Did you take extra upper level bio to prove yourself to adcoms?

ResIpsa

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I'm a non-trad pre-med who took all my pre-reqs for the first time in a post-bacc last year. Before that, I had never taken science before in my life.

Anyhow, I did take one semester of anatomy. I wondered what additional upper level bio you guys took, if any, to prove to adcoms that you could do well in science?

If you took these, how did you handle them with a full-time job? I was thinking of taking cell bio and biochem this summer (one class each summer session) but I also work full-time. Would this schedule be manageable?
 

Baditude

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I took genetics, cell bio, anatomy, physiology, biochem, parasitology and other upper level non-bio classes. I maintained a full time schedule for my 4 years of undergrad education and I have 2 kids and had to drive 50 miles one way to get to school. It can be done you just have to want it bad enough.
 

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Baditude said:
I took genetics, cell bio, anatomy, physiology, biochem, parasitology and other upper level non-bio classes. I maintained a full time schedule for my 4 years of undergrad education and I have 2 kids and had to drive 50 miles one way to get to school. It can be done you just have to want it bad enough.
Do you thinking taking those classes really helped to prepare you or is something you do to put on a resume?
Would my time be better spend getting more clinical experience or doing more volunteer work or taking more upper level classes?
(I already finished my degree - I'm going back to school to take my pre-reqs)
Thanks! :luck:
 

njbmd

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Anastasis said:
Do you thinking taking those classes really helped to prepare you or is something you do to put on a resume?
Would my time be better spend getting more clinical experience or doing more volunteer work or taking more upper level classes?
(I already finished my degree - I'm going back to school to take my pre-reqs)
Thanks! :luck:
Hi there,
Many non-traditional students (especially non-science majors) have a difficult time with Biochemistry. If you have an opportunity to take this course, do so. It will help you greatly with medical school.

There is nothing that you can do clinically (outside of medical school) that will be of much use to you as medicine has a different approach to patient care than any allied health profession. You would be better served to taking the upper division courses especially Biochemistry or Cell Biology.

njbmd :)
 

Anastasis

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njbmd said:
Hi there,
Many non-traditional students (especially non-science majors) have a difficult time with Biochemistry. If you have an opportunity to take this course, do so. It will help you greatly with medical school.

There is nothing that you can do clinically (outside of medical school) that will be of much use to you as medicine has a different approach to patient care than any allied health profession. You would be better served to taking the upper division courses especially Biochemistry or Cell Biology.

njbmd :)
Thanks - I was planning on taking Biochem as one of my upper level bio requirement and maybe A&P as the other. My dad is a doctor and said that when he was going through they didn't want them to take A&P before they applied - I think that may have changed as my dad went to med school so long ago I'm sure Hippocrates was one of his professors.
 

Arginine

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I took a full year sequence of biochemistry and one semester of genetics. Neither was required for my applications, but I found them tremendously helpful for the MCATs. Also, the pace of med school lectures is super high velocity! They cover genetics and biochem at warp speed. This is not a problem for hard core science majors who just graduated from college, but it's a challenge for those of us who may be learning this material for the first time! Cell bio, physiology, and anatomy would be helpful too, but not completely necessary.

I felt like I was working really hard to "catch up" during the first month of med school when they covered a lot of basic science material (while my younger, very science-oriented classmates felt it was an easy review because they had been exposed to the material over & over again during undergrad). But once we hit pathophysiology, everything evened out because this material was new to everyone.

Clinical experience is important in your med school application, and having some volunteer experience shows your interest in helping others. But if you had to choose between doing extra volunteer work vs. taking extra science, I would strongly recommend taking extra science. You will have plenty of time for clinical experience in med school, but it's difficult to absorb all the science that gets thrown at you initially; the more science you have under your belt, the more smoothly your transition into med school will be.
 

