What are pre-med requirements?

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A student examining samples in the hospital lab. Although medical schools may have different requirements for admission, there are certain curriculum requirements which are common. As you would expect, pre-med requirements include several different science classes. Students will need to complete one year of biology with labs. When registering for your biology class, be sure you know which ones you need to take. Most universities offer several biology classes. Some are for non-science majors while others are intended for pre-medical and other science majors.

You will also need to complete two semesters of general chemistry, which also must include lab work. As far as chemistry goes, general chemistry only fulfills half of the chemistry requirement. You will also need to take a year of organic chemistry with labs. The good news is that, while general chemistry involves a lot of formulas and calculations, organic chemistry does not. 

Additional requirements include completing two semesters of general physics with lab work. On top of science classes, pre-med requirements also include a semester of calculus and two semesters of English. There are many different classes that may satisfy the English requirement, but it is best to check with your advisor to be sure. 

Students should also be aware that some medical schools may require pre-medical students to complete an additional semester of calculus or statistics. A class in biochemistry as well as a semester of psychology and ethics may also be required. Keep in mind that most medical schools will require the coursework listed above, but additional requirements may vary. It is best to contact the admissions department at each school you plan to apply to for specifics. 

Tips on completing requirements

Pre-med requirements can seem overwhelming when you first look at them. It’s best to meet with your advisor early in order to come up with a game plan. There is often a general order you should take the classes, and your advisor can make sure you are on track.

There are also several labs required with the science classes you will be taking for pre-med. Whether you love labs or dread them, they can be a lot of work. It might be a little easier on your schedule if you avoid taking more than one or two classes with a lab each semester.

Although you will need to take several intensive science classes, you will also need to complete other classes, such as electives, to earn your four-year degree. When selecting your classes each semester, try to mix in an elective or easier class with your demanding science classes. If you are a full-time student, four or five rigorous classes can be a lot to handle at all once.

Lastly, as you complete all your pre-med requirements, you may find a class particularly difficult. If that happens, arrange for a tutor, join a study group or speak to your professor. It is better to deal with the situation before you fall too far behind.  

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