Re-taking premedical courses because they aren't recent?

Hi everyone,

Like many of you, I am a non-traditional student and I am currently applying to do a DIY post-bacc. I graduated in 2014 and I took physics and chemistry during my freshman year (2010-2011). My grades for those were ok, ranging from A- to B-. I know some medical school specify that the coursework should be recent and I remember either hearing or reading that the premed requirements should be within 5 years (I can’t recall where though, so I might be making this up…).

Right now, I’m leaning towards redoing all of my premed requirements for the following reasons:

    By the time I apply to med school, my physics and chemistry credits would have been 8 to 9 years ago
    Re-taking it, I am able to guarantee myself that I will get a better grade

Does this make sense? Am I right for wanting to re-do all of my premed requirements?

Thanks in advance!

Short answer: Yes, your explanation makes sense. But no, I don’t think you should redo all the courses. Long answer below:

I’m of the mindset that retaking a class that you didn’t bomb is a waste of money, with some caveats. There are, indeed, some schools that specify “no later than” times for your prerequisites. As of a couple of years ago, Duke had a 5 year requirement, and I know a few other schools that had “strongly recommended” timelines of roughly 10 years. Most of the schools I looked at applying to didn’t really have a firm limit. Strangely enough, I got into a “strongly recommended 10 years” school with older prereqs…

If you did fine in the courses and you don’t care that it may (minimally) limit where you can go, then I wouldn’t waste the money. Instead, put the money you would have spent into a commercial prep course that will teach you exactly what you need to know, in a more MCAT-centric way, more than any undergrad course will do. Your previous experience with the coursework will be a good foundation that the prep course will fine tune.

I was told by a dean of a school that I was accepted to that recency of coursework is highly recommended. I vaguely remember seeing a school or two that said your last class had to be within X years, but I can’t remember how many (maybe 3?) or what schools they were.

I’ll just give you my background so you have a frame of reference for my recommendation. Between 2000-2002, I took a majority of the prereqs for medical school, not knowing that I wanted to be a doctor until after graduation. Graduated undergrad in 2004 and started a truly DIY post-bacc plan a few years later. Finished OChem I in 2007, OChem II in 2008, Bio II in 2012, and Biochem in 2013, the year I applied to medical schools (if you’re doing the math on my sig block, I deferred a year after being accepted). After undergrad, all of my coursework was Online/Distance Learning, so yes, that too is an option that may further limit to where you can apply, but it’s an option. I did a 3-month, on-demand Kaplan MCAT prep course prior to taking the MCAT, which basically retaught me all of chemistry, biology, OChem, and physics since I wasn’t using any of that since undergrad. It also taught me strategies for the verbal section. I don’t remember the cost, but I think it was roughly equivalent to 2 courses at the going rate for Univ New England at the time.


Good thoughts. The financial consideration is definitely a factor, but I rather not be limited by the fact that my courses are recent enough.

Thanks for the input!

You might want to look at specific schools then before you go spending the money if that’s your concern. It really only kept me from applying to like 2 schools that I didn’t really want to go to anyway. Just trying to save you money and coursework if you don’t “need” it.