Constantius

2+ Year Member
May 11, 2017
23
11
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi everyone! I'm new to SDN, and I tried my best to look up potential solutions and advice via past threads, but in the end I still want to write a post of my own.

I'm currently enrolled in a very tedious and time-consuming intro physics course (mechanics) for which I have AP credit. I also have AP credit for E&M as well, although the score threshold for my school is surprisingly low given the ridiculous curving on the AP exams - you only need a 4 for credit, and I did score two 4's on both exams.

I'm a junior, and I agonized for the past two years over whether to retake physics or not. Older pre-med students would tell me to AP out of everything possible while pre-med advisors would tell me to take at least a semester of physics so I could apply to more schools/prep for the MCAT.

I did some cursory searches for individual med school's requirements, and I've come to the conclusion that a single semester of physics alone would barely allow me to apply to any more schools than no college physics at all. Since I don't care much about retaking classes for MCAT prep (especially tedious intro classes like physics), the only other reason I can think of that could possibly justify my taking physics is that it may make me appear to be a stronger applicant if I do well, since I have taken few quantitative classes in college (only multivariable calculus and intro stats). I also refuse to take higher level physics courses since they're designed for either engineers or physics majors, neither of which I am.

Is that a strong enough reason to remain in physics, or is my logic flawed?

Psychology is mostly similar - scored a 5 on the AP and don't really want to retake intro psych or even a higher level psych (simply lack of personal interest). I have taken many higher level behavioral/social science classes however, such as linguistics, cultural anthropology, sociology, etc., so I'm hoping these can make up for the lack of psychology. I also don't believe psychology requirements are nearly as stringent as physics/chem/biology/etc., so not taking it should only marginally affect what schools I can apply to. Do correct me if I'm wrong, though.

Sorry for the terribly long post, but I'd appreciate any advice!
 

Skarl

2+ Year Member
Jul 12, 2015
165
124
Take the intro physics series, it is a pre-requisite for most medical schools and not all medical schools accept AP credit. Because you have previous exposure to the material, it should be easier to get a good grade in the class.

It doesn't matter if you take the intro Psych class or use AP credit as Psych isn't commonly a pre-requisite.
 
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Constantius

2+ Year Member
May 11, 2017
23
11
Status
Pre-Medical
Take the intro physics series, it is a pre-requisite for most medical schools and not all medical schools accept AP credit. Because you have previous exposure to the material, it should be easier to get a good grade in the class.

It doesn't matter if you take the intro Psych class or use AP credit as Psych isn't commonly a pre-requisite.
So I did note this in my original post, but it doesn't seem like only taking one semester's worth of physics allows me to apply to that many more schools - I'd need to take two semesters for many of the schools that don't accept AP credit to begin with, and I am definitely unwilling to forgo both of my credits and retake both Physics I and II.
 
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Skarl

2+ Year Member
Jul 12, 2015
165
124
So I did note this in my original post, but it doesn't seem like only taking one semester's worth of physics allows me to apply to that many more schools - I'd need to take two semesters for many of the schools that don't accept AP credit to begin with, and I am definitely unwilling to forgo both of my credits and retake both Physics I and II.
If you are "unwilling" to retake Physics I/II then you

1) limit yourself to med schools that accept AP credit
2) need to take upper div physics courses
3) can't matriculate to a medical school

I don't see what the big deal is. As a pre-med, you'll retake some classes you have AP credit for.
 
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Constantius

2+ Year Member
May 11, 2017
23
11
Status
Pre-Medical
If you are "unwilling" to retake Physics I/II then you

1) limit yourself to med schools that accept AP credit
2) need to take upper div physics courses
3) can't matriculate to a medical school

I don't see what the big deal is. As a pre-med, you'll retake some classes you have AP credit for.
Well, if by being unwilling to take both then I limit myself to med schools that accept AP credit, then that's fine. I suppose my original post included far too much fluff, but in the end, my question boils down to "is there any merit in retaking physics to demonstrate quantitative ability at the college level"? I've heard of adcoms looking down at applicants who retake courses they have credit for as a GPA-boosting tactic, so...

Sorry if it seemed like if I was whining or making a big fuss about retaking courses, but many pre-meds at my school choose not to retake courses they have credit for, so while I'm sure it isn't uncommon nationwide, people look at you pretty strangely if you voluntarily put yourself through an awful intro-level course when you have credit for it here. There's a few exceptions to that, but physics isn't one of them.
 
