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Should I take the AP Bio/ AP Chem tests?

Discussion in 'hSDN' started by doctor2be2013, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. doctor2be2013

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    I am currently in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and have an A in both but is there really a point in taking the AP tests seeing as how I am going to be a premed and have to take those classes again anyways since they are prerequisites for medical school? I think it would be more beneficial if I skipped the AP Tests and took the classes again in college so that I can have a better chance of starting out with a solid science gpa. What do you guys think?
     
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  3. PQRST12

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    Depends. If I was in your shoes and knew what I know now, I'd skip the AP tests, collect the easy As freshman year and treat it as solid MCAT review. Some people don't do so well skipping the pre-reqs and diving right into the upper-levels;some make out just fine though. Unless you're just really eager to start advanced coursework, or want to graduate in 3 years, I'd just rock the 100-level bio and chem and enjoy being far less stressed out than the kids who didn't have the AP background.
     
  4. Bacchus

    Administrator Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I'd skip too. Its just too random and you're not far enough along to know where you'll be applying come 3 or 4 years from now. Use your knowledge to ace your freshman bio and chem classes to set a solid foundation for your GPA. Also, it never helps to review the material, especially since it can be taught different ways in college versus high school. You're still paying a lump sum for tuition so you might as well take the classes. APing out of 2 classes is not going to get you so far ahead that you can graduate early. Enjoy college.
     
  5. RySerr21

    RySerr21 i aint kinda hot Im sauna
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    Dont fall in to the trap and think that just because you did well in a high school biology/chemistry class that they will be easy As in college. I dont care if its an AP class or not. College is hard, and 99% of peopel who get good grades work their butts off to get them. Nothing is going to be handed to you, and no one will care that you did well in AP bio/chem, partly because everyone else in your class did too.
     
  6. TexanGirl

    TexanGirl runs away from trees
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    Absolutely take the college equivalents of these courses. Some medical schools do not even accept AP credits for science pre-reqs. Having AP Bio/Chem coursework under your belt will be a strong foundation from which to launch your college career. You'll already be somewhat familiar with the topics you're covering in college and be able to better transition to (and therefore better enjoy) your freshman year in college.

    On the other hand, I still think it's good idea to take the AP exams in May as "practice," depending on the costs. It's a good way to test how much knowledge and information you've absorbed during the class.

    I remember when I was in high school, I only had to pay $5 for taking six AP exams one year. Does your school district subsidize the cost of taking the exams? Do you receive free/reduced lunch? (All schools subsidize the cost for these students, but some schools subsidize it for everyone.) If it's cheap, you might as well go ahead and take the exam.
     
  7. doctor2be2013

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    If I remember correctly it costs $80/exam. I believe I would be more comfortable taking the classes again in college to get a better foundation instead of jumping into more difficult sciences. Thanks for the help guys
     
  8. KempDrumsalot

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    Ya, unless it is free or less than $25, I would not recommend taking them. You'll have a good headstart on the material in college which will be nice. Good luck bud!
     
  9. EyEnStein 07

    EyEnStein 07 Senior ɸ Member
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    Never skip out on APs, because when you apply to college it will make you look like a coward. My best advice is take them get 5's get accepted to college. Once your in, if you CANT afford it then do the following (because it might save you money in the long run):

    Ask if you can take your AP credits and transfer them to elective, this will help you save time in college and MONEY, because they might give you credits and you wont have to take some classes that you probably wont need (e.g polysci, music, history, art history etc...)


    ^This will work in many places, i should know, i did this a week ago, im a freshman in college :D
     
  10. KempDrumsalot

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    Sorry bud, but going to have to disagree. Med schools like to see that you have taken a variety of courses. By just taking the credits, it does not give you a wider birth of experiences in other fields.
     
  11. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    Yeah...I'll disagree, too. All of the schools I'm familiar with don't give you an option of accepting credit or not if you're earned it. That is, if a 4 on the AP Bio exam will get you credit for intro bio at the school you're looking at and you get a 4 (or 5), you get credit for intro bio.

