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Discussion in 'Postbaccalaureate Programs' started by Fantastik19, Dec 17, 2005.
What are your thoughts on taking Orgo Chem over the summer 06?
like a never ending party
I did it this past summer...
What exactly did you want to know about it?
Was it do-able... do you think that one would do better if taking it over the summer or during the school yr with other classes? Is it too fast and intense during the summer?
-thats basically what i wanted to know
Organic Chemistry is evil. Pure Evil...........just like the MCATS. It was designed to ruin your life.
I'll be doing that too but for orgo 2. I think it'll be a blast!
Seriously though, I know I'll have my head buried in my orgo book but it shouldn't be too bad...imagine med school where classes are like that throughout the year. utterly awesome.
At least you won't have to worry about it during the normal school year.....plus the summer class will likely be much smaller so you can more individual attention from the prof
Definitely do it...I know too many people who took orgo 1 in the spring and then had forgotten everything by the time they took orgo 2 in the fall. Trust me..cramming it all into 6 weeks or so is A LOT better than having to suffer through it for 16 weeks! (or however long a semester is)
I took both 1 and 2 over 9 weeks in summer 2004. I made the mistake of taking the lab along with it. My day consisted of four days of 3.5 hours of lecture, 4 hours of lab. Every Friday was a unit exam. Of the 40 some people who took the class, about 30 were usually in the library all night on Thursday--it was literally the only way to do well. I mean it. At the end of the day you're tired, worn out and even if you manage some review, it wont be enough to ace the exams since so much of Orgo is based on memorizing mechanisms (don't even kid yourself about 'understanding' how the mechanisms work in a summer session--there just isnt enough time, memorize it and move on), so you will inevitably be forced to pull all-nighters regularly. If you can skip the lab, it becomes a little easier. Its probably the most horrendous thing I've ever done. Then again, med school, I understand, is basically two years of something similar, so you may as well put yourself through it.
A note about the previous poster about forgetting the material in Orgo 1: Orgo II is really where the brunt of the mechanisms rear their ugly head. Orgo I is mostly conceptual, and once you understand it, it sticks. So dont worry about forgetting anything from Orgo 1 over summer.
This is definately not good advice..hmm lets see 16 weeks of material in 6 weeks..
I agree one hundred percent with Sundarban. Taking a summer school class in mathematics or a rigorous science class is hell. Just to break it down, most academic years consist of around 32 weeks. If you take summer session organic 1 and 2, you are learning 32 weeks of material in 7 weeks. This is not a good move especially for a prerequisite course for medical school.
An additional thing to consider, the add/drop period over the summer comes and goes very fast. In most cases, you do not have many exams under your belt by the time the deadline comes, thus you may make a hasty decision to stay in the class. Some points to ponder.
Furthermore, if you are a figure skater, don't even try to apply to UMASS medical school.
Also, isn't the summer orgo session about $6,000? You could buy a very nice motorcycle for that...
As many of the previous posters have said, I agree that summer session orgo would be a bad idea. For the amount of problems that you will have to do in order to fully understand the material, there aren't enough hours in the day. Orgo is much like Physics where problem-solving practice makes perfect. Remember, while rote memorization may get you the decent grade in the course, you don't want to blow your biological science section when it comes time to take your MCAT purely because you didn't retain anything from orgo. If you're able to focus some time solely to orgo in the standard fall/spring system, then you have a shot of actually understanding and retaining much of the material. Then once you ace your MCAT, you can forget all about it
I have to disagree that taking summer Orgo is a patently bad idea and should be avoided at all costs. First, getting an A is entirely possible, it will only require more a more intense effort on your part. If you're capable of getting an A in Orgo during Fall and Spring, you should be able to get an A in summer--there is no more work, or harder work involved. And there are enough hours in the day to get that A, you just have to be dedicated and focused. Second, once you get Orgo out of the way, you will be able to take Biochem which, depending on the comparative sequence of courses, may show up on your transcript before you have to submit AMCAS--an advantage, though a small one.
For the people claiming that you need to have an in-depth understanding of Orgo for the MCAT, well *this* assertion is patently false. As anyone who has taken the MCAT will tell you, there is very little Orgo actually tested, and what is tested is very basic stuff. I got a 12 on Bio last April and I did not memorize or remember a single reaction for the test. I ran out of time before I got that far in my review. Look at the AAMC practice tests 3r through 8--the Orgo tested is very elementary and rarely involves in-depth knowledge of mechanisms. But even if you assume that the test does require this much information, whatever you learn next Fall and Spring will surely be gone by the time you take the test (assuming you dont take it next April) and you will have to re-learn the reactions anyway.
