Students aspiring to become a medical doctor complete an undergrad pre-med program. Most medical schools accept applications from students whether your major is science-based or not, as long as you take specific science prerequisites and pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Traditionally, pre-med students are science majors. The science-based pre-med curriculum mirrors, and serves as a preparation for, the types of courses offered in medical school. Pre-med coursework is designed to provide a strong foundation for a career in medicine.
Most medical schools require one year each of general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology and physics. Additional courses often takens by pre-med students include microbiology, biochemistry and anatomy and physiology. Although medical schools don't usually offer physics and chemistry courses, the MCAT includes questions that draw from those subjects. The MCAT also has a reading comprehension section, and therefore, pre-med students must be well-read.
Physicians are leaders who master the art of wading through large amounts of complex information and making critical decisions based on their background knowledge. They can also think critically and solve complex problems. Doctors work well under pressure and foster good relationships with others. These are skills the pre-med student needs to develop and master both their undergraduate and medical school careers.
Things Needed: Tangibles
Pre-med students need to memorize a lot of information. A stash of index cards can help with this task. You can break notes down into a question-and-answer format and record them on these cards. You can access the cards at any point in the day. A small tape recorder is also a handy tool for pre-med students to record lectures. Students should get permission from their professors before recording. Once taped, lectures can serve as a reference for inconsistencies, complicated processes or gaps in notes. Tape recorders are small and convenient to carry around and allow students to listen to classroom lectures at any time.
Things Needed: Intangibles
When applying to medical school, pre-med students need to show they have leadership qualities. In preparation, new pre-med students should come up with a list of potential leadership activities that fit their interests. An activity list might include volunteer opportunities at local hospitals, medical research employment opportunities or community outreach projects. Pre-med students should also have access to an MCAT preparation book. Reading through MCAT preparation books gives you an idea of the types of questions and material you need to master. Some books contain practice exams. You can purchase MCAT books at bookstores or borrow them from the library.
Maria Evans began writing professionally in 2009. She writes for grassroots advocacy efforts as an independent contractor and has conducted health care and public policy research. Evans has a Master of Public Health from George Washington University.