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Recommended coursework for MCAT 2015???

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by DoctorLane, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. DoctorLane

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    I have the ability to enroll in 8 courses prior to starting my 3-month PR/KP review. I was considering finishing a ninth course (Physics II, in the summer, while simultaneously studying the PR/KP)

    I am planning on taking:

    Fall:

    Bio I
    Gen Chem I
    Organic I
    Pre calc/w trig (for physics)

    Spring:

    Molecular Bio
    Gen Chem II
    Physics I
    Biochemistry

    Does this seem like a good course plan in order to effectively manage the material for the 2015 MCAT?

    If not, does anyone have recommendations for a course list?

    Thank you, in advance.
     
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  3. Ad2b

    Ad2b SDN Gold Donor
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    eh... how are you taking organic with gen chem? Typically, you CANNOT take orgo until AFTER gen chem II.
     
  4. DoctorLane

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    I was given permission to override this issue by the Dean.
     
  5. Ad2b

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    May I ask why you would want to do that?
     
  6. gothicfoxes

    gothicfoxes MD & MPH goals
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    Don't forget sociology & psych.
     
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  7. jedi silva

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    I second this.


    Also I wouldn't recommend doing orgo I without some gen chem. For me personally, I wouldn't be able to get through the reaction mechanisms without knowing about periodic trends (electronegativity and atom sizes), gibbs free energy, basic acid base chemistry, and molecular orbital theory.
     
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  8. DoctorLane

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    I have an opportunity that I would like to take advantage of. In order to do so, I will need to take the MCAT in September of 2016.

    To comfortably complete the courses needed to score well, which I listed in the beginning of the thread, I designed that course load.

    I'm not sure what else I can do or should do.

    I will be learning concepts and terminology of Sociology and Psychology on my own time over winter break (unless I can find a course).

    If anyone has actually taken the new MCAT, I would appreciate feedback. Thank you.
     
  9. jedi silva

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    also do NOT underestimate how time intensive your labs will be. I would stretch your schedule out for 3 or 4 semesters
     
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  10. Ad2b

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    I think many presume that because gen chem is "just" math and orgo is "just" memorizing, it's okay to take them together.

    The schedule also doesn't take into consideration:

    labs which are time consuming
    math class which is time consuming
    orgo which is time consuming
     
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  11. gothicfoxes

    gothicfoxes MD & MPH goals
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    Agreed. Gen chem is a prerequisite for a reason. If you truly think you can handle it, consult the head of the chem department. The dean of your school might not be aware of the necessity of the chem sequence.

    My suggestion (if you truly need these done in 2 semesters, but like the others said, you should stretch it out):
    Fall:
    Bio I
    Gen Chem I
    Physics I
    Pre calc/w trig (for physics)

    Spring:
    Molecular Bio
    Gen Chem II
    Organic I
    Biochemistry

    x
     
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  12. Ad2b

    Ad2b SDN Gold Donor
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    So you have been given the opportunity to be in a BS/MD program? or something? because I cannot imagine what opportunity out there would detract you from doing well in the pre-requisites by demanding you take the MCAT by 9/2016 without the course requirements.

    You read the forum on the psych/soc part and think you can master that over winter break. Okay. I can understand that. It is doable.

    However, you just disenfranchised yourself to a lot of premeds who HAVE taken the courses you inquired about and we ARE taking the MCAT ... now, or soon. WE are telling you it is ill-advised to tackle what you have proposed.

    To do so is at your own peril. As I said to someone else though, your truth is yours alone; ours is ours. I would not do what you suggest, nor would I ever encourage anyone else to do so either.

    I think you set yourself up for failure and worse, disappointment. Is that to say that no one has done what you want to do? I don't know. I cannot think of one person who took orgo with gen chem who had never taken either of them before.

    Oh, and you have to take Physics II...
     
  13. DoctorLane

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    I'm not trying to be rude, but I've already taken some of these courses many years ago. Yes, it will be difficult and yes I do not remember much at this point in time, but I have two semesters and a summer session for coursework. Keep in mind that I will start studying for the MCAT in February, along with my coursework. I'll stretch out the KP or PR for 6 months.

    That is all of the time I have.

    So, in knowing this, I'd be very interested in hearing someone's opinion about what courses (8 or 9 in total) that I NEED in order to be prepared.

    I appreciate your feedback.
     
  14. Ad2b

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    If she / he doesn't have the trig or adv algebra for physics, how would that work? I think the whole schedule is a little borked.
     
  15. DoctorLane

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    Physics I in the spring, Physics II in the summer
     
  16. Ad2b

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    Everyone has given you solid advice. Not one of us has said that looks like a reasonable (or achievable) schedule. Everyone of us has, or is taking the MCAT, soon. Everyone of us has taken most, if not all, the pre-reqs for medical school AND the MCAT.

    Good luck to you. Kaplan alone (or any other MCAT prep) is like a full time class in and of itself. Essentially, you're taking 19 credits of hard sciences and expecting to get A's (I presume; most of us on here are overachieving, neurotic premeds). Yikes.
     
