How intense are summer classes?

Hey all,

I’ve been giving some serious thought to taking Gen Chem 1 & 2 and Bio 1 & 2 over the summer. On one hand, it makes sense to jump start my pre-med preparations instead of waiting until after law school to dive in. However, I am concerned about the intensity of summer session–lectures run five days a week for a month. In sum, it would amount to 8 hours of school/day for the summer. I’m not that concerned about the volume of information–law school has assuaged those fear. I am concerned about not being able to keep up in chemistry–I don’t have a strong (read: nothing since high school) background in math.

Here’s my thinking. Law school wraps up in early May. Summer school starts at the beginning of June. Could I do some remedial algebra to get myself up to speed for Chem? Moreover, is it even advisable to take summer classes if you’re not sure if you’re ready.

Any advice, and/or anecdote from those who have taken summer pre-med classes would be greatly appreciated.




I’m in gchem right now. It is not the lowest level gchem offered. The math is easy if you’ve ever had 2nd year algebra in high school.

Comparing law school to technical science courses is not a good logic game. I think one of the docs on here, once said she took one course her first semester, ace’d it, and never looked back.

Seemed like good advice for me - I took it. My summer schedule has me in gchem 2 only, nothing else. Full time starts in Sept.

I had a lot of trouble processing college algebra as a summer course. It was a 6 week course and I ended up with a D and needing to retake it anyway. I’m not so sure I’d do gen chem one that fast either as it’s the most intensive early chem according to my profs.

But then again, math is my weak point so when we hit the algebraeic chapters, I sort of screamed like a school girl staring at a spider.

Are you talking about taking 4 classes in the summer? That seems like a lot to take on if you haven’t had science or math since high school (I am making an assumption on the science). I’d go JKP’s route and focus on one class, and doing well in it. I took bio 1 my first semester back (already had chem), and it’s been great. (I’m lying - it’s been up and down - but that is due to being 30 with a FT job and 2 kids, not because of the material.) Course-wise, it was nice to get used to studying this type of stuff again, slowly, and be able to keep an “A”. The first couple weeks were a shock. Totally different material than MBA stuff, which was my last degree, or engineering(my BS degree). I’m sure you’ll find it’s different than law, too.

One thing you can do is back out of the chem sequence to figure out when you will take the MCAT and apply. I am assuming you don’t want to take it in 2010 when you are graduating law school, unless you are taking prereqs at the same time as law school. If you go for 2011, you could do chem 1 in summer 2009, chem 2 summer 2010, Ochem 1 fall 2010, and Ochem 2 spring 2011. MCAT/apply sprng/summer 2011. You can mix in the bio sequence and other MCAT-needed prereqs like physics 1/2, and maybe a brush-up math course in fall2010/spring 2011. You won’t start med school till August of 2012, so you still have fall 2011 and spring 2012 to throw in biochem, genetics, and anatomy, which will help greatly in M1 (or so I’m told).

The last thing you want to do is rush through your classes and not have a strong foundation going into med school. I know the excitement, and I want to fly through the prereqs, too. The worst thing is that the time between applying and admission is one year, so when you look at how long it takes before you can actually be in med school, it can be discouraging. Don’t let it bother you! You still won’t be as old a lot of us if you are a “traditional” law student. Plus, you’ll have time to pay off your debts and save up some cash before med school.

Sorry for being so windy with my response!

I find summer classes in the sciences difficult, although I’ve only tried once. I personally wouldn’t try to take more than one at a time - remember it’s not just the time in class (which is intense) but lots of study time, homework, etc. I’m sure there are people who can handle it, and maybe you are one of them, but I don’t recommend more than one or two classes in the summer.

Thanks for the reply Ali.

I agree that it’s important to temper enthusiasm, and make well-reasoned decisions. The way the summer program breaks down is: two four week sessions (A and B) one in june and one in july. From what I understand, that’s even more condensed than typical 6 week summer terms. One alternative would be to take either Bio or Chem this summer, Bio being the more appealing option.

In truth, I guess I don’t really “need” to take any classes this summer. On the one hand, it would be nice to make a little $$$ in lieu of racking up debt. However, equally compelling is the thought of only having to take O-Chem and Physics when I graduate from law school. Also, I know that taking these course would preclude me from enrolling in any sort of a post-bac program (so that’s something to consider).

I guess the best plan is the one that gives the us best chance to ace the pre-reqs and become competitive applicants; not the plan that allows us to quickly (but haphazardly) complete the whole process.

I would say you may want to consider taking only one course during the summer. In Gen Chem I, there isn’t as much math as there is conceptual information you must grasp. Since Gen Chem II is more rigorous in math I would try taking this course during the regular semester.

I say this not only because of the amount of math you are required to master but also because it is a prerequisite for Organic Chem. You want to have a solid foundation for understanding chemistry before beginning Organic Chem.

The fact that you are completing your law degree and beginning pre-med courses the following month is pretty aggressive. You also do not want to rush and get burned out. If you must take Gen Chem I and it is the only course you will take over the summer then you may be ok, just remember you will have to take the lab as well.

To be very honest, you may want to consider taking the summer to relax and possibly start pre-med courses in the fall. You will be well rested and eager to begin.

I personally limit myself to 2-3 courses in the summer and I don’t tend to load up on the more challenging ones, I take things that are considered “electives” I guess you could say, like there is a course that is required here at my university for the BIO degree called “Healthy Lifeskills” and it’s a cakewalk I hear so I’m taking it this summer paired with Intermediate Algebra. The Int. Algebra runs for 8 weeks. I’m ok with 8 week courses though. I think it all depends on your learning style but taking 4 difficult math/science courses after not having hard any for several years seems a bit daunting…it’s ok to test the waters with your toes first.