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Retaking classes with B grades

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by void, May 14, 2008.

  1. void

    void 5+ Year Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    I've heard it all, that it's not necessary to retake a class you got a B in. Only retake if you got a C- or below.

    But I am losing my sanity here. I did poorly last semester, and took the second semester installments of the same classes this semester. I studied 1000x harder/smarter, and did well except I bombed the finals. I end up with the same grades I got last semester, which subsequently brings my GPA down even lower.

    It's kind of nervewracking also, to have gotten a B in General Chemistry II back in freshman year.

    My GPA is a 3.5, and around a 3.4 BCPM. Retaking courses at my school eliminate the old grade from my calculated GPA and leave the new grade, but I know that medical schools take the average of both.

    It seems that for grades where I got B's in, if I retake them and get A's, I will have medical schools calculate them as B+/A-'s... which are better than B's.

    If I have free space in my schedule, why not retake a couple of courses? It seems like the only logical thing to do, since I am desperate to raise my GPA and this will invariably raise it (in both the school and med school's eyes.)
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  3. kevster2001

    kevster2001 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    Not worth it.
  4. radxbandit

    radxbandit 2+ Year Member

    May 8, 2008
    Portland, OR
    coming from someone who has the same GPA as you, with similar circumstances (B's freshman year) I would recommend against it. Rather, use that free space to do something else that shows you are intrested in becoming a doctor (volutneer, shadow a physician, work in a clinic etc). I think it might behoove you to accept your grades and try to kick *** on the MCAT, the mighty equalizer and focus that extra time elsewhere.
  5. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser 5+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    If I saw someone retaking B's for A's, I would assume they were lazy and didn't want to learn anything new.
  6. RySerr21

    RySerr21 i aint kinda hot Im sauna 7+ Year Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    are you sure AMCAS averages the two grades??? i thought only AACOMAS had any type of grade forgiveness policy.

    either way....its not worth it....its a B. i have many B's in science courses and you couldn't pay me to take them again just for the chance that I'd get an A-/A.

    go enjoy other classes that are worth learning about.
  7. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser 5+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    AMCAS definitely averages two grades from one course - the DO schools take the most recent grade for a given course.
  8. void

    void 5+ Year Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    I will do all of that. I'm volunteering this summer, and I've been working at a clinic for the past 2 years. It's just shattering how I started this semester with a 3.7, went to a 3.5 last semester, and now am at low 3.5's.

    I placed out of a few classes coming into college, and used that as an opportunity to take classes I was interested in (economics, philosophy, poetry, etc) but taking all of these classes caused me to spread myself thin and lose focus on classes like orgo and bio.

    Looking at my transcript, I definitely do have a pretty good range of class topics (literature, philosophy, politics, economics, etc) and I have room for future interesting classes (computer programming, debate, art history) etc. If I have a spot open, why not retake Gen Chem II, or Econ I (where I also got a B, because I failed the final which was on the same day as my orgo final..)

    I'm not 100% sure that AMCAS taked the average of the two scores, but assuming that they did, it still seems like a good idea. If they ask me in an interview, "Why did you retake general chemistry if you got a B in it?" can't I just answer "because I wanted to make sure I understood all of the material/because i wanted to master the material for the MCAT/because I wanted to do better/ because I want to get into your damn school!" I don't know why it's so taboo to retake a class you got a B in.
  9. flip26

    flip26 2+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    If you retake it, and don't make an A, you will look like a total loser...if you retake it, and you make an A, you will look like a slacking, grade grubbing jerk...

    Move on. Take upper level science classes. Stop making Bs, and stop making excuses for your bad grades. Show an upward trend, make the issue go away with stellar grades in your remaining years of college...
  10. bcat85

    bcat85 10+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2007
    yeah don't do that
  11. BrainBuff

    BrainBuff 10+ Year Member

    Oct 1, 2007
    I have to agree with everything everyone else has posted. Do not retake courses where you got Bs while trying to get As.
  12. SaveThisLabRat

    SaveThisLabRat $700 Billion Dollar Woman 2+ Year Member

    Mar 26, 2007
    California *\o/*
    HAHA I'm just imagining this happening.
  13. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy 2+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2007
    you should probably retake....I made an A- in quantum mechanics and I retook.
  14. Bacchus

    Bacchus Administrator Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    Law of diminishing returns: a law affirming that to continue after a certain level of performance has been reached will result in a decline in effectiveness.

