Advice Please (Fall 2008 schedule)

Before this semester I’d been out of school for a few years taking a break. This semester I’m just takeing 2 courses, calculus and statistics. I’m getting an A in both of them. I’m kind of looking at this is a “Getting my feet wet” semester. Next semester I plan on starting my prereqs. Here’s what I had planned for Fall 2008:

General Chem

General Chem Lab

Physics I

Physics I Lab


Biology Lab

Is this too much for one semester? I really HAVE to get A’s in these. I could possibly take the Chem or Bio over the 8 week summer session, but I thought having a full semester would give me a lot more study time.

Any advice would be great.


Three science courses with three labs is a lot to take in one semester; but if you are not working, it wouldn’t be impossible. You might want to see how many lab hours/week/class are required.

Another question comes to mind as well. When you say gen. chemistry, you are referring to Chem 1 with lab, right? Make sure you do Chem 1 & 2; some schools have what is called a general chemistry course that will not fulfill your med school prereqs. As to summer courses, I did Chem 1 in the spring and Chem 2 in the summer. For me it worked out well; but remember, each person has their own style of learning.

Good luck as you go on thru your prereqs. But remember, this IS a marathon and not a sprint! (You will see that phrase used many, many times in different posts! Memorize it and put it to use.)

Linda’s advice is very sound. The courseload is full, but it should be doable. If I were in your shoes, I’d ask around about how much of a time committment each lab is. Those can really add up - or they might not; it really depends on the school and the particular course.

Forgive me if you mentioned this elsewhere, but what is your science background like? I ask, because while none of these courses should be exceptionally conceptually difficult (with the possible exception of physics, depending on how your mind works)… well, the way I look at things, the challenge (and time committment) of these courses varies inversely with how ingrained the scientific method is in your approach.

Wow, how’s that for a convoluted sentence? The windup is, it should be doable, just make sure you do your homework first.

Another thing: will you be a full-time student? Will you be taking any more classes in addition to this?

For me, I was going full time, taking maybe 2 sciences w/ lab, 1 science without lab, one non-science, and one online course a semester. That worked out pretty well for me, but of course, there are are a number of variables in there.

Either way, good luck with it! And don’t forget to enjoy the ride .

-Adam, who’s pretty damn wordy today

Post-edit: oh, and I don’t think bio I or chem I would be bad to take over the summer. I took bio I in that frame and it worked out fine. Again, ask around at your school, see how other students feel about it.

Short answer: every fall, hormone-crazed 18-year-old freshmen the world over follow the schedule you describe. The difference is they generally don’t have jobs. For those courses, I probably did (honestly) 15 hours of study, homework and lab report writing total, per week, so factor that into your decision. Other factors to incorporate-- the rigor and accessibility of your high school and (if applicable) undergrad preparation in these subjects. (You’re definitely already demonstrating good study habits-- calculus and statistics simultaneously are no joke.) I’m envious-- I wish I hadn’t been working full-time plus when I was in premed or I would have done the same as you.

It’s doable, especially if you aren’t working or aren’t working much. I did what you are proposing plus calculus for two quarters and did pretty well. As others have said, ask around at your school about the time commitment for labs, and that may give you better idea of what you are getting into. At my school, bio lab and physics lab didn’t require much time outside of the actual lab hours, but gen chem lab required a pretty decent amount of time.