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Would an applicant who HAS taken only bio 1,2 and has NOT taken any upper level bio classes (no genetics, no biochem, no molecular bio, etc) be at a disadvantage in the admissions process? Would it make a different if this applicant had a 13 on the BS section of the MCAT?
 

Carl Seitan

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Depends on the rest of the app. But, all other things being equal, maybe, maybe not.

I hope that helps.
 

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Would an applicant who HAS taken only bio 1,2 and has NOT taken any upper level bio classes (no genetics, no biochem, no molecular bio, etc) be at a disadvantage in the admissions process? Would it make a different if this applicant had a 13 on the BS section of the MCAT?
No problem (as long as it's not a pre req at the school).
 
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Pasmal

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The information you can find online about this varies because of the radical shift that has occurred away from this line of thinking in the last decade or so. Admissions has gotten much more holistic - you could be an art major, as long as you have all the basic pre-med pre-reqs done and a decent MCAT, you'll be considered. In many cases, you have a competitive advantage because you would further diversify your potential incoming class profile.
 
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If you satisfy the pre-req's for each medical school you would like to apply to then that is your only hoop to jump through in this regard. Everything else is icing on the cake. BUT, trust me, your life will probably be easier in medical school if you take biochem and genetics. I know my school requires biochem.

Your goal should be to leave no weak points in your application and do everything you can to get that 30+ MCAT. Keep that in mind
 
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alpinism

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For admissions, no.

For the first year of medical school, yes.

Even at the schools that only require 1 year of general bio, the vast majority strongly suggest a few taking upper level bio courses such as biochemistry, physiology, cell biology, and genetics.
 
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I guess I'll just take biochem. I don't really have much space in my schedule for additional bio courses as I am not a bio major.. Hopefully it won't be too much of a problem.
 

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For admissions, no.

For the first year of medical school, yes.

Even at the schools that only require 1 year of general bio, the vast majority strongly suggest a few taking upper level bio courses such as biochemistry, physiology, cell biology, and genetics.
That's just fear-building. From what I gathered from other med students/residents, everyone starts in the same place from start. Sure, bio students can progress more quickly than non-bio students but by second year, everyone will be well prepared for Step 1 and wards.

My point is, it's one thing to take classes that may potentially help you (and I really doubt they will). OP is fine. If anything, take biochem because some schools are making that a requirement. I'm unsure about genetics because iirc Hopkins requires it but that's the only one. It's mainly just biochem but i'd consult the MSAR
 
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That's just fear-building. From what I gathered from other med students/residents, everyone starts in the same place from start. Sure, bio students can progress more quickly than non-bio students but by second year, everyone will be well prepared for Step 1 and wards.

My point is, it's one thing to take classes that may potentially help you (and I really doubt they will). OP is fine. If anything, take biochem because some schools are making that a requirement. I'm unsure about genetics because iirc Hopkins requires it but that's the only one. It's mainly just biochem but i'd consult the MSAR
Wait a minute, are you trying to give advice on medical school but haven't even gone to medical school yet? I cannot really tell considering you have no medical student tag on your profile, nor a pre-med one.

While everyone will end up in a similar place towards the END of pre-clinical years, the workload up until that point is tremendous. Taking classes like biochem, genetics (which is probably a pre-req at many places), immunology, microbiology, etc. while in undergrad will make your life EASIER in medical school.

Example of this concept:

Tommy is a brand-new M1, freshly accepted and ready to rock. In undergrad Tommy placed emphasis on his English degree, which is his passion outside medicine. This garnered the interest of the admissions committee so it did help him stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Now, Tommy didn't take any upper level biology classes such as immunology, microbiology, pharmacology, molecular biology, etc. Sitting through his first week of classes, Tommy realizes that medical school is a whole new ball game. There are 4 lectures worth of difficult material pretty much everyday. It's not like undergrad where fluffy filler courses make it easier to prioritize studying, although, he wishes it was because he studies constantly. Tommy looks at his lectures and knows almost nothing he is reading, and the professor goes through the information in a way that is much like drinking water out of a fire hose.... without really touching the foundational knowledge, but always skipping to key points that may be difficult to understand conceptually, and in massive amounts of slides... sometimes 100+ slides per lecture. Because Tommy doesn't have experience in these upper level type courses, he is forced to self-teach outside of the provided powerpoints with books that many other students don't have to open, let alone purchase, just so he can conceptually learn the material.


tl;dr
OK, so this is by no means the greatest example ever but I think it at least helps me get my point across. You move at a terrifying speed in medical school. It takes awhile to acclimate to this environment, sometimes people aren't even comfortable with it till 2nd year. Having a good foundational knowledge from upper level bio courses will make this hectic transition easier for you, and you will have more free time to relax and cope with all the crazyness that is medical school.
 
