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Preparing for a Career as a Physician

  • Course Work - All medical schools require a minimum of chemistry (4 semesters), biology (2 semesters) and physics (2 semesters). Many schools have additional requirements of math and English. It is always wise to check on the specific requirements of schools to which you may eventually apply.

  • Experiences - Most medical schools look favorably upon experience that suggests that you have familiarity with the occupation you are pursuing. This experience fits into two categories.

    • Basic research - Conducted on your home campus or at some other campus, research shows intellectual growth and problem solving skills that may lack from ordinary coursework.

    • Health care-related experience - Job shadow a health care professional, get a summer job in a health care position, or participate in a meaningful volunteer experience.

  • Application process - the process is quite complex and has several steps.

    • MCAT exam - taken in the spring of the junior year. This exam has three major sections (verbal reasoning, physical sciences, and biological sciences) plus writing samples. The test is eight hours in length and is offered only in April and August each year.

      • Practice MCAT exams are offered through the Biology-Chemistry Council on campus each fall.
      • Study guides are available through the MCAT Web site linked above - these are both computerized and paper formats.
      • Study guides (books and CD) are available at any large bookstore.

    • AMCAS - an application clearing house that operates exclusively online. The AMCAS service takes all your information and distributes it to the schools you indicate. The schools then ask for supplementary info if they are interested in your candidacy. One particularly important piece of your application is your personal statement, which should be very carefully written and reviewed.

 
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