Future Doctor in the Family? A Simple Overview of Math in Medicine

Many students come to MEK Review with the intention of pursuing a medical career. Medical school is rigorous, and preparation starts early in a student’s education. A strong math foundation is vital. Here is an overview of how each level of math plays into a student’s educational development.


Algebra prepares students to study unknown variables in relation to a system. Algebra is foundational to doctors understanding, for example, how molecules comprised of chemicals with numerical bases interact within the body. A typical student needs two years of Algebra in high school to progress to calculus, which doctors will study in college. An advanced math track will enable a student to hit Calculus their senior year, reducing the amount of study later on. Students can also take algebra in a middle school advanced class, which can also limit the amount of study.

Geometry and Trigonometry

Geometry helps doctors understand the shape and size of different cells, organs and body parts in relation to each other, and in relation to the size and shape of various medical devices. Trigonometry is an advanced form of geometry that focuses on triangles. Doctors use trig specifically to understand waves (radiation, X-ray, ultraviolet, and water). Trigonometry is vital to understand calculus.


Calculus deals with unknown variables in relation to a system over time. Doctors use this to understand chemical reactions that occur in the body over time. In particular, this helps doctors understand movements that may have caused injury. Most medical schools want college students to take a full year of calculus in college.


Statistics enables doctors to look at facts about a large group of data and analyze it to make decisions and predictions. Statistics also helps doctors read scholarly medical reports. Future doctors should take one semester of statistics in college to prepare for medical school.

If your child is considering a career in medicine, mastery in mathematics is vital. Assess their progress in the different levels of math. Each level builds upon the previous one to form a “big picture” of required math skills.

Future doctor in the family? Boost your math skills by enrolling in Math Lab!

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