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eistar

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hey guys,
i need some advice.. PLEASE!!

biochem isn't required for my major (poli sci) and isn't required by the medical schools that i've been accepted to. it's a really hard class at my school (UCLA) and i don't want to take it my last quarter, but i will if the class will make my life a whole lot easier in medical school.

what do you think, did biochemistry really help you out in medical school?
 

braluk

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Its useful if you memorize things like your standard amino acid structures, etc..etc.. however, if you're taking biochem for the sake of doing better in medical school, id suggest against it seeing that 1) you'll most likely forget the stuff that is only limited help anyway 2) take classes you enjoy in college....while you can. Enjoy your last semester of senior year. Believe me, i took the MCAT in my senior year and didnt get to enjoy it much unfortuantely. 3) medical biochemistry is a whole new beast and requires taming when you're actually in medical school. Taking it beforehand probably wont help much. Granted, some of the stuff you learned in college biochemistry will pop up again in medical school, but you're going to have to study and memorize it all over just like any other med student who hasnt taken college level biochem- its that detailed. annnnnd finally 4) theres no sayng when you take med biochem, some schools will have you take it in the spring quarter/semester, some in the fall/winter quarter/semester. That said, if it is the former, you probably wont remember jack diddly about it.

Actually out of all the classes Ive taken, i dont really remember anything, save a few facts here and there from various classes I took in college, that were extraordinarily helpful unless you spent a good amount of your career dedicated to it. For example, one of my friends has done research in cancer for about 4-5 years- this section of medical physiology and probably medical biochem should be a breeze. In terms of classes- I dont think many are extraordinarily helpful that will make your medical education any easier.
 

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I was a biochem major in undergrad. The biochem I took in undergrad concerned itself mostly with the molecular side of biochem, protein folding, interaction of side chains etc. This is generally unhelpful in med school.

You could get a used copy of lippincott's biochem and read it on your own over the summer, try to find a course that concentrates on medical biochem, ask UCLA students for advice, or just save the studying for when you are taking the class. I'd definitely try to find what review books are good for biochem at UCLA and get those early.

:luck:
 
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braluk

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the BRS Biochem Marks review books and all similar type of review books for step1 (physio, anatomy, etc..etc...) are all good reviews and excellent ways to get the big picture if you want to get ahead of the game. However, just keep in mind, that this summer before matriculation and maybe the summer before M2 are the only last bits of ounces of freedom before many years of a$$whooping.
 

Law2Doc

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hey guys,
i need some advice.. PLEASE!!

biochem isn't required for my major (poli sci) and isn't required by the medical schools that i've been accepted to. it's a really hard class at my school (UCLA) and i don't want to take it my last quarter, but i will if the class will make my life a whole lot easier in medical school.

what do you think, did biochemistry really help you out in medical school?

It will help, but probably not as drastically as many on here will suggest. Plenty of people attend med school without biochem and do fine. Often college courses had different focuses than med school will, and med school covers material so much faster that it is pretty common for people to comment that their college material got completely covered in the first week of the med school course (eliminating any advantage for the remainder of the course). In terms of grades, there will often be some people who never took biochem at the top the the class, and folks who took it at the bottom. Just plan to hit the ground running hard, because you will have a little background to make up. But I wouldn't sweat it -- you are generally going to be working hard in med school courses regardless of what you have taken.
 

MSKalltheway

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hey guys,
i need some advice.. PLEASE!!

biochem isn't required for my major (poli sci) and isn't required by the medical schools that i've been accepted to. it's a really hard class at my school (UCLA) and i don't want to take it my last quarter, but i will if the class will make my life a whole lot easier in medical school.

what do you think, did biochemistry really help you out in medical school?

As everyone else has said, its not really as helpful as you might think...I took two semesters of it because it was required for my major. I loved it, but by time I got to medical school I forgot most of the fine details you'll need anyway. The only way it actually helped was that there were some topics (like enzyme kinetics) that they flew through (cause its med school!) and if you havent seen them before you were clueless...until you got to small group and they explained it all. And ironically enough, I understood the concept of the kinetics, but forgot how to do the problems!

So as you can see, I took biochem, but it didnt help all that much. If you did take it, the small advantage you would have over others would quickly be squelched because everyone (at least for the most part, you would assume) is very intelligent and is a workhorse when it comes to studying. If anything, taking biochem gave me a false sense of advantage because so many in my class hadn't seen it before, but I quickly found by the class averages that it didnt matter! So your small advantage is gone unless you work just as hard.