    Take upperlevel courses and move on. Bs get degrees (PharmD's,PhDs,DO,MD,DPT,MOT,BS,BA).

    You're going to face an inferno in this thread. If you progress further in your coursework you may also not be allowed to repeat a course that was a prereq, keep this in mind.
  15. void

    void 5+ Year Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    Law of diminishing returns isn't applicable after a technological advance aka me getting smarter. If I don't get an A the second time around, then I will look like an idiot, that is true.

    I know I'm going to face an inferno in this thread, but it just seems to make sense to me that it's better to retake a class especially if you have room. I have way too many B's and B+'s, and far too little A's. Even in the upper level courses that I am going to take, there's little chance that I'll ace those if I can't ace these right now. I'm going to take Physics and Biochem next year, and Physical Chem the year after that. There's no WAY I'll ace those classes, even if I spend all of my time studying. I haven't made the decision to retake a course yet, but if I have to, I will.
  16. Are you sure your school will even let you retake a course if you got a B? I know at mine, you couldn't retake unless you got a C- or below, but I don't know how common that is. AMCAS counts both grades as if you took two separate classes. AACOMAS will just use what's given credit on your transcript (i.e. if your school doesn't count the first grade in the class on the transcript and only uses the second one in figuring your school GPA).
  17. Bacchus

    Bacchus Administrator Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    I didn't do hot in gen chem but did decently well in Basic Inorganic and Analytical.

    I improved my bio grade by 3 levels second semester.

    Despite the gen chem maladies I did well in biochem and organic.

    Despite the 1st semester bio grade I did well in microbio.

    These classes build on each other, but it is not impossible to do well if you "screw up" the first time.

    The effort into repeating these courses can be trumped by taking upper levels.
  18. scarletgirl777

    scarletgirl777 7+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    It would be nice to get a real adcom in on this, but I think they would see that as a waste of your time. If med school admissions happened via a number crunching computer, this would make sense. But there are real people who will look at your transcript and potentially roll their eyes. They'll wonder why you wasted that space instead of taking another class or putting more effort into volunteering or an extracurricular.
  19. 135892

    135892 Guest 2+ Year Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    Uhhh.... NO. Just take upper-level classes, and do well in them....its as simple as that
  20. Bacchus

    Bacchus Administrator Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    Ding ding ding. :thumbup:
  21. radxbandit

    radxbandit 2+ Year Member

    May 8, 2008
    Portland, OR
    that's not true, I got a B- my first term gen chem, C+ my first bio class, and i pulled upward from there and am now doing very well in my upper divisions. don't be so hard on yourself, have some confidence, put in the work, and you'll pull it off. you've got to start trusting yourself first, though. what year are you, by the way?
  22. radxbandit

    radxbandit 2+ Year Member

    May 8, 2008
    Portland, OR
  23. Timmythemic22

    Timmythemic22 Beep Beep Ribby Ribby 10+ Year Member

    Dec 28, 2004
    I'm trying to take a little more of an objective view that your attack on the guy, but I do agree with your main point. I believe if you're striving for such perfectionism at an undergrad level, you may be setting yourself up for burn-out if you do make it to med school.

    On a personal note, I had an undergrad 3.5 gpa with a 3.6 BCPM gpa, and I am in school. There are plenty of other ways around a gpa that puts you in the middle of the pack.
  24. HumidBeing

    HumidBeing In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Void, you're running on a misconception. AMCAS, which I assume is what you're interested in, since you are asking on this forum, does NOT average the original & retake to get a single grade. What happens is that BOTH classes show up on their print, and EACH course is counted. True, it does in effect average out. It averages the SAME way that taking a lower level and upper class (or any different science class) would average together, except for one difference. Repeating that course makes it look like you didn't feel competent or confident enough to move on. You really don't want that to be a reviewer's first, and probably last, opinion of you.

    Sometimes, it can be difficult to decide whether to repeat a course. When you have earned a "B", it's not difficult at all, because retaking it has no advantage. It can only work against you.
  25. void

    void 5+ Year Member

    Dec 26, 2006

    If what you're saying is correct, then I guess it would make no sense to retake a course because they all average out to be the same in the mix. Unless, the retake will be easier to do well in than another class altogether... but then again, it will look bad from the adcom's perspective.

    So people are actually looking at the transcript? I was told by my pre-professional adviser that if I had a BCPM GPA lower than a 3.5 that they wouldn't even look at me.

