Spring 2020: P or B-


Full Member
Silver Member
Mar 24, 2020
  1. Pre-Medical
    Hi all.

    I know med schools are considering P/F okay in Spring because of COVID. I have A's in my other courses but a B- in organic chemistry. I still have the option of switching to P/F. Should I switch so that it doesn't bring down my GPA, or just take the B-?

    I am applying this cycle and my transcripts have already been received, so this would mostly affect things when they look at updated transcripts later or if I need to apply next cycle.

    FYI - I'm a post-bac. Undergrad sGPA 3.69, cGPA 3.71. Grad degree in epidemiology/biostatistics 3.9 GPA


    The Real PG
    Staff member
    7+ Year Member
    Verified Expert
    May 10, 2012
    1. Medical Student
      I would keep the B- because your stats are fine and if you take a P, it looks like you could be covering up a C. You worked hard for that grade even though it's not exactly what you wanted, so don't sacrifice it with a P in this case.
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      May 19, 2020
      1. Non-Student
        If you keep all A's in other courses and swap only to a "P" in one class, it will very much look like you're trying to cover up a bad grade.

        Also, check with the schools you're interested in as to whether they will accept optional P/F grading in pre-req courses, or only accept those if the school swapped all classes to mandatory P/F grading. I've seen a range of positions on this, but they seem to suggest that if it was University mandated it's fine, but if it was optional it may not be looked on as favorably. Many are evolving over time and suggesting a more favorable view on P/F grading than initial positions.

        School specific stances can be seen here with the most recent updates: COVID-19 Pre-Health/Pre-Medical FAQ | Health Careers Advising

        ::Edit:: See, for example, this bit from Georgetown:

        • Grading system changes: Due to the decision of many institutions to move to an online and/or Pass/Fail format for the COVID-19 crisis, GUSOM will consider Pass/Fail and Credit/No Credit courses, as well as prerequisites completed online, holistically in the context of the full application. At institutions where moving to Pass/Fail was optional, course grades on a scale of A-F are highly preferable, especially for pre-requisite and BCPM courses.

        Or this from Iowa State:

        • We recommend and prefer that prerequisite courses are taken as graded courses because grades give the admissions committee a better idea of mastery of the subject matter and comparative performance. Applicants should contact us if they do not receive letter grades for prerequisite courses, and we can review these on a case-by-case basis.
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