The Importants of Prereqs vs. Other Science Courses

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

biophysicianai

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Messages
238
Reaction score
4

Members don't see this ad.
Are pre-reqs more important than other science courses in biomedical fields?

Surely, doing well in upper division courses will mitigate - to some extent - a shortcoming in a lower, pre-med-req course.

But to what extent?

Is doing well in biochem as important as doing well in orgo?
Is doing well in molecular/genetics/physiology as important as doing well in intro bio?
 
Last edited:

RySerr21

i aint kinda hot Im sauna
10+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
5,932
Reaction score
30
Are pre-reqs more important than other science courses in biomedical fields?

Surely, doing well in upper division courses will mitigate - to some extent - a shortcoming in a lower, pre-med-req course.

But to what extent?

Is doing well in biochem as important as doing well in orgo?
Is doing well in molecular/genetics/physiology as important as doing well in intro bio?

Every science course you will take will be included in your BCPM GPA, so in a sense they are all equally important. If you do poorly in a pre req and you do well in an upper level bio course, they will count the same towards your GPA. Its not like pre reqs get extra emphasis. The only reason my BCPM gpa is what it is is because I have taken so many other science courses that are outside the realm of the pre reqs: Human anatomy (two semesers), human physiology, biochemistry of exercise, etc. etc. Of the eight science pre req courses (not including math), I have four Bs (including a B+ and a B-), which is a 3.0 GPA...... my other sciency courses I have done really well in and have kind of boosted that science GPA. No one has seemed to care.

Its kinda silly to debate whether biochem is more important than ochem, or physiology is more important than intro level bio. Obviously, the pre reqs are important, and they want to see how you do in those courses, or else they wouldnt make you take them. That being said, if you dont do as well in physics or ochem, and you rock courses like physiology and anatomy and immunology or biochemistry, etc. it will be hard to argue that you aren't cut out for med school.
 

yowhatup

Membership Revoked
Removed
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2008
Messages
174
Reaction score
0
Pre-req's are by far the most important...

orgo i and ii >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> biochem

general bio I and II >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>. Micro + anatomy + physiology + immunology + etc

physics i and ii >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> than any higher level engineering course

general chem i and ii >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> analytical, pchem, etc



there is no excuse for doing bad in prereq's... but it is perfect to have ONLY done prereq's and nothing else as long as you have got very good grades in them (3.8 +)


sure u can all argue that having done the minimal prereq's is not enough preparation for medical school... but who caress... gaining admission is more important and med school ad coms dont care which higher level courses u did if any... but prereq's are of utmost importance
 

RySerr21

i aint kinda hot Im sauna
10+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
5,932
Reaction score
30
you really think a course like Zoology, which is by far the biggest waste of time in my college career, is more important than a course on biochemistry or human physiology?

I think schools do care what higher level courses you have taken.......thats why some REQUIRE higher level courses.
 

apgar

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
87
Reaction score
0
new to the site... what does BCPM mean? thanks
BCPM = biology/chemistry/physics/math

It's a GPA based on those classes that medical schools take into account along with your overall GPA when evaluating your application.
 

Starlingbruin

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
29
Reaction score
0
BCPM = biology/chemistry/physics/math

It's a GPA based on those classes that medical schools take into account along with your overall GPA when evaluating your application.
Is your overall GPA more important or BCPM GPA?
 

HeatherMD

Queen of Passiveagressiva
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
348
Reaction score
0
I think that generally the pre-req's are just a way for med schools to test your aptitude in a variety of disciplines. Most people do well in biology because it's strictly memorization, whereas organic chemistry has the reputation of being a weeder course because it requires the application of newly learned skills.

The pre-requisites also function to give a criteria on which to judge applicants from non-science backgrounds. An arts major has to be competent in biology to succeed in medical school.

I think if you aced all your first-year level pre-requisites and then crashed & burned in higher levels, it would look badly for you -- whereas doing poorly initially then pulling yourself up in higher courses later would reflect much better on your skills, even if the courses were physiology or genetics instead of defined broadly as "biology" like your first course.

I don't know how other schools do it, but my university will replace your pre-requisite grade in a subject if you score higher in a higher-level class of the same discipline. So if you got a B- in intro biology, but an A in physiology (a 200 level course here), they would use the A for your biology grade.
 

circulus vitios

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2008
Messages
6,239
Reaction score
1,656
BCPM = biology/chemistry/physics/math

It's a GPA based on those classes that medical schools take into account along with your overall GPA when evaluating your application.

