careerchngr

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Anyone have any info on the Northwestern pre-health professions post bacc classes? Difficulty of classes and quality of teachers etc? I am specifically referring to the pre-req classes in bio, orgo, physics offered in the evening. Also scheduling wise, how did those of you complete the pre-reqs? Thanks, any help would be appreciated!
 

DrinkSKYY

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careerchngr said:
Anyone have any info on the Northwestern pre-health professions post bacc classes? Difficulty of classes and quality of teachers etc? I am specifically referring to the pre-req classes in bio, orgo, physics offered in the evening. Also scheduling wise, how did those of you complete the pre-reqs? Thanks, any help would be appreciated!
I have been enrolled in Northwestern's post-bac program since last summer and am now taking orgo 2 and bio 2 at nights. I was a mechanical engineer in college, though I never used my degree. I decided to go back to medical school and didn't want to relocate for prereqs - Northwestern seemed like the biggest name in town, so that's where I went.

I can agree that the courses at Northwestern are outstanding. The faculty holds the post-bacs to the same standards as they do the undergrad day students. The orgo section is typically taught by the same professor who's known for being challenging and extremely adept as his explanations (if you can imagine the Socratic method applied to a discussion on carbocations, then you have the right idea).

The biology sequence is also challening. The sequence is set up such that a variety of 200-level texts are used for each major topic (genetics, cellular bio, biochem, phys, etc), such that you get detailed exposure to most topics. In fact, quite a bit of what is taught is beyond the scope of the MCAT (which, paradoxically, I feel helps quite a bit with the actual test). The down side to this, however, is that you spend a lot of money on books (~$1000 for new books) and that some topics on the mcat are left unaddressed (due to the extreme detail of the ones that are covered). The instructors definately do not view MCAT preparation as part of their agenda - they are much more interested in imparting knowledge of their subject area to a high degree, which I've come to fully appreciate.

There are some other frustrations with scheduling and a feeling that the post-bac students are second-class to the day students at times. For example, the library does not offer extended hours during our exam week, which is different than that of the day students. This problem will be fixed next year when the two schedules are set to align. In general, the administration for the post-bac program is poor, but it doesn't affect me on a day-to-day basis.

Also, Northwestern isn't too big on curving classes - getting an A is extremely difficult. In the first Bio section, 30+ of the 70 students dropped, so the class ended up with a straight scale and ~5 A's. Orgo was only slightly curved. From what I've heard though, med schools take this into account and a B+ at Northwestern speaks more loudly than an A at a community college.

Lastly, I'm taking the MCAT this april. Because I'm working and taking these classes, I haven't had much time to study, and have not taken any formal test prep. I took a practice test (old mcat, forget which) in January, and then another last week (version 7) and scored 34's on both with no studying beyond what I'd learned in these classes. (I am not taking physics now, as I did it in undergrad). I'd recommend the Northwestern program strongly.