    Transferring AP credits to electives makes no sense. Why would a school allow you to get elective credits for a class that you were going to take there anyway, essentially getting double the credit for that class? That's not in their interest financially or logistically. You can't take European History and have it count as your organic chem class. That's nonsense. It'll also dramatically decrease the breadth of courses you'll be able to take which will result in a boring, one-track college career. Med schools do like to see a bit of diversity, so that'll be a minor strike against you.
     
  12. Tots

    Tots c/o 2018
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    I would look specifically at the schools you plan on attending. For my Bio test I got only elective credits because I am a bio major. At first this may not seem like any use but the more credits I had the earlier I got to sign up for classes. I was able to sign up before most of my class(large state school) so it was definitely worth it.

    However I wish I did not take the AP calc test because the credit I got forces me into some upper division math classes I now have to take.
     
  13. URHere

    Physician PhD 10+ Year Member

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    In my opinion, the only AP tests worth taking are AP Statistics, AP English, or AP Calculus. In my case, having AP Statistics credit, got me out of the awkward situation of having a requirement of 3 Statistics classes for my college degrees (double degrees do not allow overlap of courses, even for something like statistics), and saved me a ton of time. Because I took the AP Calc exam, I qualified for a series of far more interesting math courses in college, and the AP English credit got many people out of my school's required basic writing class and allowed them to take something different.

    As for the AP Bio and AP Chem exams...these are only helpful to you if you are going to certain schools and planning to take certain classes. At my undergrad, for example, there was a chemistry series that allowed incoming freshmen to take organic chemistry right away...if they had AP Chemistry credit. Many people loved that sequence, and thought it really helped them understand organic chemistry earlier. If you aren't planning to do something like that, then you would probably be better off just taking basic chemistry and basic biology again in college.

    Just one more thing - having credit granted from AP exams doesn't necessarily mean that your college will accept the credit. Some schools just won't take AP english credits, for example, because they don't want students opting out of basic requirements. Also, just because you are granted AP credit, doesn't mean that you can't just take the basic courses again anyway. If you are undecided about the exams, and you have the money to burn, the safest bet would be to take the exams now, and decide later whether or not you actually want to opt out of the intro courses in college.
     
  14. beachblonde

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    Aren't you in high school? How on earth do you have any perspective on what med schools want?

    And the OP, even if he/she does take both AP course exams and aces them, won't get more than maybe 8-12 credits, tops. Most colleges require 120 for graduation. There's a lot of room left there for a "variety of courses."

    I think the poster meant that AP credits could be used to fulfill electives, not transfer them. As in, AP US History filled elective X at my school, so instead of taking some intro level history course, I was welcome to spend my time taking anthropology or whatever. And having more credits indeed can help you graduate early, if you're in a financial pinch this can be a good thing.

    OP, take the exams if you are adequately prepared for them. Colleges like to see that you have taken the exams and can perform on them (taking them and not passing shows that your high school curriculum is not up to par and/or you are not a good student).

    I used my AP bio credits to pass out of the weed out bio courses at my university, and it worked well in my favor. The biology material on the MCAT is very, very basic and I wouldn't worry about needing intro level material for the test (the caveat here being that you'll be taking upper level biology courses in lieu of the lower levels). As for chem, ultimately the school's policies will dictate whether or not you have to retake the intro gen chem sequence. My school offered a special intro gen chem class for students who had AP credits. Practicing with the material is never a bad thing, though.

    I worked with the admissions office at a top-tier, very competitive undergraduate school, so I have an idea of what I'm talking about. Bailing on AP exams is a bad idea, for the reasons I cited above. Colleges will notice. Med schools will not, but that's way down the line for you folks so I wouldn't worry about that just yet. OP, it sounds like you're a senior so colleges won't know about AP results until well after the admissions cycle is over, but really, what's the point in taking the class but not the exam? It's like paying for an MCAT prep class, only to bail on the test and say, eh, I'll take it later.

    Something to think about.
     
  15. Marjan Islam

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    Hmm, lots of conflicting answers here. I personally did IB back in high school was able to get credit for both Bio 1 and Bio 2 at my college.

