• AMA with Certified Student Loan Professional

    Join SDN on December 7th at 6:00 PM Eastern as we host Andrew Paulson of StudentLoanAdvice.com for an AMA webinar. He'll be answering your questions about how to best manage your student loans. Register now!

Pass/Fail for non-science courses?

medicin

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2006
31
0
    Hey all,

    A friend of mine told me that it would be unwise to take Pass/Fail grading for non-science courses. I have and will be taking all my pre-med courses for a letter grade (I'm a second semester sophomore) and I have taken one government course pass/fail so far. The logic, he tells me, behind why he wouldn't take pass/fail for non-science (non-major) courses is that you don't want to draw any attention to your academic record - (as in having adcoms ponder why i would take it pass/fail). I'm looking moreso at top tier medschools and my friend is probably one of the most competitive applicants I have come across (He's a second sem junior). Now his advice - which in the past has proven to be very useful - seems suspect since I know there are many schools that have pass/fail grading systems - at least for first year (like MIT). I was wondering what insight the SDNers could provide on this matter.

    Thanks.
     

    nimotsu

    荷物
    10+ Year Member
    5+ Year Member
    Nov 21, 2005
    260
    1
    NC
    1. Pre-Medical
      My schools only lets you take 12 hr P/F total in undergrad, and you must take at least 9 graded credit hours to do a class pass/fail after those 9 hours (some restrictions apply!)

      I say hell yeah to P/F.. it's great and can lighten your courseload and help you explore things you would not normally explore because you fear the competition from people in that field of study.
       
      About the Ads

      Law2Doc

      5K+ Member
      Moderator Emeritus
      10+ Year Member
      Dec 20, 2004
      30,880
      10,058
      1. Attending Physician
        medicin said:
        Hey all,

        A friend of mine told me that it would be unwise to take Pass/Fail grading for non-science courses. I have and will be taking all my pre-med courses for a letter grade (I'm a second semester sophomore) and I have taken one government course pass/fail so far. The logic, he tells me, behind why he wouldn't take pass/fail for non-science (non-major) courses is that you don't want to draw any attention to your academic record - (as in having adcoms ponder why i would take it pass/fail). I'm looking moreso at top tier medschools and my friend is probably one of the most competitive applicants I have come across (He's a second sem junior). Now his advice - which in the past has proven to be very useful - seems suspect since I know there are many schools that have pass/fail grading systems - at least for first year (like MIT). I was wondering what insight the SDNers could provide on this matter.

        Thanks.

        2 or 3 P/F courses in nonessential courses should be fine, if you must. I think I had one or two over the course of my 4 years. Just be sure to spread them out and not take them all in the same semester. If I were an adcom, I would not be as impressed with eg. an A in orgo if you just took the orgo and 3 P/F courses in the same semester, than if you took it in the same pressure situation as everyone else.
         

        Mizuno

        Member
        15+ Year Member
        Dec 9, 2005
        41
        2
        39
        1. Attending Physician
          Law2Doc said:
          2 or 3 P/F courses in nonessential courses should be fine, if you must. I think I had one or two over the course of my 4 years. Just be sure to spread them out and not take them all in the same semester. If I were an adcom, I would not be as impressed with eg. an A in orgo if you just took the orgo and 3 P/F courses in the same semester, than if you took it in the same pressure situation as everyone else.

          at hopkins, your first semester is entirely p/f so that was pretty sweet.

          i think you should do p/f for really non-essential classes that you want to take (ie: into to photography, into to music, dancing 101, anthropology and you)
          basically stuff that has nothing to do with your major and does not really test your academic prowess...

          btw... if you're a top notch candidate, you have a lot more leeway on how many p/f classes you want to take. one of my friends was the man: 3.9+gpa, 38 MCAT, spectacular EC's and research, and obviously great LOR's. He graduated a semester early and had 4 p/f classes out of 5 for his last semester. and yea... he had his pick of med schools (michigan offerred a full ride at his interview)
           

          minah86

          Senior Member
          15+ Year Member
          Aug 21, 2005
          251
          0
            This may sound stupid, but I am a freshman...how do you get a class to have the Pass/Fail option? Do you have to request it, or is it already built into the class and you just have to look out for those classes?