Summer Orgo is a pain, to be sure, but if you have a lot of commitments in Fall and Spring and a tough course load as well, its actually no more work than in the summer. And really, do you want the nagging pain of Orgo exams following you through the entire year if you can get through it over 9 weeks in the summer?
Does summer Orgo cost any more or less than in fall and spring?
There are other reasons for gaining an in-depth understanding of Orgo than just for the MCAT. An in-depth understanding makes so many other classes easier. Cell Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry are so much easier to understand once you have Orgo down. You can't gain that kind of an understanding either from the summer classes. When you try to take in that much material that fast, then you're pushing old material out every time you learn something new. Plus, humans don't have the attention span to sit through more than 2 hours of Orgo per day and retain all of the information. If you are only interested in grades, then SURE-- you can take both in the summer and make an A in them.
$875/semester or $1750 for orgo 1/2 during the year vs. $6000 for orgo 1/2 over the summer. Roughly 1/3 the tuition is worth the wait.
I took Genetics, Cell Bio and Biochem. There was no Orgo involved in either of the first two. Biochem may requre some Orgo, but this will be elementary as well, though there was absolutely no mention of reaction mechanisms in the class I took, and I doubt very seriously that there will be in yours. All reactions are explained in the text anyway. Besides, biochem will not retest your knowledge of reactions from Orgo, rather there will be a series of reactions that form a pathway and you will be required to memorize the sequence of reactants, products and enzymes at each stage and be able to identify the important precursors, rate-limiting steps, coenzymes, et. There is a reason that many schools allow you to skip Orgo II for Biochem--you don't need Orgo II as a pre-req for medical biochem, and since the MCAT has no set pre-reqs for taking the test, you could very well skip Orgo II altogether if you had no intention of applying to schools requiring it. Point being, Orgo is not required to do well in either of three courses mentioned above.
I've already stated my reasons for believing that Orgo for the sake of the MCAT or other bio courses is overrated. Also, some med schools clearly seem to think Orgo II is unnecessary as well. The main benefit from Orgo, in my opinion, is to acclimate yourself to med school. And this simulation is best attained over the summer. Many people describe med school as having to drink out of a fire hydrant--thats exactly what summer orgo is like.
Which school charges 3x as much for a summer class? I would really like to know. Most schools do the opposite, to lure in students to keep the campus from becoming a ghost town. Is it maybe $875 a credit hour?
I'm pretty sure that most evidence indicates that adults learn best when concentrating on focused immersion like setting. Orgo over the summer isn't educationally a bad idea. Just not what you would call summer fun.
Nobody said it was required in order to do well. However, if you really want to underdstand what is going on, then it's a good idea. BTW, if your Genetics and Cell Bio classes didn't have any Orgo in them, then I'd say they sucked. You were unable to experience the complete subject. One other thing I'd like to mention-- Organic Chemistry is a lot more than just reactions. You seem to have some kind of hangup on that. Take a look at the ACS exam in Orgo. Yes, a lot more than just reactions. How did you do? Or did your school even take it? Also look at the ACS exam in Biochem. A huge part of it now is Genetics. All of those subjects interrelate, but you wouldn't be able to understand that if all you were doing was studying just enough to get by. Studying to pass the class and studying to actually gain an understanding in the subject are two different things. Thank God that there are plenty of people who actually took the time to understand it, instead of just getting by, because the medical breakthroughs you see every day would not exist.
This post is remarkable! I have never heard of the ACS exam (I had to google it.) You seem to be enamored with their exams, even going so far as denouncing schools that don't use them. If the majority of people on SDN know about it, I would be surprised. As such, I think you are bringing up vague references to defend your fragile argument, which was originally that a sound understanding of Orgo was required to do well in other classes, and one that I disagreed with, though in a more civilized manner. Saying that my cell bio and genetics classes sucked is hardly an effective counter argument. My instructors were extremely competent and made up their own tests which were mostly essay based and which I, and most of the class, found pretty challenging. Though they probably were not ACS exams, I don't think I suffered for it.
I don't focus on reactions, but they do form the majority of Orgo II no matter where you take it. And I never denied that Genetics, Cell Bio and Biochem are interrelated. But thats not the issue. You choose to claim that a thorough knowledge of Orgo is essential to succeed in those classes, and the fact is, its simply not. That the material is related is immaterial when considering the merits of Orgo. Its a completely separate argument.
