added to the 2015 MCAT but most med schools haven’t yet added them to the list of prerequisites. Generally speaking, you are free to get that content in whatever format is easiest/least costly. The Khan Academy is in the process of developing materials for MCAT prep in light of the new content on the 2015 exam.

In regard to calculus, most schools don’t require it although many schools require some form of college-level math. The trend is toward requiring statistics, not calculus (stats will be on the 2015 MCAT, as well). Schools don’t check whether you’ve taken calculus-based or trig-based physics–the choice is yours. Calculus is generally not required by medical schools although there are a few outliers but even most of those only require one semester.

I hope this helps!



I have had a semester of Statistics and a Semester of Calculus I and so far, that seems to be acceptable at just about every school I have looked at. I read up on what AAMC is considering for the social science part of the MCAT - it is an odd mix…DSM V material, Psychology I material, and for some reason, unknown to anyone other than the MCAT designers, some grasp of Gestalt. Personally, I find that baffling. As a Mental Health Practitioner for 18 years, no-one I know in the field is using Gestalt - it is an antiquated theory. I am not sure how pre reqs will supply all this material, other than Psychology I, and Psychopathology. But Post Bacc Programs say they are “developing curriculum” for the MCAT of 2015. To me, the range of social science the AAMC describes in the “new” MCAT, is not discreet to specific courses, and requires a range of understanding within the social sciences. Until any of us takes the MCAT 2015, I’m not sure HOW we are supposed to know how to prepare for it. I saw content from Psychopathology, Psychology I, Abnormal Psychology, and Social Work Methods courses…Just my 2 cents. Feel blessed and lucky to have the background I have going into this, but am aching inside for everyone scrambling to figure out what to study over and above Chem, Orgo, Bio, and Physics.

I’ve asked some admissions counselors at a few different med schools and the response I always get is, “We have no plans to change our pre-requisites at this time” - which, to me, is a cop out answer. So, are you going to change your pre-reqs for 2015’s incoming class IN 2015? That would be BEYOND frustrating. Seems kind of like a way to keep non-traditional students out of medical school. I’m sure there’s more to it than that, but it definitely seems like it would have that effect.

I just met with my post-bacc premed advisor this week and she recommended that I not take calculus unless the schools I am pursuing specifically require it, although most do not (especially in the state of Ohio). In fact, she said that most med schools do not even require a math course, but they may recommend it, however a statistics course would be beneficial in ease of understanding of results, research, etc. Also, based on previous posts it will be included in the 2015 MCAT which is news to me! (ah!)

Depends on where you look. The school I’m interested in has posted new pre-reqs for those students applying for the 2016 class. Here’s what they want for new pre-reqs.

2 semesters of Biology

3 semesters of Chemistry (to include Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry)

1 semester of Genetics

2 semesters of Physics

2 semesters of English

1 semester of Statistics

2 semesters of Social Sciences (Psychology and Sociology recommended)

Possibly not as up to date as possible, but here is a list of math requirements by school from Columbia:…

I really doubt that most schools would force new pre-reqs in 2015 for 2015. They’d probably either announce them earlier or make it a requirement for later incoming classes.

Also, some classes can be in progress at the time of application.

Vicki -

I did some basic reading on Gestalt Theory. It occurs to me that they want you to have studied it, not for it’s applicability to treatment of mental illness, but for it’s applicability to ways of generating differential diagnosis. The thinking pattern in recognizing a diagnosis may not be linear (it meets the following list of criteria) …it may be a perception of a whole from several apparently unconnected parts. They may wish future doctors to be familiar with this viewpoint on how perception works, and how it may apply when looking at a patient.


  • thewayiam Said:
In fact, she said that most med schools do not even require a math course, but they may recommend it, however a statistics course would be beneficial in ease of understanding of results, research, etc.

I'm taking a research seminar right now (basically, journal club) where half of the students are MDs. I gave the first presentation of the semester in which I did extensive commentary on the authors' use of statistical tests (spoiler: it sucked). Since then, most the MDs in the room have come to me to help explain research statistics.

The issue isn't that they don't understand statistics per se; it's that clinicians and scientists deal with statistics differently. There was one girl who was having trouble understanding Type I and Type II error. Then I said "sensitivity and specificity" and I saw in her eyes that everything clicked. I defined them in the terms that she deals with more often.

The problem is that if you plan to spend time keeping up with the latest research or publishing research yourself, a good background in statistics involving both statistics and regression is vital. The paper I reviewed in class was a really cool study that looked at efficacy of a common snake antivenin used in Africa- turns out it isn't as efficacious as initial trials made it out to be! However, there was a major issue in that the authors compared three different groups by daisy chaining T-tests. You can't do that, period, because of compounding alpha. And if you don't know what compounding alpha is, you don't understand the tests that you're applying. Believe me, this was clearly the wrong test- the authors should have used ANOVA- and I'd be bitching that it invalidates the entire study except that it was negative results anyway. But the fact that a paper was written and made it through peer review in a fairly good journal helps to demonstrate that there's a problem of statistical literacy among clinicians.