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Dec 4, 2020
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I am a very good student — I have gotten all As with 2 A- in my undergrad years — giving me a GPA of 3.98. I am struggling in general microbiology with a professor that is on the autism spectrum. He communicates poorly and his exam questions are not only all coming from out of left field, but they are impossible to study for — I've tried. Right now I am really not sure if I will even be able to get a B. I am thinking about switching the grading from A-F to S/N (my university's pass/fail system). Will changing the grading hurt my chances of getting into a competitive medical school? I just simply cannot manage to do well. I know the material — I know microbiology, but it's all the professor. The average in the class if like 65% and he refuses to curve anything and will not be curving the class at the end of the semester. It's frustrating and I don't think a B-/B reflects my knowledge one bit.

It’s not a medical school pre-req and it’s not required for my major. It will also be my only pass/fail course — other than my seminar classes which are only offered P/F.

How much harm will a P/F class do to my medical school chances at T20 schools in particular?
 
Last edited:
Jan 11, 2020
34
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step 1, take a breath, one B will not hurt. no adcoms will look at your transcript, spot the B, and say "this person is toast. go next." take the grade.
 

KnightDoc

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Mar 14, 2019
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  1. Pre-Medical
I am a very good student — I have gotten all As with 2 A- in my undergrad years — giving me a GPA of 3.98. I am struggling in general microbiology with a professor that is on the autism spectrum. He communicates poorly and his exam questions are not only all coming from out of left field, but they are impossible to study for — I've tried. Right now I am really not sure if I will even be able to get a B. I am thinking about switching the grading from A-F to S/N (my university's pass/fail system). Will changing the grading hurt my chances of getting into a competitive medical school? I just simply cannot manage to do well. I know the material — I know microbiology, but it's all the professor. The average in the class if like 65% and he refuses to curve anything and will not be curving the class at the end of the semester. It's frustrating and I don't think a B-/B reflects my knowledge one bit.

It’s not a medical school pre-req and it’s not required for my major. It will also be my only pass/fail course — other than my seminar classes which are only offered P/F.

How much harm will a P/F class do to my medical school chances at T20 schools in particular?
Honestly, I am not an adcom, but I have seen this very question asked and answered so many times that I feel like I could be one, at least with respect to this! :) You are TOTALLY fine either way, so just do whatever makes you happy.

A P will probably be viewed as a C, because only the most neurotic among us would go to the trouble to mask a B, but, with a 3.98, you are in GREAT shape, regardless of whether you get a B, C or S. If I knew I was cruising for a C, I'd take the S due to the optics, but if a 3.98 will make you happier than a 3.95 (assuming a B), then go for it either way. (Personally, I don't think there is any shame in a B, so I wouldn't want to risk anyone assuming a C when I actually got a B, and I'd take the slight hit to my GPA. YMMV.)

I promise you, based on all the advice given over the past few years from adcoms at T20s, this one course will have ZERO impact on your chances, regardless of your GPA, and certainly not with a 3.98.
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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May 26, 2018
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I am a very good student — I have gotten all As with 2 A- in my undergrad years — giving me a GPA of 3.98. I am struggling in general microbiology with a professor that is on the autism spectrum. He communicates poorly and his exam questions are not only all coming from out of left field, but they are impossible to study for — I've tried. Right now I am really not sure if I will even be able to get a B. I am thinking about switching the grading from A-F to S/N (my university's pass/fail system). Will changing the grading hurt my chances of getting into a competitive medical school? I just simply cannot manage to do well. I know the material — I know microbiology, but it's all the professor. The average in the class if like 65% and he refuses to curve anything and will not be curving the class at the end of the semester. It's frustrating and I don't think a B-/B reflects my knowledge one bit.

It’s not a medical school pre-req and it’s not required for my major. It will also be my only pass/fail course — other than my seminar classes which are only offered P/F.

How much harm will a P/F class do to my medical school chances at T20 schools in particular?
What will be your explanation if asked why you went for P/F? If you have a good answer go for it.
 

EdgeTrimmer

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May 26, 2018
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What would be a good explanation? Not only for the original post but also in general...
May be you can say it's not a required course and you were not sure how much time you can dedicate to the course so took it as P/F. Don't ever say you did it because you didn't like the instructor.
 
May 27, 2020
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I dont think you need to explain a single pass fail grade. No one is going to think about or notice it.
 
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