            EDIT: Also, how does the pass/fail get factored into your GPA?
             

            medicin

            Junior Member
            10+ Year Member
            5+ Year Member
            Jan 8, 2006
            31
            0
              mmm. thanks guys.

              yeah, i took one last semester in government (im a bio major) and want to take another one this semester. I'm taking orgo II, phys II, biochem, research and one other course. I really don't want to take it for a letter grade so i can focus on the science courses. It's not likely ill take another one until senior year, or maybe one more next sem.
               

              Mizuno

              Member
              15+ Year Member
              Dec 9, 2005
              41
              2
              39
              1. Attending Physician
                minah86 said:
                This may sound stupid, but I am a freshman...how do you get a class to have the Pass/Fail option? Do you have to request it, or is it already built into the class and you just have to look out for those classes?

                EDIT: Also, how does the pass/fail get factored into your GPA?

                if you add classes by paper, there should be a column that says p/f and you check on that...
                if you add classes online, there should be an option to click on to say p/f...

                if that doesn't work... just go to your registrar within a week or 2 of the start of classes and request it to be p/f.
                they will only do it if it's a class that's not required for your major (ie no p/f a chem class for a chem major)

                i'm not really sure about how a class p/f would be counted towards your gpa. my guess would be that for example, you've taken 70 credits for a grade and just recently took a 3 credit class p/f... your gpa would be calculated with your total gpa points (points you can only get from a grade) / 70 (your total gpa credits). so p/f does not hurt or help you, think of it as an exemption from a final.
                 

                minah86

                Senior Member
                15+ Year Member
                Aug 21, 2005
                251
                0
                  Mizuno said:
                  if you add classes by paper, there should be a column that says p/f and you check on that...
                  if you add classes online, there should be an option to click on to say p/f...

                  if that doesn't work... just go to your registrar within a week or 2 of the start of classes and request it to be p/f.
                  they will only do it if it's a class that's not required for your major (ie no p/f a chem class for a chem major)

                  i'm not really sure about how a class p/f would be counted towards your gpa. my guess would be that for example, you've taken 70 credits for a grade and just recently took a 3 credit class p/f... your gpa would be calculated with your total gpa points (points you can only get from a grade) / 70 (your total gpa credits). so p/f does not hurt or help you, think of it as an exemption from a final.


                  Thanks a lot
                   

                  Risa

                  like Lisa with an R
                  10+ Year Member
                  5+ Year Member
                  Aug 31, 2005
                  1,237
                  0
                  1. Medical Student
                    medicin said:
                    Hey all,

                    A friend of mine told me that it would be unwise to take Pass/Fail grading for non-science courses. I have and will be taking all my pre-med courses for a letter grade (I'm a second semester sophomore) and I have taken one government course pass/fail so far. The logic, he tells me, behind why he wouldn't take pass/fail for non-science (non-major) courses is that you don't want to draw any attention to your academic record - (as in having adcoms ponder why i would take it pass/fail). I'm looking moreso at top tier medschools and my friend is probably one of the most competitive applicants I have come across (He's a second sem junior). Now his advice - which in the past has proven to be very useful - seems suspect since I know there are many schools that have pass/fail grading systems - at least for first year (like MIT). I was wondering what insight the SDNers could provide on this matter.

                    Thanks.

                    I think I've taken a pass/fail class every semester. They're fabulous. Go for it.
                     

                    lorelei

                    SDN Angel
                    5+ Year Member
                    15+ Year Member
                    Apr 12, 2004
                    526
                    3
                    St. Louis
                    1. Medical Student
                      I would think it would depend on what classes you took pass/fail and what other classes you took. For example, if you're taking a normal premed schedule but you also want to branch out a bit and take photography one semester, and cryptography another semester, and acting another semester, go ahead and take all those classes pass/fail if you want to. It's enrichment.

                      But for classes you'd normally take (freshman English, intro psych, etc), I wouldn't pass/fail very many of them. That could make it look like you HAD to use pass/fail in order to handle enough classes to be a full-time student. Of course if you have one or two really rough semesters you might wish to use pass/fail to give yourself a break, but I wouldn't do that more than a couple times.
                       
                      About the Ads
                      This thread is more than 15 years old.

                      Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

                      1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
                      2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                      3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                      4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
                      5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
                      6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                      7. This thread is locked.