Feb 7, 2010
152
5
41
Status
Pre-Medical
1. I am a freshman at UCI
2. From what i have read both on here and heard elsewhere, LEARN the material while you are taking the course and learn for the knowledge not for the A.

With those two premises, i pose forth a question...

I am taking Physics during the third quarter of my freshman year. According to the plan advised by the Biological Sciences department, physics should be taken during the third year. Clearly i am not following this plan. And What about calculus. Most Medical schools want to see calculus done in college and do not accept AP credit. When is the best time to take Calculus during one's university education or does it not matter?


What do you guys think?

Is physics tough on the MCAT?

If i take Physics almost one year in advance, relative to the plan advise by the School of Biological Sciences, would that be a wise move?

I understand that no matter how "fresh" the material be in your head, you will still need to review. So does it honesly matter when you take whichever class as long as you comprehensively learn the material and put it into your long term memory?
 

SN2ed

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 27, 2007
7,545
193
281
Status
Resident [Any Field]
It sounds like your adviser is aiming for a summer after junior year MCAT test date. That's not a bad plan as long as you don't mind applying after your senior year. It's actually pretty good because you won't have to worry about interviews and tests conflicting with each other. However, you should be able to finish all of your pre-reqs in your first two years, including calculus.

If you want to apply to medical school during your senior year (and go directly to medical school after college), you should finish those pre-reqs before your junior year. You will also need to build up your ECs before you apply. In this scenario, you will be aiming for an MCAT test date the summer after your sophomore year.

Whether physics is tough or not on the MCAT depends entirely on your physics understanding. It does make up about half of your PS score (tests usually favor gen chem or physics slightly), so it's very important.
 
Feb 7, 2010
152
5
41
Status
Pre-Medical
If you want to apply to medical school during your senior year (and go directly to medical school after college), you should finish those pre-reqs before your junior year. You will also need to build up your ECs before you apply. In this scenario, you will be aiming for an MCAT test date the summer after your sophomore year.
YOu mean If i want to apply to medical school during the end of my junior year?
 

SN2ed

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 27, 2007
7,545
193
281
Status
Resident [Any Field]
YOu mean If i want to apply to medical school during the end of my junior year?
Yes, though both are right. You start the application season in June after your junior year. Then, the whole application season ends the July/August after you graduate. So you'll be doing interviews during your senior year.
 

BioBA

7+ Year Member
May 27, 2009
84
0
141
Status
Medical Student
From my experience, make sure that OChem 2 is one of the last classes you take before the MCAT. That way you won't have to worry about re-memorizing reaction mechanisms and can focus on other things.
 

pdxjazz

10+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2009
211
1
41
Status
Medical Student
1. I am a freshman at UCI
2. From what i have read both on here and heard elsewhere, LEARN the material while you are taking the course and learn for the knowledge not for the A.

With those two premises, i pose forth a question...

I am taking Physics during the third quarter of my freshman year. According to the plan advised by the Biological Sciences department, physics should be taken during the third year. Clearly i am not following this plan. And What about calculus. Most Medical schools want to see calculus done in college and do not accept AP credit. When is the best time to take Calculus during one's university education or does it not matter?


What do you guys think?

Is physics tough on the MCAT?

If i take Physics almost one year in advance, relative to the plan advise by the School of Biological Sciences, would that be a wise move?

I understand that no matter how "fresh" the material be in your head, you will still need to review. So does it honesly matter when you take whichever class as long as you comprehensively learn the material and put it into your long term memory?
I chose not to use my high school AP calculus for the same reason and received general science credit for it instead. I took it again in my freshman year, although it probably does not really matter. I wanted it in my freshman year since I had 2 other science classes with labs (bio and gen chem) and wanted to push physics (with lab) out to my sophomore year to take along with org chem (with lab). I feel 3 science classes with labs in the same semester is too much and this way I have managed to keep my gpa up.
 

Drexon

10+ Year Member
Apr 26, 2007
138
3
241
Southern California
Status
Medical Student
Let's sit back and re-evaluate some things here...
from what i gather you're trying to take physics in your freshman year. I'm going to assume you're going to take the non-calculus based physics that all the bio majors take.
It's good that you want to learn for the sake of learning and not get an A .. but let's be realistic here. You need to be aiming for that A regardless of your intentions. You need the highest GPA possible. Unless you're planning on finishing your physics series over the summer at uci via summer school.. you'll be finishing up physics in your second year. During that time @ uci you'll be going through the "weeding class" of the UCI program.
I dont think that's wise.. unless you've been getting high marks thus far and you're on top of the game. But also as a freshman taking a physics course where typically mostly everyone is a 3 or 4th year might be though. don't forget those students who made it to the 3/4 year of college have passed the weeder classes.
I've noticed that as i progressed through my college career that the curve typically shifts more and more to the right because a lot of people started to get weeded out by the program. keep that in mind...

as for physics on the mcat
no it's not that hard... it's not calc based physics and just requires algebra.
they don't ask you crazy concepts or anything. it's stuff that you've learned both in class and in your mcat physics review.

bottom line i think you should just slow it down and just enjoy your experience. plus you've got other things to start worrying about.. doing research, volunteering, etc you've got a lot more on our plate than just finishing physics early...
best of luck!
 

MegaSpectacular

Removed
Dec 27, 2009
321
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Plan for ultimate success...

Take all courses

Throw in some genetics, biochem, anatomy/physiology

Take entire 3 months off to study with SN2's materials.

Rock the MCAT
 

pdxjazz

10+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2009
211
1
41
Status
Medical Student
Drexon raises a valid point about the curve possibly shifting and that should be considered when thinking about moving your physics class up. In my school, the calculus based physics is typically taken during the freshman year (EGR, PHY, etc. majors) while BIO majors take algebra based physics during the sophomore year so nobody really worries about the curve shift for basic physics.

I would think hard about taking the MCAT after your junior year. When the MCAT was only given a couple times a year, taking it after the sophomore year made sense. Since the AAMC has moved to computer based tests and currently offers them on 26 dates from January through September, you should have no problem taking a spring or early summer test and applying the same summer. This takes the pressure off trying to squeeze all the MCAT pre-reqs into the first 2 years and would allow you to take some upper division BIO classes in your junior year such as genetics, anatomy, and physiology that may help you on the MCAT. It would also allow you to take your physics class in your third year and so it will be fresh in your mind for the MCAT.

I am finishing up my junior year and will be taking the MCAT this summer, which allows me a couple months of studying after school is out (and keeps my grades up by not studying for the MCAT during school). I am also applying this summer for fall 2011 admissions.

I would suggest mapping out all your 4 year college courses and try to arrange them strategically so you have a balance of harder and easier classes together. Keeping up your GPA is critical, and there is a debate on SDN if it is more or less important than the MCAT (doesn't really matter as both are important). Plan now when you will take the MCAT so you are not caught offguard and can schedule your classes accordingly (for example if taking a spring MCAT you don't want a heavy class load during that semester).