Doctors need to know math. Calculating drug doses, drawing up statistical graphs, examining x-rays and CAT scans, using ratios and proportions, converting units of measurement and body measurement indexes are all part of a physician’s job. Additionally, you’re going to have to pass the Medical College Admissions Tests, or MCAT, with a good grade to get accepted into medical school. Admission to medical schools is highly competitive, so it’s important to know what math is required at the school of your choice.

Medical School Basic Math

According to the Ross University School of Medicine, logical reasoning required in studying math is a big part of clinical reasoning. The ability to manipulate numbers in factions, ratios, powers of 10 and logarithms is required in medicine. The university also asserts that you will need probability, graphs and algebra, as well as the ability to convert units of measure.


The MCAT is not math-intensive, but you will need to know basics such as algebra II, percentages, square roots, ratio, metric conversions, logs, estimates proportion, exponents, vector addition and subtraction as well as trigonometry. According to the Preview Guide to the MCAT 2015, there will be an emphasis on statistical skills as applied to natural, behavioral and social sciences. You will have to analyze and use measures of central tendency, along with measures of dispersion to describe data. You must be able to make predictions and use mathematical reasoning along with scientific reasoning to draw conclusions. A statistics class, in addition to algebra and trigonometry may help you pass the MCAT.

Calculus and Statistics

For competitive schools, such as Harvard, one year of calculus is the minimum math requirement. Many schools will accept Advanced Placement credits from taking AP Calculus in high school and passing the AP test to satisfy this requirement. Schools such as Johns Hopkins will accept one year of either calculus or statistics, while others require a year of both classes. It’s always best to check the minimum math requirements of the medical school you would like to attend.

Being Competitive

All medical schools require you to excel in a heavy load of science classes, including physics and chemistry. In order to get into these classes, a certain amount of math is required, usually algebra II, trigonometry and calculus. Most medical schools receive many applications, so in order to be competitive, it is wise to satisfy criteria for a number of schools and perform well in math, science and all of your general education undergraduate classes, including liberal arts, humanities and behavioral sciences.