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Going pre-med but horrible at math. :(

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by Rivvy, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. Rivvy


    Jul 30, 2007
    I'm 27 and just starting college. I've wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember, but I was discouraged by pretty much everyone because my math skills were not up to snuff in high school. Although I know I didn't try as hard as I should have, I do hold my teachers partially responsible because they knew I needed help and just passed me anyway.
    I am willing to learn math now, no question. However I'm wondering exactly how math intensive is the premed program? I know there is a lot of physics, chemistry, etc; but I'm not quite sure what is involved in those courses.
    Can anyone please enlighten me on this?
    Thanks so much! :)
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  3. Jpc984

    Jpc984 5+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2006
    I think the most important thing is to know how to manipulate formulas quickly, i.e. solving for one variable.
  4. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    Most of the prereqs require only algebra, trig (for physics) and basic mathematical functions (add, subtract, multiply, dividing). You won't need to do any calculus in the prereqs except to the extent you take calculus (some schools explicitly require this), or unless you select a calculus based physics (certainly not required). In med school you will again be doing basic mathematical functions, basic algebra, perhaps some logarithmic functions, but less frequently.
  5. Rivvy


    Jul 30, 2007
    Thank you, Law2Doc. That was extremely helpful. I'm now not so concerned about facing relentless years of math! :)
  6. cabinbuilder

    cabinbuilder Urgent Care Physician Physician 10+ Year Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    I HATE MATH TOO. Just get through the calc I (I took that by correspondence) with a tutor, and do the non-calc physics that the other person said. That is all the math you will ever really do. You have to be able to use a calculator in real life for peds doses. Otherwise I really don't every do math in practice.
  7. leaftye

    leaftye 2+ Year Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Pacific Crest Trail
    I've been stressing about math too. I'm 28, and haven't really done much math since high school. Math used to come easily, but not anymore. I'm retaking a math class right now as a refresher, and it's been a struggle everyday....getting easier, but still tough.
  8. Noeljan

    Noeljan Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    May 23, 2002
    hey guys
    have faith. I never really liked math. I am more of a bio and chemistry person than math or physics, and I did just fine. I am starting medical school monday, and just finished graduate school in biochem. I also teach MCAT for princeton review, so you can do just fine on it without being a math person!!! Some schools only actually require a year of math, which can be stats, algebra, computer science (in some cases they take) etc
    good luck:luck:
  9. Empi

    Empi 2+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2007
    Terra Firma
    I have a touch of dyscalcula, so I can commiserate with you.

    My greatest problem is I'm extremely non-traditional, so any math I have taken is ancient history where my classmates have taken the math (and Chem and Physics,) as high school students.
  10. Zhang Ji

    Zhang Ji 2+ Year Member

    Jul 24, 2007
    This is one of the most heartening threads I've encountered yet. Thanks for the insight everybody.
  11. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    May 30, 2001
    Gone Walkabout!
    If you have a community college nearby, now is the time to arrange to take some remedial courses. At the community college, you can start with the equivalent of high school math, take your time and get your skills up before you enter university math.

    Other options are to purchase a workbook and look at some of the high school on line help sites as you work through the problems. You cannot afford to move into any of the pre-med prerequisite courses with poor math skills.

    Math skills can be taught or learned on your own. Get busy now and you can be ready for university level coursework sooner than you think. If you are just starting university, hold off on the premed pre-requisite coursework until your math skills are up to par.
  12. MrsHouseMD

    MrsHouseMD Just use the meatslicer! 2+ Year Member

    Jul 10, 2007
    I'm just starting my pre-med journey as well and that is what I fear...the math. I have absolutely no doubts I can handle any of the rest of it...I just know I'll have to take extra time & perhaps a tutor to get my math basics down. I stunk at it in high school as well and I have two things going against me then...I was PAINFULLY shy and wouldn't ask for help because of fear, and the other was that my math teachers weren't the most approachable people. So, I skimmed by...barely passed and well, failed Algebra 2 because I wouldn't ask for help.

    I think all i need to do in college is simply ask for help and I'll be okay.
  13. kouhiiko

    kouhiiko 2+ Year Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    Here and there...

    Just thought I'd add about the fear of math bit. When I went back to school, I had not taken any math in years, and my first semester back in school, I was scheduled to take calculus. So, in the two months before I started school, I bought a GRE book and a Algebra and Pre-Calc. book for dummies (Actually, I think it was the "made easy" series, or something like that). I used the GRE book as a basic math review (I felt embarrassed that I had to basically start over at 5th grade math! But, I got over myself and practiced), and then moved on to the practice problems in the more advanced books. I struggled in the beginning of the calc class, but regular practice helped me get through the course successfully.

    You don't need to be a natural math whiz to get into med school! I think that in many cases, diligent study habits and a forgiving attitude toward oneself (for being slower than your peers at times, or for making long as you learn from them) can make up for unfamiliarity or relative weakness in a given subject.
    yellowflowerdoctor likes this.
  14. DevonL

    DevonL 5+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    Agreed. It's definitely nice to hear. I'm switching over from business to Pre-Med and needless to say I was a bit worried about my weakness in math. I've picked up a few books though to help me out. It's also been a while since I've taken any science classes (I'm 21 and the last time I took one was half a year of chemistry my junior year of HS); however I'm confident enough in my own abilities to make it through with a good GPA. It just may involve retiring from Gymnastics, but I have to look at whats more important, right?
  15. cfc

    cfc 2+ Year Member

    Aug 5, 2007
    This thread makes me feel a bit better, I am 35 and considering going back to school for PharmD. I would have to take all of the pre req's including tons of math. I am so bad at math that I have managed to complete a Masters degree and I have not even passed college algebra. I tried twice but couldn't pass it. That was then, this is now. I really feel that I am motivated to pursue my dream to be a pharmacists and that I can pass any class I put my mind to. Positive thinking!!!!!

    The hardest thing is just convincing myself to do it. I feel like I have wasted my time obtaining my current MA, I already have 50K in student loans and I want to move back to England where Pharmacists do not get paid very well thanks to socialized medicine. Everyone I know thinks I'm a little crazy but even so, the profession is a sure thing, the need for pharmacists is rising like crazy and you can't knock the pay. What to do!?!!?!? I just finished my MA this summer and will finally have my weekends back but I don't want to be 40 and be like, I could of had my pharmD by now if I had done it back then when I said I wanted to. (just like I said 10 years ago)

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