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youmed

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You should WANT to take the upper division biology courses if you are planning to study medicine. The undergraduate upper division biology courses are the most basic key concepts of human body that you MUST know. In short, take them if you can fit them into your schedule.
 

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Wait a minute, are you trying to give advice on medical school but haven't even gone to medical school yet? I cannot really tell considering you have no medical student tag on your profile, nor a pre-med one.

While everyone will end up in a similar place towards the END of pre-clinical years, the workload up until that point is tremendous. Taking classes like biochem, genetics (which is probably a pre-req at many places), immunology, microbiology, etc. while in undergrad will make your life EASIER in medical school.

Example of this concept:

Tommy is a brand-new M1, freshly accepted and ready to rock. In undergrad Tommy placed emphasis on his English degree, which is his passion outside medicine. This garnered the interest of the admissions committee so it did help him stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Now, Tommy didn't take any upper level biology classes such as immunology, microbiology, pharmacology, molecular biology, etc. Sitting through his first week of classes, Tommy realizes that medical school is a whole new ball game. There are 4 lectures worth of difficult material pretty much everyday. It's not like undergrad where fluffy filler courses make it easier to prioritize studying, although, he wishes it was because he studies constantly. Tommy looks at his lectures and knows almost nothing he is reading, and the professor goes through the information in a way that is much like drinking water out of a fire hose.... without really touching the foundational knowledge, but always skipping to key points that may be difficult to understand conceptually, and in massive amounts of slides... sometimes 100+ slides per lecture. Because Tommy doesn't have experience in these upper level type courses, he is forced to self-teach outside of the provided powerpoints with books that many other students don't have to open, let alone purchase, just so he can conceptually learn the material.


tl;dr
OK, so this is by no means the greatest example ever but I think it at least helps me get my point across. You move at a terrifying speed in medical school. It takes awhile to acclimate to this environment, sometimes people aren't even comfortable with it till 2nd year. Having a good foundational knowledge from upper level bio courses will make this hectic transition easier for you, and you will have more free time to relax and cope with all the crazyness that is medical school.
I knew a med student will come and attack me for saying what I said. Please reread the post very slowly and very carefully. I clearly said students who take upper level bio courses will progress quickly at first, but everyone will be in the same end after MS2. Thus your huge example is useless and a waste of time for both of us. Nice try and be careful before going on a rant.

It helps for MS1 but it is a huge waste of time and stress for nonbio students. Yes, we can hate college bio because it's crap yet still like and do well in medicine. Only ESSENTIAL courses are needed, and from the list, biochem is the only important one. What's CRUCIAL is for students to do well WHAT THEY LIKE and not focus on what MAY HELP for med school.
 
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487806

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You should WANT to take the upper division biology courses if you are planning to study medicine. The undergraduate upper division biology courses are the most basic key concepts of human body that you MUST know. In short, take them if you can fit them into your schedule.
No it's NOT NECESSARY AT ALL. OP clearly stated (and iirc he did well on the MCAT). This is just a subtle version of prestudying for med school. Yes these courses can help for med school but they are the least priority for OP and other guys (like me) who aren't bio majors and who just don't have the time and luxury to take upper level bio courses.

OP, just taking biochem is fine. I echo what gyngyn said before. DO NOT stress yourself out by taking upper level bio courses. Do what you like doing and you'll succeed
 
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I now realize why my colleagues stick to the medical student forums. Ignorance is bliss I suppose....
 
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Would an applicant who HAS taken only bio 1,2 and has NOT taken any upper level bio classes (no genetics, no biochem, no molecular bio, etc) be at a disadvantage in the admissions process? Would it make a different if this applicant had a 13 on the BS section of the MCAT?
Can you be very successful during application season having taken only the intro Bio courses and scoring well on the BS section? Absolutely. (Congrats on rocking the BS btw if you did score a 13!)

Should you take upper level Bio courses before matriculation as preparation? Probably. But I don't think you specifically asked about this.
 

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Would an applicant who HAS taken only bio 1,2 and has NOT taken any upper level bio classes (no genetics, no biochem, no molecular bio, etc) be at a disadvantage in the admissions process? Would it make a different if this applicant had a 13 on the BS section of the MCAT?
Unless the school specifically requires genetics, biochem, or molecular bio, etc, there is no issue with not having taken upper level biology classes. In fact, not doing so can be a point of diversity in an application, as long as you do well or better on the biological sciences section of the MCAT.

