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Academic Preparation for Medical and Health Profession Schools

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Medical/Health Profession School Requirements

There is no required major for admission to medical/health profession schools; however, some schools do require that applicants complete certain courses prior to admission. The MIT Committee on Prehealth Advising has provided the MIT Prehealth Recommended Course List, which may be used as a guide to help students identify MIT courses that should fulfill these prerequisites.

Since medical and health profession school prerequisites vary from program to program it is best to refer to admission requirement guides and the individual school's web sites to be sure that all necessary prerequisites are completed.

Resources

  • MIT Prehealth Recommended Course List and FAQs
    The MIT Prehealth Recommended Course list is based on feedback from medical and health profession schools, information in admission requirements books, and guidance from MIT faculty.  Included in this course list are answers to FAQs related to course work and the MCAT.
  • Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR)
    The MSAR provides information about each medical school's specific academic prerequisites, as well as application procedures and deadlines and selection factors such as MCAT and GPA.
  • AAMC Member Medical School Directory
    The Medical School Directory has information on the U.S. and Canadian AAMC-member medical schools.
  • MIT's Prehealth Course Planning Guide
    The MIT Prehealth Course Planning Guide suggests first year course schedules for freshmen who are interested in completing the prerequisite courses required for medical and other health profession schools.  Since each student's situation is different and varies based on AP credit as well as learning preferences, be sure to consult with your Freshmen Advisor about your scheduling strategy and review the different course options listed on MIT's Premedical Recommended Course List.

GPA

GPA is a critical admission criterion. The reason for this is that the schools view your previous academic work as evidence of your readiness for graduate study.  Therefore, it is important to take courses in the relevant sciences and aim to maintain a 4.5/5.0 or greater GPA. Keep in mind that your GPA is considered in the context of other factors such as school attended, choice of major, difficulty of classes taken, grade inflation (or lack of).  It's also important to note that that academic challenges experienced during college can be rectified, and should not necessarily discourage you from pursuing your goal.

Timeline
It is wise to take a manageable course load while balancing extra curricular activities in oder to maintain a good GPA. Students should attempt to complete prerequisite while at MIT, though it is possible to complete prerequisites and improve your academic credentials post grad through a formal post-bac program or by taking courses at an accreditted 4 year college or university.

Resources

  • MIT Applicant Data
    Review MIT data from the last several years of application cycles.
  • U.S. Medical School Applicant Data
    Visit the American Association of Medical Colleges website for comprehensive data on U.S. medical school applicants, matriculants, enrollment, graduates, Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) applicants, and MD-PhD students.

Standardized tests

Standardized tests such as the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and the Dental Admission Test (DAT) measure the strength of your knowledge on relevant topics and gauge your critical reasoning skills. Standardized tests provide an objective score that, in combination with your GPA, is used to determine your readiness for graduate study. 

MCAT

MCAT is administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Currently, there are five and three-quarter hours of testing divided into four sections:

  • Verbal Reasoning (VR)
  • Physical Sciences (PS)
  • Biological Sciences (BS), and

These sections have multiple-choice questions and two essays. Each section has its own score and the scores in VR, PS, and BS sections range from 1 to 15.

NOTE: The MCAT exam will be restructured in the spring of 2015 to include four new test sections:

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

Timeline
The MCAT exam is administered multiple times throughout the year and is offered at hundreds of test sites in the United States, Canada, and around the world. Registering 60 days or more in advance is recommended to secure your preferred testing date and location.  Scores will be available ~30 days after the testing date. Plan to take the MCAT no later than the spring of the application year to avoid unnecessary delay in the review of your application.

Resources

DAT

DAT is administered by the American Dental Association (ADA) on computer nearly any day of the year. The testing program is designed to measure general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability. Prior to the exam, you must complete at least one year of college education, which includes courses in biology and general and organic chemistry. Advanced-level biology and physics are not required. Most applicants complete two or more years of college before taking the DAT. The four hour and fifteen minutes test consists of the following four parts:

  • Survey of natural sciences (biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry)
  • Perceptual ability (two- and three-dimensional problem-solving)
  • Reading comprehension (dental and basic sciences)
  • Quantitative reasoning

Test scores are developed in relationship to all candidates participating in the DAT and are based on the number of correct answers. You will not be penalized for guessing. The results are reported to dental schools as standard scores rather than raw scores. Through the use of standard scores it is possible to compare your performance with the performance of all other applicants. Scores range from 1 to 30 and the standard score of 17 typically signifies average performance on a national basis.

Timeline
You should take the DAT one year prior to the intended dental school enrollment.

Resources

Study Abroad Considerations

Your plan to pursue the health professions should not deter you from taking advantage of MIT’s many global programs. In fact, living in another culture will provide you with broadened cultural awareness, a quality that many health professional schools value in applicants. Please make an appointment with a member of the Prehealth Advising staff for assistance with course selection, selecting exam dates and planning for your semester or year abroad.

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