How to get into medical school

Admission requirements, application, tests, costs, salaries

For top medical schools in USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Singapore, India

 
Becoming a doctor is a long, expensive process. Getting into medical school is only one of the requirements. Entry into medical school can be extremely competitive.

At medical school, and even after starting to practise medicine, doctors lead a difficult lifestyle, working irregular hours, including weekends and holidays.

But at the end of it all, there is the satisfaction of being able to save lives and relieve pain.
 

Medical school entry application / requirements

The process of entry into medical schools varies across countries. Some places like the USA take a holistic approach, taking into account the overall candidate profile including the GPA, test scores, previous experience and extracurriculars whereas in some countries, academic grades and test scores are the sole deciding factors.
 

MCAT score for medical schools

The MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) score is an important aspect of the application in the USA, Canada and Duke-NUS in Singapore (which follows the US pattern).

The MCAT is a scaled score and can range from 472-528.

Along with the score, a percentile rank is obtained which lets you know how well you performed compared to other test-takers.

According to U.S.News, among the medical schools having the highest MCAT scores, the median MCAT scores were in the range of 219-222, the average being 220.

The average MCAT for all the medical applications was around 504-505, however inorder to get accepted, the score required is much higher, the average being around 510-511.
 

Medical schools – undergraduate and graduate entry

The structure of the program varies immensely. Some countries like Singapore and Australia offer both the options – you can either pursue an undergraduate medical degree after completing your 12th grade or finish your undergraduate degree and then get enrolled in the graduate medical programs.

In countries like the USA and Canada, students need to complete their undergraduate degree before they can enrol in medical schools.

In countries like India, students can complete their undergraduate medical degree (MBBS) after 12th standard and continue studying for their postgraduate degree (MD/MS). The internship and residency requirements also vary.
 

Medical schools for international students

The chances of getting into a medical school for international students would be different depending upon the country where you apply.

Some countries like Canada offer very few places for international candidates making the entry very difficult.

If you plan to study in one country and practice in another, you need to do a lot of research in advance and find out ways to move on to an entirely new medical system and how you’d adjust to a different culture and geography.

But firstly, you need to check if your qualification is recognised by the country you aspire to practise in.
 

Medical school acceptance rate

It can be a challenging process to get into a top medical school, considering the low acceptance rates, so candidates need to apply to multiple schools to improve the odds of getting in.

The acceptance rate at some of the top elite (Ivy League universities) medical schools in the US is as low as 2.5 % for Stanford and 2.8% for Brown University.
 

Medical school cost

Studying medicine, completing the internship and residency requirements, passing the required licensing exams can be an arduous task with the entire process taking 10-11 years or more in some countries.

The costs also vary greatly depending upon the medical school and country where you study.

We’ve covered the tuition fees in each of the detailed articles listed below. Private universities/colleges would cost much more than public universities or government colleges.

Also read this: Cost of medical school for international students
 

Is a career in medicine the right choice for you?

Before you decide to study medicine, you need to be aware that the medical profession is very demanding.

In addition to the long duration of intense study and training involved, the work hours could be erratic and the responsibilities involved could be huge.

You would have a long way to go, even after completing studies, before you’re able to be pay back your study loans and be able to earn well enough to compensate for all the time, effort and toil you’ve put in.
 

Average doctor salaries after medical school

The salaries would depend upon your location, level of experience and area of specialisation.

According to payscale, the average salary of a doctor (MD – Doctor of Medicine) in the US is $2,09,000, whereas in the UK, for a physician (general practice), it is £51,015.

In Singapore, the average earnings of a physician/doctor, general practice is S$101,047, in Australia, it is AU$105,109 and in India, it is Rs. 616,751.
 

Top 10 medical schools in the world

US News THE (Times Higher Education) QS
1. Harvard Oxford Harvard
2. Johns Hopkins Harvard Oxford
3. UCSF Cambridge Cambridge
4. Oxford Imperial College London Stanford
5. Toronto Stanford Johns Hopkins
6. Washington Johns Hopkins Karolinska Institute, Sweden
7. Stanford UC Berkeley UCLA
8. Penn. UCL Yale
9. Duke Columbia / Melbourne MIT
10. Columbia Yale UCL

Source: US News, THE, Top Universities
 
We take a look at how to get into medical school in USA, Canada, UK, Singapore, Australia, and India, the entry requirements, the application, the cost, and scholarships in each of the articles listed below [we’re updating the links soon]:

  • Medical Schools in the United States (USA)
  • Medical Schools in Canada
  • Medical Schools in the United Kingdom (UK)
  • Medical Schools in Singapore
  • Medical Schools in Australia
  • Medical Colleges in India

Also read:
MCAT Exam