Allopathic Medicine

The allopathic physician’s responsibilities cover a wide range of functions in the maintenance of health and the treatment of disease, including both acute and chronic care and preventative approaches involving substantial patient education. These include diagnosing disease, supervising the care of patients, prescribing medications and other treatments, and participating in improved delivery of health care. Although most physicians provide direct patient care, some concentrate on basic or applied research, become teachers and/administrators, or combine various elements of these activities.

General Information

There are 125 M.D.-granting institutions in the United States. Medical curricula have undergone significant revision during the past two decades as medical schools have made substantial efforts to place greater emphasis on modes of active and clinically relevant learning and reduce passive approaches to medical education.

During the first two years of medical curriculum, students learn scientific material basic to the practice of medicine, as well as behavioral science, preventative medicine medical ethics, human sexuality, and other clinically relevant content. They also master the skills associated with medical interviewing, history-taking, and physical examination.

During the second two years of medical curriculum, students participate in required clinical rotations called “clerkships.” Each clerkship is typically one to three months in length. Core clinical training usually involves rotations in internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, and psychiatry; many schools also have a required rotation in family medicine or primary care. These core clerkships are supplemented by elective rotations, in which students pursue individual interests and begin the process of identifying their future specialty choice.

Application Process

The American Medical College Application Service, or AMCAS, is the centralized application service of the Association of Medical Colleges.  Applicants submit a single application to AMCAS, which then sends a standard applicant packet to each of the medical schools to which you are applying.  Not all medical schools participate in AMCAS, and some may require alternate application processes.  Consult the MSAR to determine which schools participate and which require individual applications.   AMCAS accepts applications beginning on or about June 1, although applicants may begin preparing their online applications on or about May 1.  As a general rule, the earlier you apply in the application cycle, the better.  The majority of medical schools select their students on a rolling admissions basis.  They do not wait until all of their application deadlines have passed prior to reviewing and assessing completed applications.  The first notification date for regular (non-Early Decision Program) acceptances is October 15; Early Decision Program (EDP) applicants must receive notification by October 1.

Medical schools often require a letter of evaluation from a pre-health advisory committee, rather than several individual letters.  Each applicant who seeks a committee letter of evaluation will be interviewed by several members of the Stonehill Pre-Health Professions Advisory Committee, who will then condense the comments of science faculty, non-science faculty, and employers, which you will have previously gathered, into a single letter of evaluation to be submitted to medical schools.

If a medical school is seriously considering you for admission, they will most likely request a personal interview.  

Entrance requirements and application dates for every medical school in the United States and Canada are listed in the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR), which is located in the Stonehill Kruse Center.

Entrance Exam

The Medical College Admission Test, MCAT, is required for admission by all U.S. medical schools.  During and after medical school, you will have to pass nationally standardized licensure and certification exams.  The MCAT is designed to show those candidates who have demonstrated content mastery and proficiency in this kind of testing.  Studies have shown that MCAT scores are statistically reliable and valid predictors of academic success in the basic medical sciences in medical school.  Some medical schools conduct a preliminary screening based entirely on GPA and MCAT scores as a component of the process of selecting those applicants to be interviewed.

The MCAT is a multiple choice examination that is approximately 4.5 hours long and consists of the following four examinations in order:

  • Physical sciences. This section consists of 52 physics/general chemistry questions to be completed in 70 minutes.
  • Approximately 80% of the questions are in passage format, while the rest are stand-alone questions.
  • Verbal Reasoning. This sections consists of 40 verbal reasoning questions to be completed in 60 minutes.
  • Writing Sample.  In this section, you must complete two 30-minute essays.  
  • Biological sciences. This section consists of 52 biology/organic chemistry questions to be completed in 70 minutes.  Again, approximately 80% of the questions are in passage format.

Only an introductory-level knowledge of physics, general chemistry, biology, and organic chemistry is required for the MCAT.  However, the test determines how well you can apply this introductory material to problem-solving questions, not simply if you have it memorized.  Each section is scored on a scale of 1 to 15.  You need a combined score of about 30 to be a competitive medical school applicant.  According to Princeton Review, the most important area of the MCAT in which to excel is the Verbal Reasoning section.

MCAT 2014

Subjects CoveredType of ExamExam LengthWhen GivenWhere TakenContact Info to Register
Physical Sciences Verbal Reasoning Writing Sample Biological Sciences (biology and organic chemistry) Computer Multiple Choice Essays 4 hr 30 min AM and PM Sessions Available multiple times late January through September Test centers throughout the US and globally www.amc.org/mcat
Test PrepCost of ExamObtaining ScoresReporting ScoresScore RecordNotes
www.aamc.org/mcat $275.00 Financial aid available (discounted to $100.00) Scores released 30-35 days later via MCAT Testing History (THx) system Scores automatically uploaded to AAMCAS Schools may determine how far back they want the score record to go New test in January 2015: deleting the writing section and adding psychology and sociology questions

Suggested Coursework

The following is a list of undergraduate courses that typically satisfy the prerequisites for allopathic medical programs:

  • Chemistry with lab (1 year)
  • Organic Chemistry with lab* (1 year)
  • Biology with lab (1 year)
  • Physics with lab (1 year)
  • English (1 year)
  • Biochemistry and Calculus are also highly recommended. 
  • Consult medical schools for more information on specific requirements as they can vary.

* Biochemistry majors may take Organic Chemistry I  & Inorganic Chemistry (8 credits – CHM 221 & 244)

Resources

American Medical Association (AMA)

515 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60654
(800) 621-8335
www.ama.org

Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)

2450 N Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037-1126
(202) 828-0400
www.aamc.org

2015 AMCAS Instruction Manual

www.aamc.org/students/download/182162/data/amcas_instruction_manual.pdf

Khan Academy MCAT 2015 Test Content Videos

https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/mcat

MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements) Online

https://services.aamc.org/30/msar/home

Official Guide to the MCAT Exam (MCAT2015), Fourth Edition*

www.aamc.org/officialmcatguide2015
*A free copy of this guide is available in the Office of Career Services in the Kruse Center, Cushing-Martin Hall.  You may visit the office to check out the guide to determine if you would like to purchase your own copy or not.