    It's just maddening because I seriously put in a lot of effort this semester. Last semester I didn't work as hard, and scored in the B and B+ range in all of my classes. This semester, however, I studied my *** off and scored A's on all of my exams except I somehow (even though I studied) did horribly on the finals and it just flattened my grade so I'm making the same grades as I did last semester! I spoke to my professors and they said I did improve, noticably, but unfortunately in the eyes of the medical schools that will see my transcript they will see static grades, and as if I'm alright with it. As if I didn't spend the time to do better, when I studied over winter break and spring break to ensure a higher grade.

    I want that upward trend, but it just seems like grades are out of my power. In HS, I had an amazing upward trend (70% avg. freshman year, 98% sophomore, and junior year) but that was because i slacked severely in my freshman year. But in college, I've been working my *** off. Have I reached my limits, here?

    I'm a sophomore -> junior in a few days. I'm getting old, and losing the opportunity to screw up. Burning out? yep..
  26. Bacchus

    Bacchus Administrator Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    You have the possibility of accumulating 30-40 credits of As before you apply. You'll survive. Relax.

    Adcoms see individual courses listed.
  27. need a new adviser. A generalization like that is misleading at best...or downright ludicrous. Some schools might do that, but certainly not all of them. Take a look at the MSAR science GPA's for accepted applicants at various schools. If some schools have average sci GPAs around 3.5-3.7, obviously they take some applicants with sci GPAs of 3.5 or below
  28. HumidBeing

    HumidBeing In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Void, your advisor about that 3.5 cutoff at SOME schools, but each one has its own way of determining which applications get a closer look. They take a variety of approaches in the way they weight GPA, MCAT, and trends. No matter which method they use to determine the apps to start combing through, once they get to that point, they WOULD be seeing that you retook classes that you got "B's" in, and the result won't be in your favor.

    It will work in your favor to take a higher level course and do well in that, because that's proof that you actually did master the previous material, AND that you are capable of handling more advanced classes well. Since you did well all semester, and just fell down on the finals, it really sounds like you have the capability to pull that off. It won't just look better on the application, it will give YOU more self-confidence, too.

    I completely empathize with you on that part about doing so much better, but not having it reflected in the transcript. I took one class where my final grade averaged .03% below the cutoff & wound up with the lower grade. I wasn't upset about getting the grade that I did, because I did my best & that was what I earned. The one thing that really bothered me was that I could tell that there was a large gap between my understanding of the subject and ones who just squeaked by. On paper, we looked the same. I did much better at the next level.

    Moving on is in your best interest because it sounds like your PERFORMANCE is in an upward trend. That's what counts. Keep it up and it will wind up being reflected in your grades and pull that GPA up. :thumbup:
  29. departed

    departed 2+ Year Member

    Apr 28, 2008
    It is impossible to project your grades.
    AMCAS will average both your grades.
  30. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    May 30, 2001
    Gone Walkabout!

    Here is what I look for in terms of retakes:

    If you received a grade of C or lower in a premed course, a retake (better receive a grade of "A" on the retake) makes sense. I would expect you to retake in this case since it is unlikely you have a strong knowledge base in this subject matter.

    If you received a grade of C+, B- or B, take a course in the same department with an equal number of credit hours but a higher course number and earn at least a B+.

    When I see grades of B that are retakes, I signal "red flag" for that applicant. As a committee, we would rather see an audit of a "B" grade pre-med course than a retake.
  31. SB100

    SB100 7+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2007
    Cambridge, MA
    People who retake B classes to get As are the same people who will argue for points if they have a 98 average in the class. For the effort of re-learning the information (most of which you'll dump right after taking the final) it's not worth it.

    Kev, keep that blog going, I like it :)
  32. DocSoMa

    DocSoMa 2+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    First of all, I don't think getting a B in a class makes you eligible for retaking that class (and I'm sure you're getting a lot of s*** from people on SDN because of it). I know you want a better grade in that class - we all wish we could improve our performance in a lot of the required courses.

    Personally, if I were an adcom, I wouldn't be particularly impressed to see someone retaking a class and getting an A because you've already learned the material before. Focus on doing well in the upper-level science courses and don't look back on the B classes. You should be worried if you're getting C's in your classes, or lower. You need to move forward, not backward. Just a small bit of advice.
  33. GoldShadow

    GoldShadow 2+ Year Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    Solid advice. :thumbup:

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