IMHO, just take the easiest classes you can with whats left of undergrad, have a real chill summer, and start med school prepared to bust your butt all the time. Thats better prep than any college course you could take.
 

LifetimeDoc

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Whether or not a particular upper-level undergrad science class will help (such as histology, biochem, human gross anatomy, neuroanatomy, endocrinology, embryology, etc) depends on what medical student or admission dean you speak to. Some have told me they help greatly, some say they don't help at all, and even some have said they made medical school too easy and boring. I enjoy these classes, and think they will help me, so that's what's important.
 

braluk

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but I quickly found by the class averages that it didnt matter!

Lol funny you mention this, but it always boggled my mind when no matter how many exams existed at the same itme, no matter how much the material or how hard, the class ALWAYS averaged around an 80~81. The profs always say too, that the expect the averages to be around 80s seeing that prior classes have all gotten around the same averages. Interesting population statistics if you ask me :laugh:
 

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who cares? you'll learn whatever you need to learn in med school anyway. just take it if you want to go to a school that requires it (ex. UF).
 

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Are you guys referring to the Biochem. hosted by the chemistry dept? At my school, there are two biochem. courses, one hosted by the chemistry dept. (which is more chemistry involved) and one hosted by Shands (our teaching hospital). I'm not sure if it's like this everywhere (where there are two different biochem. classes), but are all these responses appropriate for BOTH types, or are yall referring to one of them?
 

MarzMD

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I dont know. I always see people giving advice on how it isnt all that helpful to take a class in undergrad or being a biology major. Im going to have to disagree with these people. Sure you will probably forget most of the stuff, but at least you will be familiar with the concepts and vocabulary....and trust me that is a big advantage. We had to memorize the amino acids in undergrad biochem, and I assure you it helped me rememorize them in medical school even though I couldnt even name half of them when med school started.
 

Law2Doc

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I dont know. I always see people giving advice on how it isnt all that helpful to take a class in undergrad or being a biology major. Im going to have to disagree with these people. Sure you will probably forget most of the stuff, but at least you will be familiar with the concepts and vocabulary....and trust me that is a big advantage. We had to memorize the amino acids in undergrad biochem, and I assure you it helped me rememorize them in medical school even though I couldnt even name half of them when med school started.

But for each person like you there will be someone else who was a biochem stud in undergrad who still struggled at the med school level. I suspect you have met some.

(As far as things like amino acids, most people in med school seem to memorize them in about a night -- so while you may have had some advantage, we're not talking a mega advantage if you already knew them.)
 

braluk

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It helps some and for others, it doesnt. Hell, there are med students who forget all of the med biochem they take and just relearn it all over again for the stepss- albeit being a condensed test prep version. Rright now i could say i forgot ~50-75% of the material and Im just resuming it now during this quarter. The point I was trying to stress is that, don't stress your final senior quarter and take your time to enjoy it if you have already been accepted to medical school- having a memorable last quarter far outweighs whatever advantage you may or may not have taking classes like biochem :)
 
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Law2Doc

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Are you guys referring to the Biochem. hosted by the chemistry dept? At my school, there are two biochem. courses, one hosted by the chemistry dept. (which is more chemistry involved) and one hosted by Shands (our teaching hospital). I'm not sure if it's like this everywhere (where there are two different biochem. classes), but are all these responses appropriate for BOTH types, or are yall referring to one of them?

I'm sure everyone is just talking about whatever basic generic biochem class most colleges offer. But FWIW, med school is a whole different ballgame regardless, and so anything you do in undergrad gives you a modest, short lived advantage at best. Expect to have to hit the ground running and work your hardest in med school regardless.

Most med students were science majors and half of every med school class is in the bottom half. The nonsci majors are not grouped together at the bottom.
 

kdburton

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hey guys,
i need some advice.. PLEASE!!

biochem isn't required for my major (poli sci) and isn't required by the medical schools that i've been accepted to. it's a really hard class at my school (UCLA) and i don't want to take it my last quarter, but i will if the class will make my life a whole lot easier in medical school.

what do you think, did biochemistry really help you out in medical school?

A doctor told me that he remembered how taking biochem in undergrad helped immensely when he ended up taking it in med school. I'm not sure how much things have changed in the 20 years since me got his MD, but he sounded pretty sure about that class specifically.
 

sprinkibrio

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If you must take it but don't want to worry about the grade, audit it. That's what I did. I can't tell you how much it will help me in medical school, but I hope it's sort of like pre-reading... I will be more interested in the material because I already have a basic grasp on it.

