What Is Pre-Med?

A student learning about the premed journey?
Many people are confused by the term “pre-med.” In this post, discover what it means to be a pre-med student and how pre-med prepares you for medical school.
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A student learning about the premed journey?
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For students considering a career in medicine, going pre-med is the initial part of their educational journey. This leads many high school students who are beginning to consider their college options to ask, “What is pre-med?” 

Is pre-med a college major? Is it a course of study? Are there pre-med colleges or universities? Is there something I should do in high school to prepare for pre-med in college? Will being pre-med be important on an eventual medical school application? 

All of the above questions are reasonable and often asked. In this post, we’ll cover the different aspects of pre-med in order to answer the question: What is pre-med?

Pre-Med Is Not a College Major

Contrary to what many people think, pre-med is not an actual major. Instead, being pre-med is simply planning on going to medical school after earning your bachelor’s degree and choosing a course of study that ensures you take classes that will prepare you for a good MCAT score and will meet prerequisites for medical school.

So, What Do Pre-Med Students Major In?

Every medical school requires that an applicant have at least an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, but you have options when it comes to choosing your major. Many (if not most) pre-med students major in the biological or physical sciences, but this is not a requirement to get into medical school. Medical schools look for well-rounded students, so having a different major does not necessarily affect your medical school application negatively. However, it is important to know that regardless of your major . . . 

There Are Prerequisite Classes Medical Schools Require From Applicants

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) lists the following as general courses pre-med students need to complete in order to be accepted into a medical school: one year of Biology, one year of English, two years of Chemistry (through Organic Chemistry). But keep in mind that medical schools are all different and have their own list of prerequisites. When choosing a medical school, do your research well in advance and make sure you take the required classes needed for them to consider your medical school application.

Pre-Med Is Very Challenging

Having an exceptional GPA that will distinguish you from other medical school applicants, taking difficult classes such as Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry, and beginning to prepare to earn a good MCAT score are all reasons why pre-med is hard work. A lot of students go into college as pre-med but opt out of the pre-med path within a year or two. However, if you are determined to have a career in medicine and dedicated to working hard in the classroom and in your study, being pre-med can be an informative and enjoyable college experience.

Are you a pre-med student preparing to take your MCAT? Discover why UWorld is the industry leader in high-stakes medical exam preparation. Our 2,000+ MCAT-style questions, detailed rationales for all answer options, vivid illustrations, and unparalleled performance tracking will have you confident and prepared for success on exam day. Start your 7-Day MCAT FREE trial today!

Admission requirements. AAMC. (n.d.). Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://students-residents.aamc.org/medical-school-admission-requirements/admission-requirements

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