Audit or retake physics

I’m going to be returning to school full time in the Fall. I’ll be pursuing a second bachelor’s in biology (I already have one in applied math). I took the calculus based physics during my senior year in 02-03. A in Physics I and C+ in physics 2. I really learned a lot more in I than II, mostly because I actually went to class, but it has been a while since I’ve used most of it. So I was thinking, the first year I’m back, to maybe audit the physics series at the new school. I’ll already have a full load without it, and I think that retaking would look like I was padding my GPA (not that it doesn’t need it!). I think it would be lower stress to do the audit, but would still let me brush up in a structured way before the MCAT. Are there strong reasons not to do this? What do you guys think?



I’m post-bacc premed student but I just have to ask what your reasons are for pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in biology. I have to say I commend you for pursuing an additional degree in biology but you can apply to medical school regardless of your major as long as you have successfully completed the science prerequisites. To apply to medical school you only need Bio I and II, Gen Chem I and II, Physics I and II, Organic Chem I and II, Biochem is strongly recommended and possibly Calculus (depending on the schools you are applying).

Personally, I would take Physics II again if I received a C+ in the course, but since you have a full load you may want to wait to take the course during another semester. It just depends on what your overall gpa is.

Also, I’m not so sure the Admission committee would think that you were retaking the class to pad" your gpa but more so that you are retaking to get a better understanding of the concepts since you made a C+ in Physics II but made an A in Physics I. Plus since you haven’t taken Physics II since 02-03. That’s just my advice.

Really, the C+ in physics II wasn’t really from a lack of understanding of concepts, but more from not showing up to class much and missing the final exam (I had to take a makeup and only had about an hour). I definitely squandered my previous college experience.

My job now is somewhat science related, mostly physics (a little chem), so it should definitely be an easy A. I think the adcoms will know that.

As to why I am going for a second degree, it makes sense for me for a number of reasons. First, not only did I want to knock out the prereqs, but I wanted to take some upper level biology classes as well. I realized that the general plan I had would fit pretty well with what was required for the degree, as long as I chose the classes carefully. Second, my current job does not make it possible to go to school, even part time, so going back full time will allow me to get the credits I need. Third, I will need two years to get the prereqs done before I apply, and I need to be able to do something during the glide year. I think finishing up another degree would be a good use of the time.

I also don’t want to continue what I am doing, or anything with a math degree, so in the case that I am unsuccessful in getting into med school, I will have the bio degree to do something with. And it’s a motivation for me to have a shorter term goal in sight, where I feel like I can walk away with something if life takes me in a different direction. I know it seems like I’m looking into my backup plan quite a bit, but it really is secondary.

That and I get a higher priority for classes by going for the second degree, the financial aid may be a bit easier to come by (not too sure here), and since my previous degree was from one of the UNC system schools and I will be going to another UNC system school, almost all of my classes will transfer with no hassle.


On one hand you say your job is physics-related and you will get an easy A in physics II. On the other hand you say you need to brush up on physics. If you really don’t need the review, why bother with the class?

If you do want to do it, I would lean towards taking it for credit over auditing. I wouldn’t worry about the adcoms making the connection that you do physics-type work and the class was an easy A for you. I wouldn’t audit because you often can’t enroll until after everyone else and may not get in the class if you really need it, and you still have to pay if you do get in. If you are auditing, it doesn’t qualify for financial aid, which you mentioned you want to get. Also, I personally would be more likely to do the assignments if I was getting a grade. If you don’t do the assignments, I think it’s a waste of time to sit in the lectures (for most people, anyway). I know I would INTEND to do the assignments, but when you have a full load of credit classes, the noncredit one gets back-burnered. I was going to brush up on Chem 1 all semester, and instead I am cramming it into three weeks, so I speak first hand about good intentions.

FWIW, I was going to audit a chem 2 class over the summer. Through a lot of twists and turns, I ended up HAVING to take it for credit, but that turned out to be good fortune. The course is already full, with 5 weeks before the session starts, and I would not have been allowed to enroll as an audit student.

I see how what I said might be contradictory. While my job is somewhat physics related, it certainly isn’t so much with all the equations but an understanding of the qualitative behavior of things, and fairly limited in scope. I really do need to brush up on the quantitative part of things. That said, I don’t think it will be hard to pick back up, but if I have something more structured than studying on my own I think it would be good for me. I don’t really have a light semester according to my plan, so I thought it would be good if there was a class that if push came to shove, I could let slide a bit. That and I was hoping to get out of lab.

As far as cost goes, if I’m already taking a full load (12 hours, I think), another class doesn’t change the cost at all. That first year I don’t think I’d be eligible for much financial aid anyways, as based on the salary I’m earning and the money in the bank, my expected contribution would be well above the in-state tuition. I know that I could always do some unsubsidized, but I’m going to try to avoid that for now.