Nov 20, 2009
104
1
0
Midwest
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Pre-Medical
Which courses do you think best prepared you for the MCAT?

I have to take another year as an undergrad to replace a couple bad grades and finish the prereqs. I basically wasted my first year of college and only took one semester of general biology (which I'm retaking) and general chemistry 1 and 2. That leaves me with 5 semesters to take the ochem and physics sequences along with some other biology classes to get in the minor like microbiology, cell biology, immunology, and genetics. I heard that physiology is helpful for the MCAT, too so I also have that planned into my schedule, but it's also there because it looks interesting.

Also, seeing that I have 5 semesters to squeeze in all of these science classes, which ones do you think are the most manageable to take together? I've talked to my biochemistry professor and he strongly advised not lumping together the prereqs. Right now I have tried spacing them out so if I have 2 lab classes scheduled for one semester I'll make the minimum course load to be considered full time. For example, one semester I have microbiology (lab), physics 1 (lab), and genetics planned.
Does anyone have suggestions for course load as well?
 

TFS

10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2008
373
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Which courses do you think best prepared you for the MCAT?

I have to take another year as an undergrad to replace a couple bad grades and finish the prereqs. I basically wasted my first year of college and only took one semester of general biology (which I'm retaking) and general chemistry 1 and 2. That leaves me with 5 semesters to take the ochem and physics sequences along with some other biology classes to get in the minor like microbiology, cell biology, immunology, and genetics. I heard that physiology is helpful for the MCAT, too so I also have that planned into my schedule, but it's also there because it looks interesting.

Also, seeing that I have 5 semesters to squeeze in all of these science classes, which ones do you think are the most manageable to take together? I've talked to my biochemistry professor and he strongly advised not lumping together the prereqs. Right now I have tried spacing them out so if I have 2 lab classes scheduled for one semester I'll make the minimum course load to be considered full time. For example, one semester I have microbiology (lab), physics 1 (lab), and genetics planned.
Does anyone have suggestions for course load as well?

i'm really glad i took genetics, biochem, and upper division cell bio (the class emphasized reading scientific papers and analysis so that was really helpful). i really wish i took microbiology and upper division physiology, but i didn't have time.

i took genetics, biochem, and physics (class + lab) together and while it was pretty stressful, it was doable. genetics is a b*tch but totally worth it.
 

DrSmday

7+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2010
272
3
141
Cali
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Pre-Medical
I would definitely recommend Physiology, I took it myself and it helped a lot... an upper division molecular Bio course with lab would also be good. these really help with lab techniques and data analysis.
 

NYR56

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 16, 2008
632
5
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Medical Student
Physiology and biochem are the two most important non-required courses for the MCAT IMO. I'm taking Microbio now and it has pretty much nothing to do with the MCAT. The topics on the MCAT are covered in like 3 days and the rest is spent discussing specific diseases, antibiotics, etc.
 
Nov 20, 2009
104
1
0
Midwest
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the suggestions. It's going to help when I'm trying to plan out when I should take these classes!
 

Oncoloman

Member
Mar 29, 2010
212
2
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Pre-Medical
...an upper division molecular Bio course with lab would also be good. these really help with lab techniques and data analysis.
Very true. I think the 3/27 MCAT really caught many people off guard because they figured that stuff was pointless... I would say lesson learned. I read an article not too long ago about how the AAMC test writers were considering including more molecular stuff on the MCAT so I was not surprised. I think a balanced yet unique student has great potential and would better separate him/herself from the group come applications. I personally think you should take physio because its really important for the MCAT but I would also take a challenging molecular bio course that no one else wants to take at your university. Think about it...less students in the classroom, more time to get to know the professor in and outside of the classroom, get at least an A- and tada!...a LOR.
I've gotten 4 this way from upper level course professors (and usually they tend no to give LOR's just based on course work). Unfortunately, some pre-med's are like sheep and do what everyone else does because its an easier route ( more help from friends, old passed down notes & exams..ect). Is this really unique though? No. After reviewing 200 students from the same university with roughly the same GPA, same course work, same EC's would you not deny 96% off of sheer boredom? Yes taking a popular course would more likely result in a better grade but you also have to consider those who review thousands of applications when developing your course schedule.
 

pdxjazz

10+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2009
211
1
41
Status
Medical Student
Very true. I think the 3/27 MCAT really caught many people off guard because they figured that stuff was pointless... I would say lesson learned. I read an article not too long ago about how the AAMC test writers were considering including more molecular stuff on the MCAT so I was not surprised. I think a balanced yet unique student has great potential and would better separate him/herself from the group come applications. I personally think you should take physio because its really important for the MCAT but I would also take a challenging molecular bio course that no one else wants to take at your university. Think about it...less students in the classroom, more time to get to know the professor in and outside of the classroom, get at least an A- and tada!...a LOR.
I've gotten 4 this way from upper level course professors (and usually they tend no to give LOR's just based on course work). Unfortunately, some pre-med's are like sheep and do what everyone else does because its an easier route ( more help from friends, old passed down notes & exams..ect). Is this really unique though? No. After reviewing 200 students from the same university with roughly the same GPA, same course work, same EC's would you not deny 96% off of sheer boredom? Yes taking a popular course would more likely result in a better grade but you also have to consider those who review thousands of applications when developing your course schedule.
I have been a member here for about a year, and I remember reading where a couple members had also recommended taking an upper division cell/molecular biology course. I'm glad I listened, although I had to skip the lab section as I'm taking biochem and physiology labs this semester and 3 labs would be brutal.

Good advice Oncoloman and no doubt someone is listening.
 

kashmirvie

5+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2010
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I haven't taken the MCAT yet (4/10 :S) BUT I've found while preparing for my MCAT these courses have helped a LOT:

Cell Physiology - that's what it's called in my university. It's kind of a molecular bio I guess. I learned a lot and I've been doing pretty good in bio in my practice tests.

Human Physiology - I don't think I need to explain this. Even though I think bolecular bio is more important, human physiology has done wonders for me.

Genetics - Pretty much yes or yes you should take it.

Weirdly...for my Writing Sample I've found that taking History of the Modern World I & II has helped me come across with helpful examples and ideas for the essays. Dunno what else to recommend. GOOD LUCK! :)