I am taking (or at least considering) retaking organic chemistry since I received Cs the first time around. My question is this: When I took it previously, the lab grade was included as part of the grade. This time around, it probably won’t be (especially if I take it during the year at my current college). Should I take the seperate labs or not?
I wonder about this myself.
Hi Yolanda and Anika,
For what itâ€™s worth, I think you should just focus on the lecture. If you do retake, both grades are going to be calculated into your AMCAS GPA anyway (someone else will have to comment on AACOMAS because I am not sure about this one). So, IMHO, itâ€™s better to reduce the workload and really focus on doing well in lecture and maybe pulling an A in the 3 credit lecture versus a lower grade in the 5 credit combined course. If you take the lecture and do well and feel that you want to retake the lab, you always can. However, if you decide not to, then you have already met the requirement for a year of organic lab.
Orgo seems to be the most infamous weed out course and our lab was pretty difficult. This combined with the fact that some people are not very comfortable with lab work resulted in people with Bs in lecture who ended up dropping the lab because they were not doing so great. Unlike a combined course, if you mess up a few labs, there is nothing to save your GPA and you definitely do not want I/W on your transcript for a class you are taking for a second time. Besides, your MCAT prep will cover many of the techniques you performed in lab so you still have plenty of time to get these concepts down. Hope this helps!
Part of it comes down to what kind of lab instructor you get. Some schools use student teaching assistants, perhaps seniors or grad students, and others use professors.
Look for a course where, quite frankly, all things being equal, you’re likely to get an A. Students are often generous with grades. I always had great TA’s. I had to do the work of course, but because of the vagaries of the lab environment, your materials might be contaminated or your lab partner might miscalculate and you end up with bad results through no particular fault of your own. A nice TA will give you full credit and a nasty TA will count points off. So network and make sure you have a nice TA and a cooperative partner and you will have a more pleasurable experience in lab. Good luck,