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What Classes Will You Take in Medical School?

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What Classes Will You Take in Medical School? Tim Sackton / Flickr

Question: What Classes Will You Take in Medical School?

Answer:  The medical school curriculum is standardized across programs. Med students take coursework the first two years of school. What can you expect as a medical student? Expect lots of biology and lots of memorization.

Similar to some of your premed coursework, the first year of medical school examines the human body. How does it develop? How is it composed? How does it function? Your courses will require that you memorize body parts, processes, and conditions.  Prepare to learn and repeat long lists of terms.

Courses include:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Histology
  • Biochemistry
  • Embryology
  • Neuroanatomy

In your second year of coursework you will learn about pathology (disease) and treatment.

Courses include:

  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology

In your second year of medical school you will be trained to work with patients. You'll learn how to interact with patients by taking their medical histories and conducting initial physical examinations. At the end of your second year of med school you will take the first part of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE-1). Failing this exam can stop your medical career before it begins.

During your third year you will start rotations. You'll get experience working in a variety of different specialties, rotating every few weeks to introduce you to various fields of medicine. During the fourth year you'll obtain more experience with another set of rotations. These entail more responsibility and prepare you to work independently as a physician.

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