Many pre-medical students became interested in medicine at a young age. Many were also told early on that the path was not easy and that’s true. One of the biggest obstacles is the MCAT exam. High school students that want to get a head start then ask, “Can I start preparing for the MCAT in high school?” This is a great question. With most exams, it never hurts to start studying early. The same is true for the MCAT but you have to be practical. For example, it’s tough to start studying for the organic chemistry topics on the exam if you have not taken a chemistry class. In this post, we’ll discuss what high school students can do to prepare for the MCAT.
Preparing for the MCAT in High School
The first thing anyone thinking about taking the MCAT should do is learn about the exam. To help you with this, you can read our previous posts on Taking the MCAT: What to Expect and What is the Purpose of the MCAT Exam. You will see that the MCAT tests a number of advanced topics, including general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, biology, biochemistry, psychology, and sociology. As a high school student, your school likely does not offer all of these classes.
However, if your school does offer any of these classes, you should take them. It’s true that they won’t be at the same rigor as college-level courses. You will still have to wait until after you have finished taking all of the college versions of the courses before signing up for the MCAT. However, you should know that studying for your college classes is the same as studying for the MCAT. By taking high school classes in the same subjects, you will get early exposure to the material. This will give you an advantage in your college courses, as not all of the material will be brand new. You will learn the more advanced topics better, which will help you with the MCAT. Furthermore, you will be in a better position to get a better grade in the class. Remember, your MCAT score is important but so is your college GPA so this is a win-win situation.
As a high school student, you should also consider BS/MD programs. These are designed for exceptional students that are committed to a career in medicine. They are particularly competitive but come with some huge benefits. The biggest one of all is that you have an easy path to admissions to a medical school. In addition, some programs are shorter than the whole eight years you would typically spend in college and medical school. For instance, the Howard University BS/MD program is just six years. Other programs like the Honors Program in Medical Education at Northwestern University don’t require their students to take the MCAT at all!
As you can see, BS/MD programs have a lot of pros. If you are interested in pursuing this path, make sure to do your research! The requirements for each program is unique but the rewards of admission are well worth the effort.
Have other MCAT questions? Check out Magoosh’s MCAT FAQ!