• AMA with Certified Student Loan Professional

    Join SDN on December 7th at 6:00 PM Eastern as we host Andrew Paulson of StudentLoanAdvice.com for an AMA webinar. He'll be answering your questions about how to best manage your student loans. Register now!

How important is taking upper division bio courses before dental school?

purekitten

New Member
Jan 1, 2012
2
0
  1. Pre-Dental
    Would it be a great help to take upper division bio courses (such as microbiology, anatomy, histology etc.) before dental school? Because while taking these courses does not seem necessary for the DAT, I know I'll be taking these in dental school. So if anyone has an opinion on this, please chime in. Especially nontraditional students and those that majored in some non-science major, how did a lack of these advanced bio courses affect you? Or conversely, if you did take a lot of these classes and they made your transition into dental school easier.
     
    About the Ads

    Parklife

    Full Member
    Mar 25, 2012
    644
    7
      It's recommended, and it will make dental school easier for you. A lot of schools require these upper level sci(biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, etc.) so it will widen the doors. Also, dental schools like to see you taking their recommended courses. It shows you're dedicated.

      In the state I live at smaller and big schools, upper level bio courses are easier than orgo, gen chem, gen bio.

      Check myedu.com for your school's percentages of As for individual professors and classes. It's the best resource.

      Don't skimp out on hard classes.
       

      futuredds08

      Full Member
      10+ Year Member
      7+ Year Member
      Aug 7, 2007
      111
      4
      Kansas City, Missouri
      1. Dental Student
        It is definitely important. You will have a ton of material to memorize for tests- more than I could ever imagine- and if I didn't have that basic foundation of those upper level classes it would have made my life first and second year that much harder. The hardest class I ever took in dental school for me was histo and I attribute that to the fact that it was the one class I didn't take in undergrad science-wise that we took in D-school. I suppose it also matters on what your goals are. I knew I wanted to specialize so I always "needed" to get A's. If you just want to get by, it probably won't matter. The amount of work that you have to do to get an A in dental school is vastly different than the amount you have to do to get a B.
         

        newyorkblork

        Full Member
        10+ Year Member
        Jun 3, 2008
        241
        3
        New York
        1. Dental Student
          Would it be a great help to take upper division bio courses (such as microbiology, anatomy, histology etc.) before dental school? Because while taking these courses does not seem necessary for the DAT, I know I'll be taking these in dental school. So if anyone has an opinion on this, please chime in. Especially nontraditional students and those that majored in some non-science major, how did a lack of these advanced bio courses affect you? Or conversely, if you did take a lot of these classes and they made your transition into dental school easier.


          They will, if you pay attention and learn well, make your transition into dental school a great deal easier. I loved my endocrinology and physiology classes, and I still remember things the way they were taught there better than in my current Pathology classes.

          That said, one of the regrets people tend to have about college is that they didn't make enough use of all of the interesting stuff, like Literature, Music, Foreign Language, or whatever other classes are interesting to them. I avoided most of those regrets because I took a lot of French, got a minor in English, and took a Creative Writing course, but I still wish I could have gone further with both French and English.

          So I wouldn't go "full bio" - don't make your courseload 100% biology unless you REALLY love biology, and don't really love anything else. Take some biology, particularly anything involving PRINCIPLES that you will retain - I wouldn't bother with something like Anatomy, since the flat memorization will fade from your brain quickly. However, something like Physiology has principles that will stick with you forever; you might not remember exactly what proteins do what, but you will remember that the hypothalamus controls the pituitary controls the etc etc negative feedback positive loops etc etc, and re-learning those things will come back much more quickly.

          I know it's a cliche, but maybe it will hit closer to home coming from someone who's 25, talking to other 20-something-year-olds who regret not taking "more interesting" classes in college - take the time to take classes in Undergrad that interest you, and if you feel that passion tugging your heartstrings, pay attention to it. You have opportunities in college that you'll wish you'd paid attention to later.

          You will put more than enough things "on hold" for dental school, believe me. Don't sacrifice your intellectual curiosity for ___________________ just out of some misguided sense of duty to study all biology, all the time.



          I will also go ahead and say, and I know Your Mileage May Vary, avoid Economics classes (anecdotal support from 2 friends who took a lot of Econ). Many people think that going through Economics will somehow give them a "better grasp on life" or a "better idea of running a business", but that's not really true. It's not worth sacrificing undergrad credits to take Economics courses unless you're interested in the application of wide Economics policy.
           

          charlestweed

          Full Member
          10+ Year Member
          Verified Expert
          Jul 10, 2007
          2,444
          2,095
          SoCal
          us.i1.yimg.com
          1. Dentist
            If the upper division Bio class is not required for the BS degree and for dental school admission, then you shouldn't take it because it might hurt your undergrad GPA if you don't do well in that class. That's just my opinion because I went to a very competitive undergrad college, where 50+% of the students were Asians (and 80-90% of these Asians majored in Biology). It's tough to compete against those smart kids and all the classes were graded on a curve (only the top 17% get As). To minimize the chance of getting B's and C's, I only took the minimum number of biology classes and other non-science classes that were required for my bio major....and spend the time that I saved to get a part time job, do research, and study for the DAT etc.
             
