I am debating whether to take organic chemistry or physics in the summer. I won’t be working in the summer, and can focus all my attention on school. Does anyone have any advice as which is better to take in a condensed format?
I’d rather take organic as I can fully devote my time to studying but I’m concerned that I won’t be able to do well in organic as I won’t have much time to reflect and condense new information. Taking Biology is also an option, if that is a course that lends itself better to learning over the summer.
I would very much appreciate any advice or insight. Thank you.
I would take physics. It’s the least important for premed & the MCAT. I haven’t taken O-chem, but I wouldn’t want to be in an O-chem class where they may have to skim over some of the topics. I just don’t buy that an 8 week class can cover as much as a 16 week one. I have taken A LOT of summer session courses (calc 3, statistics, gen bio, engr physics 2, statics, HR training and development, organizational management), and while the instructors and students always start off gung-ho, I noticed most teachers’ 3 hour lectures taper off to 2 hours by early July.
I think I would even take bio AND physics before I would take O-chem, but again, I haven’t had that course. . .
Personally, I wouldn’t take O-Chem in the summer again. I did it once and the university I attended mandated that the same material be covered in summer as with regular semesters. It was a HUGE amount of info to assimilate/memorize in 9 weeks total (OChem1 & OChem2), especially since afternoons were reserved for labs. I aced the labs, but the chem grades, not so much. It was just too much to cover in that time frame (at least it was when I was young). I agree with AliJ that any of the other courses would be wiser choices for summer sessions than O-Chem.
I disagree with Ali on physics being the “least important for premed and MCAT”.
Every prep program specifically targets an entire book to the physics component of the MCAT. Do not underestimate physics relevance to MCAT and/or medicine.
That said, FWIW, I agree with both Ali and Mojo on taking physics over the summer rather than o-chem.
I didn’t say physics wasn’t important at all, just perhaps (a little) less than chem and bio. My sister said it was her lack of physics skills that sunk her MCAT, so I agree that it’s gotta get some attention. I didn’t mean to steer anyone in the wrong direction!
I was looking at it from the POV that med school has no course named “physics” but they do have biology and biochem : ) Maybe I’ll just keep my mouth shut until I get into med school. . .
My suggestions -
1). Do not take more than one class during summer unless you belong to MENSA or are a whiz bang kid who remembers everything at first glance.
2). Both Physics and OChem have labs. Are you taking just the theory or are you cramming in the lab over summer too. If you are trying to take the lab at the same time then it is a bad idea.
3). With regards to (2) above, most med schools require 1 yr of physics with lab. Usually most schools offer Physics labs in conjunction with the theory. Ochem lab can be taken separately. At least thats how it is at the U of MN. Check into your course catalog so you can plan out your summer class and beyond.
4). Take the class whose material you are most comfortable with - Physics will require a lot of problem solving and logical thinking/reasoning. If you are from life sciences you will find a paradigm shift in thinking for physics and that may frustrate you.
5). Ochem 2 builds on Ochem 1 - Ochem 1 should have introduced you to all the theory and fundamentals. Ochem 2 usually builds on that by introducing a wide range of reaction classes. If you built a strong base in Ochem 1, you shouldn’t have any trouble in Ochem 2.
6). Personally, I think Bio would be my bet for the summer since both Ochem 2 and Physics tend to lend better to semester long classes where you have time to assimilate the material.
7). Yes I will state the following - OChem 2 is not that important for MCAT. The MCAT will cover proteins, carbs, and some spectroscopy from Ochem 2. Usually they will throw a spinner on their Ochem questions to test if you understand the basic fundamentals of Organic reactions so I would opine that Ochem 1 is very important, and Ochem 2 not as much, for the MCAT.
8). Comparing Physics and Ochem 2, I will say with relative certainty that Physics is a lot more important for the MCAT than Ochem 2.
Neither. I wouldn’t dare take either o-chem or physics over the summer. I found that both courses really required some adjustment in my thinking. Eventually I did very well in both, but I don’t know that I could’ve “gotten it” any quicker than I did - even if I’d been more thoroughly immersed in them. Each of them is a little like a foreign language. I think that people have different abilities to switch their brains into other “languages.” For me, gen-chem was easy because it was math-based and math is my strong suit.
YMMV. There is no way to assure anyone else how they’ll do in a summer class because everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are different. I ended up with As in both courses, after getting below the class mean on the first test in each. (I was so unable to “get” physics at first that I scored below the mean on an OPEN BOOK test!)
Also, if you are doing labs: my physics and o-chem labs were grueling. I put in as much time for the one lousy credit of physics lab as I did for the 3-credit lecture, and MORE time for the 2-credit o-chem lab vs. the 3-cr lecture. Again, this’ll vary from school to school…
I agree with Dr. Renard, taking either of these over the summer.
I am taking Physics 1 and 2 this summer. Although this is going to be very difficult (not to mention working full time as well) I think its a better route than taking organic. There is much more to learn in organic and you really need to retain more of that to prepare for the MCAT. This is just my view. However, you should listen to several of the other candidates on here that have actually completed the entire pre-med process and are now in Med School. I choose to take physics this summer because I really want to concentrate on it alone. I hope this helps a little!