Also insinuations that all I was doing was enough to get by are pretty low and rather pathetic since you know nothing about me or my academic record. I did well in post-bacc and well on the MCAT and I studied dilligently for the sake of med school. I did not, however, study dilligently enough for the purposes of uncovering new breakthroughs that push the frontiers of science--something you apparently consider a virtue. My goal was to matriculate to med school and do well once there, which to me was noble enough. Again, calling into question my dilligence seems to be a weak attempt at diverting the argument from something you originally brought up--you say a thorough understanding of Orgo is essential, I say it isnt. My own experience in upper level bio classes (granted I didnt take them at an MIT or a Cal Tech as you seem to have), the MCAT and the first semester of the MAMS program at BU forms the basis of that opinion. You may choose to disagree, but at least have the courage to do so in a respectful manner.
Three times you stated that I said Orgo was either "required" or "essential". I already told you that I didn't say that in my last post. Why do you continue to argue that I did? Did you even read what I said? What I said was:
"Cell Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry are so much easier to understand once you have Orgo down."
How many more times do I have to tell you that I didn't say that before you actually take the time to look up the facts?
In Genetics, understanding the bonds that create DNA is something that is much easier if you have had it in Orgo. In Cell, understanding signal transduction due to the knowledge you gained in Orgo is a lot easier than just trying to memorize the pathways. Every process in Biochem is enhanced by the knowledge you gain in Orgo. No, I'll say again, Orgo is not "essential", but is sure as heck makes it a lot easier.
Its not an immense leap to presume that a course is required if it is also claimed that completion of said course will make future courses a whole lot easier. If I had not taken Orgo and was trolling SDN for advice on the matter, it wouldnt be hard for me to confuse the two. Isnt that, after all, the basis of having pre-req courses? In theory, general chem isnt technically required to succeed in Orgo, with the handful of concepts such as bonding, electrostatic interactions et. being covered in the first few chapters of any Orgo text. But taking general chem sure as heck makes Orgo a lot easier, doesnt it? Orgo is not a pre-req for Genetics and Cell Bio at most schools and for good reason--you don't need it. Biochem, perhaps, but as I've said before, many schools would prefer that you skip Orgo II for biochem, so it can't be as important as you think.
Speaking of which, if I claim that you called Orgo essential its because you've used every manner of argument to defend your assertion that Orgo makes other classes a lot easier--so vehemently (choosing to berate the classes I took and the level of my understanding of the material) that it would seem obvious that your stance was either rooted in a deep-seated belief that Orgo was essential to succeeding in upper level bio, or just an asinine attempt at a retort. Choosing to be more congenial, I gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed the former. Clearly, I was wrong.
You can split hairs and present even finer reformations of your initial argument, but I still stand by what I wrote: I got A's in every upper level bio class I took (in some fairly rigorous classes), did well on the MCAT and am doing well, now, in med school courses. I do not believe you need Orgo to either understand the science (and not just at a superficial level which you claim will occur without Orgo) or to do well (by which I mean getting an A since grades are the only objective measure of performance regardless of how much you despise them, and you seem to, at least based on your contempt for people--apparently, like me--who only are 'only studying enough to get by.')
The only legitimate argument you have, is to claim that my opinion is merely a result of my own anectodal experiences, and you would be right. But then, I could just as easily claim the same of you.
English is makes the course easier if you are studying in the English language. Mathematics also helps at some points as well. It WOULD, however, be an immense leap for you to assume that I think those are "required" courses just because I think they are helpful.
As for your argument that "general chem isnt technically required to succeed in Orgo"...I can't say that I've heard a sillier statement in quite a while. There are much much than a "handful of concepts" that you need to know, and know well, before you can understand Orgo. If you don't learn the basic principle in General Chem you could still probably pass the course, but it would be extrememely difficult. Why would you want to go through that? Or are you just coming up with silly arguments because your ego has been bruised? Did someone bother to question your judgement and are you now feeling like you have to argue some point, any point, just to prove your manhood?
BTW, Orgo IS a prereq for Cell, Genetics, and Biochem at my school and at many others because they ALL use principles that you learn, and are expected to already understand, in Organic Chemistry. Some schools don't just memorize the pathways-- they study the reactions as well because you develop a deeper understanding of the subject. I feel sorry for you for not having classes that are comprehensive. Of course, like you said, if you are making A's, isn't that the only important thing?
More antedotal evidnce that Orgo is just not that important for success in upper division science courses.