            Last edited:

            wwdaffodils

            Full Member
            10+ Year Member
            Apr 2, 2009
            195
            3
            1. Pre-Dental
              I didn't take any upper division bio classes except biochem, and only because that was required by my school.

              That said, 1st year sucked. Had to work my a** off to get B's while other students with better bio backgrounds got by easily with A's.

              Can you survive 1st year without any upper level background? Yes. Can you get A's? Probably not. If you're worried about upper levels screwing with your GPA, take them over the summer at your state school, or just take them at a community college.
               

              bucknut2009

              Full Member
              10+ Year Member
              Feb 26, 2008
              150
              2
              34
              Baltimore, MD
              1. Dental Student
                I mostly second what charlestweed has said. If you are concerned about getting into dental school, do whatever it is that will increase your "science" gpa and thus your chances for gaining acceptance. In undergrad, after getting out of the gen chems and o chems where it seems there is a weed-out mentality, I found the classes to be much more interesting and, more importantly, easier to obtain A's in thus raising my gpa. Once you are in dental school, you may have to study a bit more than you otherwise would to get and A, but most of the time it is a matter of memorizing what is put on a powerpoint presentation and then regurgitating the information for the test. The situation is similar for the DAT.

                Whether or not an evolution course that you took in your second or third year in undergrad is going to make it substantially easier to get an A in a dental school class is debatable...I would argue the advantage is not that great. You are still going to put in a great deal of effort in some of the dental school courses regardless of your undergrad background to get an A.
                 

                forums

                Full Member
                Jul 12, 2012
                14
                0
                  so, you guys are recommending people to not take any upper division bio classes that may affect their chances of getting an A.

                  does this apply to the usual 4 classes that dental schools recommend? (anatomy, physiology, microbiology, molecular biology)

                  because i was planning on taking anatomy and molecular biology at a community college
                   

                  diasIItema

                  Full Member
                  Jun 14, 2012
                  288
                  62
                  1. Dental Student
                    Focus on your GPA. That's most important.

                    My Gross Anatomy final is this week, we have three days to study for it following our last test, and it's cumulative. Reviewing the upper limb, I hardly remember anything, and we only started 9-10 weeks ago. I don't know what scale Mr. A+'s school up there uses, but my school is 95+ is an A, 94 is a B, 85 a C and so forth. So don't expect upper division science courses to guarantee you a 95 in Gross Anatomy, b/c that probably isn't going to happen.

                    I took anatomy in college. Did it help? A little. Did it make a difference in my grade? Nope. Likewise, everyone at my school says Biochem in undergrad was a complete waste of time b/c it's taught so differently here.

                    My advice, again, is take courses you enjoy and get the best GPA you can. Anyone can prepare for classes like Histology, Physiology or Gross without any science background. You just memorize crap.
                     

                    AmpedUp

                    The Legend Still Lives
                    10+ Year Member
                    Dec 1, 2009
                    657
                    6
                    1. Dentist
                      If you're pretty damn smart, you have nothing to lose by taking difficult courses in undergrad. If not, take what you can handle so that your GPA is not compromised. Deal with dental school subjects in dental school--trust me, there's really no way to adequately prepare for the experience and I wouldn't even try right now. Just take the minimum.
                       

                      Stacker

                      n = 1
                      10+ Year Member
                      Jan 11, 2009
                      765
                      12
                        Focus on your GPA. That's most important.

                        My Gross Anatomy final is this week, we have three days to study for it following our last test, and it's cumulative. Reviewing the upper limb, I hardly remember anything, and we only started 9-10 weeks ago. I don't know what scale Mr. A+'s school up there uses, but my school is 95+ is an A, 94 is a B, 85 a C and so forth. So don't expect upper division science courses to guarantee you a 95 in Gross Anatomy, b/c that probably isn't going to happen.

                        I took anatomy in college. Did it help? A little. Did it make a difference in my grade? Nope. Likewise, everyone at my school says Biochem in undergrad was a complete waste of time b/c it's taught so differently here.

                        My advice, again, is take courses you enjoy and get the best GPA you can. Anyone can prepare for classes like Histology, Physiology or Gross without any science background. You just memorize crap.

                        Are those grades curved? If they are, then the letters are just arbitrary increments on a scale. At University of Toronto, an A's is 85 but that doesn't mean it's easier to get an A. They make the tests really hard to make the average around a 50-60 and grade from there.
                         
                        Last edited:

                        jay47

                        Think Positively!
                        10+ Year Member
                        5+ Year Member
                        Aug 4, 2007
                        1,068
                        8
                        1. Dentist
                          Don't worry about any biology courses, you need to take Spanish. If you can speak Spanish you can increase your potential patient base by about 20%= more patients in dental school= more money after dental school. Forget about upper level courses, just get a higher GPA and learn Spanish.....
                           

                          Dental Machine7

                          Full Member
                          Aug 11, 2012
                          18
                          4
                          1. Dentist
                            I suggest you take anatomy, physiology, and immunology.

                            I was familiar with most subjects in dental school, as in I had been introduced to them, except anatomy. Anatomy was completely new to me; head and neck anatomy was of course new to most everyone.
                             
                            About the Ads
                            This thread is more than 9 years old.

                            Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

                            1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
                            2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                            3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                            4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
                            5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
                            6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                            7. This thread is locked.