By Corrine Vish, Director, International Admissions at St. George’s University (SGU) School of Medicine
For students interested in pursuing a career in medicine, the high school subjects they choose to study can have a significant impact on their future. In order to become a doctor, students must have a strong foundation in several key subjects, including Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics and English. Understanding the relevance of these subjects to medicine, as well as how they will be expanded upon in medical school, can help students make informed decisions when choosing what educational streams or subjects to focus on.
Whilst not the most obvious subject, maths is important for pre-medical students
Biology is a fundamental subject for those interested in medicine, as it provides the foundation for understanding the structure and function of living organisms. Topics covered in high school include genetics, cell biology and physiology, which are all directly related to medical studies. Medical students will further this by learning about how the human body works, and how it responds to disease. Biology also provides the basics needed to comprehend the latest advances in medicine, including genetic engineering, stem cell research and personalised medicine.
Chemistry is another essential subject for pre-medical students, as it introduces them to the molecular basis of life. High school chemistry covers organic and inorganic chemistry, which are crucial for knowing how drugs work and how chemical reactions take place in the human body. In addition to that, medical students will learn about the structure and properties of different drugs.
Whilst not the most obvious subject, maths is important for pre-medical students. Calculus, statistics and probability are all essential to decoding medical data, such as diagnostic tests and clinical trials. In medical school, students will learn how to analyse and interpret data in order to make informed decisions about patient care.
Physics teaches students about mechanics, electricity and thermodynamics. These branches of physics will equip medical students to learn about the principles of medical imaging, such as X-rays and MRI, and how they are used to diagnose and treat disease during their medical education journey.
As medical students are expected to communicate complex scientific and medical concepts to their colleagues and patients when they become practicing doctors, English is another crucial subject for pre-medical students. Therefore, they must be adequate at writing, critical reading and public speaking.
Physics teaches students about mechanics, electricity and thermodynamics
SGU’s curriculum aims to transform students from basic sciences into students who can deal with patients and their problems in a hospital or outpatient clinic. To do this, numerous new clinical skills, professional behaviours and considerable medical knowledge must be added to that which the student has previously acquired. Therefore, by choosing subjects like biology, chemistry, maths, physics and English, students can lay a strong foundation to prepare them for medical school and to pursue a career in this evolving field.
The vast amount of required knowledge and the ever-accelerating rate of discovery reinforces the notion that the practicing physician must forever be a continual learner.