Cellular/Molecular Biology Advice

I ambitiously decided to take Cellular and Molecular Biology this semester (along with Orgo I and Physics), and I am deeply in over my head! This is my first semester back as a post-bac, I haven’t taken bio in over 4 years, and I feel completely lost as to how to approach class. Worse, I have the university’s worst professor, who has a more than “hands-off” approach to teaching – he has not even set a date for our first exam, and will not tell anyone when it is until he decides to, and then he’ll tell us what it will cover. He does not lecture, only provides us with supplemental notes, and refuses to refer to the text except for diagrams. I’m feeling very anxious – I am doing well in both Orgo and Physics, but I’m afraid biology is going to be a huge blemish for me. How would it appear to schools if I dropped bio this semester, and took it again and Aced it next semester, with a better professor and being more acclimated to the sciences? Or am I stuck between a rock and a hard place? Also, any study guide suggestions?


That’s a pretty hefty workload you’ve got there.

You might want to consider withdrawing from the course (I guess you’re past the drop deadline).

If you withdraw, just put it behind you and take it later. If an admissions person asks you about it, you have a reasonable explanation for the withdrawal. I think it demonstrates better judgement and self-awareness to know when you’ve overcommitted yourself than to plunge blindly ahead risking a bad grade later.

Good luck,

Oh! Do I ever know how YOU feel!!

I started by post-back 30 years after being out of school.

This is the 2nd year of a self tailored post-back program and I decided to undertake: Mammalian physiology, Organic Chem., Basic Histology, and Cell Biology (which has a major molecular component). Two of my courses have labs. This is a 14 credit load.

I too am over my head – the amount of detail involved in the biology, numbers of macro-molecular machines carrying any number of totally unintuitive tasks is, to say the least, overwhelming. Our prof. has acquired a reputation for testing on inti-bitty detail – rather than on concepts.

So, I’m with you!

But I’m thinking, “If I can’t hack this, I’ll never be able to handle med school”. So, I’m doing this to prove to myself, and to any others (sic. Adcoms) who will be willing to listen, that I CAN hack it!

Good luck, and do post about your progress!


good job bro’

As OldManDave (and others) counsel, “it is a marathon, not a race.” With that in mind, you might be good to yourself this semester while you readjust to the rigors of academia and cut down your course load. You have more semesters to prove that you can handle the med school curriculum. You want to do very well academically - don’t put yourself in jeopardy right out of the gate.



Thanks for the advice everyone! There has been a little bit of daylight through the clouds – our professor handed out an exam study sheet and it only included the first 6 chapters of our text – I was under the impression that it would follow our syllabus, which indicates 10 chapters of material. So I think that this amount of material is digestable. Also, I have corralled my lab partners into forming a study group – we are all older post-bacs, so we’re taking things seriously. Finally, I’ll have a couple of days following my exam to withdraw from the course. Regardless, I don’t want to bail on the course before I give it an honest try and can assess my learning curve. I’ll keep you updated :slight_smile: