3.0 GPA - retake courses?


New Member
10+ Year Member
Nov 17, 2008
  1. Pre-Medical
    Hi everyone - I just joined this forum.

    I'm in my third year of a biology undergrad at McMaster University (a Canadian school in Ontario).

    My GPA is 3.0 - including an F in physics, C in Chem, C+ in Calc 2 in first year, and C in organic chem (I & II) and C- in physics (retaken) in 2nd year.

    I know my GPA isn't very good - should I retake these classes that I didn't do well in? I'm Canadian, so I don't know if it matters as much here or if GPA is considered on the whole, but I am also considering applying to US schools. DO isn't an option since we don't have those schools here in Canada.

    I haven't taken the MCAT yet - planning to next summer.

    Volunteering includes local hospital ER, Habitat for Humanity, campus cultural clubs, started up a mental health awareness initiative this year, nursing home, and some other random volunteer things (need to work on these too). I am planning on spending a month or so volunteering next summer in northern Canada at a native reservation.

    I have worked in a clinical pediatric research study since second year, and I will likely do my 4th year thesis in pediatric endocrinology. I have also worked at a medical clinic.

    I'm not stupid, although it seems like I am - I just don't apply myself to my fullest potential. I have issues with depression (especially in first year, when I moved away from my hometown to a new city for university. My mom died of cancer when I was in high school (she was my only parent since my dad left when I was younger) and have been struggling with depression since then. I'm not trying to use that as a crutch to excuse my poor marks, but I want to know what I can do to overcome that.

    Should I retake the classes I did poorly in? From here on in I will definitely do better, but what about what happened before? After I am done my third and fourth undergraduate years, is it better to stay back for a year, do a master's degree, or do another undergraduate degree?

    Thank you for any advice or help - although my marks do not show it, I am extremely interested in medicine and I want to get there, even if it takes years.


    Full Member
    Moderator Emeritus
    10+ Year Member
    Jul 1, 2008
    1. Attending Physician
      Yes retake them, and for the love of GOD get A's this time. Keep taking upper level science courses as well until you can get your scGPA up to a competitive level. Your options are significantly limited as a foreign applicant and from what I've heard Canadian schools are even more competitive than US schools. You'll have to rock the MCAT to compensate for your GPA. Keep expanding your ECs.

      You also need to consider how you'd pay for US medical school as well, because you won't have access to federal student loans - and given the credit crunch, private loans will be hard to come by.

      But your abysmal record in the prereqs isn't an easy thing to overcome. You need a stretch of unblemished academic excellence (more than a year) to convince medical schools that your up to handling the rigors of a med school curriculum. This means A's. A long string of them. Don't leave any doubt in an adcom's mind that you've turned the corner on your previous poor performances.


      Queen of Passiveagressiva
      10+ Year Member
      Oct 29, 2008
      1. Pre-Medical
        McMaster let's you retake courses even if you earned higher than a D?


        No offense, but your 3.0 probably means you're ****ed in Canada. A masters degree WOULD help you though. A second bachelors degree may be equally as helpful, especially if you take higher-level courses of the ones you did poorly in.
        If you want to go to the USA, a 3.0 is less detrimental, and a second bachelors would be the most helpful (they don't care about grad school in america for some reason??).


        Full Member
        10+ Year Member
        Apr 4, 2007
          Before trying to repair your low GPA, take care of yourself first. Get the medical care you need to get the depression under control. Take time off of school to get yourself straightened out, if necessary, rather than risk more poor grades you'll need to compensate for. Since you've just started your third year, if you can pull off straight As this semester (perhaps I'm over-optimistic, but you gave no info to suggest otherwise), then with three more 4.0 semesters your GPA would be up to a 3.5, which, with a high MCAT may be enough to get you into a US med school, considering you'd have a steep upward grade trend, and your terrific extracurriculars.
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