Is 5 science labs at once manageable? Any tips and pointers?

deophob

Full Member
May 27, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
    I put off taking my labs until the last minute and as I prepare for graduation, I am looking to take a bunch of them at once.
    I am considering the following schedule this fall.

    Biochemistry and lab
    Upper level Biology or Physics 2 or Organic Chemistry 2 (if not completed this summer)
    Cell biology Lab
    Ochem Lab 1
    Ochem Lab 2
    Physics 1 Lab

    A couple of the labs are writing intensive and only two of the courses will be lecture-based. I know labs are known to be huge time sinks (reason why I avoided them in the first place) so I am wondering how this schedule would work out. As my schedule stands, I'll have one 3-hour long lab daily, meaning the potential of having lab assignments due everyday. Another big concern that I have is that I do not recall the details from the lecture very much...hoping this won't be an issue. Thoughts and/or tips?

    Of the three listed lectures (bio, physics 2 or ochem 2), will one in particular help to balance out the labs?

    Would adding a third science lecture class to the schedule be too much?
     

    HouseJC

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    Mar 22, 2019
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    1. Medical Student
      It is hard to say based purely on your schedule, but based on my opinion, you will likely suffer from burnout midway through.

      I am assuming that for your lab assignments, you are referring to lab reports? So how are your skills in scientific writing, reading/assessing/critiquing scientific literature, presenting and communicating results/findings? Lab reports take A LOT of time to prepare for and write, so if you assignments due everyday, I don't envy your path.

      Lab courses are usually complemented by lectures, where they discuss more of the theory in lecture and you gain practical experience in the lab. If you don't recall details from lecture very much, it should be okay as long as you understand the lab manual.

      Furthermore, don't you need to complete Ochem Lab 1 before Ochem Lab 2 (at least that's how it works in my university).
       

      swatttt007

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      Aug 1, 2019
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        Uhhh I would definitely spread these out across two semesters if at all possible. Otherwise, I think it's doable, but idk if free-time will be part vocabulary for a while. As for the lectures, I would highly recommend not taking O-Chem 2 at the same time as those labs because it's very memorization heavy and you want to have some room to breath. If the upper division Bio Lecture fits in well with other classes you've taken, I'd go with that, as you probably won't encounter too many new things (for example, at my school, if you've already taken Cell Bio and Biochem you have like 90% of Microbio already learned so it's an easy A.) Otherwise, I'd recommend Physics 2 if you're good at math, as it's less memorization focused and more based on calculations. Assuming you're already comfortable with the math behind it, you'd spend less time on it than you would trying to memorize things for the other classes, giving you more time to work on the labs. (Might be different at your school but that's how it's worked for me.)
         
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        deophob

        Full Member
        May 27, 2020
        14
        8
        1. Pre-Medical
          Thanks all! My only plans outside of academics will be to volunteer twice per week.

          So far I've decided to drop ochem 2 lab and for the undecided lecture, settle on physics 2. I am one credit shy of full-time status, so I'll need to add a third (non-science) lecture to even things out. If the 4 labs doesn't click well a few weeks in, I'll likely drop it down to three labs before the drop deadline.

          On another note, what does everyone think about taking back-to-back labs in one day? Originally, my thought was to have one lab per day to have better balance. After rearranging the schedule, I'll have two labs per day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for the three lectures.
           

          supastudier2000

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          Jul 15, 2019
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            ask upper freshmen for their lab note books, or go to your university book store and purchase the lab manuals now. It's summer. Go through them, understand them, pre-prep ahead of time. Once your enter fall semester it'll be easy, or at least less stressful.
             
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