costs of medical school

The Hidden Costs of Medical School

The information on this website should not be considered medical advice.
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I have learned through the years that one of the biggest reasons people do not apply and attend medical school is the immense cost. While tuition is definitely a big one, there are multiple other costs to be aware of. While I truly believe all the expense and debt is worth it in the end, this article can help you get a good idea about some expected and unexpected costs of medical school that you may come across during this journey. As I walk you through this, I will highlight expenses that are required and add in some potential other expenses as well.

Costs of Medical School

Pre Med

Unfortunately, the expenses start even before you get accepted into medical school. Some costs to consider would be:

MCAT prep courses

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Sketchy Medical

The subscriptions give you access to 235+ sketchy lessons, 235+ review cards, and 215+ practice questions. Below are the subscription options-but there is a 14 day free trial offered as well!

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Sketchy pricing


Unfortunately while being a tumultuous exam, there is also a cost to take the exam of about $320, which increases to $375 if you try to schedule within 8 days of a test date. International test takers pay an extra fee of $115.

Application Fees

AAMC advises students to apply to 20-30 medical schools

Primary Application Fees
  • AMCAS (allopathic medical schools) charges $170 for the first primary application with a $40 charge for every additional program a student sends the application to.
  • AACOMAS (osteopathic medical schools) charges $195 for the first primary application with a $45 charge for every additional program a student sends the application to.
  • Texas schools have their own personal application with a flat fee of $185
Secondary Application Fees
  • Range from $75-$100 per application
Transcript Fees
  • Varies based on University, can be up to $10 to send transcripts to each program

Interview Costs

During the pandemic, a lot of interviews have gone virtual which has been a benefit in terms of cost, however travel expenses can add up if in person interviews resume. A student can expect $500-$1000 per interview depending on possible flight or other transportation costs and hotel stays.

Business Professional Attire for Interviews

Acceptance Deposits

After sending out an acceptance letter, many medical schools require a primary deposit to hold a students spot until May which is non-refundable. It can vary from $500-$3000 based on the school with an average of 6-10 interviews.

Pre Clinical Years

Now you’re in! Yay! You start medical school in the fall, what are the upcoming costs that we need to start worrying about….

Tuition and Fees

Most students need to use government loans through FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) in order to pay for their tuition and other costs since it is nearly impossible to work while succeeding in medical school. Here are the ballpark expected costs for tuition, room & board, and other personal and otherwise expenses for one year.

Medical school

This will obviously vary based on differing school tuition as well as location as living in different areas can change rent expenses extensively.

Board Preparation Resources

Some resources will be funded by the school, but which ones will vary from school to school. Most will provide one type of question bank at least. Each resource will have various subscription packages offered that you can read more about on their individual websites!

First aidgiven free by the school in most medical schools


  • Step 1 & 2-$439 for 180-day access
  • Level 1 &2-$459 for 180-day access


  • Step 1 & 2- $299 for 180-day access
  • Level 1 & 2- $329 for 180-day access

Boards and Beyond – $199 for 6-month access

Sketchy Medical – $399 for 12-month access

Use code EVERYTHINGMEDSCHOOL for 10% off of Sketchy Medical and Sketchy MCAT.

Pathoma – $99.95 for 12-month access


Board Exam Fees

For allopathic students, they will need to take both the USMLE step 1 and step 2 which cost $645 per exam

For osteopathic students, they will need to take both the COMLEX level 1 which costs $660 and level 2 which costs $675. If osteopathic students opt to take the USMLE step 1 and step 2 as well, it will add the above-mentioned costs.

 Clinical Years

Clinical Years Costs


Business professional attire

NBME shelf exam resources

truelearn/uworld question banks

Books/resources to prepare for clinical rotations

Residency Application Fees

U.S. medical students apply on average to 70 programs, while international medical students apply on average to 130 programs.
ERAS fees are based on how many programs a student applies to per specialty.

  • Up to 10 programs is $99
  • 11-20 programs is $17 each
  • 21-30 programs is $21 each
  • 31 or more is $26 each
  • Residency Fee Calculator – click here for further explanation and examples on how this works!

Residency Interview Travel Costs

While the pandemic has led to virtual interviews which have dropped costs immensely if interviews do resume in person next season applicants can expect $500-$1000 (primarily hotel and transportation cost) per interview with students traveling on average from 10-12 interviews

I understand this can feel incredibly daunting, but remember that most students take out loans and successfully pay it all back over the years with little to no difficulty. There are lots of loan pay-back plans in place for physicians to make this as seamless of a process as possible. The profession is still incredibly rewarding and truly cannot put a price on getting the privilege to take care of people. Good luck to everyone applying and starting this journey- I promise it will all be worth it!

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