1. Dismiss Notice
  2. Download free Tapatalk for iPhone or Tapatalk for Android for your phone and follow the SDN forums with push notifications.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Hey Texans—join us for a DFW meetup! Click here to learn more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Weak in chemistry, not strong in other sciences

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by MC23, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. MC23

    MC23 Finding Myself
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    Hey everyone,

    I'm going to be a second semester junior this fall and I was just wondering about how chemistry classes are viewed in considering your GPA. With medical schools, physics, bio, chem, ochem grades are pretty much weighed equally from what it seems like, however, I don't know too much about pharmacy, since I've just returned my attention to the field recently.

    My dilemma is that I don't have a fantastic GPA (3.35 overall), and as a biology major, I didn't really do well in chemistry classes (that's been a trend since high school), but I did enjoy gen. chem and I loved organic chemistry (especially the second semester with macromolecules). My chemistry grades are:

    Gen Chem: B, B+ (freshman)
    Organic Chem: C+, B (sophomore)

    Now as an excuse, the validity of which I'm not too sure, that C+ in orgo came during a really stressed out semester where I was doing a work-study job, taking Molecular Biology as well as preparing for a religious pilgrimage outside of the country. I took the final exam after I got back into the country (while I was there, it was all prayers and all, so I couldn't really study) so once I got back, I crammed for two weeks and got that result. I'm considering taking it over again (at a city university or community college, because my college is just too expensive) during the summer before senior year. I know this raises a lot of issues (work, science courses, religion, outside courses, etc.), so with the necessary bits in mind, my questions are:

    1. How much more weight do chemistry courses receive over other science courses (namely biology, since I'll have more courses in that), if at all
    2. Do most pharmacy schools (namely around NYC) consider courses taken outside your university of attendance when they're retakes? And is it a bad thing? (NYUs classes cost me about $4,000 during the summer)
    3. My biology courses have been Principles 1 (A-) & 2 (A), Molecular Bio B+, Cell Bio(B-), Genetics (A-). Upcoming: Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Independent Study (my current research lab)...Will these other courses be able to overshadow the chemistry grades if they're better than B+ grades, by sheer numbers alone?

    Thanks in advance. :oops:
     
    #1 MC23, Jan 2, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. matt48

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    Chemistry courses are one of the most important courses in pharmacy, along with biology i'm afraid. There is no way to make the admission staff to weigh the chemistry course less than other courses. However, if you have a bad grade in 1 chemistry and good grade in all other courses, I'm sure the admission staff will take into consideration that you tried to improve your grade by studying hard and excel in the remaining classes. So dont worry too much about the bad grade, 1 bad grade wont be the end of the world, just try not to have multiple bad grades after that and you are ok.
     
  4. eightonesix

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2008
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    If your grades have an upward trend by the time you graduate, it will be a plus on your application. :thumbup:
     
  5. ValeRx

    ValeRx PharmD
    Pharmacist 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,290
    Likes Received:
    18
    Status:
    Pharmacist
    Pharmacy is a science based profession. If you are weak in chemistry and "not strong" in other sciences, this profession may not be for you. As stated by the others, grade improvement is a strong factor in your application. It worked for me.
     
  6. MC23

    MC23 Finding Myself
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    Since people are highlighting grade improvement thus far, is it a good idea to retake organic then at another institution? I'm pretty sure I can pull off a better grade. The summer of applications may also make it kind of late to do so, however, wouldn't it?
     
  7. ValeRx

    ValeRx PharmD
    Pharmacist 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,290
    Likes Received:
    18
    Status:
    Pharmacist
    Well you can really look at it a few ways. You may want to retake Organic I, but you got a C and then improved in Organic II, which looks good. Retaking it may run you the risk of doing exactly the same... then you're stuck with two C's in Organic I and that would look worse. Retaking it this summer would be too late for the 09 year.
     
  8. monsterbrain

    monsterbrain Drinking for sanity.
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    I really wonder if admins spend that much time analyzing transcripts, e.g., looking for trends, comparing classes, etc. With hundreds to sometimes over a thousand applications, I imagine most just put the numbers in a humongous spreadsheet with GPA, PCAT, and other items weighted in importance. The top ranked applicants get interviews or supplemental requests, which eventually get scored and weighted in the spreadsheet.