  17. DoctorLane

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    I actually haven't seen one post in this thread that recommended an actual course load.

    I've taken Bio 1/2, chem 1/2 years ago. Considering that, I figured I might be able to be reintroduced to the material with that advantage. I had a 3.86 and wish I would've taken the MCAT 10 years ago. Can't play the, "should've, could've would've" game though.

    There is nothing EASY about this, I realize that. The point is this...

    I have one year to knock out as many courses and prep courses as possible to score above average on the MCAT.

    All I want to know is what coursework is most certainly recommended. I'd prefer an answer from someone who has taken it, rather than from people who are studying for it currently.

    Ideally, I would have time for Bio 1/2, Chem 1/2, Physics 1/2, Orgo 1/2, BioChem, Psych and Sociology. I get that.

    I need to brush up on math prior to physics. At least I am making one smart decision here :)

    I appreciate the feedback and wish everyone studying the best of luck!

    Still hoping to hear from someone who has taken the exam.
     
  18. Ad2b

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    How about an adcom or a practicing physician? Will you listen to them and their advice? GothicFox did you give you a schedule.

    @Goro @gyngyn @Dreamstoo
     
  19. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor
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    I always recommend starting off slowly and advancing as your skills develop.
    Developmental milestones cannot be skipped by even the smartest (or most motivated) student.
     
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  20. DoctorLane

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    I missed that.

    Thank you for the advice @gothicfoxes

    I appreciate everyone's feedback.
     
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  21. Goro

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    Take a year of Chem I before you try a year of Orgo.

    Otherwise, your classmates may have to scrape you off the side of your camplus like a flattened dog.

     
  22. ac62994

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    I think the schedule looks fine. I'm assuming you are a non-trad reviewing for the MCAT or trying to boost your GPA or both? Reviewing - fine. GPA - could suffer.
     
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  23. Ad2b

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    @gyngyn @Goro - thanks for chiming in! Am hopeful she/he will listen to you two, if not us.
     
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  24. BerkReviewTeach

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    A great deal depends on your university. I am assuming some things from the feedback so far, and that is (1) you don't need these classes for a GPA boost and (2) you want the material to be refreshed for the start of your prep course.

    For what it's worth, I've seen students do roughly this same load while powering through a one-year post bac program, and the results have been a wide range. The ones that have done amazingly well have kept a balanced schedule and paired their learning by coupling certain classes. This can be done if you are willing to stick to your plan.

    The course I'm curious about is trig. What you need for physics is fairly straight forward and can be picked up as needed. That allows for some flexibility. You can fill that spot with a self-study course of some sort (again, this assumes you have already done these pre-reqs years ago and don't need the grades). If you do need these classes, keep in mind that med school requires lab courses too. Those can be completed after your MCAT, but some of the theory behind the labs is fair game on the MCAT.

    I know it's going against the grain here, but having seen enough students pull this off and then be on top of most everything in my class and then own the MCAT, I think it can be done if you are committed. And the reality is that the load you're describing is less than a typical medical school block, so it's good to get back into the intensity before you head off to medical school.

    Do you need these classes on your transcript?
     
  25. DoctorLane

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    Yep, you are right on. I will be using the credits to show a recent academic history, but the courses are primarily for the MCAT and to get reacquainted with the subject matter.
     
  26. DoctorLane

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    Thank you for your support and I completely agree with you. I do not necessarily need the classes to add to my transcript, however, I will be using the recent academic history to support my application. To be quite honest, I am extremely committed and I've dealt with a fair share of pressure and stress in deadline driven environments before. Not saying this will be a piece cake, but I want this. Thanks again for the encouragement.
     
  27. Dreamstoo

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    I would just like to clarify, I'm neither an adcom or a practicing physician. Only a pre-med.
     
  28. Ad2b

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    But you took the MCAT... she/he was looking for advice from someone who had actually taken the test recently :)
     
  29. drr0zz0r

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    This is my second post ever on this website, thought I'd chime in. I had a similar schedule to yours but on a quarter system and a bit more time. I, too, had already taken Gen chem sometime in 2006 (!) but decided to retake it for better marks and as a refresher. I had no problem getting back into it and for me, taking it alongside O. chem was very useful. My year's schedule was:

    Fall
    Gen chem 1
    Calc 2
    O. chem 1
    Physics 1

    Winter
    Gen chem 2
    Bio 1
    O Chem 2
    Physics 2

    Spring
    Gen chem 3
    Bio 2
    O chem 3 (my favorite!)
    Physics 3

    Summer
    Bio 3 (yay! only one class this time)

    I took Biochemistry the following winter (because I had the time to) and began studying for the MCAT.

    I did exceptionally well in my classes, with a crapton of hours devoted to studying and LONG hours for O. chem, especially. It was a difficult load, but with good time management, I think you could squeeze in those 8 classes. Hell, honestly, if I were you, I'd even TAKE THAT SECOND PHYSICS CLASS!!!! I believe the most important part about physics is understanding the concepts--I'm sure you can do the math, but without understanding the material, I'd find it hard to do as well as you could have without that solid foundation...

