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Do Doctors have to be Good in Math????

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Sadeeq_19, Nov 30, 2000.

  1. Sadeeq_19

    Sadeeq_19 Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 8, 2000
    I was just wondering if Doctors need to be good mathematicians? I'm a premedical student and not really good at math. Your advice is appreciated.
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  3. Becket

    Becket Senior Member 15+ Year Member

    Sep 15, 2000
    Know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide and you'll be fine.
    cloudmurder1 and tiedyeddog like this.
  4. alceria

    alceria Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2000
    Detroit, MI
    You should be comfortable with basic calculations. However, most pre-med requisites include math up to and including pre-calc and if you want to get a BS in the sciences, you are likely to need at least calc 1 and quite possibly calc 2. Being good at math will also come in handy in your physics classes.

    Please don't be afraid of math! I hated math in high school and did terribly, but I got into a great honors math program when I was in college and now I'm a math tutor and a undergrad assistant for the same program. Don't let it intimidate you. If you have problems with it, start over from scratch and make sure you get good teachers. See if your school has a math program called ESP. This is a national program that runs at some universities that helps students get up to, and through calculus. You do a lot of group work and it's very effective. You can also find math tutors through your university.

    As an aside, I found that taking the whole calculus sequence to me was very helpful. I started off college taking mostly art classes, and really needed to get my brain back into science mode. Calculus, and math in general, is great for training your mind to think scientifically. And after you can read a calc textbook and understand it, your textbooks in chemistry and physics will seem like cake in comparison. Working with vectors in 3D really helped me later on to visualize the spatial relationships of molecules in chemistry. My advice to people starting off in college is to dig in and get their math done first. It really is a gateway to a lot of other majors. You don't want your math ability to hold you back from majoring in what you want to.

    It may sound kind of dumb, but it's probably more important for you to be good a math in your college career than it is for you to rememeber it for your medical one. If you want some more info or recommendations, feel free to email me. [​IMG]

  5. guy104

    guy104 Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    I would also recommend trying to increase your proficiency in math. i was good in math when i started college, but i wasn't good in chemistry. i was intimidated and let it hold me back. i finally started from the beginning and understand it pretty well. i did well on both physical sciences and biological sciences of the mcat, and i wouldn't have been able to without improving in chemistry. so what does that have to do with math? well, physics is going to be very hard for you if you don't become better at math, and there is plenty of math in physical chemitry. i wouldn't say that you need a bunch of calculus, although i did take them and think that it helps. the key to take from mine and the previous post, i think, would be to start from the beginning if you're convinced you , "just aren't good at math." learn all of the easy things over. if you're performing poorly in math, there's a good chance you're missing fundamentals that can be learned. good luck.
  6. Sadeeq_19

    Sadeeq_19 Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 8, 2000
    Thanx every1 for your encouraging words. I'm a foriegn student and recently moved to the u.s. Since there a civil going in my country, i couldn't attend school. So,i missed all the basic mathematic stuff. I went from Elementary school to high school in the U.S. Now i got accepted to good U.S University because i'm a quick learner. I'm currently taking Elementary Algebra. Should i take College Algebra next semester? Do u think it will prepare me for Calculus I? Thanks again everyone. I really appreciate your help.
  7. gower

    gower 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2000
    New York
    Whether or not physicians have to be good mathematicians is not the issue. Premeds have to be good enough in mathematics to get through chemistry and physics, and usually calculus, to earn the level of grades needed to become successful medical school applicants. Physics, chemistry, math and computer science departments require at least a year of calculus as part of the major; many but not all biology departments require calculus for the major.
    High science grades, including math grades, are essential to becoming a competitive applicant.
  8. alceria

    alceria Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2000
    Detroit, MI
    Sadeeq, taking college algebra next semester sounds like a logical step. You may still need to take pre-calc before you can take calculus though. See if your school has a placement program, and sign up for a test to see what level math you should be in. Pre-calc usually covers graphing and functions in greater depth, and they throw in a bunch of trig. Knowing the trig is nice, but it's really not that big of an issue for calculus. So you may be able to go from the algebra class to calculus, but it will depend on how good that algebra class is at covering everything. If you have questions, I suggest that you go directly to the math department and ask to speak to an advisor there. They will know what sequence you should take, and can often times give you more accurate information than the regular guidance counselors can.