    Obviously, all schools will handle this differently; but I would assume the above especially if the school utilizes Pharmcas. As a previous pre-pharm, my suggestion would be to focus on numbers only and retake the C class IF it will improve your overall GPA to an amount you feel is worth the time/money. Also, as someone else mentioned, you might want to think long and hard about pharmacy if you are not strong in the sciences.
     
  9. ValeRx

    ValeRx PharmD
    Pharmacist 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,290
    Likes Received:
    18
    Status:
    Pharmacist
    I wonder if they will let me see my file after the school year starts to see why I got in.
     
  10. xscpx

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Other Health Professions Student
    I disagree with the "pharmacy may not be right" if you aren't strong in science. That's just nonsense. Most of those undergrad prereq courses are designed to be weed out classes and to make it very hard to pass without actually learning anything. Getting A's really is determined by your ability to read your teacher and preform well on exams, and not necessarily know anything about the subject. Most of the professors suck as well. You just need to learn the basics and get through. Just do your best and you will be fine. You're grades are very good and I doubt you will have any issue getting accepted to pharmacy school.
     
  11. ValeRx

    ValeRx PharmD
    Pharmacist 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,290
    Likes Received:
    18
    Status:
    Pharmacist
    It is not nonsense in any way. 90% of what you learn in pre-pharm is the BASIS for the pharmacy profession. You need to know biology, chemistry and organic hands down. Physics is worthless but the other sciences are not. I would like to know how you plan on understanding drug interactions or anything about pharmacology for that matter without this basis of science knowledge.
     
  12. bluesickle

    bluesickle ... it begins
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    I agree with ValeUC. I know people want to be supportive on here but let's be realistic for a second. I keep hearing about how GPA isn't everything but if someone is struggling in pre-req classes now, how will they handle the more advanced classes in pharmacy school? Pharmacy isn't for everyone.

    If someone was bad at math, I certainly wouldn't encourage that person to pursue a PhD in computer science.
     
  13. drugdoc

    drugdoc Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    637
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    Why would you want to go into a science professional degree if you're not strong at science? You're doing a disservice to yourself and your patients if you are accepted and pass the NAPLEX.

    What you learn during pre-req courses IS very valuable to pharmacy school courses such as Medicinal Chemistry. I've seen arrow pushing on more than one occasion this past semester...

    Many of your statements are naive.
     
  14. xscpx

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Other Health Professions Student
    Naive? Well, since I've taken the core sciences (with the exception or Orgo II) and since I've taken upper level sciences, I can say FROM EXPERIENCE that most of my prereqs were a waste of time. They were all weed out classes and no professor I had actually cared about retention of material, just passing exams. I didn't actually start learning anything until my upper level courses and grad courses.

    Tell me how knowing how to classify salt-loving archea from heat-loving has any pertinence to anything pharmacy related.

    If you get through pharmacy school and pass the NAPLEX doesn't that mean you must, at the very least, understand the science well enough?

    If you can get decent grades in the prereqs and do well on the PCAT that demonstrates a level of understanding of the science. Being a good pharmacist does not rely solely on memorizing useless facts about yeast or the ideal gas laws. I know quite a few people who have mastered the "science" but were not accepted to med school/pharm school. I know quite a few people who can rattle off useless facts but can't cross a street without getting run over...

    You are doing fine MC23. Just keep trying your best to do well in those classes. They grade you got in Physics as a college sophomore has nothing to do with the type of pharmacist you will become.
     
  15. ValeRx

    ValeRx PharmD
    Pharmacist 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,290
    Likes Received:
    18
    Status:
    Pharmacist
    Maybe your prereqs were a waste of time, but for what? You are not a current pharmacy student so how can you say anything "from experience" about how the common pharmacy school prereqs are useless? You can't. So I would refrain from giving those sort of pointers to someone who is trying to get into pharmacy school.

    Every class has some percentage of useless information. Sure, knowing the difference between halophiles and thermophiles may seem trivial, just as knowing about apical meristems and indeterminant growth. However, all of this is a basis of knowledge that is PARAMOUNT to pharmacy.

    Think about it. Could you really have a full grasp of organic chemistry after never having taken general chemistry? You could learn about the bonds between carbon and hydrogen but how would you know what an alkene was or an alkyne if you didn't understand the concept of electron sharing and double or triple bonds?

