Sadeeq_19

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OK, I would like to know if all these courses that we have to take in undergrad like 1 year or bio, chem, org. che,. phys. help in medical school? Do they atleast prepare you for first year med school? I heard many people say that undergrad is just waste of time since music and english majors get into med just like science majors?

And my other big question is what kind of math, if any, is required for medical school? I do NOT plan to take any higher math than college algebra or trig because i stink at math. I understand math is imporant for your intellectual growth and blah, blah but does taking calculus 1 or 3 make you a better doctor when it comes to practicing medicine?

Please tell me what course(s) prepared most for med school. Thanks all.
 

Diogenes

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EVERY class helps. Take a full schedule, take extra classes in every subject you can. Everything helps -- bio, chem, physics, math, english, languages, history, poli sci, econ, whatever. Don't just get a degree, get a goddammed education.
 

IlianaSedai

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Well, I don't think you need to take extra classes beyond what other pre-meds at your college are taking, to the point of overloading yourself. That is overkill. But I think it's fair to say that the academic counselors at your college will tell you what a typical pre-med should take, and you probably won't be able to escape it by cutting corners.

Chemistry, physics and biology -- These do not make you a better doctor and do not even demonstrate that you would make a half-competent doctor. They do demonstrate that you are capable of being a medical student, however, and you will learn a few basic science facts that med school classes assume. (For example, knowing what a buffer is, from general chemistry. Knowing the structure of DNA/RNA from general biology, and knowing how proteins are synthesized, is also essential. There are a few more things-- I can't think of them off the top of my head.)

Calculus - Definitely does not make you a better doctor, but I think you still have to take this as a pre-requisite to appying anyway. I could be wrong, but I was fairly certain.... in any case, it helps you in physics (see above).
 

warpath

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Originally posted by IlianaSedai

Chemistry, physics and biology -- These do not make you a better doctor and do not even demonstrate that you would make a half-competent doctor.
Actually, I didn't understand how much physics was involved in physiology until I started medical school.
 

hotbovie

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Major in whatever you want, but beyond the prereq's I would also take a few extras like biochem and cell biology at least. Beyond that, you might consider A&P and microbiology. And I was very surprised to find how much physics is in physiology. (though you don't need any beyond the basic prereq)

You won't learn these things in anywhere near the detail you do in med school, but it will help by giving you a starting point. In my class, people who had no background in biochem and cell biology in particular really struggled with those classes in med school, as the pace is so fast. The curriculum at my med school has changed some since I was M1 and I hear from the current M2 that the new M1 are struggling more than we did.

I've never seen calculus used in med school. Take it only if it's a prereq to schools you are interested in.
 

KentuckySteve

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Take whatever you can that will help you directly outside the prerequisite chem and physics. When I say directly, I mean histology, biochemistry, physiology. Or if you have some extra time just get the Sidmans and Sidmans neuroanatomy book and go through it as it is a self study program that you will probably have to take as a med student anyway. It is time consuming and if you can get it out of the way you will be much better off than trying to do it when you have a full course load.

Otherwise forget it. Trying to load up on a bunch of peripheral stuff is a waste of time in terms of giving you an edge in med school and may just contribute to burnout later when you are smothering in a mound of basic sciences. If you have already had histology and most of your classmates haven't you will have that extra time- which is what all med students need- for anatomy for example.
 

DoubleDoctor

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I would definitely take a year of calculus because some schools require it and you will need it if you take upper level science classes like certain physics classes, etc. I also second the suggestions about cell bio and biochem. Histology and physiology would be good also as would genetics.
 

WonderBoy

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Originally posted by warpath
Actually, I didn't understand how much physics was involved in physiology until I started medical school.
Warpath ,or anyone else, want to share with us your insight? an example or something.

I am going to take the MCATs in april and physics is my worst subject. I keep questioning myself, why do I need this extra stress?
 

warpath

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Well, first off, they started us with membrane potential and transport and stuff. We had to know what the membrane potential would be given concentrations inside and outside the cell and the potential if you change those concentrations and stuff like that. Well, that sounds more like chemistry doesn't it? But then they start talking about capacitance and conductance and resistance and stuff like that. you'd better know about electricity

Then there's muscle which involves force and stuff.

Then comes hemodynamics with lamina flow and turbulence and pressure and elasticity.

Then EKGs: better know about potentials and vectors and stuff like that.

Point is, you don't have to be a genuis at physics to do well in physiology, but it's very easy to see how someone with no prior coursework in physics can get confused.
 

shag

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I'm with diogenes on this one. I wish I would taken more undergrad courses, especially ones that did NOT pertain to medicine.

The primary use of undergrad education is to teach you how to think/learn. Taking BS courses (ie courses that don't matter to you) like art appreciation, history, english, foreign languages, etc. may not make you a great doc, but will prepare you to learn from several different angles.

Undergrad sciences are useful in that you become familiar with basic concepts and terminology, so med school courses are less intimdating.
 

IlianaSedai

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The physics required in first-year medical physiology is nowhere near as difficult as actual pre-med physics, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

The cardiovascular system - Blood is a fluid, so you calculate how fast it flows, based on its fluid pressure and resistance. The equations are the same as those you would get in physics for flow of liquids and for flow of electricity (R = R1 + R2 + R3 etc for series pathways, R = 1/R1 + 1R2 + 1/R3 etc for parallel). It is basic algebra-- the physics helps but it is nowhere near as hard as the physics you took in college.

And in pulmonary, breathing involves pressure, resistance and flow as well.... that kind of thing.
 

paean

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The pre-reqs are useful, because they are a foundation for the "whys" that underly many med school disciplines, especially pharmacology and physiology.

At UCSF having taken a statistics class makes epidemiology far easier, and I imagine that would be the same at any school that emphasises evidence based medicine (which is most schools, and the ones that don't appear to be moving in that direction).

One semester of Calculus made understanding physics a lot easier, and does help somewhat in epi and physiology. As many schools require some math, I'd recommend one semester of Calculus, and one of Statistics. Both (or either) are required specifically at many school.

Other than the required classes, use undergraduate time as an opportunity to get a solid education in all the things you won't have time for as a doctor. Try to take subjects that challenge your way of viewing the world, or make you better at reasoning through unexpected problems. Only you will know what areas you know little about, so I have no specific suggestions.
 

dermatome S5

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I agree with everything the other posters wrote, but I also would encourage you to take as many spanish classes as possible. It really does not matter where you will practice or in what setting your practice is----you will run in to people who don't speak english.

The ability to speak spanish also really impresses admissions committees!!
 

timmyjhype

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Take the absolute minimum number of science courses, unless you just love science. You'll enjoy college so much more if you're doing something you care about. You'll do better grade-wise. And, best of all, med schools will love to see that you're a human being who does things out of interest and passion, not obligation and acquiescence.

I got into med school (Columbia) because of my theatre experience, not because of my average MCAT scores.

Get the grunt work over with, then have some fun in college with real courses.
 

007flint

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At my school, U Nebraska, so many people were doing poorly in the cellular process block (histo, genetics, biochem, cell bio all merged together) that they made genetics and biochemistry a prereq this year. (I think we are the only chool that has those classes as a prereq) The classes go by soooo fast, and in so much detail that it would extremely diffucult to do well w/o prior exposure!!! It is definitely tough, and I was a biochem/biotechnology major in undergrad. I feel for the M2's at my school b/c they didn't have to take same prereqs last year. I would definitely recomend taking biochem and histo B4 med school. At least audit them or take an intro course your senior year. Since you've prob already applied you don't have to worry about your grades too much. You'll have such an easier time when you take those classes as an M1....wich means more time to drink!!