If you decide to take it for real, I really do think it will help with your study skills. It is rumored to be the hardest class at my school in terms of massive amounts of material, and I think learning to memorize that much info in a short period of time will be helpful. I talked to someone from my undergrad who is now in the medical school I will be attending and he said he learned all of our undergrad bio chem about half the time (in med school it ends in October) but he said the material was pretty much the same.

--edit--
I also took a year off, so I didn't care about all this relaxing stuff, but if your going straight to med school it's def something to think about. And I'm auditing it now, so it's not like I'll forget as much as say in senior year.
 

Law2Doc

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A doctor told me that he remembered how taking biochem in undergrad helped immensely when he ended up taking it in med school. I'm not sure how much things have changed in the 20 years since me got his MD, but he sounded pretty sure about that class specifically.

Sure - it probably did help him. But as I noted above, for each person who claims it benefitted them, there is likely someone who will say it didn't. If you show up ready to work hard it wont matter much in terms of the final grade.
 

MSKalltheway

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Solid advice.:thumbup:

I completely agree! You'll only have one semester of college left for good if you plan to matriculate this fall, while you'll have four long, brutal years in medical school and even more during internship/residency. And during that 7+ years, you'll be wishing you had senior year of college back!

Believe me, unless you take graduate level science courses (sometimes grad students take our courses with us at my school) the amount of depth you see in college is nothing compared to medical school.

My gf was taking biochem at the same time I was. I did everything she did and probably two to three times more in a month's time, and in much more depth (and she was in her 1st and just started her 2nd semester). Especially if your biochem course is hard (like many others can be, mine sure was) its not worth sacrificing that last bit of chill time you could get in undergrad...
 

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I took my time to go back and look at some anatomy books I used a few semesters ago and realized that I could only remember a few general concepts. The same thing with biochem. All these general concepts I could have learned within days or even hours for each subject matter. What that tells me is that whatever advantage I gained from these classes would probably last a few days or hours in medschool. Not a good reason to spend a whole year on a class IMO.
 
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63768

i have to disagree with many of the opinions in this thread. i'm currently in a postbac/SMP program where the same profs that teach the first year med students teach us and use the exact same powerpoints. the only difference is that they skip over some of the clinical applications.

that being said, what i covered in two semester of biochem as an undergrad, they crammed into about 3/4 a semester here. because i had seen everything before, the class was a breeze for me since it was the second run-through. i got an A+ in the class and studied but not nearly as much as my peers that couldn't get the A.

i would suggest everyone take at least the first semester of biochem. it's a recommended class for applying to medical school anyway. what else would you take for your upper level bio? ecology? microbio? i think you would get even less use out of those courses unless you loved those subjects. classes like biochem, anat, physio, pharm, and cell bio have concepts that are seen again and again in med school at a much faster pace.

sure you could forgo the course in undergrad and take it head on in med school. some people will pick it up right away. others will struggle. your call. i say take it. it can only help.
 

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Good advice yourmom25- OP why dont you just audit the first two weeks of the class to get a feel for it. If you enjoy it, and if its not going to kill off the rest of your quarter take it. Just keep in mind people like yourmom25 are geniuses :) and may not be the norm. yourmom, which SMP are u in?
 
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Good advice yourmom25- OP why dont you just audit the first two weeks of the class to get a feel for it. If you enjoy it, and if its not going to kill off the rest of your quarter take it. Just keep in mind people like yourmom25 are geniuses :) and may not be the norm. yourmom, which SMP are u in?
LOL, i'm in the UNT MS in medical sciences program. it's not quite as high profile as georgetown's SMP but i wanted to stay in TX. and i am most assuredly not a genius. if i were one, i wouldn't have made the single mistake that held my app back. hahaha if you're referring to how i soak up all the info in my current classes, then maybe you're right.
 
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MarzMD

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I understand what you are saying Law2doc, but I still feel like it helps more than people actually think. So far there arent many concepts in med school that are hard, its just the volume of the info. The faster you can master a particular part of a class, the faster you can move on to the next topic.

