Uneven Grades, 43 Years Old

Hello All-

I just received my grades for the semester, and want to know if a few bad grades will derail my chances of entering medical school. I received an “A” in trigonometry, and a “D” in gen chem II. Most of my grades have been “A”'s and “B”'s, except for in chemistry, thus far, and I also work full time in a teaching hospital, drawing blood and doing EKGs, which has exposed me to so, so much. Formerly, I was a TV producer in NYC.

I’m about to start working with a physics tutor this summer, in preparation for physics I/lab and organic chemistry. I know if I try hard enough, I can do much better next semester.

If I am able to keep my GPA up, as well as earn solid MCAT scores, are my chances of entering medical school at 43 years old still viable? I am 40 now, and assume that I would, if accepted matriculate at 43…or maybe even 44, in order to take more advanced level classes.

Any advice? Should I volunteer in an additional setting beyond my full time job at the hospital? I have received GLOWING recommendations from my former professors (Bio- who also happens to head up the health professions office- and Intro Chem professors) in the past. I am capable, and I am passionate about medicine.

Thank you, Old Premed-ers, for your invaluable help.



Are you planning to retake the chemistry? A “D” does not imply solid understanding of the material; a retake with at least a “B” would show much better. If you go the DO route instead of MD, the D would also be replaced with the new grade instead of averaged with it.

You say that you’re sure you can do better if you try hard enough - do you know what went wrong this semester so that you can change those specific actions/inactions?

I would NOT recommend volunteering extra when you have already struggled with grade. Volunteering is important, but not more important than grades.

My $.02, for what it’s worth…I’m still walking down this road, too.

Good luck!


Hi Annette-

Thank you so much for your reply.

Here’s the thing that is completely dispiriting: this is my SECOND time taking the class. I think the reason I did not do too well the first time is not having proper study habits. The second time I did not do so well is most likely a result of poor study habits. I just was not into that class. I do not believe I am academically incapable of doing well (“A” in Trigonometry…"A"s and "B"s in other biology classes). I am thinking that if I do well in Physics and Ochem, the "D"s (plural!) in Gen Chem II will be rendered moot…or is that “magical thinking”?

I think I will take the more advanced classes, and then retake (for a third time!) the Gen Chem II class the autumn I decide to apply to medical school. Perhaps admissions committees will see this as evidence of tenacity and commitment?

Who knows? I am going to try, and keep my focus on school.

Thank you.


I’ve also heard from a professor that it’s more advantageous to take perhaps cell biology, anatomy and physiology, or biochemistry, do WELL ("A"s) in those classes, than to go back and retake clases.

This is from the guy who works as Univ of CO- Denver’s point person for health science careers. He has written recommendations for many aspiring doctors, and KNOWS the process.

I am definitely going to take his advice, then revisit whether or not to re-take chem II for the third time!


I would say that he’s right from my conversations with adcoms. Get in some 3rd year classes and do well.

Several of my schools require a C or better in all the pre-reqs… check your schools’ websites carefully! You may have to retake, no matter what…

I know all of the schools I have looked at require a C or better in all pre-req’s. I would also think that you would have to have a higher understanding of the material in order to pass the upper level courses, but I am not that far along yet.