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Curriculum Question for MSIs and IIs

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by MDgonnabe, Feb 2, 2002.

  1. MDgonnabe

    MDgonnabe your royal travesty
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    Thank you for reading this! Your feedback will be greatly appreciated!

    I'm a psych major at a state university. I've taken all the basic sciences required for admission and have gotten into one medical school so far (still waiting to hear from four or so that I've interviewed at). I'm getting ready for graduation in the next few months. Basically what things have come down to is dividing time between my honors thesis (it's psych research), regular coursework which includes some higher level sciences that I thought would help me in med school, and my interests outside of school in general (mainly the arts such as music and theater). The thesis is getting done whether I like it or not. And I want to maintain as much an involvement in the arts as I can until I get to med school. So I'm forced to consider dropping one of my higher level sciences. The choices would be between mammalian physiology (though we're focusing on the human body) and biochemistry. I've already taken one semester of biochem and didn't like it that much (it seems to go into detail I won't remember in a year anyway) but I know the basics. I love physiology, really ties everything in together nicely and it's just interesting to me.

    Two questions for you: Which do you think was most useful for you overall as a med student? Do you think that the curriculum type at a school (ie traditional vs. PBL vs mixed) effects this in anyway? My number one choice of school right now is Pitt and it uses mixed, but the school I got accepted into, Temple, I think (though I might be wrong) uses traditional.

    and

    Since dropping a course will change my anticipated coursework on my AMCAS application, could a school possibly reject me because of this (even the one that has already accepted me)? Should I just update it and let schools know about this now as a warning? Would I need a written explanation of why I dropped it? etc

    Thank you so much for your time!
     
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  3. LR6SO4

    LR6SO4 Senior Member
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    At my undergrad school first semester biochem was the basics, second was the reactions (this was the stuff you really need to know in med school) and third was molecular. I think having a year of biochem helped a lot for me. I didn't remember every single reaction, but I had a good idea of what glycolysis was, what the TCA cycle did, etc.

    Physiology I actually did remember pretty well in med school and I was surprised. Don't know if it helped much. Physiology isn't usually a 'killer' course first year, biochem can be depending on what school it is. No matter what it is like though there will be people in your first year class taking both biochem and phys for the first time. All of them will do fine and so will you. This probably doesn't help much in regards to which class if any to take. I'm not sure what I would do in the same situation.

    As for changing your AMCAS stuff I would definately let the school you have been accepted to know before you change anything. I'm sure they don't care one way or the other, but just to be on the safe side let them know. Congrats on getting in! The hardest part is over.
     
  4. ckent

    ckent Membership Revoked
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    Hi MD, congrats on your acceptance to temple. If I were you, I would take both Biochem and Physio because both courses will be very useful during med school and just drop some of my arts classes. But given a choice between the two, I would have to say that both are almost equally useful for med school for different reasons. Physio, because it gives you a very nice big picture view which many med school's don't bother to give because they assume that you already have the big picture. Biochem would be nice too because a lot of people (non-science majors in particular) are at a distinct disadvantage when taking biochem because this is the one class which I believe that having previous experience in will improve your grade (studies have shown that non-science majors tend to do equally well on most of the basic science courses, but my personal bias is that biochem is the exception). So in conclusion, when it comes down to the two courses, both are very useful, but I don't think that one has a huge advantage over the other one so I would suggest sticking with physio (the one that you enjoy) and enjoy your senior year. In terms of how your curriculum is going to play into all of this, I personally think that it is easier to learn subjects such as biochem in a tradional curriculum rather then a PBL curriculum, but everyone has different ways of learning, and studies have not shown one curriculum to be overwhelmingly superior at teaching the basic science over the other ones. I personally like the mixed curriculum, partly because that's what Maryland has. So if you were sure that you were going to an all PBL based med school (which most are not, most are mixed), I might suggest that you take biochem now because that's probably a more difficult subject to learn on your own then physio. But going to a mixed or traditional, you should be fine either way again. Finally, in regards to notifying the school that you will be dropping one of the classes, the way that I remember it is that AMCAS asks you to "guess" which classes you will be taking your senior year. And I remember that I "guessed" incorrectly about several of the classes that I thought I would be taking but ended up not taking, and I did not bother notifying anybody. I personally don't think it's a big deal, they aren't admitting you because of what you chose for your senior year curriculum, just as long as you keep your grades decent (ie don't fail), I imagine med schools rarely ever rescind an acceptance to an applicant. But if you want to be paranoid about it, you can always call the admissions office and ask them about it. If they are like anything like the admissions office at my school, they will be very nice/helpful to you right after you tell them that you have already been accepted. :) Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions, congrats on your acceptance again.
     
  5. mcwmark

    mcwmark Senior Member
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    Very good points listed above. I'll just put my two cents in...I would take the physiology course, just because it is a bit more useful (in my mind) for Physiology, as well as Pathology, and Pharmacology.
     
  6. dr.evil

    dr.evil Senior Member
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    Well you can do whatever you want really but since you asked for opinions, I'll give you mine. For some reason, I took every science class known to man in undergrad. Anatomy, biochem, physiology, chemistry out the wazoo, zoology, well you get the point. The only class that REALLY helped me do well at all was anatomy. It simply became a review in medical school (more or less, well mostly more).

    Biochem and phys didn't help at all (for me). I truly wish I would have taken more arts classes. I mean, come on, you're going to be inundated with science the rest of your life. Drop the science classes altogether if you don't really need them (otherwise take the physiology class).

    You're grades in medical school will not directly correlate with what classes you took in undergrad. It will depend on how much time and effort you put into it during medical school.

    Do your thesis and stay involved in the arts. This is your chance to do these things. Just do them. Please, please, please enjoy this spring & summer to the utmost. Although medical school will not totally take over your life, it does make any other type of reading/learning of different subjects difficult.

    You will not be rejected for changes in future coursework on AMCAS. When you filled this out you were being honest and changes came later. Don't worry about that stuff.

    Forget the higher level sciences if you don't need them. Take Underwater Basketweaving 101. Believe me. I would not say these things if they weren't true. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
  7. Fah-Q

    Fah-Q Senior Member
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    Physiology is THE most useful class you could take. Learning physiology is really your first step towards becoming a doctor in my opinion. You must know how the human body works normally before you can understand what happens when it does not work normally. Biochem might be a tougher class but it hardly has any clinical relevance and you will forget it all in six months anyways. Physiology has a way of sticking in your mind because its not just mindless memorization, it makes you think.
     

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