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How do people do so well in premed courses?

batfan

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    I'm at an Ivy, but I don't think that necessarily means that my premed classes are that much harder than a state school's, though perhaps the competition is fiercer. I always figured that premeds are smart and hardworking regardless of what college they're at.

    How do you people manage a 3.8+ sGPA? I'm studying hard but to no avail (averaging Bs). I don't know if it's a testament to my ability or if it's the environment I'm in.
     

    batfan

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      Honestly, these days, I think I am. If I can't do well in premed courses, then I'm probably not cut out for med school. Right? At the same time, I remember that I really want this, and I want to give my dream the effort it deserves. But if my best isn't good enough, maybe I should give it up.

      I'm a sophomore. Organic I, gen chem 2, cell bio.
       
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      mrh125

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        I'm at an Ivy, but I don't think that necessarily means that my premed classes are that much harder than a state school's, though perhaps the competition is fiercer. I always figured that premeds are smart and hardworking regardless of what college they're at.

        How do you people manage a 3.8+ sGPA? I'm studying hard but to no avail (averaging Bs). I don't know if it's a testament to my ability or if it's the environment I'm in.

        Some naturally do well and think it's easy. As for me I put the time in whether it takes a few hours a day or 8+ to make sure I know the material and prepare myself for exams. I'm proactive, form study groups instead of doing the competition (you learn more through cooperation), go to office hours, watch youtube videos, and just gage my learning style well. At times this means missing friday and saturday night social life, but tis the way it goes. As for 3.8+ it's more of that. I have a 3.62 (3.73 scigpa) and if I had that mindset in every class it probably would have been a 3.8. Also don't let how boring your professors or subjects are shut you down find a way to make it enjoyable for you.

        Bio - memorize the lecture slides, make flashcards
        Gen chem - make sure your math is solid
        o-chem - know reaction mechanisms, practice practice practice, flashcards. know the fundamentals
        physics - realize this subject is wordy and confusing as hell. do whatever you can to get help you can effectively destroy it through enough practice. know the units, basic equations, and concepts behind them. it takes a while and i didn't do that until the mcat hence my low grades in physics (i got a B and two Cs) but it works.
         

        batfan

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          Some naturally do well and think it's easy. As for me I put the time in whether it takes a few hours a day or 8+ to make sure I know the material and prepare myself for exams. I'm proactive, form study groups instead of doing the competition (you learn more through cooperation), go to office hours, watch youtube videos, and just gage my learning style well. At times this means missing friday and saturday night social life, but tis the way it goes. As for 3.8+ it's more of that. I have a 3.62 (3.73 scigpa) and if I had that mindset in every class it probably would have been a 3.8. Also don't let how boring your professors or subjects are shut you down find a way to make it enjoyable for you.

          I feel like I'm already doing this. I hardly go out! No time to enjoy myself when I have studying to do. I feel like I've got it down, then the exams just throw a curveball, and I'm out of the game.
           

          Doctorman45342

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            Honestly, these days, I think I am. If I can't do well in premed courses, then I'm probably not cut out for med school. Right? At the same time, I remember that I really want this, and I want to give my dream the effort it deserves. But if my best isn't good enough, maybe I should give it up.

            I'm a sophomore. Organic I, gen chem 2, cell bio.
            Yea man, you are not stupid. You're at an ivy league school. Those are some advanced classes that require effort and a lot of work. Some people are not good at sciences or are not effective at studying. Just take a look at yourself/ your work and find the issue.
             

            mrh125

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              I feel like I'm already doing this. I hardly go out! No time to enjoy myself when I have studying to do. I feel like I've got it down, then the exams just throw a curveball, and I'm out of the game.