    And for me, I am SO GLAD I got credit for them. Reasons:

    1) These classes aren't easy. From what I heard, the lectures are tough, and the labs require tons of memorizing, which plain sucks. You will do way more work in college than you would for it in an AP class. BUT, if you know you'll ace it, it's a good GPA booster (instead of just a P for pass if you get credit).

    2) By being able to skip these classes, you've taken a semester (or 2 if you did IB and got credit for BOTH bio classes), that's a lotta credits and time! This helps later on, taking easy easy electives during a semester you want to do hardcore mcat prep, or hardcore shadowing/research/volunteering, or just want an easy semester or want to graduate early. Not to mention, saving a TON of money! ($1000 even at my college).

    I'd def. encourage you to take the AP's, cause it helps! As for reviewing the course material, for the MCAT, you use MCAT prep. books to review and you'll be fine. Overall, time better spent. If you're gonna be a Bio. major, you will cover everything in much more depth as you would have in Bio 1 and 2 anyway.
     
  16. KempDrumsalot

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    I would have to say I know by something called...Magic!

    Anyways, back to the topic at hand. The main problem with ANY pre-med that takes science AP credit is that some medical schools will NOT accept these in place of the actual course. Many times higher level courses may be replaced in the slot of these intro courses, but depending on the strength of academics in your school, this still may be a bad idea. The levels of college courses are mainly built to build on one another. This is not as true as it was for early education, but for many courses it is imparitive. Anyways, the course that has been taken in high school will be easier to complete in college, thus making the transition to higher education much easier. Many people have trouble with this transition, so while I don't suggest slacking off, I would not suggest making it more difficult than need be.

    Next time, make sure to keep your attitude in check before you insult someones intelligence by the way, it may come back to bite you in the butt (as they say).

    *EDIT* Also, If you have the chance, I would suggest taking the AP english and AP calculus tests. These will help knock out gen eds. Make sure to check with your medical schools if you decide to go that route though, for some will not accept these credits (as previously stated). Feel free to PM me with any questions you may have.
     
  17. beachblonde

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    Ok, I'm not quite sure why I'm back here to argue with a kid in HS, but something inside me cringes when I see bad advice being given out...

    First off, I did not "insult someones intelligence" as you suggest I did. I asked merely, at the age of 17 or 18, how you've gained any such perspective into college and med school. Having, say, completed college myself, I think I have the right to question your so-called knowledge of things when you clearly are off base on a few things.

    As for classes building on each other: yes and no. For chemistry, absolutely you need gen chem 1 for gen chem 2. For biology, it's another beast entirely. As long as you have some fundamentals down (say, from your AP bio class) and you meet the pre-reqs, if any, you'll be fine. For example, my 400 level Translational Genetics course required none of the same base knowledge as my 400 level Wetland Ecosystems course did. I have no idea why you say upper level biology courses are a bad idea for med school-in fact, I would say taking them makes your app stronger and helps with preparation for the MCAT and beyond.

    Ultimatley, for the OP, I would say pass out of any lower levels you can because they are the weed outs-with the caveat of only doing this if you are a strong student. If you are not a super strong student, then take the lower levels because the upper levels might leave you behind, real fast.

    Here's the reality, folks: AP credits will make you lives infinitely easier in college. They will allow you to take fewer credit hours during orgo, fewer hours while studying for the MCAT, go abroad where you want (and not have to worry about things transferring), and allow you take classes that interest you beyond the intro level. You might even be able to graduate early-especially if you get an early acceptance to med school, you can bail out and earn some money.
     
  18. KempDrumsalot

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    Well, given the question, I would be glad to answer. I would rather you have sent a message instead of using this thread, but this will work as well. I have taken a few college courses as well as shadowed a few professors and watched some students and teachers at my university do some research. I also have a brother and many relatives who have been through college, know people in med school, residency, and working in hospitals, and just do my research. However, I never stated that taking higher level bio courses would be bad for med school, for, in fact, it is completely the opposite. The harder your course load and courses are, the more prepared you will be for medical school. However, for this to have a good effect, you must be able to handle these courses and show you can by maintaining good grades.

    OP: It is really up to you. Just read over the variety of opinoins, talk to your counselor, your parents, and tried to make the best choice for you. Good luck bud!
     
