Post-Bacc Course sequence?

Hi All,

So, I am thinking about starting my premed, post-bacc courses this fall and I would appreciate some general tips on how I should sequence my classes.

To begin; my Algebra, Trig, and Calc skills are either rusty or nonexistent. I know that I need all of the above to do well in all Chem and Physics, and I have begin re-studying them now and will continue to do so this summer.

In sum, I would like to set myself up to knockout one or two pre-reqs in the summer of 2011 following my first year back in school: should I take Gen. Chem I and II w/labs and Gen. Bio I and II w/labs next year, and subsequently try to pick off either O-Chem I or Physics I that summer?

You won’t need calculus unless you are taking calc based physics. Premed physics is usually trig based, and even that is basic sin, cos, tangent stuff that comes back pretty quick. There is no calc on the MCAT. Although about 30% of MD schools require Calc, which can be taken after applying once you get into a school if you have to.

If you are doing prereqs starting this fall and want to take 2 yrs, the best sequence would be:

Fall 10- gchem and bio 1

Sp 11- gchem and bio 2

Sum- Phys 1 & 2

Fall 11- Ochem 1 & maybe mo bio or biochem or genetics

Sp 12- Ochem 2 & MCAT prep

Apply June 1, take MCAT June 17ish

You can also complete the prereqs in 1 year:

Sum 10- gchem 1 & 2

Fall 10- Ochem 1, phys 1, bio 1

Sp 11- Ochem 2, phys 2, bio 2 & limited MCAT prep

Full-time MCAT prep May/June

Apply June 1, take MCAT June 17ish

I did the 1 yr sequence but many do the 2 yr.

Good luck. It can be a lot of fun but it is definitely a lot of work. And definitely take the time to volunteer and/or shadow at least 4 hrs a wk!

Agree with AntMan’s thoughts. I also did the 1 year sequence (and worked part-time). Didn’t feel overwhelmed and did well. I did very little MCAT prep during the spring semester, though, so that I could be sure to get all A’s. My MCAT studying was focused to the summer. I’m not certain but I believe I actually took the test in July. Had no problems getting interviews or acceptances.

And don’t miss AntMan’s last line about volunteering–EXTREMELY important!! Also, you need experiences in the medical arena as adcoms want to be sure that you know what you’re getting into and that you are making an informed decision.

Great info on here; thank you both for your comments. I have a related questions regarding Post-Bacc scheduling for a one-year program. I am planning to start a post-bacc program this summer that encourages Chem 1/Physics 1 during the first 6-week summer session, and Chem 2/Physics 2 during the second 6-week summer session. So, 16 science credits in a little under 3 months. Any thoughts? Would you recommend solely taking Chem 1 / Chem 2 over the summer, and taking Phy/Ochem/Bio during the fall and phy2/ochem2/bio2 during the spring?

A little background on me: I have a business degree from a state college (graduated 4 years ago), I’ve taken Calculus and Physics (not lab-based), received a high-A in both, but I will need to take Physics again with the lab component. I am rusty on the math concepts, but I’m planning to take the next 1 1/2 months to review–I’m also reviewing Schaum’s College Chemistry Outline. Over the last year, I’ve volunteered 4 hours/week in the ER, taken an EMT certification class (currently), and shadowed 6 docs in the clinic/OR (just so I knew what I was actually getting myself into).

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all for your help. This website is a godsend.


I would absolutely NOT take two pre-reqs over a condensed summer session. ONE pre-req w/lab over a shortened summer session is likely going to be more than enough work. Remember that you not only want to do well in these courses, but you want to LEARN the material so that you have a strong background for the MCAT. Condensed summer schedules can make it very difficult to commit the material to long term memory (trust me - I took organic in an 8 week summer session and I’m not sure I retained any of it). Plus, you really don’t have any idea until you get into it how time intensive the lab component will be in terms of pre-lab and post-lab reports.

The rusty math is also a concern - even with review, you may find that it takes you a bit longer at the start to get back into the swing of applying the math to the chemistry/physics problems.

  • MrJoshua Said:
...In sum, I would like to set myself up to knockout one or two pre-reqs in the summer of 2011 following my first year back in school: should I take Gen. Chem I and II w/labs and Gen. Bio I and II w/labs next year, and subsequently try to pick off either O-Chem I or Physics I that summer?

With those options, the only thing you'll be knocking out over the summer is yourself!

No way in HE77 I would EVER consider taking G Chem I and II and ANYTHING else over the summer, except for maybe a short vacation btwn the two. Taking the 3 prereqs during a full-length semester is doable though, with enough effort and organization. Not sure why they would tell anyone, especially a rookie postbacc, to do that!?!

Good luck though, you sound like you are in a good position to rock this program and hopefully the MCAT and applications too!

Gonna agree with the others on not taking gen chem and physics in summer. Start with gen chem and nail it so that you’re starting your post-bacc with great success. Given your background of an A in physics, you would likely do well in it even if you took it over the summer, but I don’t believe it to be worth the risk. Keep it with the other courses in the fall.


Thanks for the very helpful replies. I really appreciate your advice, and it confirms what I was already thinking–that it’s rather crazy to take both prerequs in 6-week summer sessions! I will heed your advice and take the classes during the fall/spring semester. I don’t just want to memorize the material for the test, I understand the importance of actually learning the material; plus, it’s all interesting regardless. JG