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Can I be a doctor and be clueless in math?

I have always struggled in the math department whenever I was in school. Now as a senior and knowing that I want to pursue medicine, I feel scared to face the math requirements medical school has for prospective students. Should I give up on my dreams, suck it up and magically become better at math overnight, or figure out a way to fake it till I make it?
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Subject: Career question for you


4 answers

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Jackson’s Answer

Annette: Thanks for asking this courageous question.

I think the short answer is NO.

Would you trust a medical doctor who cannot convert fl oz to ml?

Would you trust a medical doctor who confused the difference between lbs and kg?

You can fake math all you want but you will not make it.

You will not magically become better at math overnight. You will not magically become better at anything over night.

You might want to consider approach differently. There are different ways, career paths, or college majors that can "help people" without being a medical doctor.

If you have good listening skills, you can choose to be a therapist or a psychologist.

If you have good music skills, you can choose to be a music therapist or a sound healer.

If you have your heart set on becoming a medical doctor, you must believe in yourself that you can be better at math over time (not overnight). And start working at it.

Jackson recommends the following next steps:

Take a self assessment test to explore other career path other than medical doctor. Your high school counselor can provide guidance.
Find friends who are willing to tutor you math. Yes, more than one. Each one of us learns math differently. Each one of us teaches math differently.
Take free online math classes from Khan Academy. I am still taking free online programming classes from Youtube and Khan Academy. And I am almost 50 years old.
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Richard’s Answer

Many med schools require statistics.
Many science degree plans require calculus.
You will also need math to complete the physics prerequisite.

If you have no aptitude for math, you will just have to study harder, attend TA sessions and possibly hire a tutor.
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Virginia’s Answer

You have to trust that the medical schools have requirements because the doctors need those skills. I am bothered by your use of the word "clueless."
Maybe you were pushed forward in math too fast and are now in math that you are unprepared for. Learning math requires a steady build up of skills. You just need to find the level of math you are comfortable at right now and make that your beginning point. Then follow the above advice about using the Khan Academy to proceed at your own pace. Do not jump into the math that you are currently doing that makes you feel "clueless." You will continually improve.
You will need this kind of long term goal focus and perseverance to get into and through med school, so this would be a great step.
Of course, it is true, you should always ask yourself why you want to be a doctor. Exploring your career choice is always important. If you are just looking for money and prestige, there are other paths.
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Rachel’s Answer

Absolutely you can be a doctor and not be an agile mathematician. You just need to be good enough to get through calculus and physics. This means you'll need to attend class and probably hire a tutor. This is doable. You'll just need to work hard.