non-trad needs mcat prep advice

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    I am 32 and a mom, and have been out of school in what seems like forever. I was pre-med in college and even took the MCAT’s in 1991 (got a 28), but decided not to apply at that time. I pursued a career in health administration instead, but now am thinking about med school again.
    How in the world to I prepare to take the MCATs? If I completed all my pre-med coursework, do I need to look into Post-bacc programs? Should I sign up for a kaplan class, etc., study on my own, via books, CDROM? What do you recommend?
    Also-is it that daunting to try to figure out the application procedure myself, or should I seek prof pre-med advising? I feel the need to get hooked into some pre-med pipeline. I’m hoping MomMD advice will help me out. Thanks! CMK


    There’s lots of great advice regarding your questions, just scan the forums. Welcome to MomMD!

    You need to talk to the admissions office at the med schools you want to apply to and find out if your prereq’s are too old. Some schools have a cutoff date for them, especially if you haven’t done any science coursework in the last 10 years. I know there are cutoff dates for the MCAT.

    I would highly recommend a review course for the MCAT since you’ve been out of school a while. You may also need to take some courses to show you “still have it.” That doesn’t mean you need a post-bacc program. Although, it’s worth looking into since I believe there are some programs on the East Coast that feed directly into med school if you meet their requirements.

    Do plenty of research. Talk to the schools, check out their websites, talk to a premed advisor at a local college to find out more specific questions you can be asking.

    Also, check out It’s a group of nontraditional premed & med students. You’ll fit right in there, too! I’m on that forum under the same display name.

    Feel free to PM me!


    I think that at most schools the cutoff for pre-reqs is seven years or so. So it looks like that will be your review (if you do have to retake the pre-reqs). Remember that med schools would like to see (not all but some) recent coursework. Your best bet is to purchase the MSAR (medical school admissions requirements) and see what the schools that you are interested in say in regards to this issue. Another thing you can do is go to the med school web pages and look under the pre-reqs tab. Good luck.


    Check with the school(s) you plan on applying to about the prereqs. I didn’t have to retake anything. It wouldn’t be a bad idea, though, to take some additional upper level bio/chem classes (I’d recommend physiology, histology, biochemistry) to show them that you are still capable of the coursework (and get you some info that’ll help you with 1st year med classes).

    As to MCAT prep. I took a Kaplan course and it really helped me review those classes I hadn’t taken in 10+ years. The class is expensive, but you get lots of materials to use with it.

    I’m sure you can find some others around here to give you some advice! Good luck!


    I’m taking MCAT in April 2003 and have been away from school for awhile so I can just tell you what I’m doing. Whether it will work – I don’t know.
    I am checking with the schools individually even when the web site admissions info says the cut off for pre-reqs is 7 years (no reply yet though). I’m reviewing with Kaplan online and the EK books and use my old text books for back up when I need more explanation (except I bought some new books for molecular & cell biology since things change so fast in this area- I’m hoping chemistry & physics haven’t changed that much). You have to be really disciplined to stay on track reviewing without a class though – especially while working full time and taking care of kids. I think it would certainly be easier to review (or relearn) if I could take (or audit) some classes. For me this is difficult because of where I’m living right now. I’ve also heard some schools want you to take some recent science classes to show you can still manage academically (again-I’m asking the individual schools). I’m also looking at online/distance options.
    This is all pretty consistent with what the others have said.


    Thank you all for the wonderful advice. I am going to order the MSAR right away and get on this. I hope it is not too late to look for some classes to take this winter/next spring. The thought of doing science coursework again is a jolt back into the reality of really doing this! Now that I have a little better sense of what it will take to get in to medical school, I will have to grapple with whether I can handle all the sacrifices of schooling/residency hours on my time with my daughter/children-to-be. Do other momMD’s have any regrets in this regard? I have heard some Dr.s say that being a dr. is not what they had imagined, esp with managed care dictating time spent with patients, and residents being worked to the bone. There is even that article written on your site by a mother who sounds a little run down, saying she’d much rather be up all night with her baby than at the hospital. How can we make it through all this?
    Thanks again MomMD and I look forward to your support and encouragement, because I think I will really need it!

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