I really enjoy this forum.I finished undergrad in '00 w/BS in Graphics and grad school w/MS in Manufacturing in '01 (gpa:3.6, 4.0 respectively).I plan to start my “makeshift post-bacc” starting in January '07. I currently work FT 3rd shift and I’ll be 29 in Nov.
My question(s) is that there seem to be a lot of debate over exactly how much bio is required just for the MCAT. I have taken A&P,I would want to know from you guys what other bio is benefical for MCAT. I dont want to take to many yet I dont want to be unprepared either. Please tell what you think are good bio classes to take especially for MCAT and which ones can wait afterwards.
Also, is it safe to take your pre reqs at the same univ. you finished at if your old sci gpa is a “C” average or do I need to go to another univ. to take them so you get a fresh start? Does it matter?
Another question Is it difficult to take gen chem in summer school or take org chem and general physics in the same semester during the fall?
What types of math is good to review before taking phys?
Sorry for all the questions, but I gotta know!!
Welcome to OPM!
Check out the MCAT's Biological and Physical Science Topics. Then, compare those topics to the syllabi for various bio courses at your school and pick the one(s) that appear to cover most of those topics. It's probably going to be a general bio, cell bio, or molecular bio course. Remember that med schools want one year of biology courses WITH LAB.
Personally, I don't think it really matters. Your old science GPA is going to be on your application no matter where you take/retake more classes. If you are retaking classes you previously took, though, it is often recommended that you take a couple of higher level classes in addition to the retakes to prove that you are capable of handling the hard sciences.
It depends on a lot of things. It depends on how the courses are structured/taught/the professor and it depends on your academic capability and the amount of time that you have to put in to studying for those courses. Generally, taking one quarter/semester worth of gen chem over the summer isn't too bad - typically a little more condensed than the regular term, but doable. A lot of programs offer the entire year of general chemistry with labs over an 8 - 10 week summer session. That is a whole 'nother ballgame. THOSE courses are very intense and you are learning a lot of info in a very short period of time. Taking one of those courses pretty much requires that you devote yourself to nothing but chemistry over the summer. (I took the year of organic chem w/labs in 8 weeks over the summer). Many people simply can't absorb the material that fast, and even though they end up doing well in the course, they don't really LEARN the material - the "binge and purge" method of learning.
As for organic and physics in the same semester - again, it depends. It depends on how difficult these classes are for you and how much time you are going to have to put in in order to do well. Also, are you going to take the labs at the same time. Organic labs are typically very time consuming. Are you going to continue to work full time? Are you taking other courses at the same time? If these are the only courses you are taking, I would say that you should be able to handle them. In fact, its not a bad idea to take 2 or 3 tough courses at a time so that you can show adcoms that you are capable of handling a decent load of courses. However, its more important that you do well in them. I took bio, chem, physics (all with labs) and calculus in the same quarter and did well, but I also was only working part time. Some of my friends who were taking a similar load really struggled with it. So, there's no good answer for you.
Most physics and chemistry courses have math pre-reqs (usually college alegebra/trig, sometimes pre-calc). I don't know how much math you took first time around, but you may find that you actually need to take a math course to meet the prereqs. Depending on your comfort level, even if you have met the prereqs, you may want to retake the prereq if its been awhile or you aren't that comfortable with it. For me, a LOT had changed in college algebra in the 15 years since I took it the first time - primarily the use of the scientific/graphing calculators. Learning how to use those suckers was a HUGE challenge for me.
General Chemistry uses a lot of algebra - specifically logs and scientific notation. Most people who do poorly in gen chem have a poor math foundation. There's a lot more math in gen chem than people think. For Physics, again college algebra and basic trig. Physics uses a lot of sin, cosine, tangent and etc. from trig.
Hope that helps!!
Thanks Emergency! This will be extremely helpful in my decision making. BTW, I will be taking classes while working FT.
BTW - I forgot to mention to make sure that you are taking bio and chem courses that are acceptable toward a major in those subjects. Physics usually isn’t an issue because physics/engineering majors have to take the calc based physics which isn’t required for medical schools. Check with a pre-med advisor for a list of courses at your university that are considered “pre-med”, if you haven’t already done so.