- SomeDaySomeWay]I am taking Physics 1 and 2 this summer. Although this is going to be very difficult (not to mention working full time as well) I think its a better route than taking organic..../quote Said:
You are setting yourself up for failure (literally and metaphorically). I don't care how smart you are I can not fathom how anyone can do both PI and PII over the summer while working full time.
Looks like I need to learn to speak in complete sentences.
I’ve taken up to Physical Chemistry with Differential Equations, and every Physics class “below” that. In other words, I’m plenty smart, but I’d never take P1 and PII over one summer and I’d never take more than one preq med school course the summer either.
I always find these posts tough to answer. What’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander. Phys II worked out well for me over the summer, but I also didn’t work, had a strong math background and was entering my senior year in an engineering curriculum - I was used to that type of thinking required for physics. But, Pathdr had a strong math/sci background too and says don’t do it : )
We’re all pretty determined people here, and I think it’s good to get everyone’s 2 cents. . .just keep in mind the background of the people advising, and how it’s different from your own. In the end, ya gotta do what ya gotta do and find a way to make it work.
- AliJ Said:
We're all pretty determined people here, and I think it's good to get everyone's 2 cents. . .just keep in mind the background of the people advising, and how it's different from your own. In the end, ya gotta do what ya gotta do and find a way to make it work.
PI OR PII is manageable. Not both when you're working full time.
Well… I think the person who is taking Physics I&II over the summer will be doing them each, in sequence, not together. I know that when I first started looking at possibilities for taking prerequisites, I could’ve taken Chem I during the first summer session, and then Chem II during the second summer session. In other words, you could do a whole year’s worth of work in a summer - about 5 weeks per session. But it was a bitch - you had class all morning, every morning, and labs 4 afternoons a week. I don’t know how you could possibly do it and hold down a job - I don’t see how there could possibly be enough hours in the day!
If you are considering taking summer classes, you need to really, really, really think hard about what you gain by doing it. When I sketched out the whole scenario, I realized that for me, it didn’t help me move up my application by a year, and so I gave it up as a bad idea.
To be honest, I still think it’s a bad idea no matter what, but as others have said, to each his own. I will say that the difficulty I had with physics was a surprise to me - I was facile in math, always found algebra/trig to be easy and fun, but there was something conceptual about physics that made it much, much harder.
Good luck to all
- Mary Renard Said:
never heard someone describe proficiency in math that way!
I took ochem I and II (with labs) over an 8 week summer session and it SUCKED. I did not work, but there were still often not enough hours in the day to write up that day’s lab report, do the next day’s pre-lab, study for the almost daily quiz and weekly exams over 3-4 chapters. Also - I pretty much don’t remember any of my ochem. I took it with 3 friends - one dropped out after the first 4 week session, one dropped the lab section and only took the lecture part, and the other probably should have dropped (she got B’s and C’s, I think).
Physics took me a lot of time as well. Doing well in physics generally requires putting in lots of times into doing problems and if you don’t get it easily, you will quickly fall behind in a summer session.
Of the three, biology is probably the best to try and take over the summer. It’s mostly memorization and reading and less understanding difficult concepts. Also - the biology labs were by far the least demanding of the three.
- In reply to:
â€“adjective 1. moving, acting, working, proceeding, etc., with ease, sometimes with superficiality: facile fingers; a facile mind.
I'm also facile in vocabulary!
Seriously, math was always easy for me.... at least until calculus. The math was NEVER the issue when I was taking physics. It was the concepts, and figuring out what numbers to put where, that initially tripped me up.
What Emergency! said. I swear to God, there were physics labs that took me ten hours to complete, including Excel spreadsheets and all sorts of other horrors.
Good advice here. Hey…has anyone noticed that msautumn has not posted since that initial question? I think you guys scared him off (I am assuming gender here).
Msautumn, take Bio.
Dr. Renard…that’s a healthy loan balance there, but it’s gotta be a better return than having cash in the bank right now.
I am 40 plus and just starting this journey - I have another post but in short I am leaving corporate america for good, I am done with one job loss following another…I am dumping everything I have (two houses, cars, etc) and starting over.
How is the cash flow now that you are attending? Are you managing ok? And…are you glad you did it? What an accomplishment!
There is a quite a bit of talk about loan forgiveness for certain areas, any experience with that?
I’m not doing this for the money, it’s the stability, I just need to make enough dough to pay the bills each month. I expect to practice medicine as long as I can stave off senility.
Ok…that I want to beat up attorneys who needlessly sue doctors.
Well, I am sticking with my plan to take Physics 1 and II this summer. They are seperate classes, one after the other. I know its going to be difficult to work and take them but I believe its something I can handle. I already have a Bachelors and Masters Degree and had to work full time through both of those programs. I really can’t financially afford to just stop working and take classes. Look at the bright side everyone, if I manage to pull A’s in both courses this summer it means that it IS possible to succeed through the path I have choosen.
- SomeDaySomeWay Said:
Do keep us posted on how things go - I, in particular, would be very interested.