Biochemistry recommendation(its time!!)

Hey all,

All right, it is about time to take biochemistry, but I am not sure whether I should attempt to do it during summer session II, or during this fall in a regular semester. I prefer to take biochem I this summer, as I want to take biochem II this fall. However,I do not want to overwhelm myself, as I am not sure of how difficult the course is, and given the intensive nature of a summer course of 5 weeks, as opposed to 16 weeks in a regular semester, I would like to get everyones’ input from those who have tryed it and from those who know people that have tryed it, for suggestions whether this is a good idea or not.

Thanks, Joe

Unless you are particularly adept at chemistry stuff, I would strongly recommend not taking biochem nor Ochem during a summer term. It is a pretty rare bird who ban breeze thru these subjects w/o a hitch or transient confusion. In 5 weeks, you simply do not have time to dwell on a topic until you ‘get it’ and even worse, you don’t have time to screw up & subsequently recover. 1 boo-boo & you are hosed.

I took Ochem (lecture only, not lab) in the summer and I had 3 exams and a comprehensive final in 5 weeks! I found I needed two days (ie whole weekend) to successfully understand a chapter. At 2 to 3 chapters a week it was nearly impossible! Even squeezing in extra studying time as I work from home and even with the professor giving exam problems almost directly out of the book, it was a bitch and a half! I barely got an A- out of it! My experience is best captured by the following blues song I wrote about it

I got 15 weeks of schoolin’ but I’m doing it 5!

I said, I got 15 weeks of schoolin’ but I’m doing it 5!

I study so much that I feel more dead than alive.

I don’t know my mechanisms; reactions are killn’ me!

I said, I don’t know my mechanisms; reactions are killn’ me!

I study so much, my eyes they hardly see.

Alkenes and Alkanes! Alkynes and Alcohols!

Oh there so much to knows but I can’t knows it all!

I said, I got 15 weeks of schoolin’ but I’m doing it 5!

I study so much that I feel more dead than alive.

Hey Richard

Are you performing “Summer Organic Chemistry Blues” at the conference?


People say I a have a voice that fills the room. Usually many of them leave to make room for it

Groucho: What do you get an hour?

Chico: For playing, we get-a ten dollars an hour.

Groucho: I see. What do you get for not playing?

Chico: Twelve dollars an hour. Now for rehearsing we make special rates. That’s-a fifteen dollars an hour.

Groucho: And what do you get for not rehearsing?

Chico: You couldn’t afford it. You see, if we don’t rehearse, and if we don’t-a play, that runs into money.

Thanks for the replies!

Well, after a pretty extensive discussion with one of the professors who teach the subject today, and under her recommendation and for the most part, reiterating what most of everyone here has suggested,to not attempt the course during the summer, unless you are not working and can devote time to it. However, she has mentioned that the course is difficult, but not impossible, and she even stated that it is slightly ‘easier’ during the summer, but ‘easier’ is a relative term and I am not too familiar with how difficult it is or how difficult it can be, so I am going to ask that anyone that has taken the subject to give me an idea of it, so I can kind of roughly guage the overall course.

  1. How much time did you spend on it per day or on the average?

  2. How difficult is biochem overall, compared to say ochem? The reason why I am remotely contemplating on biochem during the summer is that chemistry is my strongest subject-one I have the most self confidence in when doing those scary science courses; and I did really well in both ochem I & II.

    Thanks, Joe

Joe, what else will you be doing during the Biochem course? Are you also working? Or would it be your sole intellectual focus?

I ask because I think – given your statement that you’ve done well in chemistry overall – that you could do it as long as you do not plan to do ANYthing else. You will be living and breathing biochem. It sounds like you would be prepared to do that, and that you actually ARE well prepared to do that, with your good performance in o-chem.

One challenge is that you have to not only do well, but really internalize the material so that you’ll be able to build on it for the fall semester with Biochem II. I think that you can probably do this.



Thanks for the reply. I did well in ochem, but that is not to say I can do well in biochem. It’s just that I felt a little more confident in taking higher chemistry courses from it. To be honest with you, I am fearful of biochem, and one of the reasons I want to take it in the summer is to kind of get it out of the way as quickly as I can. And more importantly, to kind of guage myself from it.

I am currently working part time, but if I can decide to take it or not, then most likely there will be no way in hell I will be doing both. I do not see myself capable of it. So Mary, how difficult is biocem, compared to ochem? I remember that ochem, to me, was a huge jump in difficulty from general chem. Any suggestions on how to study for it, and what tricks or techniques to help in the studying process?

thanks, Joe

Biochem is different from o-chem. You don’t synthesize, and there’s more memorization. It’s more, this is the process, and what do you get if this step is blocked? Which ones are the rate-limiting enzymes? What are the co-factors for those enzymes and what steps get blocked if you don’t have those? Whether it’s harder or easier really depends on your learning style. I find there’s a little less thinking than o-chem, but still enough of it to be fun.