SIUE Department of Biological Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Biological Sciences


Medical School Information (Concise Summary)


  • Choose a major that interests you and in which you have some talent, not necessarily in science.
  • No one major will guarantee acceptance into medical school.
  • For applicants accepted by at least one medical school, the acceptance rates for biological sciences, physical sciences, and humanities majors ranged from 52% to 59% (1992-2002). The comparable rate for specialized health science majors (such as medical technology, nursing, and pharmacy) was 37%.
  • Regardless of your major, you will need good grades in and a good understanding of biology, chemistry, physics and math.
  • Begin taking chemistry and biology in your freshman year if possible.
  • A grade point average of 3.5 or better and a total score of at least 30 on the MCAT are important goals.
  • Minimum requirements for most medical schools are one year of biology, two years of chemistry, and one year of physics. Some require calculus or other courses. A competitive, rigorous course schedule is an important part of your application.
  • Choose to take several courses or a minor in the humanities and social sciences--don't neglect them.
  • Courses in computer science applications, writing, and statistics are also valuable.
  • Experience in a health care environment (paid or unpaid), research experience, and community service also contribute to the quality of your application.


  • The MCAT covers biological sciences, physical sciences, thinking, problem solving, and writing.
  • Try to complete your chemistry and physics courses, and at least two years of biology before you attempt the MCAT.
  • Obtain and study practice tests from the AAMC or other sources.
  • Take the MCAT in April or August after your junior year.
  • Repeat the MCAT if you need to improve your scores.
  • It is acceptable to have more than one MCAT score sent to a medical school.
  • Different schools have different rules about how many scores they look at.


  • Students should plan to apply to medical schools the summer after their junior year--earlier is better.
  • Most students apply to from three to twelve schools, not just one.
  • The AMCAS application materials are available on-line by mid-April.
  • Plan to spend a substantial amount of time on your application and especially on your personal statement.
  • Schools that are interested in you will send out supplemental applications--fill these out carefully also.
  • Arrange for letters of evaluation to be sent to a health professions advisor to be sent to the medical school together.
  • Evaluators should be professors or others who know you well and can comment on your aptitude and preparation for medical school.
  • Medical schools will call you to schedule an interview if they continue to be interested in you.

More detailed information is available from the Association of American Medical Colleges (web page:, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (web page: and from your CAS Advisor.

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Published by: Department of Biological Sciences, SIUE
For information, email: Dr. David Duvernell, Chair
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Last updated July 29, 2012