              trust me, I feel you about that. the key is to practice practice and keep a positive internal dialogue. talk to professors and see how they understand things and work with the best students in the class and see how they study, learn and do things. I remember in undergrad realizing that they make the tests harder and harder each semester based off of old practice tests and it sucks but if you study and understand well enough you'll be able to get through it eventually. also use ratemyprofessors so you get the good professors, and something like coursehero for old exams (if you don't someone else will and some classes that's the only way to succeed because of how idiosyncratic some professors are). Finally don't let yourself get down and you should go have fun, premed is miserable but dont forget to make the most of college and all the great fun opportunities it provides you. it's over before you know it. :(
               

              batfan

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                Thanks for all the advice. Do you guys think I should consider a postbacc or just keep pushing through? I'm at a 3.6 cGPA and 3.2 sGPA and about halfway done with premed prereqs. Another option could be to do a postbacc for the main prereqs but take some easier science classes during undergrad to boost my BCPM.
                 

                mrh125

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                  Thanks for all the advice. Do you guys think I should consider a postbacc or just keep pushing through? I'm at a 3.6 cGPA and 3.2 sGPA and about halfway done with premed prereqs. Another option could be to do a postbacc for the main prereqs but take some easier science classes during undergrad to boost my BCPM.

                  don't call the game before it's over. if you're a science major try your hardest at upper div science classes, some can really help your sci gpa, and if needed find some easier ones. there's nothing wrong with taking an easier professor or class and there's no good reason to suffer through an unnecessarily hard one unless the prof's the only option.
                   

                  batfan

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                    don't call the game before it's over. if you're a science major try your hardest at upper div science classes, some can really help your sci gpa, and if needed find some easier ones. there's nothing wrong with taking an easier professor or class and there's no good reason to suffer through an unnecessarily hard one unless the prof's the only option.

                    You're right - we can't call the game before it's over - and I'm certainly not one to give up easily. I'm just feeling like maybe it's time I consider the reality though. I look at some upperclassmen I know, who are rocking 3.8s/3.9s, and then there are all the folks on SDN with great stats as well.

                    I'm also humanities major, which makes it difficult to squeeze in upper level science courses (and those are generally graded easier than the premed prereqs), and I'm just not confident that I'll do much better in the prereqs I have left. At this point, wouldn't it be a better idea to finish the other courses either back home at my state university or through a postbacc? I'm just thinking of the worst case scenario - that if I finished premed here, I won't do that well and not get into med school, and then have shot my GPA and chances at other careers for nothing. (And I have been interested in other careers; I'd just willingly give them up if I can be a doctor).
                     

                    mrh125

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                      You're right - we can't call the game before it's over - and I'm certainly not one to give up easily. I'm just feeling like maybe it's time I consider the reality though. I look at some upperclassmen I know, who are rocking 3.8s/3.9s, and then there are all the folks on SDN with great stats as well.

                      I'm also humanities major, which makes it difficult to squeeze in upper level science courses (and those are generally graded easier than the premed prereqs), and I'm just not confident that I'll do much better in the prereqs I have left. At this point, wouldn't it be a better idea to finish the other courses either back home at my state university or through a postbacc? I'm just thinking of the worst case scenario - that if I finished premed here, I won't do that well and not get into med school, and then have shot my GPA and chances at other careers for nothing. (And I have been interested in other careers; I'd just willingly give them up if I can be a doctor).

                      You're going to have to take some upper div sci courses such as physiology anyway and biochem and genetics if you haven't already. See what you can do at your home university, also if you rock the mcat the need for a postbach may become less necessary. There's also the option of taking premed courses at another institution like a CC. If you can get your scigpa up to a 3.5/3.6 (you're only a sophomore) you should be good. also if your school has summer sessions those are a great time to just focus on science courses.
                       

                      Doctorman45342

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                        You're going to have to take some upper div sci courses such as physiology anyway and biochem and genetics if you haven't already. See what you can do at your home university, also if you rock the mcat the need for a postbach may become less necessary. There's also the option of taking premed courses at another institution like a CC. If you can get your scigpa up to a 3.5/3.6 (you're only a sophomore) you should be good. also if your school has summer sessions those are a great time to just focus on science courses.
                        Be careful taking courses at CC's because some pre req courses may not count.
                         