Anway, my point is that if you are familiar with the basic biochem principles before med school you will thank yourself. Taking a whole course on it isnt necessary. I think it would be good to have an understanding of the main amino acids, enzyme kinetics(km and vmax) ,glycolysis, kreb cycle, and ETC. The rest of biochem is pretty much organic chemistry and disease related. The first of which you should already know, and the second you dont have to worry about because they probably wont make much sense until you take an intensive biochem course in med school.
 

braluk

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Again I think while it works for some, for the others, it doesnt. Many dont even take it and end up acing the class. Theres just a huge mix of people with various experiences with biochem and other college medschool-related classes that either do well, don't do well, or just pass or high pass it. I think the point is, that there is no predictive value for the class. At one university, maybe biochem may correlate extremely well with whats taught in med school (or vice versa), and for others, the class is more about theory, and focus on the less clinically-related science part of it. Different strokes for different folks. I can safely say that I still remember most of my organic chemistry because I enjoyed the class tremendously (unfortuantely these classes dont exist in med school :( ), but I can safely say for others who also did well in the class, dont remember squat about it after the MCAT. Though there may be no certainty, there is one thing that is certain, the OP is in his last quarter of his senior year, has already been accepted to medical school and his UCLA biochem class is extremely hard and thus would probably spend most of his free time studying for it to do well. Thats when you have to ask yourself if the tradeoff between your last year at college and the time you spend breaking your back in a hard class that may be helpful in med school is really worth it. Again to the OP, audit the class to get a feel of how much you really will be dedicating to the class and your instinct should tell you if you should take the class or not.
 
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I was a biochem major for undergrad, and I know at my school we have three different biochem classes. I took two of them. One for the enzyme kinetics, protein folding, and structures. The other one was Metabolism, it was glycolysis, citric acid cycle, electron transport, and a lot of medical disorders related to metabolism. I do not know, but I am thinking maybe the second one will help me.
 

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In terms of UMiami, it is VERY helpful, I hear, to take biochem in undergrad for med school.
 

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hey guys,
i need some advice.. PLEASE!!

biochem isn't required for my major (poli sci) and isn't required by the medical schools that i've been accepted to. it's a really hard class at my school (UCLA) and i don't want to take it my last quarter, but i will if the class will make my life a whole lot easier in medical school.

what do you think, did biochemistry really help you out in medical school?
Does your med school recommend that you take it? If not, I agree with the people who told you not to bother. I think it won't hurt you to wait to get to med school. There are a lot of classes in med school that are way harder than biochem. It would be more helpful if you could take human anatomy or maybe a physio class or embryo. Or neuro. Those subjects are all harder than biochem.
 

MarzMD

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Does your med school recommend that you take it? If not, I agree with the people who told you not to bother. I think it won't hurt you to wait to get to med school. There are a lot of classes in med school that are way harder than biochem. It would be more helpful if you could take human anatomy or maybe a physio class or embryo. Or neuro. Those subjects are all harder than biochem.


Uhh...I dont know about all that.
 
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63768

even with all these new posts, i still say take it. there is no way it can possibly hurt you. if you can't handle it or you afraid of a B, audit it as others said.

in addition, i don't know what the curriculum for your 1st semester biochem is, but i've seen biochem at at least 3 diff universities (which is by no means a representative cross-section). all 3 courses have had similar curricula for 1st semester biochem: AAs, protein structure, enzyme kinetics, glycolysis, krebs/TCA, some gluconeogenesis. only one had an additional section on biochemical lab techniques. i don't know about you but with the exception of lab techniques, everything is needed for med school.
 

MarzMD

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I learned lab techniques in undergrad biochem......learned it again in med school, so yes you need that too.
 

Henrietta

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hey guys,
i need some advice.. PLEASE!!

biochem isn't required for my major (poli sci) and isn't required by the medical schools that i've been accepted to. it's a really hard class at my school (UCLA) and i don't want to take it my last quarter, but i will if the class will make my life a whole lot easier in medical school.

what do you think, did biochemistry really help you out in medical school?

You are kidding right? I am taking it right now and it isnt that hard. I got a 93% and the mean for the first test was a 70%. Its only memorization. I studied for 6 hours the morning of the test and look at my score.:sleep:
 

eistar

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thanks for all your advice guys. i'm just going to audit or just sit-in biochem for the first two weeks and i'll see if i still want to take it, audit, or just forget about it all.

i'm already over units so it would be troublesome to take the class anyways. plus, it's my senior year.
 
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braluk

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Thats the right attitude :thumbup:

Drink it up and have a toast to your senior year!
 

braluk

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I never go to sleep, class has made me an insomniac :laugh:
 

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I never go to sleep, class has made me an insomniac :laugh:

apparently insomnia comes with an extra added dose of late-night SDN addiction...:laugh:...but look what I am doing...I can't stand those people who just look at the time and go "look its 11:00 o' clock. time for bed" and they are a sleep like 10 minutes later. I have to feel really tired to sleep or else my mind starts wondering and end up laying there for an hour...and then I start wandering about not waking up if something happens while I am a sleep...ahh...the insomnia:scared:...where were we again...oh yes..biochem..pretty important I assume
 

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Lol yea i dont like running on a set schedule, ill go to bed when im tired and in the meanwhile ill lurk on SDN :laugh: I can usually fall asleep pretty quickly i guess, but why? lol. Ill deal with the repercussions in the early morning. My roommate likes listening to seinfeld episodes and other random shows to get to bed...its weird but it works.

ah, biochem, a class ive fell asleep to. Med biochem isnt any better lol. Might even be worse since its at the asscrack of dawn when I usually have it.
 

