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any important courses i should take for MCAT

Discussion in 'MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test' started by fastfingers, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. fastfingers

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    I know gen chem, gen bio, physics and orgo are needed for MCATs, but are there other courses that I should really take to get ready for MCATS? Do I need to take biochem, cell bio, or genetics?
     
  2. creativekat

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    Having taken genetics and biochem...it seems pretty helpful. I can whip out an answer in <30secs, sometimes automatically. Then again, I haven't taken the real thing yet. I do wish I took physiology though...
     
  3. pizzamaker

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    From what I heard many people found genetics to be extremely helpful on their MCATs while others barely encountered it. Just to be safe take it, thats what I am doing, unless you think it'll drop your GPA (I know its an upper course, a harder one)
     
  4. fastfingers

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    lol, i really think it might drop my gpa. I'm thinking about still taking biochem though since it seems like some med schools really want it. Personally, would you take a B+ in genetics, but get to learn the material for MCAT? I'm also not going to take cell bio before MCAT.
     
  5. creativekat

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    well do you have to take it (i.e. major requirements)? If you do, then you might as well take it to help you for the mcat...

    biochem and genetics were both requirements for me, and was a prereq for a lot of other classes i have to take as a bio major, so it fit well enough.

    if not, it's nothing you can't pick up from campbell's biology book (something like chapters 12-17 or so?) as long as you understand it really well. genetics wasn't that helpful for me...it just made the problems go by a lot faster because i had experience through the genetics course.

    that said, i hope my test is full of biochem & genetics.
     
  6. fastfingers

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    well both biochem and genetics are not major req. but i did hear some selective med schools require biochem.

    when you say faster, was it a huge advantage? I almost feel like ppl with background in biochem and genetics might be able to cruise through the sections without reading the passage, which obviously is a huge advantage.
     
  7. creativekat

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    I usually finish sections early (10-25 min) so I can't tell you...:p

    Sometimes I don't bother reading the passage and start answering the questions. I get them right. Except for the ones where I read too fast and misunderstand the question/make a careless error. :rolleyes:

    I remember yesterday I was doing an AAMC test that had a pedigree. It took me literally about 5 seconds to figure out what the mode of inheritance was. (And I double-checked to make sure I didn't do something silly) Then again, I tutor genetics, so I better get these within seconds.
     
  8. spartandoctor

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    I have not taken the MCAT yet but I did start studying for the bio section before this semester began and it was tough. Now that I have finished this semester (physiology, anatomy, genetics) things that were tough in the BS were being brought up countless times in each of those classes. I feel I am 10X more prepared for the BS section after taking those classes than if I didn't have them. I am a human bio major so I had to take them, but I didn't they were too dreadfull, with enough dedication you should be able to walk out with a good grade and well prepared for those topics.

    I've spoken with students already in medical school at my university and after hearing which classes I have taken and what class I still intend to take (biochem) before the MCAT, they all agreed that I am more prepared than I can imagine.

    Personally, physiology is the most important recommended class, I believe. My Kaplan review book stressed each system seperately which would have been a ton easier had I completed physio earlier.

    Hope that helps.
     
  9. swamprat

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    Yeah studying in the summer vs studying now after taking biochemistry and physiology made the mcat that much "easier." For example even though I still was getting the physiology questions right(maybe not as much), it took me longer to think it through. Now I see one question and I practically dont even have to think about it I just know it. Same with biochemistry, which I think helped the most.
     
  10. Tourterm

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    Biochem, genetics, cellular / molecular biology are useful. Physiology too perhaps. Aside from the MCAT, they are just good things to know for medical school and understanding biology in general. Additionally, as has been pointed out, some are even required for admission.

    You don't need to take any of them to do well, but it certainly helps.
     
  11. fastfingers

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    hmm i feel like i'm in so much of a disadvantage now since i won't be taking genetics and cell bio before the mcat. personally, which of these classes were most useful out of cell bio, genetics and biochem.
     
  12. SN2ed

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    My vote goes to Genetics first with a toss up between Biochem and Physiology. Although you don't really need anything beyond the pre-reqs, these classes can help.
     
  13. fastfingers

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    When applying to med school, is it more important to have taken genetics or biochem? I feel like a lot of schools require biochem.
     
