How to Go to Med School Without Taking the MCAT

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Session 64

Session 64

On OldPreMeds Podcast, We take questions directly from our Nontraditional Premed Forum forum and deliver the answers right here to you!

OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

“I’m about to graduate from college this upcoming May and would like to apply to medical schools. I wanted to apply to linkage programs so I could get into medical school without having to take the MCAT. I still have not taken the MCAT.

However, I cannot apply to postbac programs because I’ve taken all the premed courses and have done very well in them. So that eliminates any postbac linkage programs.

I know there are tons of linkage programs for undergrad sophomores and juniors, but since I’m no longer a sophomore or junior, what other options do I have besides applying to medical school the regular way?”

Here are my insights:

[02:45] First Things First: MCAT Resources

The MCAT is a beast of its own, and that’s why you have resources like The MCAT Podcastalong with my book The Premed Playbook: Guide to the MCAT, to help make the MCAT easier for you. If you haven’t yet, go check out those resources.

[03:35] Different Ways to Get Into Medical School

There are a couple of ways to get into medical school. First is the traditional route which involves applying at the end of your junior year or beginning of your senior year for entrance the following year. So there’s no break between undergrad and medical school except for a summer off. Within that normal route, you will have to take the MCAT.

[Related episode: Taking a Gap Year Before Medical School: Should You Do It?]

[04:03] Early Acceptance Programs

Perhaps the more appropriate term to use, rather than a “linkage program” like you mentioned, is “early acceptance.” For most of these programs, you apply during your sophomore or junior year. For some schools, you don’t have to take the MCAT. For others, you still have to take the MCAT, and you just need to achieve a minimum score to still be accepted into medical school.

My undergrad institution, University of Florida, has the Junior Honors Medical Program where you apply as a sophomore and they look at your SAT score and the first couple years of your undergrad classes. I think you still have to take the MCAT on that one.

[Related episode: All About FlexMed (A Program That Doesn’t Require the MCAT)]

[4:53] Programs without an MCAT Requirement

There are programs out there where you don’t have to take the MCAT.  I recently helped a student get into A.T. Still University where they have an early acceptance program, and she no longer has to take the MCAT and got her acceptance early.

[5:05] What Are the Options for Nontraditional Students?

If you’re listening to this as a nontraditional student, those options are probably not going to be available for you. Instead, you can look into grade-enhancing postbac programs, which are there to help increase your grades if you started off poorly and then you’ve decided to come back and work harder. Some of those programs will have linkages to medical schools.

There are also Special Master’s Programs that have linkages to medical schools. These are master degree programs to help you improve your grades so you can prove to medical schools that you can handle the curriculum. I generally wouldn’t recommend attending one, as these programs can be very expensive. Also, in a lot of these programs, you will have to take some classes with the first-year medical students.

[Related episode: He Got Into Medical School and Didn’t Have to Take the MCAT]

[6:45] Take an MCAT Prep Course, and Take the MCAT.

If you’ve done well in your classes, there is no reason to avoid taking the MCAT. Bite the bullet. The MCAT is a necessary evil. If you’ve done well in your premed classes, that is the number one way to prepare for the MCAT. So go back and relearn that material. Take a prep course such as the one offered by Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep) and use promo code “MSHQ” for 10% off Next Step full-length practice tests or “MSHQTOC” for $50 off MCAT tutoring or the Next Step MCAT Course at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep).

If you've done well in your premed classes, that is the number one way to prepare for the MCAT.Click To Tweet

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