J

jdav_7

Hi everyone! I'm new to SDN, and I tried my best to look up potential solutions and advice via past threads, but in the end I still want to write a post of my own.

I'm currently enrolled in a very tedious and time-consuming intro physics course (mechanics) for which I have AP credit. I also have AP credit for E&M as well, although the score threshold for my school is surprisingly low given the ridiculous curving on the AP exams - you only need a 4 for credit, and I did score two 4's on both exams.

I'm a junior, and I agonized for the past two years over whether to retake physics or not. Older pre-med students would tell me to AP out of everything possible while pre-med advisors would tell me to take at least a semester of physics so I could apply to more schools/prep for the MCAT.

I did some cursory searches for individual med school's requirements, and I've come to the conclusion that a single semester of physics alone would barely allow me to apply to any more schools than no college physics at all. Since I don't care much about retaking classes for MCAT prep (especially tedious intro classes like physics), the only other reason I can think of that could possibly justify my taking physics is that it may make me appear to be a stronger applicant if I do well, since I have taken few quantitative classes in college (only multivariable calculus and intro stats). I also refuse to take higher level physics courses since they're designed for either engineers or physics majors, neither of which I am.

Is that a strong enough reason to remain in physics, or is my logic flawed?

Psychology is mostly similar - scored a 5 on the AP and don't really want to retake intro psych or even a higher level psych (simply lack of personal interest). I have taken many higher level behavioral/social science classes however, such as linguistics, cultural anthropology, sociology, etc., so I'm hoping these can make up for the lack of psychology. I also don't believe psychology requirements are nearly as stringent as physics/chem/biology/etc., so not taking it should only marginally affect what schools I can apply to. Do correct me if I'm wrong, though.

Sorry for the terribly long post, but I'd appreciate any advice!
In my experience even if schools say they're ok with AP credit for basic science courses, they're really not. Plus, some schools like Yale don't accept AP credit (if you care). I'd skip Psych b/c it's not a pre req almost anywhere but retake both physics, bump your BCPM GPA, and leave it at that.
 
J

jdav_7

Well, if by being unwilling to take both then I limit myself to med schools that accept AP credit, then that's fine. I suppose my original post included far too much fluff, but in the end, my question boils down to "is there any merit in retaking physics to demonstrate quantitative ability at the college level"? I've heard of adcoms looking down at applicants who retake courses they have credit for as a GPA-boosting tactic, so...

Sorry if it seemed like if I was whining or making a big fuss about retaking courses, but many pre-meds at my school choose not to retake courses they have credit for, so while I'm sure it isn't uncommon nationwide, people look at you pretty strangely if you voluntarily put yourself through an awful intro-level course when you have credit for it here. There's a few exceptions to that, but physics isn't one of them.
Retaking classes in college is actually perceived to be the opposite. Many schools perceive junior college and AP credit to be less rigorous than 4-year credit, so retaking would be seen positively (unless you fail). The idea that you are unwilling to retake both is ignorant because you're limiting your school selection before you even start college. I managed to get through school without calculus (no AP or college) and was ineligible to apply for Hopkins, Harvard, etc. despite being competitive for top 10 schools.
 
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Constantius

2+ Year Member
May 11, 2017
23
11
Status
Pre-Medical
Retaking classes in college is actually perceived to be the opposite. Many schools perceive junior college and AP credit to be less rigorous than 4-year credit, so retaking would be seen positively (unless you fail). The idea that you are unwilling to retake both is ignorant because you're limiting your school selection before you even start college. I managed to get through school without calculus (no AP or college) and was ineligible to apply for Hopkins, Harvard, etc. despite being competitive for top 10 schools.
I appreciate your advice, but I deny that I'm "ignorant" in regards to limiting my school selection - I know perfectly well that I would be limiting my selection, and I honestly don't care at this point. As I said in a previous post, my primary question is: "is there any merit in retaking physics to demonstrate quantitative ability at the college level?". I've considered both of the other two benefits to retaking courses already (applying to more schools and MCAT review), so I wasn't really looking for more information on those aspects but rather on the potential benefit of demonstrating ability and skill.

