Aug 19, 2015
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Non-trad student here. I'm trying to decide whether to retake freshman biology. I took a three semester intro sequence at my undergraduate institution (all with labs; Spring 2005, Fall 2006, and Spring 2007, B, A-, A respectively). If the courses were more recent I probably wouldn't consider retaking, but from what I can tell many medical schools require science prereqs to have been taken more recently than this, not to mention that fact that I'll have to relearn all this material anyways. Should I just retake the oldest one with the worst grade? Also in the picture is that, If I have to retake two semesters (which would be next summer) it also may delay my application for another year. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

gonnif

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There are few schools that list any specific age/date cut off for a course. Many have a statement that applicants who are 5-7 years or more from degree need to show recent academic work. While I can certainly see the point in retaking to relearn material, doing so will not have much impact on your academic record. Taking some advance courses in Bio would be a better path. I would suggest either auditing a class, or reviewing on your own (Khan academy or other source) would be a option to consider
 

Terry Toma

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Taking some advance courses in Bio would be a better path.
Agreed. I am a non-trad with original undergrad coursework from about the same time period as the OP. I think that taking new coursework that forces a bit of review is a better strategy than retaking old coursework. I think you're underestimating just how much you will remember from the 2005-'07 courses. If you go back and retake an intro course, you'll probably find yourself recalling everything very quickly and just wondering why you've spent all that money on retakes.

I started off my return to undergrad coursework this semester by taking a biochem course. I've found that to be a good way to get back into things because it's forced me to review a bit of cell bio and o-chem/gen chem while also getting a necessary course out of the way. Even after working for a few years in a non-science field, it really only took a couple of weeks of biochem to refamiliarize myself with basic cell anatomy/processes, functional groups and molecular structure, thermodynamics, etc.

My advice is to find courses that will use the material you've already learned. You did well in the bio courses in the first place, so there's no point in repeating them. Even if a given school requires newer prereqs (I'm not familiar with this being a widespread requirement, myself), it seems like retaking wouldn't be ideal. For one thing, your new As don't really show an adcom anything other than that you can ace a course you already got an A or B in. If you're going to spend the money and time on a course, you might as well use it as an opportunity to show that you can succeed in upper-level bio courses.
 
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Aug 19, 2015
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Thanks both of you that is very helpful (and relieving to hear!) I live in Boston and have been checking out the extension school at Harvard, where they have boatloads of upper division bio courses next semester (Cell Biology, Genetics, Immunology, Molecular Biology etc.). Probably leaning towards Cell Biology but we'll see.
 

gonnif

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Thanks both of you that is very helpful (and relieving to hear!) I live in Boston and have been checking out the extension school at Harvard, where they have boatloads of upper division bio courses next semester (Cell Biology, Genetics, Immunology, Molecular Biology etc.). Probably leaning towards Cell Biology but we'll see.
BTW, a former Opera Singer from Boston I know went to Harvard extension just started medical school this term