As a senior in high school, what can I do, now, to begin preparing for the MCAT?
This question comes from a student with an interest in pursuing a career in the medical field as a general surgeon.
Barry Mills MD PhD
- The AAMC website gives fairly specific data on the content topics covered by the MCAT
- Two years of college biology, two years of chemistry and one year of physics are the core topics of the MCAT
- While only a semester of calculus is usually required by Med Schools, multiple extra classes in math can only help on the MCAT, especially in statistics. While these math subjects are not directly tested on the MCAT, the complex reasoning required for math courses is highly valuable. Math majors are gold!
- The MCAT is not just science but requires coherent reasoning in an essay. Classes in the humanities are looked upon very favorably by Med School
- Don't overestimate the value of the MCAT for getting into Med School. While a general minimum score is required, grades, unique life experiences and extracurricular activities are very important factors.
- Kaplan offers an intensive (and expensive) MCAT prep class. While not required, this is very valuable to take in the months preceding the MCAT with hundreds of practice tests.
- Ask to follow a doctor around at their work to make absolutely sure this is the career for you. Medicine is a difficult life and there are easier ways to make money. Be prepared to miss a lot of your kids birthday parties, etc.
- You will have your entire life to prepare for a career in medicine so don't major in a specific field just because that appears to be more directly related to Medicine. Take all the required classes but find a college major in something you really enjoy.
I agree - buying a test prep book could be a good start. But I also think you should focus on any science classes that you take in college so that you can prepare yourself for the MCAT in a few years!
Test prep book is good advice. I would also suggest to keep honing your study habits and skills. It's something people of all ages should always be working on and very easy to lose.