I don't mean to hijack this thread, but are upper level mathematics and physics courses (diff equations 1/2, intro to quantum mechanics, modern physics, etc) counted as part of the BCPM GPA? Or is it just the pre-requisites that are counted as BCPM?
 

Forbes

K20A2
10+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
102
Reaction score
0
I think BCPM GPA isn't really descriptive enough. When calculating BCPM consider all of your science courses, not just the pre-reqs.

The object of premedical coursework is to give you a solid education in physics, chemistry, bio, scientific/critical reading and good reasoning skills. If how you do in a class does not reflect whether you learned the concepts or improved your reading/reasoning skills then you will be fine on the MCAT but you will need to raise your science GPA. Medical schools say something to the tune of 'We consider other disciplines equally' so if one GPA is stellar and the other lacking, that is not good.



If your science GPA is low, take some easy upper level survey classes to boost it. Athletes tend to have a good nose for easy survey classes, use this to your advantage.

Good luck.
 

brianmartin

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
1,048
Reaction score
53
Organic chem is the most important because it is the truest test of your "intelligence" both because of the kind of knowledge it requires, and the work it takes to acquire that knowledge. I couldn't quote the article but I remember hearing somewhere that organic chem grades predict exam scores in med school. As someone already mentioned, organic requires not only the rapid learning of new facts, but also a synthesis of those facts in your brain to where you can apply them to novel situations, like a new language. While you won't be working directly on organic chemistry in med school, the learning process and kind of thinking required is similar, so that's why organic chem is looked at so closely.

Other non-requisite science courses like biochem, zoology, physiology are good to have but none are really as important as organic.
 

TooMuchResearch

i'm goin' to Kathmandu...
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2008
Messages
5,875
Reaction score
2,045
If your science GPA is low, take some easy upper level survey classes to boost it. Athletes tend to have a good nose for easy survey classes, use this to your advantage.

Good luck.

I will preface this by saying that I am obviously no adcom member, and I have no idea what an upper level survey class is...I'm assuming it is an easy science class.

From what I've read, med schools are highly unimpressed with students that take easy "science" courses to boost their BPCM GPA. If you did poorly in the basic science pre-reqs, it is far more impressive if you turn it around and ace a few upper level courses such as Biochem, Advanced O-Chem, Immunology, Microbiology, etc. Keep in mind that med schools are looking for both breadth of study and academic rigor. Easy science courses do not contribute to either of these categories.
 

Snake Doctor

24
10+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2007
Messages
229
Reaction score
0
well, a solid understanding of organic chemistry is a must for molecular biology.
The main reason why organic chemistry is a weeder course is the fact that the material builds on the previous material. For example, if you are unable to have a solid grasp of chapter 5, then by the time chapter 7 rolls around, you will be in deep trouble (I'm just throwing random chapters here, but you get the point). With that said, if you did poorly in ochem I but did very well in ochem II, it shows that you have the ability and intellect to understand ochem, not to mention the will to keep going because it can get frustrating (it really does test your will if you're not doing so well). Unfortunately, if you did very well in ochem I but did poorly in ochem II... that raises a red flag in my book. Ideally, it is best to get A's in both ochem I and II. If you are on the quarter system, you have two more chances to redeem yourself if you did poorly in the first course since there's two more courses afterwards that are harder. The downside of the quarter system is that 1.) it goes ridiculously fast, so if you fall behind, it will take a lot of work to just survive. 2.) You have to try your best to get 3A's as oppose to just 2. (folks who took the chem 30 series for physical science majors at UCLA definitely know what I'm talking about)

I'd still take ochem over Biochem or P-Chem ANY day. Imagine if P-Chem is a pre-req... :eek:
 

biophysicianai

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Messages
238
Reaction score
4
I don't know how other schools do it, but my university will replace your pre-requisite grade in a subject if you score higher in a higher-level class of the same discipline. So if you got a B- in intro biology, but an A in physiology (a 200 level course here), they would use the A for your biology grade


and what school would that be, Heather??? :rolleyes:

sounds like a fantastic policy to me :D
 
Top