January 23, 2020  | Updated: May 13, 2020

Category: Medical School


  • Know the difference between degrees
  • Be prepared for the MCAT
  • A low GPA is not the end of the world

The medical industry can be a career that is both challenging and rewarding, yet figuring out prerequisites for a particular medical school and navigating the application process can be its own challenge.

The American Medical Association offered some insight into differences between medical degrees, the Medical College Admission Test, the medical school application process and more.

MD vs. DO: How much does the degree type matter?
In the United States, there are two types of degrees with which physicians can practice medicine. There is an MD, a Doctor of Medicine, or a DO, a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. The two degrees reflect different types of medical school training. An MD attends allopathic medical school, while a DO attends osteopathic medical schools.  Learn about key differences between MD and DO medical school programs, and what role the degree type should play in your medical school choice.

The MCAT is not just another standardized exam
The primary function of the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is to determine how a prospective medical student will perform in medical school. In that regard, it doesn’t differ significantly from standardized tests, such as the ACT and SAT. However, be sure you know why the MCAT is different than any other exam.

A low GPA may not sink your application
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, students entering medical school in the 2018–2019 admissions cycle registered a 3.72 average GPA in their undergraduate coursework. However even if you underperformed in undergrad but dream of working as a physician, you have options.

Be prepared to answer: Why are you pursuing a career in medicine?
The interviews for medical school admissions vary in format depending on the school. You may speak to one person or several people. While the audience for the interviews may vary, one question is likely to remain constant: Why do you want to go into medicine?  Medical students and faculty chimed in on the best ways to answer that question.

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