In general, will my chances diminish if I don't take Calculus?

Jul 4, 2009
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I know it depends on each school, but in general, do you think I am ruining my chances if I only take college Pre-Calculus and Statistics, and DO NOT even take Calculus 1?

Also, can someone explain in general Med Schools' attitudes toward taking courses AFTER submitting an application? I know you can't take required science courses after submitting your application, but would help me to take Calculus 1 (and maybe Calculus 2) during that fall or spring after application submission (if so, "how much?").

Oh, and another thing, is the English requirement weighted as heavily as the BCMP courses? I know the science req's are weighted more or assessed differently than the rest of your GPA, but I was wondering how English is evaluated since it isn't a science course but it IS a pre-med req. In practical terms, I got a stupid B- in English my first semester freshman year and I could obviously easily get an 'A' in English if I re-took it. But I have many A's in history, psychology, sociology etc. courses, so I'm wondering if I should re-take straight up English?
 
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ZRCMed

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I know it depends on each school, but in general, do you think I am ruining my chances if I only take Pre-Calculus and Statistics, and DO NOT take Calculus 1?

Also, can someone explain in general Med Schools' attitudes toward taking courses AFTER submitting an application? I know you can't take required courses after submitting your application, but does would it help to take Calculus 1 (and maybe Calculus 2) during that fall or spring after application submission (if so, "how much?").
Why don't you just take a 3 credit Survey of Calculus type course for the non-math/science majors? It will most likely be a lot more relaxed and you'll get that semester of calc without taking the hardcore Calc 1.
 
OP
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Jul 4, 2009
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hmm...well, i might be able to fit that in, if it exists at my school. my main concern is that I don't have room or time to take it, since i still have several science req's to take.
 

searun

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You want to display self confidence. Don't try to duck courses.
 
Jun 29, 2009
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Just get your way through Calc I (the "real" Calc I). Its not really that bad. You are at a big school, yeah? (My school has 1000 students, class size peaks at 30). That Calc class will be huge, there are probably cribs galore, just learn derivatives/integrals and make it through.

Part of me wishes the adcoms will care that I had to take Calc I->Differential Equations/Boundary Value Problems, but the other part knows that they don't really care :(
 

Trexate

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The lim 1/x as x approaches 0 from the right indicates the amount your chances will diminish.
 

chiz2kul

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I know it depends on each school, but in general, do you think I am ruining my chances if I only take college Pre-Calculus and Statistics, and DO NOT even take Calculus 1?

Also, can someone explain in general Med Schools' attitudes toward taking courses AFTER submitting an application? I know you can't take required science courses after submitting your application, but would help me to take Calculus 1 (and maybe Calculus 2) during that fall or spring after application submission (if so, "how much?").
You can always take (online) calc the summer before med school starts like i'm doing, but it'll suck realll bad...well not too bad, just kinda bad.
The only school I ended up choosing was the one school that had calc as a pre-req...

You want to display self confidence. Don't try to duck courses.
:confused:

I agree - You need to take calc. If you don't, they will guess why you didn't take it, and believe me, you don't want them to assume such things about you.
:confused:

I hope you guys were being sarcastic...cos if u weren't, all u said is BS IMHO.
 

Snarkalark

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As I understand it, only the UC schools and Harvard require it. Why would other schools care about calc if they didn't make it a prereq?
 

Chemdude

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People don't take calculus for two reasons:

1. They don't want to take it because of lack of interest.
2. They don't want to take it because they are afraid of getting a bad grade.

If you're not taking calculus because of reason #1, then good on ya mate! If you're not taking calculus because of reason #2, then the medical school may revoke your acceptance.

How do they find out why you didn't take calculus? Well, if you're female then it's impossible for them to find out, but if you're male, then you have to do a testicular examination. If your testicular examination shows any trace of cowardice or fear, then there's a 95% chance of them revoking your acceptance.

Also, just so you know, the testicular examination is usually done during your interview.
 

Revilla

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You only have to take Calc if you plan on applying to Harvard, Duke, the UCs, Dartmouth, etc. Only a handful of schools require Calc (some of that handful even require two semesters of it). Pick up an MSAR and flip through it. If the schools you want to apply to don't list it as a pre-req, skip it. It won't hurt you with other schools.

Your B in English should be fine. I wouldn't re-take that particular course. If you want to show you can get an A in English, take an upper level English course and ace it.
 

Mattabet

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Hm. A lot of ideas here... Well, here's my two cents.

I know it depends on each school, but in general, do you think I am ruining my chances if I only take college Pre-Calculus and Statistics, and DO NOT even take Calculus 1?
In the sense that some schools require calculus and you won't be applying to those schools without taking it, you do shorten up your odds a bit. That said, I think only like one of my six schools actually required it, so it may not matter, in that sense.

Also, can someone explain in general Med Schools' attitudes toward taking courses AFTER submitting an application?
They're fine with it, especially for stuff that is not MCAT prereq science (and not an egregious amount of credit). So if you need to get stats, English, or yes, calculus out of the way your senior year, it should be fine. In your case, if you're worried about how you'd perform, I'd definitely consider putting it off to senior year. The one disadvantage (or advantage that you would bypass) is that calculus can be helpful for understanding physics. But you don't need it for algebra based.

Oh, and another thing, is the English requirement weighted as heavily as the BCMP courses?
In my experience, generally not. Mostly they want to make sure you can speak and understand English (which gets very important when you get around to actually seeing patients) - hence the universal English requirement. I wouldn't retake your class, but I might put in another English class that I can nail down the line, just to show you're capable of good grades in humanities as well.
 

bashir

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I know you can't take required science courses after submitting your application, but would help me to take Calculus 1 (and maybe Calculus 2) during that fall or spring after application submission (if so, "how much?").
First, I want to correct your misconception that you can't take prerequisites after submitting your application. You most certainly can, as long as you have them completed before matriculation. This being the case, I personally wouldn't bother with taking calculus for the sole purpose of increasing your chances for admission to med school. Most schools don't require it, and I take them at their word; there's no reason to assume that they favor students who have taken it. If you do end up applying to schools that require it, you can take it the year before you matriculate. That said, calculus isn't as hard as its reputation suggests, so don't necessarily skip it for fear of doing badly.
 
OP
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thanks for the replies, everyone.

Anybody know how many semesters (e.g. just Calc 1? or both Calc 1 & 2) of Calculus the UC's require? I am probably going to apply to the UC's.

Are there any req courses that HAVE to be taken before application submission? What about Chem 1&2, Phys 1&2, Orgo 1&2?

Thanks.
 

phrenology

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Why don't you just take a 3 credit Survey of Calculus type course for the non-math/science majors? It will most likely be a lot more relaxed and you'll get that semester of calc without taking the hardcore Calc 1.
Agree. If you do end up taking calc, I definitely recommend Survey of Calculus (mine was 4 credits). As a non-math person I understand your trepidation in taking calculus, but I really think this class is over-hyped and it's not that bad at all. I hate math, I had to retake trig in high school and I am nothing without my calculator, but calculus was a breeze-- even easier than most algebra in my opinion. If you can remember a few rules about orders of operations then you'll be fine. Plus, I think it might look a little fishy if it's obvious you've avoided this class.