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Have I Studied the Right Subjects for Medical School?⠀

A student sits at a laptop with their hands typing on the keyboard

Applying to medical school can be an exciting but also a very stressful time. The process can be made worse by worrying about whether you have the right qualifications to gain admission into the specific med school you’ve got your heart set on.

There are steps you can take during your time at school and before applying to make sure you’ve studied the right subjects to help you on your way to becoming a doctor.

Check prerequisite subjects

It’s a good idea to check the prerequisite subjects or assumed knowledge for each medical course that you’re applying for. A prerequisite subjects means you must have studied that subject previously to apply for the course.

Some courses will list high school subjects under a title called ‘recommended knowledge’. It is a good idea for you have completed these subjects prior to beginning the course, although it is not essential that you do.

If you are applying to multiple universities, make sure you check the specific requirements at each different university – they may be different!

Read Is Medicine the Right Choice for Me?

Science is key

Studying science subjects, such as biology, chemistry and, physics is helpful for admission to medical school. A lot of your early learning is going to be about how the body works, which relies on these fundamentals.

Studying the sciences will also provide you with the basics to learn about different diseases, how medications work and understand scans and surgical procedures. You don’t need to have studied all of them, but having studied at least one or two will definitely help you!

If you haven’t chosen any sciences at school, that is also okay, as long as you haven’t missed out on prerequisite subjects. There may be some concepts and knowledge you are missing, but you will pick it up along the way throughout your degree!

Read 5 Ways to Prepare Academically Before Medical School

Benefits of humanities subjects

Studying the humanities will help you develop skills that are also useful and valued in medical school. A lot of your work as a student and then doctor is focused around communication.

Practising reading, writing and verbal presentation will all help you to increase your communication skills. There are many different subjects that will help you with this practice, including: English, History, Geography and Law.

Read 8 Tips to Prepare for Med School

How can other subjects help?

Some other subjects you have studied at school may also be helpful too. If you are talented in the performing arts, this can be of great benefit to you as a budding medical student.

Experience in drama or music develops skills in self-confidence and performance. This practice is useful for all new situations you will find yourself thrown into as a medical student!

If you have studied PDPHE, your knowledge and skills will also help with your study as a medical student. You might find yourself interested in illness and injury relating to muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. Learning sports medicine could also be an area in which you may excel in the future.

Read 7 ATAR Revision Tips

What if I haven’t studied the required subjects?

If you haven’t studied these required subjects at high school, there are options for you! Start by checking if the university has bridging courses available.

Bridging courses are often held in the months leading up to your first semester at university. They will cover key content in a topic area, so you can catch up with your peers who took the subject in school.

You can also try speaking to university staff who assist with enrolment and course selection. They may be able to help you pick a course you can start, that will provide you with the recommended knowledge to then transfer into medicine at another stage.

Read 6 Tips to Find a Work-Life Balance

Regrets about high school subject choices

If you have completed all the prerequisite subjects, but you are worried about other helpful high school subjects you might have missed out on, don’t fear! You are embarking on a lifelong journey of learning where you will be continually developing skills and knowledge.

There will be topics that are challenging, regardless of what you’ve studied in the past. There will also be topics that you find easy! If there is anything important you missed during high school, you will be able to receive help from university tutors or peers along the way. There are also bridging courses available for this purpose too!

Words: Mary Agapides

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