Retaking Courses???

Hi everyone! I am (once again) pre-med. I graduated from college in 1995. I, too, have undergraduate GPA baggage so need to take classes to demonstrate academic readiness. I have received some contradictory advice, so I’d like to see what others have heard.

Since I was a bio major in my undergrad years, I have taken nearly all of the upper division courses most of the med schools recommend. However, I did fine in most, great in a couple, and terribly in a couple. Now that I will be taking courses again, I have been advised that I should not take any classes over which I had passed. However, I have also been advised that I should take the regularly recommended courses even if I have already taken them because it’s been 15-18 years since I have taken them. What have you heard?

Linda -

If your courses are ALL 15 to 18 years ago, you will need to retake at least some of the prerequisites. Schools may not accept core prerequisites older than 10 years old. THat said, you REALLY need to take the first 2 biology semesters again…because it is a lot different. Look at the web sites of the schools you are interested in and see what they say about age of courses.

One strategy might be to take the core prerequisites (which would also give you a more recent and thorough pass thru the MCAT stuff), and also to retake those courses you did poorly in that are important in premed prep (ie - don’t retake Botany just because you had a C, for example, but biochemistry, immunology, microbiology --topics you might want more recent grounding in that will be useful in medical school - retake. That is reasonably part of ensuring that you have current science preparation.


Hi Kate,

Thanks for your reply. You’re right. Marathon, not a sprint. It’s hard for me to accept that there is still a lot of work ahead of me before I can really apply.

My next application cycle will be my fourth time applying. I applied during my senior year of college, but wasn’t really a competitive applicant. I applied again after grad school, but had failed to meet one pre-requisite. After that, I got married, had children, and completely shelved the idea of medical school. That was 13 years ago. About three years ago, I got that oh-so-familiar feeling again. Out of nowhere, I knew I had to apply again. I fought it for a month, but it was useless. I knew it was the right thing to do. So, I took the MCAT again (then my fourth time), completed that last organic chemistry pre-requisite, and applied. I got one interview for a post-bac program which leads directly into med school, but ultimately was rejected. The committee advised me to retake the MCAT, get a higher score and apply directly to the medical school. So, I retook the MCAT in January and am awaiting my scores.

The most recent round of failed applications has taught me that I need to get my science GPA up. Some schools recommended a year of course work. My new plan is to work on a Masters in Biological Sciences to beef up that science GPA. After the first year of course work, I’ll apply while I finish up the Masters.

I’ve also learned that applying to medical school is arduous. But, it will be a lot less painful to apply when I can put my best foot forward. Wish me luck! Thanks for your advice.