The Ins and Outs of Medical Schools

Deciding to go to medical school is a huge step for undergraduate students. Considering how much time and money is required to attend med school, it is important to understand the ins and outs of it before you decide whether or not it is the place for you.

First, gaining admission into medical school in the United States is generally more competitive than undergraduate school. Most med schools require applicants to possess impressive undergraduate GPAs (grade point averages), a stellar admissions essay, good MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) scores, extracurricular and leadership activities, and submit to an admissions interview. Also, while the majority of medical schools require applicants to possess a bachelor’s degree, some offer high school students the option of pre-admittance into a seven year program that would provide them with an accelerated bachelor’s degree along with the standard four year medical degree. Many medical schools also require or expect applicants to have certain prerequisite courses before they are admitted. These can include: biology, physics, chemistry (both organic and inorganic), calculus, statistics and biochemistry.

The general curriculum of a medical school is four years long, with the first two years consisting of classroom basic science education and the second two years consisting of clinical rotations. During rotations, students can gain firsthand knowledge of patient care. Upon the successful completion of these four years of study, the student will earn a Doctorate of Medicine, or MD. They will then be required to enter residency training, which could last between three and seven years. During this training, the students will gain experience and knowledge in a specialized field of their choosing. After completing medical school and residency, a physician must become licensed to practice medicine in the state in which they live. To become licensed, a physician must meet the following requirements: graduated from an accredited medical school, satisfactorily completed at least one year of approved residency training and passing the United States Medical Licensing Examination. This exam is a four part test that takes place during various phases of medical school and residency.

As mentioned above, to become a licensed physician, it is required that you attend an accredited medical school. The American Association of Medical Colleges lists 130 accredited MD granting institutions in the United States, so make sure your prospective schools is one of them before you apply.

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