Should I take harder classes than I have to?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by bella_dottoressa, Nov 1, 2002.

  1. bella_dottoressa

    bella_dottoressa make it happen

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    I go to Ohio State and have a handout listing the requirements for med school (at least OSU's med school). At the bottom there is a note saying that "students may elect to take more rigorous sequences. These more challenging courses can be very beneficial educationally and they demonstrate your competence to admissions committes." Do alot of people take the harder science courses? I'd personally rather have a high GPA. How impressive would that look, really?
     
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  3. Well being a microbiology major, I have to take a lot of harder science classes.

    To tell you the truth, they aren't really that much harder than the Pre-reqs. The professors are better, classes smaller, and they are more interesting covering smaller topics and in more detail.

    If you aren't a science major, I would recommend taking at least Genetics, Biochemistry, and/or Physiology. These classes can be difficult, but they will help you out once you get into med school. They won't be as intense as the courses you would take as a M1 or M2, but any advantage you can get in learning all the information they are gonna shove down your throat in school is helpful.
     
  4. PrincessCKNY

    PrincessCKNY Crown Royal Member

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    Most medical students I've talked to have advised not to take harder classes. It is all about your GPA and MCATs. If you think the class will help you out on the MCAT, by all means, go for it. But, if you want to take it for the sake of being prepared for med school, it is pretty much useless. You will get the education you need as a med student. Don't blow your undergraduate days on boring classes...take something to enrich yourself while you still have the freedom to do so. Unfortunately, I learned this too late after having taken an anatomy course with a horrible professor. As a result, I earned a B, in which case I could have earned an A on a much more interesting alternative. Just my two cents.
     
  5. If you find upper-division bio classes boring, why do you wanna go to med school?
     
  6. PrincessCKNY

    PrincessCKNY Crown Royal Member

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    I meant relative to an arts, social science, etc. type of class. You can't honestly tell me that you eat, live, and breathe science. That's too one-dimensional. It's not against the law to have other interests.
     
  7. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen
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    i actually find upper level bio classes can be boring unless it is an applied class. I don't care for memorizing minutia. If the bio stuff is information I can directly apply then it's ok.

    despite that, i still want to be in medical school. :)
     
  8. Who said anything about all science? He didn't ask about taking that other stuff.

    All I was saying is that, if you find classes like Anatomy, Genetics, Biochem, etc. boring, you are gonna have a hard time in med school.

    And I know med students who said having a background in the sciences by taking those classes does help in med school. Being a science major definately helps prepare someone for intensive studying.

    And no, I'm not saying that non-science majors don't study. Just that a science major is at least familiar with material or used to studying that intensively.
     
  9. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen
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    Don't take classes that "demonstrate competence" take classes you'll enjoy. if it happens to be upperlevel go for it. i never took any upper level bio that was not required just to show off. in the end i don't think it really matters unless you actually learn something.
     
  10. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen
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    I am finding biochem to boring once again. It's just something everyone has to suffer through like some sort of hazing program. every doctor i was talking with groaned when i told them i had a biochem test today. they all viewed it as a bane of their existence.

    on the other hand i enjoyed anatomy cause it has real world applications plus it is very interesting stuff. one of my favorite muscles? the salpingopharyngeus m.
     
  11. Rudy1223

    Rudy1223 Member

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    ummm so we must all love our upper-division bio classes in order to qualify being doctors?

    I dont know about you, but I'm not doing it for the love of science I'm doing it because I love the profession (helping those in need)

    Statistics by AAMC show that people in humanities do better on the MCAT and boards than science majors......
     
  12. swing

    swing Member

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    I'll add my 2 cents: I'm a 2nd year med student.

    A lot of people will tell you not to take the same classes as an undergrad that you'll get in med school by saying something to the effect of, "They'll teach you all that in med school anyway."
    There are a few really big flaws in this line of reasoning. First, while med school is not a great deal harder than upper-division undergrad science classes, the volume of material per unit time is twice what a full-time undergrad courseload is. Second, the level of detail that you will be tested on is greater than undergrad. Just "understanding the concepts" won't work. We actually had a Histo exam question that hung on whether you could remember if it was a 64 or 67 nm turn in the alpha helix that spanned the membrane! Third, experience showed me that the more med school-type classes you'd had prior to med school (i.e. Micro, Histo, Anat, Biochem, Genetics, Cell Biology, Neuro), the easier you would have it, especially your first year.

    For these folks (I was NOT one of them!), first year was a review with lots of extra details thrown in. Then, with a better first year background, second year courses like Pharm and Pathophys, which rely heavily on your first year stuff for background, are less daunting, and the bottom line is - you get tested on this on Boards, so the better you have it down, the better your Board scores!

    A lot of people will nitpick the details here - schools aren't the same in terms of class difficulty, have fun as an undergrad, maybe the match between undergrad classes and med school classes isn't a good one, blah blah blah - this is a waste of time!
    Remember that you'll need to do the equivalent of A-grade work in med school (yes, even with Pass/Fail since you'll need 70% of the top score, which is always 100% just to pass) with twice the volume you're used to, so be as prepared as you possibly can be going in.

    How do I know? I WASN'T well enough prepared because I took the minimum science requirements in everything but anatomy and physiology, and in every class other than those, I had to kill myself! In Anat and Physio, I got to do less study, but had to use the time I "saved" to keep up in other classes.

    I'm not trying to be negative or discouraging, and I DO really enjoy med school, just trying to give what I hope is a helpful perspective!
     
  13. PrincessCKNY

    PrincessCKNY Crown Royal Member

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    I agree that one will be more prepared taking the same subject during their undergrad year. However, if you feel you can handle the med school load, then why take it twice? Both types of students (previously took vs. not) will have to memorize the same amount of minutia, since a general understanding gained in undergrad doesn't appear to help much.

    Another thing is that incoming medical students should not be punished if one school happens to offer a certain course while others do. For example, my school did not start offering Anat until last year. But I took it because I thought it would prepare me for medical school. Unforunately, the professor was new and horrible and I probably forgot half of the concepts taught in the course. Instead, I could have spent my time taking a Medical Latin course...a course I would have enjoyed (and remembered, since I enjoyed it) AND was beneficial towards medical school.

    Overall, it probably depends on what type of student YOU are and what med school you will end up at...which is impossible to predict. Trust your instincts. If you missed out on a class or wasted your time on a class, it's not the end of the world.
     
  14. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen
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    I see people making arguments for both sides of the case (take it or not take it).

    Let's simply things.

    Take classes if: you will learn something because the more times you see it the better.

    Don't Take classes if: you will promptly forget it, will hate it, and it will destroy your GPA.
     

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