  19. erskine

    erskine hit it, H
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    Check to see if your college will just accept the credits as general undergraduate ones, rather than ones to fulfill your major or premed requirements. I'm able to graduate a year early after having taken 8 APs in high school, including AP bio, AP physics, and AP chemistry, and that's ~40k in savings. But colleges will vary how they treat AP credits so check first.
     
  20. EyEnStein 07

    EyEnStein 07 Senior ɸ Member
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    In regards to my post about using AP credits as electives, I didnt mean it in the sense that you use "AP USH" to give you credit for Organic chem, obviously this isnt realistic because Organic Chem is a pre-req and there is nothing you can do to get away from it unless you took an Organic Chem class at a college from a program that allows those credits to go through. I ment you can transfer them as general electives (this vary's from school to school), and as a result, if you need to take "elective" classes, you could save time because you have the credits for it through AP.

    Also i disagree to the poster that said schools dont allow you to do that. It doesnt count as a Core class that you must take mandated by the school, but rather one that you have a choice to take as part of your major or something of this sort.

    Also its better to take the AP test to show you are a strong academic student because a 95 in an AP class and a 1 on the AP is not something that is looked up to. Also the information may help colleges decide. (This information was given to my while i worked at the college office last year in my high school, and we had experienced people who were adcoms in colleges or universities).

    My point is, take the AP tests it will help you (maybe not much) in the college process. Also if you school permits (some do, some don't) transfer them to elective credit, especially if its Sciences or something and you want to re-learn concepts that may not be fresh in your mind.
     
  21. doctor2be2013

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    My plan has been for quite some time that I am going to my community college first and then transfering to a top UC school. I qualify for the honors program at the community college which is supposed to better prepare students for UC level course work better than regular community college classes. And no, I am not a slacker. I currently have a 4.33 GPA and am choosing to go to community college because it will cut the cost of college in half. Anyways, I was planning to not take the AP tests because I figure if I take those courses again in community college, and then again in a 4 year university(i'd take them again in a 4-year university because I've been reading that medical schools frown upon premed requirements being taken at community college) then I will be more than well prepared to do excellent on the MCAT and get accepted to medical school. Now I am thinking that I should take the AP tests so that I could transfer the credit to electives(although i still don't see how that is possible but some of you guys are saying it may be) but still take those bio and chem classes again in college. What do you guys think?
    *sorry for the essay...
     
  22. EyEnStein 07

    EyEnStein 07 Senior ɸ Member
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    I Think this is fine, and you know what? Even if your school does NOT let you transfer them as elective (of course you will call and ask before), then just dont send the AP scores in...why wouldn't you take the test? I personally think it will give you some self -satisfaction to know that your knowledgeable about the material.


    EDIT: I just realized, that in AP tests in many areas cost a lot of money. This completely slipped my mind. If the test is very expensive, and your not going to use it for credit, then i guess it makes sense to skip it. However you might just want to call some of the top UC's your planning on applying to and ask them if they will let you carry over as elective credits. If not dodge the test. I say this because my highschool required us to pay something like $10, per test, whereas i know some of my other friends in different schools had to pay somewhere around $80 per test, and if your taking a lot the price adds up.
     
  23. scattun

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    Maybe, this is just me (a person who is driven to self inflicted injuries by course repetition) by why in the world would you want to take the same classes not twice but three times? You are absolutely right about not taking pre-reqs in a community college, that is generally frowned upon. But you are only partially right about med schools not accepting AP credit. I am unaware of any school that will not let you substitute higher level bio or chem classes if you APed out of the intro levels at your university. Granted I have not looked at every school's admission policies, but I have looked at a lot.

    So the real question is "Would you rather take the intro level classes or advanced classes at your university?" Generally for premeds, the answer will be advanced in bio, but intro in chemistry. The reason for this is that advanced classes are more specific, so instead of general bio you can take microbiology, genetics, physiology, neuroscience, or whatever else your university offers. I am a bio major, so my major requirements fufilled the advanced bio requirements, and my ap credit essentially transformed eight major hours to eight free elective hours for me to do with as I wished. Personally, taking the AP bio exam and taking the 8 gen bio credits offered by my university was one of my best decisions in high school.
     

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