    The same is true for biology and microbiology. If someone was pulling C's in all their prereqs, they will not get in to pharmacy and they shouldn't. Why? Because you MUST have a better than average understanding of the core concepts of pharmacy, which is science. You cannot tell me that you've taken any course throughout your college career in which you have used 100% of what you learned in that class.
     
  16. pharmant

    pharmant PharmD student
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    Just to add my 2 cents. If you want to get into medical/pharmacy school you have to work for it. If you are not good at Science but enjoy it, then that means you have to work harder than most students. If pharmacy is what you want then working harder is worth it.
     
  17. cinda001

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Pharmacy
    There are several learning styles that certain people are good at. Once you know what your strong one is and what you're weakest one is, you can use it to your advantage.

    Don't get me wrong, it's great to be just naturally good at these subjects and it will certainly help. But if you're not, I wouldn't use that as an excuse to not go for what you want to accomplish in life.

    If you are weak in chemistry, go back to the basics and start there. Study smart, not hard as the saying goes.

    I used to be horrendous at math, I wrote a story about this in this post but deleted it because it got too long. Long story short, I sucked, now I'm very good at the subject and people come to me for help. I take personal satisfaction in that.

    PharmD's make very good money, are entrusted with a very important position and it requires work, time and sacrifice. If it was easy everyone would be making 100 plus k a year doing this stuff.
     
  18. CaptainCurl03

    CaptainCurl03 Ohio State pharm student
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    I wouldn't recommend retaking OChem. I think you're scores are decent enough. I would argue that the majority of people get B's in OChem as everyone knows it is a weedout class that is designed to give out lower grades than other Chem classes, so the fact that you managed those grades says something (you're not all that bad in Chem classes).

    I agree with the above post. If you have a lot of difficulty with science courses, you're going to have a lot harder time in pharmacy school but that doesn't mean you can't pull it off.

    From the looks of it, you have a lot of key chem and bio classes coming up in your schedule. if i were on the admissions committee i'd like to see how you do in those classes before making my decision. like i said, your scores are decent but it depends how your other credentials are. regardless i think you will be waitlisted by schools who will want to see how you perform on your upcoming class schedule. Others who are more impatient will probably deny you but like i said, it depends on how your other stats measure up.

    best of luck
     
  19. Jaded03

    Jaded03 Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Messages:
    865
    Likes Received:
    0
    MDApps:
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    Overall, this thread is pretty pointless. Grades and coursework are very much irrelevant. You will get people arguing for pride's sake, and nothing more. What matters to the school who invests in you are:
    1. A high GPA. Although schools tend to want a diverse class, most schools don't want their GPA to fall. If you have a low GPA you are at risk.
    2. A solid student. If you don't learn basic sciences well, you won't do well in learning any science. A school wastes valuable resources should you fail. They prefer you don't. At a more realistic perspective, the school loses money should you fail, you are their source of income and sustenance.
    3. Strong potential for health professional. You need to illustrate you won't kill someone because your incapable of retaining and processing information. This is the basis of a pharmacist and no you cannot just rely on a machine to do it for you.

    ASIDE: Many arguments regarding coursework are pretty moot. Upper div's are hardly more difficult; they are just more subjective and specific. Lower div's (prereq's) are fairly useless, but they are a lot of information to cram into a short time period. I do doubt any schools have difficulty mulling over the value of individual courses. In the end, the grade matters. It doesn't matter how you justify it. Example for pre-meds, A in physics for bio majors is better than a B in engineering physics honors. If it came down to a tie, these arguments might come into play, but again unlikely.

    The resolution to a strong desire for a career is to prove to yourself as well as admissions that you can do it. There are no guarantees once you're in that you will pass the boards and practice. Repeating coursework and improving your resume are all indicative of motivation. Performing well in the most recent coursework and gaining leadership/independent positions are indicative of potential as a health professional.
     
  20. drugdoc

    drugdoc Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    637
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    Similar to what a poster said above, how can you say what a school wants if you are not currently in pharmacy school, and even moreso on their AdCom?
     
  21. Jaded03

    Jaded03 Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Messages:
    865
    Likes Received:
    0
    MDApps:
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    You're right about being on an adcom. I'm not on one. Whether your in professional school or not, you really can't speculate what a school looks for other than what you've contributed.