That should answer your question. /endthread
 

487806

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I now realize why my colleagues stick to the medical student forums. Ignorance is bliss I suppose....
Speak for yourself. Your views are just opinions, nothing more. At least my arguments are substantiated by more credible members in the forums (no offense to alpinism. I appreciate him a lot but was a little worried and needed some clarification, not a condescending attitude from selfish medical students.)

Unless the school specifically requires genetics, biochem, or molecular bio, etc, there is no issue with not having taken upper level biology classes. In fact, not doing so can be a point of diversity in an application, as long as you do well or better on the biological sciences section of the MCAT.

That should answer your question. /endthread
Finally! Thanks so much. And to deal with these elitist medical students who patronize me for saying otherwise.
 

PreMedOrDead

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And to deal with these elitist medical students who patronize me for saying otherwise.
Don't get me wrong, while it is not an issue in the application process, it certainly does help to have exposure to the basic medical sciences previous to medical school. A lot of these fundamentals arise from upper level biology and chemistry coursework. This experience can alleviate the hell that is MS1/2
 

487806

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Don't get me wrong, while it is not an issue in the application process, it certainly does help to have exposure to the basic medical sciences previous to medical school. A lot of these fundamentals arise from upper level biology and chemistry coursework. This experience can alleviate the hell that is MS1/2
Yes I agree with that. It helps (why is everyone missing this detail that I said THREE TIMES?? Find my post and highlight these words in large bold font before you criticize me. It's ridiculously repetitive.). But those who aren't biology majors just don't have the time or luxury to take those classes during college. My main argument is OP shouldn't worry about this in college. His aim should be to get into med school first and then worry about how to do well.

This is my closing argument.
 
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No one will care. Undergraduate bio is pretty much worthless for medical school. See the fact that the highest acceptance rates go to Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy majors.
 
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Pasmal

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No one will care. Undergraduate bio is pretty much worthless for medical school. See the fact that the highest acceptance rates go to Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy majors.
Not worthless. Very helpful actually. I was a philosophy / biochem double major. They're both great for med school. Mol gen is ridiculously easy now, along with southern blots, energy metabolism, muscle contraction, anatomy agonists/antagonists, erythrocyte membrane structure, to name a few... not worthless.
 
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PreMedOrDead

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Not worthless. Very helpful actually. I was a philosophy / biochem double major. They're both great for med school. Mol gen is ridiculously easy now, along with southern blots, energy metabolism, muscle contraction, anatomy agonists/antagonists, erythrocyte membrane structure, to name a few... not worthless.
Agreed, but depends on the rigor of your undergrad courses and what you put into them.

There were a couple (out of my many) courses that were taught at essentially a medical school level. They were killer, and I mean killer, as an undergrad, but I'm thankful I took them now. Even the ones that were taught much slower give a familiarity that is invaluable.
 
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Would an applicant who HAS taken only bio 1,2 and has NOT taken any upper level bio classes (no genetics, no biochem, no molecular bio, etc) be at a disadvantage in the admissions process? Would it make a different if this applicant had a 13 on the BS section of the MCAT?
Just curious, but why would this be any different for an applicant that hasn't taken upper-level physics courses aside from physics 1 and 2, which is the case for the vast majority of applicants? So no, I highly doubt something as insignificant as this is a deal breaker, especially if you have a 13 on the BS section..
 

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Just curious, but why would this be any different for an applicant that hasn't taken upper-level physics courses aside from physics 1 and 2, which is the case for the vast majority of applicants? So no, I highly doubt something as insignificant as this is a deal breaker, especially if you have a 13 on the BS section..
It isn't (with regard to admissions). Those with less biology background will be seeing some material for the first time in medical school. This gives those who have seen it before a chance to employ their teaching and collaborative skills early on. It quickly becomes an even playing field after that.
 
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It isn't (with regard to admissions). Those with less biology background will be seeing some material for the first time in medical school. This gives those who have seen it before a chance to employ their teaching and collaborative skills early on. It quickly becomes an even playing field after that.
It's nice that you have the patience to go back and explain for like the third time that there are two points being made in this thread, because I do not haha
 

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It's nice that you have the patience to go back and explain for like the third time that there are two points being made in this thread, because I do not haha
So do admissions care if I take upper level biology courses? Will they help me in medical school? What are the odds of me hooking up with Emma Stone and Emma Watson... at the same time?
 