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                        ALLC

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                          I'm at an Ivy, but I don't think that necessarily means that my premed classes are that much harder than a state school's, though perhaps the competition is fiercer. I always figured that premeds are smart and hardworking regardless of what college they're at.

                          How do you people manage a 3.8+ sGPA? I'm studying hard but to no avail (averaging Bs). I don't know if it's a testament to my ability or if it's the environment I'm in.

                          The dean of admissions at the medical school at my uni told us another day that a 3.o GPA from MIT may be "just as competitive" as a 3.8+ GPA from a state school. It is possible that you would have that 3.8+ elsewhere
                           

                          mrh125

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                            The dean of admissions at the medical school at my uni told us another day that a 3.o GPA from MIT may be "just as competitive" as a 3.8+ GPA from a state school. It is possible that you would have that 3.8+ elsewhere

                            Some schools screen gpa based off of mcat and gpa though making it harder the MIT 3.0 to be seen I'd think*. correct me if i'm wrong.
                             

                            studocplsignore

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                              It is a very real fact that some people are just smarter. They either get the information faster, process it better, memorize it better, or are naturally good at taking tests. In order to compete at their level, you will need to put in more work.
                               

                              NuttyEngDude

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                                also use ratemyprofessors so you get the good professors

                                professors have caught onto this website and some, specifically at my school, have had every single negative review removed (some that I've written). so take it with a grain of salt. it is best to go with a trusted upperclassmen's opnion.
                                 
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                                mrh125

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                                  professors have caught onto this website and some, specifically at my school, have had every single negative review removed (some that I've written). so take it with a grain of salt. it is best to go with a trusted upperclassmen's opnion.

                                  ugh that sucks =/. I have had a few professors that wrote reviews for themselves too. My recommendation is to use sites like koofers and myedu to see the grade distribution and some potential material from previous years and reviews on each professor.
                                   

                                  Doctorman45342

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                                    trust me, I feel you about that. the key is to practice practice and keep a positive internal dialogue. talk to professors and see how they understand things and work with the best students in the class and see how they study, learn and do things. I remember in undergrad realizing that they make the tests harder and harder each semester based off of old practice tests and it sucks but if you study and understand well enough you'll be able to get through it eventually. also use ratemyprofessors so you get the good professors, and something like coursehero for old exams (if you don't someone else will and some classes that's the only way to succeed because of how idiosyncratic some professors are). Finally don't let yourself get down and you should go have fun, premed is miserable but dont forget to make the most of college and all the great fun opportunities it provides you. it's over before you know it. :(
                                    There is no way I am spending that much money for old tests! Ridiculous!
                                     

                                    mrh125

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                                      There is no way I am spending that much money for old tests! Ridiculous!

                                      It can actually save you a lot of money in the long run, especially when you factor in the stress this will relieve you of. yea, it's expensive, but so is most college-related stuff (read: all :( ). the textbooks cost an arm and a leg. Coursehero saved me from a ton of suffering and helped me understand many poorly structured exercises back in the day. It gets significantly less useful once you move past lower div classes though.
                                       

                                      Doctorman45342

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                                        It can actually save you a lot of money in the long run, especially when you factor in the stress this will relieve you of. yea, it's expensive, but so is most college-related stuff (read: all :( ). the textbooks cost an arm and a leg. Coursehero saved me from a ton of suffering and helped me understand many poorly structured exercises back in the day. It gets significantly less useful once you move past lower div classes though.
                                        Let me borrow your account haha
                                         
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                                        moop

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                                          The dean of admissions at the medical school at my uni told us another day that a 3.o GPA from MIT may be "just as competitive" as a 3.8+ GPA from a state school. It is possible that you would have that 3.8+ elsewhere
                                          But OP's at Dartmouth and sorry to say, it's not considered a grade deflating Ivy, so this doesn't hold. As it stands, his 3.2 sGPA is not going to go anywhere.

