Question Regarding Bio Requirements

Hello All,

I’m siging up for a fall Bio class but I’m not sure which one to take. I’ve already had General Biology 1 which is the prereq for Genetics. I talked to one of the medical school’s where I’m planning on applying too and they recommended that I take either Microbiology or Anatomy. I’ve also gone to a couple of medical school open houses and actually talked to some the the medical students and they all stated that they wished they would have taken Anatomy before med school.

So my question is, with regards to the MCAT and medical school, would I be better off to take General Biology 2, Anatomy or Microbiology?

Has anyone taken Anatomy or Microbiology before medical school and has it helped them in anyway?

I only need 4 more credits to completed my bio requirement. The General Biology 2 and Microbiology are both 4 credits where the Anatomy class is 6. All of them have both a lecture and lab.

Thanks for any advice.

You need to look at a couple of things: first, I highly recommend you get on the AAMC’s MCAT site and look for the listing of MCAT topics. Then, get a list of topics covered by those courses that you are considering. See which course(s) cover more of the MCAT topics.

The next consideration is the schools you are considering applying to. A great many list a year of general biology with labs as a pre-requisite. There are many schools that accept bio related courses such as anatomy, genetics and micro towards that, but there are some that expect that applicants complete the entire year of general biology.

My personal recommendation would be to complete the full gen bio series AND take additional upper level bio courses. For the MCAT, I think genetics and physiology are probably more helpful. For medical school, I found micro biology to be a great prep course. I think everybody wishes they had taken anatomy prior to medical school, but at the end of the day, I’m not sure how much more helpful it is. I mean, it’s always helpful to have a background in something, but I don’t know that it makes life THAT much easier in medical school.

Hello Emergency,

Thank you for the info. The school I am really hoping to get into only requires 8 credits of biological sciences. They have no preference as to the exact courses. However, I do realize that just because this college dosen’t care dosen’t mean that all of them are the same. This was one reason I was concerened about taking the A&P class. I don’t want to limit myself to one college just in case I decide later to go someplace else.

I was planning on taking genetics and I like your idea about completing Gen Bio II and then completeing additional upper level bio courses.

I never thought to check on the AAMC website for the topics covered. I will be checking that out and seeing what courses fit the best.

Thank you again for the information.

To help you out - here is the link to the page that contains PDF files of content topics for Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning and writing prompts.

MCAT subjects

I personally didn’t find this until after I took the MCAT, and wished I would have. It would have been enormously helpful in planning what to study for the MCAT. In particular, I would have spent time reviewing subjects that weren’t covered in my core prerequisites.

Anatomy will be useless to you for the MCATs if that is one of your concerns.

I took that course just to fill an elective. With all of the stuff that I read on my spare time I could have soaked in everything from that course in 2 sittings.

Emergency - Thanks for the link to the MCAT Subjects. It will really help me make an informed decision.

Putman - Thanks for the info. That’s what I was concerned about. I thought A&P would be interesting to take but what I’m really looking for is the class that will benefit me the most on the MCAT.

I’ve taken both A&P and Micro for my BSN. I don’t know all of your details but for me at least it helped pull my year of Gen Bio together. Actually, gave me enough knowledge and information to use for critical thinking. If you have the time (and motivation) I would take it. At the very least it would help you develop some good memorization techniques that will carry you through med school, IMHO

Julio - Thanks for the response. I think part of me wanting to take A&P is I volunteer as an EMT-Basic and even though I have had A&P while taking my EMT class there was still a lot we didn’t cover. So I guess in some way I was hoping it would help not only on a personal level but also apply to the MCAT so I would only have to take the one class. However, I’m a firm believer that no education is wasted so I’m definitely going to take Bio II but I might also take A&P at some point just for the personal satisfaction if nothing else.

I will tell you from years of experience from an EMT to Paramedic to RN and now…hopefully to MD/DO; you are not going to be making a mistake by taking A&P (I & II)to amplify your Biological Sciences background.

Plus, keep that mentality about “no education is wasted…” It a very positive and helpful philosophy to live by; thus will help you in the long haul. Guaranteed!

Julio - If you don’t mind me asking you a question, as a Paramedic and RN do you think this is going to benefit you on the MCAT and in medical school? I’m wondering because I am actually considering going on for my Paramedic before medical school. What is you oppinion on this? Thanks for any advice.

  • hopefuldoc Said:

So my question is, with regards to the MCAT and medical school, would I be better off to take General Biology 2, Anatomy or Microbiology?

I second what was said about getting a full year of gen bio - don't pin your hopes on one school.

For the MCAT I wish I'd taken genetics, because it was barely touched on in my gen bio and I had to waste time learning all the basics during my MCAT studying time.

Finally, I don't think either anatomy or microbio would have been helpful for the exam, and I took both afterwards - but some schools recommend micro and biochem so taking them for the application process isn't a bad idea.

I thought some of my physio stuff was helpful. You will have some questions on organ systems and they really like to test the endocrine, which we hit really hard in physio.

BaileyPup - It seemed like my Bio I covered that well enough, and Cell Bio/Physio went more intensely into it.

It’s hard to compare even the same course taught by different professors at one school, so I guess I’d revise my advice…

OP should look at the link Emergency provided and figure out what you’ve learned already and what subjects you’re missing - then determine whether any courses at your university can help to fill the gap. Talking with officers of pre-med clubs may give you insight into how helpful classes at your school really are.

  • hopefuldoc Said:
Julio - If you don't mind me asking you a question, as a Paramedic and RN do you think this is going to benefit you on the MCAT and in medical school? I'm wondering because I am actually considering going on for my Paramedic before medical school. What is you oppinion on this? Thanks for any advice.

The MCAT, I can't say yea or nay because I haven't taken it yet but what I can tell you is that these health related science programs and courses all help in a basic way of teaching you the information and then asking you to use that information to arrive at a differential (If you have A and B, then what possibly could the patient be suffering from?) All if not most professional license exams use this model.

By the time you get out of an Basic EMT course gone are the days that you get tested on plain black and white knowledge. You learn to manipulate the information that you were given to arrive at and treat the issue that the patient is dealing with.

This may be super intimidating at first but after a few exams of this nature it will come to be a norm for you. Unfortunately, with these types of exams it is often important if not crucial to know the basic material down pat; you can't understand what is being asked of you if you have no idea what the difference between intracellular and intercellular is and which way things flow based on concentration gradients...come to the table without this and your toast!!

As I go through practice questions I've found it helpful to pull from all experiences in order to arrive at the answer. Its akin to reading science and med journals to increase ones reading comprehension for the VR section (its nearly impossible to understand what is going on; being tested without some basic statistical knowledge)

Just my two cents but if you have the time and would greatly like to decrease you anxiety come test time then..."no education is wasted"