Additionally, as nice as it would be to apply to more selective, "prestigious" private schools and possibly even get in, it is far more financially practical to consider the many in-state schools available to me (I'm from Texas), and I've already confirmed with advisors that with or without retaking physics, I can apply to all of them. Sure, I may or may not be competitive for top 10/20 medical schools and be limiting which ones I can apply to, but when it boils down to where I actually go in the end, I'm pretty sure that I won't be that concerned over where I did or didn't apply to.

I'm also not sure what you mean by this: "you're limiting your school selection before you even start college" I did mention that I'm a junior in college right now, so I've definitely started college. Maybe a typo or a misunderstanding?
 

DBC03

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Dec 28, 2016
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I appreciate your advice, but I deny that I'm "ignorant" in regards to limiting my school selection - I know perfectly well that I would be limiting my selection, and I honestly don't care at this point. As I said in a previous post, my primary question is: "is there any merit in retaking physics to demonstrate quantitative ability at the college level?". I've considered both of the other two benefits to retaking courses already (applying to more schools and MCAT review), so I wasn't really looking for more information on those aspects but rather on the potential benefit of demonstrating ability and skill.

Additionally, as nice as it would be to apply to more selective, "prestigious" private schools and possibly even get in, it is far more financially practical to consider the many in-state schools available to me (I'm from Texas), and I've already confirmed with advisors that with or without retaking physics, I can apply to all of them. Sure, I may or may not be competitive for top 10/20 medical schools and be limiting which ones I can apply to, but when it boils down to where I actually go in the end, I'm pretty sure that I won't be that concerned over where I did or didn't apply to.

I'm also not sure what you mean by this: "you're limiting your school selection before you even start college" I did mention that I'm a junior in college right now, so I've definitely started college. Maybe a typo or a misunderstanding?
I received AP credit for all of my prerequisite courses and am in the middle of the application season, so I think I can shed some light on school-specific requirements (at least for places I have applied). You should be fine with AP credit, but you will likely want to take upper level courses as I will explain below:

First, every school that I have applied to that still REQUIRES courses (which is becoming fewer and farther between) is willing to accept UPPER LEVEL courses in lieu of the prerequisite courses that I passed out of with AP credit. So instead of taking Gen Chem, I took two semesters of Organic and two semesters of Biochem (which has apparently fulfilled everyone's requirements at this point). I'm currently taking PChem as well (which one school mentioned as a possible fulfillment). I took two upper level Biology classes in lieu of Biology (Cell Bio and Genetics - I'm also taking Physiology this semester). And while I did take Physics with calculus, a few schools consider those credits expired (let's face it - I took physics 17 years ago), so I'm taking Applications of Physics to Biology and Medicine. Physics is admittedly the hardest class to find upper level replacements for as most physics classes are for physics majors only. The class I'm enrolled in is not even available to physics majors and is aimed at people who want a biophysics minor. It wasn't my intention, but the class is very interesting and is basically a repeat of everything I learned in physics.

So those are options. Most schools will expect you to take some kind of upper level science classes in lieu of prereqs, and I recommend doing that to show that you can handle the rigor of college level work. But don't feel the need to retake the prereqs if you don't want to.
 
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jdav_7

I appreciate your advice, but I deny that I'm "ignorant" in regards to limiting my school selection - I know perfectly well that I would be limiting my selection, and I honestly don't care at this point. As I said in a previous post, my primary question is: "is there any merit in retaking physics to demonstrate quantitative ability at the college level?". I've considered both of the other two benefits to retaking courses already (applying to more schools and MCAT review), so I wasn't really looking for more information on those aspects but rather on the potential benefit of demonstrating ability and skill.

Additionally, as nice as it would be to apply to more selective, "prestigious" private schools and possibly even get in, it is far more financially practical to consider the many in-state schools available to me (I'm from Texas), and I've already confirmed with advisors that with or without retaking physics, I can apply to all of them. Sure, I may or may not be competitive for top 10/20 medical schools and be limiting which ones I can apply to, but when it boils down to where I actually go in the end, I'm pretty sure that I won't be that concerned over where I did or didn't apply to.

I'm also not sure what you mean by this: "you're limiting your school selection before you even start college" I did mention that I'm a junior in college right now, so I've definitely started college. Maybe a typo or a misunderstanding?
Misunderstanding. Thought you were in high school. If you're set on Texas then it's no big deal. And I meant it would be unfortunate to not be eligible to attend a prestigious school based on ignorance of requirements, as this happened to me.
 
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