                                          I would argue that someone in his position who is really struggling to pull Bs in science classes should really consider the fact that maybe he just won't make it. Not many people from Ivies don't make it to med school, but 92% acceptance rates means a couple still fall through the cracks, and he may just be one of them. Remember that applicants are commonly compared to their peers from the same school, and I'm guessing is near the bottom of his premed class with those grades, which does not bode well at all.

                                          Optimism is healthy, but not so much so that he's going to graduate without taking any advantage of all the other career options that his school can help him explore because he's just so focused on this one profession.

                                          My advice is to work on the science classes, sure, but start taking internships and work/exploration opportunities in other fields while you're still under Dartmouth's care. It's a win-win be cause if you drop med, you'll have other experiences to use to find another career; if you still go med, those will be kickass ECs to write about.
                                           
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                                          tabbycatdontcur

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                                            But OP's at Dartmouth and sorry to say, it's not considered a grade deflating Ivy, so this doesn't hold. As it stands, his 3.2 sGPA is not going to go anywhere.

                                            that's false. especially if OP has a high MCAT score. people on here are so negative and that's saying a lot considering i'm a negative person.
                                             
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                                            moop

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                                              that's false. especially if OP has a high MCAT score. people on here are so negative and that's saying a lot considering i'm a negative person.
                                              There is just not enough evidence now that OP is going to have "a high MCAT score" if he's struggling in classes this much at an Ivy. That's not a realistic assumption to make for anyone, and thus is blind optimism. He can make a high MCAT, sure, but it's not going to be a given, and we should not make it sound like it is going to happen. He's going to have to put in more blood, sweat, and tears than everyone else to achieve high scores. People with low GPAs who pull great MCATs are overwhelmingly the exceptions, not the rule. To paint a rosy picture for OP is a disservice, and we should rather not post than give such wishy washy optimism.

                                              I'm not negative. I'm telling him to keep trying but to keep other options open. That's the smart thing to do. To go along the same path blind to other possibilities is not only myopic, but probably dumb in the long run. Get it?
                                               

                                              tabbycatdontcur

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                                                yeah but at the same time i don't think that his gpa is too far from going anywhere. we are in the MD forum but a DO school is definitely manageable. there is a fine line between a gloomy pessimism that permeates negative thoughts, which leads to apathy or giving up, and a rosy optimism that gives a false sense of success.

                                                sometimes, when many people have been critiquing your weak spot, it can just lead to a lot of doubt and worry. i have seen this first hand being that my gpa is low as well and thats a lot of what people talk about. i know i don't have a stellar gpa or even an average gpa and sometimes i try not to dwell on my past and weaknesses all the time because it can become exhausting. i know it is healthy to find your weaknesses and improve and have realistic expectations, but when many people constantly point out your faults and give advice that you are working extremely hard to accomplish, it can become crippling.

                                                i'm not saying that you are doing this but this is sometimes how people feel without letting others know it.

                                                i also should have read the other 28 posts...oops :p
                                                 

                                                Goro

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                                                  Some suggestions:

                                                  Do NOT cram for exams
                                                  Do NOT merely memorize; Learn to apply.
                                                  Do as many practice problems as you can
                                                  Seek out your Faculty when you don't understand the material.
                                                  Repetition drives retention.
                                                  Develop good time mgt habits.
                                                  Get a good nights sleep before any exam.
                                                  If you have problems with standardized test taking, such as test taking anxieties, get this fixed.
                                                  Find the right study style. Some of my students like to draw pictures. Others do mind maps. Still others like to make tables, or do flow charts. When I took Biochem, I simply drew out pathways and enzymes/substrates/products over and over on a large artist's pad.

