I'm an undergrad from IU from 1987 and took a refresher college algebra course then moving on to trig and statistics. Is Pre-calculus or Calculus required by most med schools? Does Calculus show up on the MCATS?

thanks

# Is Calculus A requirement?

the math on the MCAT is basically algebra or trig - very little calculation is done at all since no calculators - but you might need the basic trig functions in physics or sci notation approximations and algebra in chemistry or physics.

math requirements vary from school to school - almost all (if not all) the UC (univ calif) schools require some calculus - most other schools that I've read the MSAR for do not mention calculus - though there are notable exceptions that do (e.g. Harvard).

Thanks for the info!

I seem to remember some of the Texas schools needed some calculus, and I think Wash U (STL) wanted math thru differential eqns - or at least asked you about what math you had taken.

I know that U of Colorado requires at least Calc 1 and they recommend Calc 2. Honestly tho, if you can wrap your head around the concepts of calculus it's actually easier than algebra (IMHO anyway), know your trig beforehand tho…

–Jessica, UCCS

Lisa, when I was applying, most of the UCs did *not* require calculus–although some required some math, which could include calculus. Was there a change? Anyway, in general, most schools do not require it; some exceptions are listed above; Johns Hopkins is another exception. I intended to avoid calculus myself, then ended up not getting in to the non-calculus school I hoped to go to, and getting in to a calculus-requiring school that I decided I wanted to go to. I rushed through an online web calculus class offered by the Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. It was pretty miserable, actually, so I recommend that if you have any interest in schools that require it, at least take one semester of it so you won’t have to take a year’s worth of calculus in a few months, as I did. I didn’t finish until the week before school–and if for some reason I hadn’t finished, I wouldn’t have been allowed to enroll. It was super scary for me and made all my friends and family absolutely crazy. Whatever you do, don’t repeat that mistake!

Your school library and premed advisor should have a copy of the Amer. Assoc. of Medical Colleges’ book of med school requirements and profiles; you can also get it on the web.

( http://www.aamc.org/publications/ar03.htm --but I’d wait to actually buy it until your application year, because that’s when you’ll use it most intensely.) It’s called MSAR–Medical School Admissions Requirements. Snappy title. It’s helpful to look at.

–joe

Thanks for all the info. I think, just to be safe, I will end up taking a PreCalculus class then Calculus 1 down the road. I audited College algebra because of the “A” I received several years ago. I’m scheduled for Trig during the summer and wanted to take a break from the mathmatics courses if possible. thank you all.

QUOTE (joewright @ Apr 12 2003, 08:00 AM) |

Lisa, when I was applying, most of the UCs did _not_ require calculus--although some required some math, which could include calculus. Was there a change? |

I guess so.

UCI - 1Q or 1 Sem Calculus

UCD - 1 sem or 2Q calculus

UCLA - 1 yr math to include Intro Calc & Statistics

UCSD - 1 yr math - can be a combo of Calculus, Statistics, Comp Sci (weren't specifc on what in Comp Sci)

UCSF - no math requirement

You'll really have to check the requirements of the schools you are interested in, if you are trying to take as little math as possible (a feeling I know WELL!!) There is a general trend to replace the Calculus requirement with Stats, probably a good move considering the research material that needs to be read and understood. TX is supposed to replace the Calc requirement by next year (with Stats).

Kathy

The other thing to keep in mind is that if you are considering getting a second undergrad you'll need to see if the calculus is required for whatever degree you're going for. For example, while a lot of medical schools don't require the calculus, a lot of undergrad science degrees do. I need a C or higher in Calc 1 to get my biology degree and if (which I doubt I will) I take Physical chemistry as part of my double major in chemistry I'll need both Calc 1 and Calc 2 with a C or higher…

–Jessica, UCCS

Hi there. I just wanted to say that if you're on the fence about whether to take more math or not, I'd definitely recommend it. I started out as a post-bac two years ago, and hadn't seen any math or science since high school ten years earlier. I took Calc 1 and 2, then statistics, and now I'm in a calc-based physics class. Even though it was a total shock to take math after such a long break, I've found that the math has helped me a LOT through chem and physics, and occasionally even bio. Being more proficient in math really makes scientific topics a lot easier to grasp–and to do so quickly. I'm so glad for every math class I've taken!

I know some people really dislike math, but if you're not one of those, you really might want to think about taking calc. Even if it doesn't appear on the MCAT, you'll be more fluent in solving equations.

Good luck!

QUOTE (skitcharoo @ Apr 12 2003, 06:12 PM) |

Thanks for all the info. I think, just to be safe, I will end up taking a PreCalculus class then Calculus 1 down the road. I audited College algebra because of the "A" I received several years ago. I'm scheduled for Trig during the summer and wanted to take a break from the mathmatics courses if possible. thank you all. |

I'm finishing pre-calc now.. ive already taken stats

QUOTE (joewright @ Apr 12 2003, 04:00 PM) |

I rushed through an online web calculus class offered by the Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. It was pretty miserable...I didn't finish until the week before school--and if for some reason I hadn't finished, I wouldn't have been allowed to enroll. It was super scary for me and made all my friends and family absolutely crazy. |

Haha! I remember you going through that, Joe. It's fun to see how things are progressing with time. Now you are solidly entrenched in med school.

As an aside...Agent, what's with your avatar ?

June 16th, I'm taking a 7 week calc 1 class (Lord help me!) I'm already starting to study. I bought a book called 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Calculus' by W. Michael Kelley. In the back cover of the book is his web site called www.calculus-help.com.

I bought the book because I'm an idiot for taking a 7 week calc course (ha ha).

Ahh… but coolmore. Hang in there.

I also took the dreaded summer calculus I course in a 7 week format, and my husband had a stroke thee 3rd week of class. Yet, by the Grace of God, I still managed to pull through it with a 'B'.

And I had that same book for idiots. It really was quite helpful.

So, get your engine running. Set your mind to it and you'll do just fine!

How to Ace Calculus: The Streetwise Guide

by Colin Adams, Joel Hass, Abigail Thompson

is also a pretty good explanatory text. What really helps is having a good teacher. It seems obvious - but if I'd had my Calc II teacher for Calc I - it would have been a lot less painful. This being my 2nd attempt at Calc II - I can also compare her to the first professor for Calc II that I had - it really makes a difference. So, much like picking good parents is important, pick a good professor

if you don't get a good one - get a tutor or a study group - someone who can help you see it -

Lisa