School Students considering a Medical Career
edited October 20, 2001
handout was created by members of the UBC medical class of 2003, as a handout
to high school students in the Vancouver area. This was part of an outreach
program by the UBC HSSA (Health
Sciences Student Association) in an attempt to guide interested students
towards a career in
into Medical School: The Prerequisites:
Ka Wai Cheung, Jennifer Oates, Ian Wong, and Michelle Wong: UBC Class of 2003
with the academic prerequisites to enter into university or college.
- Taking Physics
12, Chemistry 12, and Biology 12 will be extremely useful if you are interested
in pursuing a science major in university.
- If you enjoy
the subject, taking the Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate
(IB) courses will make taking those courses extremely easy in university
because you've already covered the material.
- Do extra-curricular
activities that interest you, such as: sports, art, drama, music, languages.
volunteering at the hospital or nursing home, or "shadowing" a
doctor and following him/her around for a day to see what he/she does. You
can try meeting these doctors through volunteering or family friends.
- When you start
university, you will be in a four year undergraduate, or Bachelor's degree
program. eg. Bachelors of Science in Biology. After your Bachelor's degree,
you may then do a graduate degree, which is either a Masters degree or a
Doctorate (PhD) degree.
- Make sure
you keep your Grade Point Average (GPA) high each and every year!
- Make sure
to take all the required courses for UBC medical school before you apply.
(Find them in the Recommended Links below)
- As long as
you fulfill the above courses, pick a major in any field you're interested
in: e.g. Biochemistry, Mathematics, English Literature, Art History, Music,
- If you have
AP or IB science credits for first-year university courses, you should repeat
those courses because many medical schools require you to do the laboratory
component as well. You'll also likely get really high marks since you've
studied the material already!
- Keep up with
the extra-curricular activities and hobbies from high schools, and look
out for student clubs offering interesting new thing to try.
- If you didn't
do any medically related volunteering during high school, you should start
it now, as soon as possible.
- Start talking
with professors to get to know them, as you will likely need a reference
letter from one when you apply to medical school.
- Taking first
year Physics, first year English, first year Math, first year Inorganic
Chemistry, second year Organic Chemistry, and second year Biochemistry will
give you the necessary background to do well on the MCAT.
Has four testing components, using multiple choice questions except for the
both Physics, and Inorganic Chemistry.
must read short essays/passages, and then are tested on their contents.
The passages may be based on topics that you have never covered in university.
are given two topic sentences and write separate essays on each topic.
Biology, Biochemistry, and Organic Chemistry.
- No calculators
allowed! (Make sure to keep up your math skills in university!)
- Being a good
and quick reader is essential to avoid running out of time during the test.
- Is only offered
in the months of April and August, and must be taken and marked before you
can apply for medical school.
- Most students
write it in the summer after second year of university (so they can apply
during third year) or the summer after third year (so they can apply after
- The AAMC,
or Association of American Medical Colleges, is the organization that prepares
and writes the MCAT exam each year.
- UBC requires
you to obtain three reference letters, one from each of three referees.
- Choose referees
who know you well, like and respect you, and express themselves well.
- UBC will
give you three one-on-one interviews, usually by faculty members who are
either researchers or clinicians.
- Be yourself
and act naturally, be honest, and know your strengths and weaknesses, as
well as why you want to become a doctor.