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Yes, admissions cares. A lot. I am not a medical student but I am a postbac with several acceptances to highly ranked programs in this cycle and I can speak on admissions NOW. MCAT 2015 is a big deal and schools are shifting to almost universally recommend and (some) to require biochem and genetics because biochem will be explicitly tested on the new MCAT. You are required to fill in your courses on your secondaries and they even state in the secondary that these courses are recommended. Now granted, if you have a 13 in BIO and you got As in BIO 1/2 you might be fine. However, the caveat rests in all of the schools that are starting to require biochem. Not having biochem is a huge problem because schools are rapidly changing their prereqs as a result of MCAT 2015 so its a guessing game of which school will require it and which won't.

You don't want to have you school list ready and have to change it in June/July because some school required biochem and caught you off guard.
I have seen this happen and its not cool.
 

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Bottom line: Just take what need to get to GET IN to medical school. That equals biochemistry. Honestly, everything else beyond that is not that important for admissions. All that talk about taking all those upper levels to prepare for medical school is lame. Nobody is going to be completely prepared for medical school BUT you want to be completely prepared for medical admissions
 

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I was a psychology major but I took cell biology, biochem, and genetics, and I'm so thankful I did right now. First year is hard as it is, and it definitely helps to have seen the material before, especially with the speed and volume of info that they throw at you.
 
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I have a non-science degree (history), and have only taken the usual pre-reqs. I didn't do all that great on my MCAT overall, but my BS section was a 10 (respectable enough). I have attended 2 interviews so far, and was asked about my courses (or lack thereof) at one. He suggested I take a couple upper division bio classes this spring semester, which would not only help ease transition into med school should I gain an acceptance this cycle, but also help if I am waitlisted (and then I could update schools with a couple of fantastic bio grades in May for a better chance of getting OFF the waitlist!). And, of course, if I don't get in this cycle, it would be a nice addition to next year's application.

The other school, it seems, could really have cared less. I have two more interviews (one next week, one the first week of Jan), so it'll be interesting what is said (if anything) regarding this!

Needless to say, I went home after interview #1, promptly registered for 2 upper division bio classes for January, and will see if I garner an acceptance before then.
 

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I have a non-science degree (history), and have only taken the usual pre-reqs. I didn't do all that great on my MCAT overall, but my BS section was a 10 (respectable enough). I have attended 2 interviews so far, and was asked about my courses (or lack thereof) at one. He suggested I take a couple upper division bio classes this spring semester, which would not only help ease transition into med school should I gain an acceptance this cycle, but also help if I am waitlisted (and then I could update schools with a couple of fantastic bio grades in May for a better chance of getting OFF the waitlist!). And, of course, if I don't get in this cycle, it would be a nice addition to next year's application.

The other school, it seems, could really have cared less. I have two more interviews (one next week, one the first week of Jan), so it'll be interesting what is said (if anything) regarding this!

Needless to say, I went home after interview #1, promptly registered for 2 upper division bio classes for January, and will see if I garner an acceptance before then.
 

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Didn't post well. @ak, was it drexel that asked about upper division?
Yes, it was Drexel! A good chunk of my interview revolved around how I'd handle the workload given that I haven't taken several upper division bio classes in the same semester. Interview went well, though....if it was solely up to him, I think I'd be in. I felt like he was trying to see how I responded so he could have some "ammo" to use in the committee. In short , he said if I didn't get in, it would most likely be because of the lack of classes!
 

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Yes, it was Drexel! A good chunk of my interview revolved around how I'd handle the workload given that I haven't taken several upper division bio classes in the same semester. Interview went well, though....if it was solely up to him, I think I'd be in. I felt like he was trying to see how I responded so he could have some "ammo" to use in the committee. In short , he said if I didn't get in, it would most likely be because of the lack of classes!
Yeah, I figured. I also interviewed there and was asked about lack of upper division courses. I signed up for biochemistry just in case. Gl to you.
 
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What about A&P? Any med students out there who can say whether having anatomy and physiology in undergrad was helpful in med school?
 

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Yes, A&P is one of the most helpful courses you can take as an undergrad. Plus, its nice to see if you enjoy the material or not.
 

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What about A&P? Any med students out there who can say whether having anatomy and physiology in undergrad was helpful in med school?
Very helpful. Not essential but it has saved me a lot of time so far. If your school offers neuro phys try to take that too.
 
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