  14. bodonid

    bodonid Dr. Spaceman
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    I say Cell Biology

    Genetics and biochem are more of the "mainstay" suggested courses for med school admissions and help some for the MCAT. By all means take one of these. But Cell Bio is the class that helped me get a high BS score. There wasn't much hard biochem, and only discretes from genetics on my BS. I think it helps, if you have the time to take it. Good luck.
     
  15. futuredoctor10

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    Alot recommend. Which schools require biochem? I haven't heard of any which REQUIRE it like they do bio, chem, phys...

    I think Genetics and Physiology can be really helpful for the MCAT. If you had a strong genetic background in your intro Bio course, then I'd recommend Physiology most.
     
  16. fastfingers

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    hmm exactly what i didn't want to hear lol. I'm very bad at genetics so I was hoping I wouldn't have to take genetics cuz it might hurt my gpa.
     
  17. futuredoctor10

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    I'd say only take the genetics course if you feel it will help you and it fits in your schedule/major requirements well. Otherwise it is not necessary; alot of prep books cover Genetics. Alot of people say EK & Kaplan are too brief so you can supplement with Princeton Review, or online websites, or Schaum's Genetics book which I have seen recommended on SDN alot. That way you can study genetics on your own without taking a course.

    And, keep in mind depending on which school you attend some upper-level genetics courses are waaaay more in depth than the MCAT coverage of genetics. So self-study can certainly be a good idea.
     
  18. WolverineDoc13

    WolverineDoc13 Good Times in the Midwest
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    as much as I love Genetics, I would recommend a physiology class over genetics and biochem. This is coming from someone who has taken all three. While taking the MCAT, I wish I had paid attention in that class the MOST. haha I had to relearn everything from that class while I was studying for the MCAT. Now, genetics is fun and biochem is helpful, so those classes aren't bad to take either... just a thought. Why not go crazy like me and take all three before your MCAT, ha. (I'm kidding. I promise you.)

    and some schools do REQUIRE biochem (University of Michigan, for example) -- you can check the MSAR to figure out which schools do, but it does happen.

    Good luck!
     
  19. fastfingers

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    dang such hard decisions. I feel like from reading the post that taking genetics can boost my score in biological science by like 2 points just because I can look at it and know the answer. Am I under the wrong impression?
     
  20. UrbanHibiscus

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    So would you rank the order of importance of the classes as:

    1) Anatomy & Physiology
    2) Genetics
    3) Biochem
    4) Cell Biology

    Is this correct?

    Thanks!
     
    #20 UrbanHibiscus, Jan 16, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  21. 229141

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    Physiology, Biochemistry, Cell, Genetics etc. One who has taken general bio will be at a huge disadvantage competing against one who has had all these classes... For the BS section (practice exams) I was able to answer a lot of questions with a high level of certainty thx to these classes. I've seen passages in practice tests on Hb, Sphingolipids, Amino acids, G-proteins etc, and they all were easy since I studied them before in class.
     
  22. jpnmed

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    I would rank the "extra" classes that are useful for the bio section as follows, with number one being most important:
    1)human physiology
    2)cell biology
    3)biochemistry
    4)genetics
    I remember some distinct stand alone genetics questions that I wouldn't have been able to answer, had I not taken the course. Biochem helped a ton because I had to learn all the structures of all the amino acids and this helped with a number of questions. I ended up with a 13 in this section, so I am glad that I took these courses.
     
  23. LaCasta

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    I pushed my MCAT back to April. I was a little worried about not being able to study durring the semester, but since I am taking cell bio, biochem, molecular bio, vertabrate physio lab, I figure that studying for these classes will also in a way be studying for the MCAT.
     
  24. fastfingers

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    it's such a hard decision since all these classes are known to hurt my gpa and they're not even part of my major. In terms of applying to med school, which one of these classes are most important to have on my transcript. I always thought biochem was required by a lot of top tier med school, so I'm thinking about taking biochem next year, but am I wrong in what I know? I'm planning to take genetics and cell bio and maybe physiology my senior year still after I have my major requirements out of the way, but med schools won't see my grades on those and I won't be able to use those knowledge for the MCAT.

    any suggestions?
     

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