                                                  Hope that helps



                                                  I'm at an Ivy, but I don't think that necessarily means that my premed classes are that much harder than a state school's, though perhaps the competition is fiercer. I always figured that premeds are smart and hardworking regardless of what college they're at.

                                                  How do you people manage a 3.8+ sGPA? I'm studying hard but to no avail (averaging Bs). I don't know if it's a testament to my ability or if it's the environment I'm in.
                                                   
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                                                  batfan

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                                                    I like how everyone assumes I'm a guy; I'm actually female. Anyway, I talked to a premed advisor today who said that successful Dartmouth applicants have sGPAs of 3.4-3.6 and MCATs in the 34+ range. That's certainly different from what SDN tends to say is the norm...
                                                     

                                                    moop

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                                                      I like how everyone assumes I'm a guy; I'm actually female. Anyway, I talked to a premed advisor today who said that successful Dartmouth applicants have sGPAs of 3.4-3.6 and MCATs in the 34+ range. That's certainly different from what SDN tends to say is the norm...
                                                      sGPA stat is surprising. MCAT is not. 34+ is no joke to get obv. Some adcoms here say cGPA matters quite a bit more, so keep that in mind as well.

                                                      We're just sticking to heteronormative grammatical rules; sorry! lol
                                                       

                                                      batfan

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                                                        sGPA stat is surprising. MCAT is not. 34+ is no joke to get obv. Some adcoms here say cGPA matters quite a bit more, so keep that in mind as well.

                                                        We're just sticking to heteronormative grammatical rules; sorry! lol

                                                        ;) Don't worry about it; I was teasing! Yeah. I suppose the 34 makes up for the sGPA difference.
                                                         

                                                        sunflower18

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                                                          This is something that I did in my intro classes when I had difficulty and when studying for the MCAT as well: make detailed study guides that go through alllll the information that you need to know. Include equations, drawings, whatever it is that was covered. While making it, you'll realize what you need to know. And it's always easier to remember something if it's your own words that are sticking in your head. Seriously, it did wonders for me when I was acclimating to college. Got a C on my first general chemistry exam, made a study guide for exam 2 and got 101. These will be looooong study guides though -- for the MCAT, my biology study guide was 50-60 pages I believe, and I didn't finish. But I got a 12 in BS (up from 8 or 9 when I first started studying), so I consider it a helpful strategy.

                                                          Good luck!
                                                           
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                                                          Gauss44

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                                                            I'm at an Ivy, but I don't think that necessarily means that my premed classes are that much harder than a state school's, though perhaps the competition is fiercer. I always figured that premeds are smart and hardworking regardless of what college they're at.

                                                            How do you people manage a 3.8+ sGPA? I'm studying hard but to no avail (averaging Bs). I don't know if it's a testament to my ability or if it's the environment I'm in.

                                                            1. Tutors
                                                            2. Pre-studying/Online classes (example: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/free-stuff/1247592/ )
                                                            3. Hard work and talent
                                                            4. Prioritizing classwork/studying (rather than social time, EC's, a job, other responsibilities, etc.)

                                                            FYI - I've taken classes at ivys and non-ivys and my observation is that it's easier to learn at ivys because they usually attract better professors, but the tests and homework is no more difficult than at non-ivys.
                                                             

                                                            batfan

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                                                              1. Tutors
                                                              2. Pre-studying/Online classes (example: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/free-stuff/1247592/ )
                                                              3. Hard work and talent
                                                              4. Prioritizing classwork/studying (rather than social time, EC's, a job, other responsibilities, etc.)

                                                              FYI - I've taken classes at ivys and non-ivys and my observation is that it's easier to learn at ivys because they usually attract better professors, but the tests and homework is no more difficult than at non-ivys.

                                                              Yeah, that's what I figure. I just feel like all my peers are incredibly smart and hardworking, and that even if I worked just as hard as them, there are things I just won't be able to do. :(
                                                               
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