    Then those three months of MCAT review will hopefully bring you back up to speed. Just realize that studying for the MCAT will be significantly different compared to studying for your classes.

    Also, quick question, why no Organic 2?

    Good luck.
     
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  30. DoctorLane

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    @drr0zz0r

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I think some people can be quite pessimistic or perhaps have a really tough time with tedious schedules. I do not suffer from that kind of anxiety when it comes to managing difficult tasks and performing well under pressure.

    It looks like your schedule was similar to what I will be doing. I'll be taking Orgo 2 next semester along with Physics 1, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

    I'll be completing Physics 2 in the summer, while simultaneously, taking a prep course for the MCAT.

    I'm pretty sure that medical school itself will be more intense, so taking 18 credits this semester and 18 in the spring/summer is manageable.

    Did you take the MCAT? If so, did you take the latest version with the Psychology and Sociology portion?

    Thanks again.
     
  31. StudyLater

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    You don't have to maintain a >3.5 average in med school. You need to pass. So it's kind of a different scale you're working on.

    Assuming you've got reasonable profs :)
     
  32. DoctorLane

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    Very true! Let's hope I get good ones
     
  33. drr0zz0r

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    I had intentions on taking the MCAT earlier but life got in the way and I've had to postpone until now. Taking it this September. Sorry, you might've wanted someone who's already taken it to share their experiences.

    I did just get finished with the in-class TPR course. It was 6 weeks long and I personally did not find it to be very helpful. I could elaborate more on my experience with them if you want to help decide whether or not you would want to go with them.

    Good luck.
     
  34. hayden29

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    Your schedule sounds like a GPA killer and promoter of insanity. I echo what others have said, stretch out your schedule, this will be conducive to really learning the material as well. Truly understanding the sciences will pay off big time come MCAT. Good luck!

    Also, stats, psych, soc, and research design are imperative for the new MCAT.
     
  35. bee17

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    I've taken the 2015 MCAT. Normally I would say no way in hell should you do that schedule. But since you are a nontrad that has already taken bio and chem rather than an incoming freshman, well, I guess that's up to you to figure out what you can handle.

    For the MCAT, I cannot recommend a biochem class enough. However you organize your chem sequence, make sure you get to biochem. I know there are some proactive people planning on self-studying biochem, and I wish them the best of luck, but I walked away from my May test thinking that it was essentially a biochem test with some reading comprehension thrown in for funsies.

    As for the Psych/Soc section, I think my background in anthropology helped me more than my soc class, and the intro psych class + self studying was more than sufficient. It is possible to self-study for these sections, but if you can fit in a class, I'd take psych over soc. Being familiar with research design will help with this section.

    Ultimately, you would be better served by spreading out your pre-reqs. But if you absolutely must complete them in 1 year, I guess your proposed schedule is the best way to do it. The changes I would suggest are to make sure you actually need to take the math class (you only need a little bit of trig for algebra-based physics) and consider taking physiology instead of molecular bio.
     
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  36. allantois

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    Don't we love when people ask for advice when they are really only seeking confirmation for something they made their mind up already.
     
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  37. DoctorLane

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    Thank you @bee17 . I appreciate you sharing your experience and advice. I was wondering if Physiology might be a better course to take over molecular bio, so that helps. I'll self study Psychology and I've been reading research journals everyday to prepare myself for certain passages.
     
  38. DoctorLane

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    Nice rhetorical question

    However, my schedule for next semester is not set in stone, so I genuinely appreciate the feedback I am receiving and I'm considering making adjustments.
     
  39. Neutrophil2016

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    I'll start this post by saying that I have taken the 2015 MCAT and done quite well. The next thing I will say is how well do you really want to do? You are going to take this test competing with people who have taken the full sequences of all those courses plus many who have taken advanced course work in the sciences. If you are happy with 30th or 40th percentile then this plan may work just fine. If you are trying to score a 508+ then you are kidding yourself. The test isn't about getting a certain percentage fo the questions right. It is about doing better than the others that are also taking it. It is a competition not just a test.

    My guess is that you are a non-traditional student without much time left to get into medical school. If you devote your life to those courses and spend time learning all the material that the rest of the students have learned then you may do well. I personally cannot imagine trying to do what you are suggesting and I would never recommend it. The only thing I will add is that without an understanding of lab techniques, conduction of research and data interpretation then you will perform very poorly.

    Good luck to you in whatever you decide to do.
     
  40. DoctorLane

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    @Neutrophil2016

    Thanks for your input.

    Some of these courses are refresher courses. My view is quite different from yours in the aspect that, I will be intensively covering the precise materials needed for the MCAT over the next 11 months. A lot of pre meds take the MCAT using a prep course because they may have taken bio, chemistry, etc; 2 or 3 years ago.

    In terms of competition, I think the MCAT is extremely important and my goal is to score as high as I can, hence all of the coursework. I am pretty much studying for the MCAT 11 months out.

    One cannot rely simply on an MCAT score and a competitive GPA to gain admission to med school. Too much competition in the form of experience, talent and recommendations.

    Congrats on doing well on the MCAT
     

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