Do You Have Dreams of Becoming a Doctor? 5 Things You Need to Know!
If you have dreams of becoming a doctor, there are some things that you should know. Preparing to become a physician requires taking specific steps and having a plan of action. If you’re passionate about becoming a physician, here are a few of the main steps you’ll need to take at various stages.
As an undergrad, you’ll need to take a few courses to apply for medical school. The basic elements for pre-medical education include one year of biology with a lab, one year of chemistry with a lab, biology, one year of mathematics, one year of physics, and English. Less commonly required courses include biochemistry and psychology with sociology. Non-required courses you should take include medical anthropology/history and a foreign language. Most colleges prefer a GPA of 3.5. You also need a Baccalaureate Diploma degree to apply and get into medical school.
You can become a stronger candidate with extracurricular activities that showcase your diversity outside of medicine, jobs, and work opportunities related to the medical field, and by volunteering at a local clinic or medical office.
- Take the MCAT
Taking the MCAT is required for medical school. The Medical College Admission Test is a computer-based standardized examination for prospective medical students. It’s developed and overseen by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Allow at least 12 weeks to study and exam prep for the MCAT to ensure you’re knowledgable about the material. With your exam prep for the MCAT, you can also take a prep course online or in-person to learn from an instructor and take practice exams, which will allow you to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
- Get into Medical School
Once it’s time to apply for medical school, you’ll need to get your transcripts ready and obtain multiple letters of recommendation. Create a personal experience, which can be based on your motivation for getting into a career of medicine and a challenging personal experience you’ve had in the past.
- Medical School
Once you’re enrolled in medical school, you’ll learn the basics of being a physician. In the pre-clinical phase, you can learn two years of science training where you learn about basic medical concepts, structure, and functions of the body, diseases, diagnosis, and treatment concepts. During the clinical phase, you’ll learn clinical rotations, where you receive basic instruction and hands-on experience with patients in medical specialties.
The curriculum varies by school but is busy, making it necessary to invest your time wisely. Set up study groups with other students and consider taking an internship to gain valuable experience.
- After Medical School
While enrolled in medical school, you’ll want to apply for residency during your fourth year. Both candidates and the school rank each other: candidates will rank their top residency choices, and the school will rank their top candidates. A computer algorithm will choose the best pairing. Assignments are also released on “Match Day.”
During your first year of residency, spend time in different wards of the hospital to gain experience practicing different areas of medicine. In the next two to four years, you will gradually start to focus on your specialty and subspecialty. With board certification, physicians undergo a voluntary certifying procedure and consist of both written and practical exams.
These five things are just some of what you need to know if you have dreams of becoming a doctor one day. By taking the right steps, you can increase your chances of success and obtaining your dreams of becoming a medical professional.