Medical School Requirements: Bare Minimum Is All You Need

The medical school requirements are largely similar across various schools. You will find the requirements listed below:

  • 1 year’s worth (two semesters) of biology with labs
  • 1 year’s worth (two semesters) of inorganic chemistry with labs
  • 1 year’s worth (two semesters) of organic chemistry with labs
  • 1 year’s worth (two semesters) of physics with labs
  • 1 year’s worth (two semesters) of calculus
  • 1 year’s worth (two semesters) of writing
  • MCAT
  • primary application
  • secondary application
  • 3 letters of recommendation

Grades and Scores Matters a Lot

Just because you have taken the required classes and the MCAT does not mean you’re an automatic shoe-in. Obviously, the higher the grades and scores, the better. If you are applying to US allopathic (MD) schools, I would recommend a GPA of at least 3.5 and a MCAT score of at least 30. With that baseline level, you’re actually a little bit less competitive than the average medical school student. However, you should be quite competitive for osteopathic (DO) medical schools and definitely competitive for Caribbean medical schools.

A resource I used to compare myself to other applicants is You can check out my profile with It is a good resource because you can see the information of some of the applicants and people who were accepted. It will give you a nice idea if you have a chance of getting in a particular medical school or not, based on your grades and scores.

Follow Your Interests, Make You Own Path

As you see above, there are only twelve required classes for medical school, some which are already required if you want to graduate from college. This means that you pretty much have free reign in terms of undergraduate classes. As I said earlier, I would recommend taking classes which interest you.

I went to business school and worked in the business world afterwards. I am very happy I did so because I am more well-rounded compared to someone who came straight from college and only studied sciences throughout his or her education. Like most things, medicine is a business. Therefore, I am better prepared to tackle real-world medicine after medical school.

medical school requirements - chore

Do not turn your undergraduate years into a chore. For some people, it will be the best four years of their lives. Make the most of it.

You should definitely branch out and explore. Because once medical school starts, you may not have the time to do so again for a very long time.

Requirements for Each School May Vary

Each school may have something different for its medical school requirements. I strongly recommend you check the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) and the Osteopathic Medical College Information Book for the schools you will apply to. They give more details as what items are required for each respective school. You could get the first book from a local library if you do not wish to purchase it. The second book is free to download, so if you’re applying to osteopathic medical schools, there is no excuse not to get it.

Overall, it is very doable to fulfill the medical school requirements.

This article is part of the How to Survive Medical School series. Click on the link if you want more tips and hints about surviving academic hell.


  1. I really have been applying to study medicine for the past three year but the schools aren’t picking me each and every time they say my grades are not good enough and those whose grades aren’t as good as mine are being admitted.
    I’m a Nigerian. Your testimonies have been a source of encouragement to me. I won’t give up

  2. Eleanor says:

    Hi Alex,

    I’m curious as to why you took your science prerequisites at a community college. Obviously, I know it’s less expensive but I’ve heard that medical schools “don’t like it” (for lack of better words) and highly advise one to take science courses at a four-year university. I guess what I’m really asking is … Is it really okay to take med school science requirements at a community college?

    Thank you for your time! Great website!

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