I received an A+ in my orgo 2 class. I'm now completing a master's in Bio. Although there may be some conceptual benefit from having a strong Orgo backgound, it really just seems to matter extremely seldomly if at all. Actually, I usually think of myself as an educational purist, & I'm hard pressed to think of a single example where orgo was genuinely helpful.
If anyone has an example, I really would be interested.
Let's go into Genetics where you study DNA. Let's just look at the simple structure--What is a pyrimidine? Cytosine is a 4-amino-2-oxo derivative of pyrimidine. What does that mean? Pyrimidines are basic in nature. What does that mean? Because pyrimidines are planar, they are able to stack. What is planar? Pyrimidines are hydrophobic, making them stick together and stabilize DNA. But they pentose-phosphate backbone is hydrophyllic. Why is one hydrophyllic and the other hydrophobic? Pyrymidines are conjugated, causing them to absorb UV light at 260nm. What's that mean? OK, so the base attaches to the sugar by dehydration. What's that? Why does it usually attach at N-1? OK, the rule is A bonds with T and C with G, but why?
All of those are questions that you can answer with Organic Chemistry. Sure you can just memorize the facts, and even make an A, but for a thorough understanding of the subject, a little background in Orgo goes a long way. Of course it helps at test time too. If you've been studying (memorizing) the notes from the Powerpoint in class, but didn't have time to get to the last couple of pages, an understanding of Orgo might just help you answer some of them correctly. When DNA denatures, which regions denature first? Maybe I didn't study that part of the lecture, but it makes sense that the A-T regions would go first because there can only be two hydrogen bonds due to steric hindrance and adenine's lack of a carbonyl group. Would you really understnd all that without Orgo?
You all have been very enlightening... I'm going to take Orgo over the summer though (with no lab)...then take the lab in the Fall. It will enable me to completely focus on the MCAT next Spring. My bf took the MCAT and he said you just need org1 for it. Either way... I can always sit in on an Orgo class to get a better retention of it. I 'm going to do that for bio since I took it so long ago.
It is like he said, you really don't need a lot of Orgo for the MCAT. They recently dropped a section of it, but they did add some Genetics, so you might want to re-read some on that from your basic Biology courses. When you do take the Orgo lab, though, spend some time on it. Most people just look at it as a apin in the rear, but a quite a few of the MCAT questions have to deal with laboratory stuff. For instance, the passage will explain an experiment and ask questions about which layer was the organic one, or what was the first precipitant, or what could have been done to decrease the reaction time. Although there is still some of it that is theory; it's more "hand's on" type questions.
New SDN rule. A debate which requires more than three replies and still results in nobody understanding what the argument is about will result in a battle to the death between the argumentative parties with plastic spoons.
Anywho, I'm toying with this summer orgo idea as well. We're not all aiming for 100% mastery of this stuff -- just enough to get us by until we get to the meat of our medical training. Argument one is that this meat is a lot easier to swallow with a solid grasp of organic chemistry. Point taken. Valid argument and one that everyone seems to agree enough with. Argument two is that the people who would be discussing summer orgo on a post-baccalaureate forum are probably people who just want to get these pre-reqs out of the way asap. I know I'm in that boat. If taking orgo over the summer requires sacrificing the ideal of knowledge for its own sake in exchange for 6 years as an undergrad instead of 7 then I will be taking Orgo over the summer.
Now my question. Hard A, that's for sure. Is it doable while studying for the MCAT (or in my case, the DAT)? I'm aiming for an August test-date. Junebuguf, did you take your summer orgo at UF? Or down at Miami or somewhere else. I'm shooting for a Gainesville summer and would love any suggestions.
This is a great post . Seldom has a SDN post actually lead me to reconsider my opinion. I'm kind of busy, but plan to post my perspective on this when things settle down. But I just decided to order the updated version of my Biochem text.
Actually, I think it's a wonderful idea for an August test date because you are, in effect, studying for the DAT at the same time that you are studying for your Orgo class (After all, Orgo is part of the Natural Sciences section). I wonder about anyone's ability to retain so much information, but there really isn't THAT much Orgo on the MCAT anymore. I have no idea, though, how much is on the DAT. I can't imagine it would be more than 1/3 of the Natural Sciences section.
I wouldn't take any other classes, though. Instead, I would pretend that I'm taking another class-- DAT 101-- and try to spend at least as much time studying the other subjects (Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Reasoning, etc.) as you do on Orgo. I took General Chem in the summer and didn't do much else. With all the labs (three a week to follow the requirements for ACS accreditaion) it was pretty time consuming. Good Luck!!!
DAT 101. I like it!