  9. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child 10+ Year Member

    Jun 21, 2000
    New York City
    Here's the deal, you'll probably want to keep taking mathematics upto calculus I, II, and even differential equations, and then Statistics.

    It's imperative for physicians, and even as a pre-med taking the MCAT, to have knowledge of how to read a graph, and to spatially analyze of how things change with respect to time. Many concepts of physics are based on this, and chemical kinetics are as well. Those math classes simply burn it into your memory through repetitive problem solving, and even years later if you forget the specifics, you'll be able to recognize easily how to read a graph, understand rates of changes, statistical graphs, etc.

    good luck
  10. Djanaba

    Djanaba Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 4, 2000
    Minneapolis, MN
    I respectfully disagree with the previous poster. While an understanding of graphs, etc is important, it is more important to have a conceptual understanding of many aspects than a mastery of equations. Most schools only require one or two college-level math courses (sometimes specifically calc I and II), and often physics courses do not need to be calculus-based. Some schools require stats; in any case you will get stats in med school. Look around at specific school requirements, FORGET differential equation courses... you will never use this stuff as a practicing physician unless you go into research/academia.

    In general, you don't have to be "good at math." You will learn what numbers are normal when looking at lab values, etc., as you go. And computers will do calculations for you as you try to decide treatment for a patient. There are perhaps better ways to spend those credit hours -- unless, of course, you just like math and want to take it (a great reason!). Good luck!
  11. alceria

    alceria Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2000
    Detroit, MI
    I don't think anyone is saying that you have to be a math wizard to be a good clinician, however, as several of us have pointed out, it is *essential* that you are strong in math to do well in your other science-based classes. I think Limit explained this very well.

  12. Aldno


    Apr 6, 2015
    i hated math in high school and my 1st semester of college. I was afraid it will lower my GPA if i fail it. Anyone have an idea what to do to get over the fear?
  13. Gurby

    Gurby 2+ Year Member

    Jul 28, 2014
    Get better at math, and you won't be afraid of it anymore:
  14. 194342

    194342 Physician 7+ Year Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Bump a thread that would be a sophmore in high school if it were a human.

    Have no fear, if you fail it then it WILL lower your GPA. I can assure you of that.

    But, joking aside, do your best. Get tutoring if you need it.
    Omppu27 likes this.
  15. radiologyology

    radiologyology 2+ Year Member

    Dec 10, 2014
    I was 9 years old when this thread started... very impressive grave digging.
    Cpt Ahab likes this.
  16. Omppu27

    Omppu27 El Tiburon 5+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2011
    Pawnee, Indiana
    I wonder what SDN looked like back then.
    Avicenna and cloudmurder1 like this.
  17. cloudmurder1

    cloudmurder1 Average Student

    Feb 19, 2015
    As someone who is an extremely solid math student, I can honestly assure you that a basic conceptual understanding of math is all you need as a practicing physician. However, it is good to understand calculus so you can interpret graphs better, not do bad in physics classes, and not fail any math classes you may have to take (bio majors at my school have to take thru Calc II, and Chem majors have to take thru Calc III).
  18. Cpt Ahab

    Cpt Ahab 2+ Year Member

    Mar 26, 2015
    an event horizon
    Holy mother of necro-bumps! I didn't even notice until you pointed that out.
    cloudmurder1 likes this.
  19. cloudmurder1

    cloudmurder1 Average Student

    Feb 19, 2015
    I really like all those courses and have done well in them, but even I can say that DiffEq and Calc II won't help THAT much -- unless you land some interesting research project that requires them.

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