Em&M

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Arginine said:
I took a full year sequence of biochemistry and one semester of genetics. Neither was required for my applications, but I found them tremendously helpful for the MCATs. Also, the pace of med school lectures is super high velocity! They cover genetics and biochem at warp speed. This is not a problem for hard core science majors who just graduated from college, but it's a challenge for those of us who may be learning this material for the first time! Cell bio, physiology, and anatomy would be helpful too, but not completely necessary.

I felt like I was working really hard to "catch up" during the first month of med school when they covered a lot of basic science material (while my younger, very science-oriented classmates felt it was an easy review because they had been exposed to the material over & over again during undergrad). But once we hit pathophysiology, everything evened out because this material was new to everyone.

Clinical experience is important in your med school application, and having some volunteer experience shows your interest in helping others. But if you had to choose between doing extra volunteer work vs. taking extra science, I would strongly recommend taking extra science. You will have plenty of time for clinical experience in med school, but it's difficult to absorb all the science that gets thrown at you initially; the more science you have under your belt, the more smoothly your transition into med school will be.
I am wondering what your main objective is right now? Is it actually getting admitted to a med school?(That is mine) or do you think that you are a shoo-in and you are more worried about excelling once you are in? (That is a whole different group of people's worry...)

Because although I do agree with Arginine that the extra science will probably be helpful if you are just learning it all for the first time or if you have been out of school for a long time, there is a reason that med schools have the prereqs that they do. They believe that the prereqs will give you the basic foundation to learn the theories of medicine that they teach and from there, the more advanced knowledge can be learned. They wouldn't admit somebody that they were afraid wouldn't be able to hack it. That is why they have the MCAT.

My advice would definately be to study really hard, take that biochemistry (as it is a prereq for most places) BUT make sure that you have plenty of clinical exposure. I cannot stress this enough, especially being a non-trad. Your prereq grades will speak for themselves, assuming that you do well. But, with the huge amount of competition for those coveted few class seats, you need to PROVE your motivation for medicine and your knowledge of the field of medicine. I have personally spoken with Admissions Directors from a number of different schools and all of them have told me basically the same thing: "Your grades, even from classes after graduation (as in my case) and your MCAT scores are the way for us to decide if you have the intellectual capability to be a doctor. Your clinical exposure and your shadowing experiences are how we know that you want to be a doctor and that will make all of the difference in the world."

Anybody can walk in with stellar grades and great MCAT scores, the ones that really want to be physicians will have done everything they can to learn about the many aspects of the healthcare world and all of its diverse attributes. Volunteer at an underserved clinic, volunteer in the ER, call your own doc and ask him/her if you can shadow once a month for the next year. These are easy ways to get this kind of exposure. Especially for those of us with full time jobs, families and other committments. Finding time to get that clinical exposure/volunteer work into our schedules is very hard, we don't have the great opportunities to work in a foreign country for the summer or spend our days organizing healthcare rallies at the capital like some of our traditional-student competition does. But rest assured, there are so many ways to get that kind of exposure right in your own town that all you have to do is look. There are a variety of opportunities. Carpe Diem!

Your experiences will speak volumes to the adcoms who are trying to separate those who want it the most. Yes, you will get plenty of clinical exposure in med school but in order to get to med school in the first place, you need to show that you know what the life and career of a physician is really all about.

Good Luck, do as much research as you can on what it takes to be a good candidate for med school and do it, don't wonder, don't wait, be bold and keep your goals in mind.
:)
 

Law2Doc

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Em&M said:
take that biochemistry (as it is a prereq for most places)
Just to nitpic, biochem is in fact not a prereq at most places...
 

Em&M

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Law2Doc said:
Just to nitpic, biochem is in fact not a prereq at most places...

That is being nitpicky and was certainly not the central point of my statement. I hope that my point was taken by those for whom it was intended. I apologize (to Law2Doc) for making a statement that he/she does not believe to be correct. I am looking at quite a few medical schools and the ones that I am looking at all require or "strongly advise" at least 1 semester of biochemisty...

I thought that we were here to offer each other support not to find small ways to bring each other down. I do not offer information that I do not strongly feel is true to the absolute best of my knowledge. I wrote my last post because I felt that I had something to offer, not because I wanted to make up a stupid point.

