I just found out about this site a few weeks ago, and it iis HUGELY encouraging, so first off, thanks so much to our founders!
Now to the nitty-gritty of the post:
I am a 29-year old just starting a post-bac program at Hunter College in New York. First-year general chem, biology, and physics – you know the drill. Apparently there is at least one school in the city that offers two semesters of Organic Chem in an intensive, summer-long class.
I spoke with a biochem professor at my school about this, and he very strongly urged me against this, saying that if the scope of the class is equal to that of a normal term year of Organic, while it will serve me well on the MCAT, it will be basically impossible to get a desirable grade. On the other hand, he said that if the scope is limited in order to be condensed for the summer term, while it will be possible to get a good grade, I will be at a loss for MCAT material.
Please, anyone who has tried this course of action, let me know how it turned out for you. All I know now, in simplistic terms, is that Orgo is hard, and that the MCAT is hard, but I really really want to start med school in 2004 rather than 2005, and this seems like the only way. However, if this Biochem prof is right, then maybe I'll just be shooting myself in the foot by attempting this, and obviously it'd be better to start in '05 than not at all.
Hi, Breck. I took orgo as a summer course and then sat the MCAT a week after orgo ended. It was, to say the least, not easy, nor was it at all enjoyable. However, it was possible.
My day was basically this: out the door at 7:30 AM to drive an hour and half to the campus; lecture for 3 hours; lab for 3 or 4 hours; home around 6:00 PM; dinner; study orgo and do problems until about 10:00. Needless to say, I didn’t see much of my wife or sons, and what they saw of me was probably frightening!
All of that said, you asked how it turned out for some of us who have tried it. I got an A- in the first semester, A in the second, of what I thought was a really comprehensive course. I had no problems at all with the orgo questions on the MCAT and ended up with a 33.
This decision really comes down to your tolerance for pain and whether or not you think you can wait another year to start med school. In my case, I decided to press because I was 35 at the time and the idea of waiting another year made a big difference to me.
Oh, and if you do decide to take the course, do yourself a favor and make the most of the week in between “semesters.” I went to Ireland with my wife for our anniversary, and it was the best (and most needed) break I ever had!
I took ORGO I and II in summer school (each section lasted approximately 4 weeks). Overall, I think I made the best choice. Don't get me wrong, when you have 4 days to learn all of the nomenclature there was a significant amount of stress and times when I thought I should just give up. But I made it through with solid A's in both sections (I scored the highest in the class in both sections). I just took the August MCAT and did very well in the biology section and I found the orgo sections to be the easiest. The material we learned in summer schools was more than sufficient to feel confident with the questions on the MCAT.
In summary, orgo in the summer is great, but only if you don't have a job or any other classes at the same time. I found that concentrating only on this class made it easier for me. I know several people who waited and took orgo during the regular semester with a full class load and a job and they're having to take it again this summer.
Just wanted to add my $0.02 since I've also been struggling with a similar decision and am currently in my second year as a post-bacc at Hunter. Although I'm pre-vet so I have a few more pre-reqs to complete.
I'm assuming from your post that you're not planning on taking it at Hunter since they only offer orgo I lecture. But, just wanted to let you know that a classmate of mine (also a post-bacc straight-A student) took Orgo I this past summer and did not recommend it. He didn't know of anyone in the class who got over a B.
Like I said, I've also thought of taking it in the summer and getting it over with. Something about the intensity appeals to me and makes me think it might make it easier to live and breathe it rather than try to balance work and other classes. I had looked into Tufts and Harvard since I wanted to spend the summer in Boston, I'm just not sure if I want to spend the extra money, since I can more or less fit Orgo into my current schedule at Hunter.
Which schools in NYC offer the full course (besides Columbia)? That's the only one I've found and it's also quite expensive.
Good luck and cheers,
i am taking orgo currently and am struggling to get an 'A'…I took gen. chem, and gen bio both 1 and 2 in summer and got A's mostly.I would strongly suggest that You take Orgo over a regular semester and focus on learning rather than just getting done with it.Also, since the professors who teach the course over summer sometimes are different than those who do it over regular sem…fall/spring profs usually do a better job at teaching too…that's what I have heard and beleive.
I also took Organic Chemistry I and II with lab over 10 weeks the summer of 2000. I took the OAT (Optometry Admissions Test) in October 2000 and the MCAT in April 2001.
My comments on the class are that it was difficult and I did have to work hard but managed through it with good grades: A and B+. I did have to brush up on some Organic Chemistry before the MCAT but not too much and managed a great score on the science sections of the MCAT. So the crammed course did not seem to hurt there. Now that I'm in medical school, I have yet to use any of that Organic Chemistry I learned, so I don't feel the summer course has hurt me here either.
Although it might be tough, if you feel that you are somehow need to get things done quickly, I don't see a problem with taking the accelerated course over the summer.