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Lol yea i dont like running on a set schedule, ill go to bed when im tired and in the meanwhile ill lurk on SDN :laugh: I can usually fall asleep pretty quickly i guess, but why? lol. Ill deal with the repercussions in the early morning. My roommate likes listening to seinfeld episodes and other random shows to get to bed...its weird but it works.

ah, biochem, a class ive fell asleep to. Med biochem isnt any better lol. Might even be worse since its at the asscrack of dawn when I usually have it.


I happen to like Biochem...it were those english and boring bio classes (this is how photosyntheis works...photosystem II obtains photon to the reaction center...blah blah...give me something I dont know or can apply) that made me want to sleep...but stupid english class and it's 10-15 students...cant layout in back like in chemistry and bio behind 100 or so other students:mad:
 

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It would be more helpful if you could take human anatomy or maybe a physio class or embryo. Or neuro. Those subjects are all harder than biochem.

Med school teaches you all you need to know and then some. The goal shouldn't be to take a chunk of med school before you get to med school. There are plenty of folks who just take the prereqs and do quite well. I would strongly recommend using your college credits to take things you are not going to have an opportunity to ever take again, not the things you are going to retake ad nauseum. The biggest advantage you can give yourself in med school is to show up ready to study hard, put in the time, and hit the ground running. Folks who put in the time and are effective studyers tend to do fine, regardless of their course background.
 

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Med school teaches you all you need to know and then some. The goal shouldn't be to take a chunk of med school before you get to med school. There are plenty of folks who just take the prereqs and do quite well. I would strongly recommend using your college credits to take things you are not going to have an opportunity to ever take again, not the things you are going to retake ad nauseum. The biggest advantage you can give yourself in med school is to show up ready to study hard, put in the time, and hit the ground running. Folks who put in the time and are effective studyers tend to do fine, regardless of their course background.
I'm not arguing eistar should take all the med school classes just to get a head start. I agree with you that it's good to take fun classes in college, especially as a senior, since you have a lot less choice of classes in med school. But I got the impression that eistar only wanted to take biochem because they thought it would help them in med school. And so I was trying to say that if they only want to take a class to help in med school, I think there are others besides biochem that would be more helpful. Like neuroanatomy, which is kicking my butt right now in a way that biochem couldn't even begin to do. :p
 

Law2Doc

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I'm not arguing eistar should take all the med school classes just to get a head start. I agree with you that it's good to take fun classes in college, especially as a senior, since you have a lot less choice of classes in med school. But I got the impression that eistar only wanted to take biochem because they thought it would help them in med school. And so I was trying to say that if they only want to take a class to help in med school, I think there are others besides biochem that would be more helpful. Like neuroanatomy, which is kicking my butt right now in a way that biochem couldn't even begin to do. :p

That's fine. I'm just concerned that someone is going to read this thread and misconstrue the takehome message, and think you need to take all these courses in undergrad to do well in med school.
 

MSKalltheway

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To be honest, after talking to some classmates and friends at other schools, the classes that help us the most aren't even science classes. I took a counseling psychology lab course my last semester of college, and it was the best class ever for the patient history interviews. I literally could have fallen asleep (and probably did) during the lectures they gave us on how you should conduct a proper interview. They took everything straight from a psych textbook. Sociology courses, even language courses like spanish would be more beneficial over the long term...and a lot easier to swallow your last semester when the weather is nice and all you want to do is screw around before graduation. After the USMLE Step 1, stuff like the TCA cycle, gluconeogenesis and nucleotide metabolism will be forgotten by the vast majority of docs (take my father...he's forgotten everything about the basic sciences he doesn't use frequently, cause you just dont need it so much anymore), but youll need the cultural competency and interviewing skills for the rest of your career. Plus they are more fun classes too! Believe me, you'll get all the science you could ever want and more in med school.

Really? You think biochem is harder than neuroanatomy? I wish I had taken neuroanatomy at YOUR school. :laugh:

P.S. Metabolism ANY DAY. If I never had to know about stuff like the amygdala and the caudate nucleus ever again, I wouldnt be mad.
 
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