And as always, there are at least 1 million completely different opinions on this forum. It is enough to make you go nuts sometimes so it is up to us, as individuals, to gather as much information as we can and make our own informed decisions.

Good Luck to All



:)
 

Law2Doc

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Em&M said:
That is being nitpicky and was certainly not the central point of my statement. I hope that my point was taken by those for whom it was intended. I apologize (to Law2Doc) for making a statement that he/she does not believe to be correct. I am looking at quite a few medical schools and the ones that I am looking at all require or "strongly advise" at least 1 semester of biochemisty...

I thought that we were here to offer each other support not to find small ways to bring each other down. I do not offer information that I do not strongly feel is true to the absolute best of my knowledge. I wrote my last post because I felt that I had something to offer, not because I wanted to make up a stupid point.

And as always, there are at least 1 million completely different opinions on this forum. It is enough to make you go nuts sometimes so it is up to us, as individuals, to gather as much information as we can and make our own informed decisions.

Good Luck to All



:)
I certainly wasn't trying to undermine your prior thesis or "bring you down", I just wanted to correct what I still believe is a bit of misinformation (extraneous though it was). My apologies. :confused:
 

efex101

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I am a first year as well and let me tell you...although medical schools *do* not require additional science courses aside from the pre-reqs it does help a lot! no, you will not fail if you do not have additional science but when you are sitting in class getting hosed with tons of information any little help will be welcome believe me. Thank God I had cell/molec bio, genetics, microbiology...I wish I had taken embryology and immunology. Again, it all depends on your situation *but* if you have time to kill I would highly encourage some additional science courses prior to starting. Medical schools also "assume" a lot of stuff about us..like that we can absorb material at the speed of light for non-trads this can be a difficult transition so having a leg up *will* help. Good luck.
 

efex101

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I also wish that I had some neuroscience background..this class is one of the most time consuming and difficult courses of my second semester by far.
 

MeowMix

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You do the clinical work to prove that you want to be a doctor. You do the advanced bio to make your life bearable in first year. Both strengthen your application - focus on wherever you are weakest in the eyes of the beholder.

I agree with efex on prereqs. Due to family illness etc. last year, I did not take any bio prereqs beyond intro cell bio and intro genetics. That was it since high school in 1980. I assumed that since I had a very strong science background I would be fine in med school. :eek:

Physiology I can squeak by because there is so much of a basis in physical science. Biochem I squeaked by the chemistry blocks because I have a very strong background in organic and did not have to think, is that an ester, an ether, a carboxylic acid, or what, and I could see the common reaction patterns etc..

Every day I thank my lucky stars that I took genetics as a prereq. We just started MSI genetics and like all our courses they just fly through vast amounts of material in near-zero time. If you have no background, you have to learn at least enough to understand what they are talking about. They are going to assume you know all kinds of things like mitosis, meiosis, cell cycle, transcription, translation, etc. or that you can learn it in great detail in very little time. They will assume that you can read a pedigree and understand autosomal vs. X-linked, dominant vs. recessive based on a 5-minute discussion in class, even after they have just acknowledged that genetics is not a prereq. Understanding the basic concepts would really help a lot there.

I got my ass kicked in neuro and anatomy because I had zero background in either. Just learning how a synapse works was a challenge, let along the finest details of its operation. It's much harder when you are constantly having to look up where ACh and glu and GABA work, and whether they are excitatory or inhibitory, let along what they do with cAMP and kinases etc.
:(
 

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MeowMix said:
I got my ass kicked in neuro and anatomy because I had zero background in either. Just learning how a synapse works was a challenge, let along the finest details of its operation. It's much harder when you are constantly having to look up where ACh and glu and GABA work, and whether they are excitatory or inhibitory, let along what they do with cAMP and kinases etc.
:(
Wow that sounds just like one of my Psyc classes for my undergrad - and here I thought it wasn't going to help me at all. Sweet!