Medical Should I take physics prereq as pass/fail and can I wait until senior year?

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Infernal Internist / Enigmatic Endocrinologist
15+ Year Member
Apr 25, 2008
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Hi, thank you for your time!

I am a current junior looking to apply in the 2021-2022 cycle. I have a good GPA (one B first year) and the MCAT went very well (52x).

After this semester I will have completed all prereqs except for physics - my college has levels of intro physics w/ lab to choose from - I want to take a higher-level sequence because I like the content (astrophysics and modern physics) and my advisor said it is the best taught of the options. However, the grading for it is mandatory pass-fail, and it does not entirely cover the typical mechanics/e and m components of intro physics classes: A premed advisor suggested schools may be concerned that the material is not typical of a two-semester intro.

My question is this: is it ok to take a prereq that is mandatory pass-fail graded? Also, is it ok to apply if I leave those prereqs for senior year? Thank you!
This is going to vary school to school, but overall speaking the best way to meet the requirement is a year of general physics with lab. Many schools don't specify "general physics", some only want a semester, not all require lab, and some may accept AP credits in lieu of this (particularly if you take a higher level course in that field for a grade later on). But these are all exceptions - other schools will require the full year, it must be general physics, it must have a lab, and it typically should be graded. That said, due to COVID, most schools are accepting pass/fail for courses taken in Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 - who knows about Spring 2021.

I don't think a higher level physics sequence, for no grade, will meet the requirements for the majority of schools. Honestly, it's better to take the most generic one to leave as many options open for you as possible.

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