    My whole point was to point out that no one can say what a school wants out of the curricular component of the application (GPA) (Note: Not what a school wants for acceptance). Upon reading what I've said, I realize that it wasn't objective as I wanted it to be. However, I'm not just speculating EVERYTHING I said. Here's my foundation of some parts of what I've said and I apologize for saying all of the fluff as I do realize I got carried away.:p

    1. GPA. Multiple adcoms (of medical and pharmacy schools) have emphasized the importance of the GPA to be at its highest at the time of application. Major and coursework were irrelevant so long as a bachelor degree was conferred and completion of the prerequisite coursework prior to matriculation.
    2. Like all schools, numbers are important to the funding of institutions. Everything is measured to determine how "good" something is. Things like class GPA, board exam pass rates, student retention, etc. are all things schools strive to improve. This is the bureaucracy of education. When you are a graduate school for the sciences, you would like to select a class that can pass advanced science classes. Now in this case, grades aren't everything and an attempt at a more objective measure of proficiency (PCAT) is also utilized.
    3. (I regret mentioning this last point as it's the most subjective and it wasn't really on topic with the science class topic of this thread :hijacked:)
     
  22. drugdoc

    drugdoc Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    637
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    I didn't say I necessarily didn't agree with your points, it just irks me how many posters talk without really knowing what goes on - mere speculation doesn't equal the truth. I personally think a couple of your points are more valid than most, though :)
     
  23. Jaded03

    Jaded03 Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Messages:
    865
    Likes Received:
    0
    MDApps:
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    Haha. Thanks, I didn't want to make any enemies :p. I simply wanted to say that a higher GPA or better grades in science are preferable for valid reasons. However, every school has their threshold on what is acceptable and intolerable for acceptance. We could debate it forever and it would probably sound exactly like an adcom meeting; I really don't believe there is a truth. I tried to make a final word like well if you want to increase your chances, you'd go beyond accessing yourself as weak in sciences and change your self-perception and image on paper.
     
  24. ValeRx

    ValeRx PharmD
    Pharmacist 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,290
    Likes Received:
    18
    Status:
    Pharmacist
    From what I just read, your point is 100% paradoxical.

    and then...

    How does this make sense? You just said grades were irrelevant yet you were then listing that schools want high GPAs? Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you are trying to say but from the looks of it you are not making a clear argument.
     
  25. Jaded03

    Jaded03 Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Messages:
    865
    Likes Received:
    0
    MDApps:
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    Individual grades are irrelevant. Overall GPA matters. No one really looks at your transcript to the grade unless it's a tie or for interview matters (an aberrant grade). It's not paradoxical, I must've not worded it properly.

    Edit: Actually paradoxical works. It seems contradictory but is possibly true. Haha. SAT word. :p (just noticed it re-reading it). I think you were looking for the word contradictory.
     
    #24 Jaded03, Jan 8, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  26. drugdoc

    drugdoc Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    637
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    How do you know individual grades don't matter?
     
  27. Jaded03

    Jaded03 Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Messages:
    865
    Likes Received:
    0
    MDApps:
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    Because there is a GPA. There is no point in looking at an average if you're going to look at a transcript for the coursework itself. It is true a few schools do examine the transcript when they are factoring in personal considerations, but this would only be flagged if it is low, but above minimal. I wouldn't be worried about my personal grades so long as my GPA was high. This would hold true until I was given the interview. Then it is at the interviewer's discretion to grill me on grade trends and aberrant grades, which I have to say doesn't happen often.

    From adcom's own mouths, they have told me (about academics) that they do not care about what classes I took as long as I tried to get my GPA as high it can be and as many prerequisites completed. I guess a university graduate fair is only a small sample size and can't be extrapolated to all examples, but as far as I am concerned, this seems the most efficient way to look a academics for the interview stage when the applications are in the thousands. [Wow, I feel like :beat: :(] Subjectively, I can't even imagine it happening at all unless it was down to a tie between students. Grades mean so little by themselves when you factor in the variables.
     
  28. drugdoc

    drugdoc Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    637
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    I'm really not out to treat your like a beaten horse - honestly :) I'm just trying to make a point, and this post is the unfortunate victim.

    There are a lot of pre-pharm students out there who are looking for advice. While I know most people mean well when giving advice, sometimes people have a tendancy to say things that they don't really know about - they speculate - but it sounds like the law.

    Pre-pharm students who don't know any better may take these statements as the global truth. What's true for one school's admissions certainly isn't the case for all school's admissions. So, all-in-all I'm saying (to everyone) to be careful when making general statements.

    I was pre-pharm a couple years ago and was on this site a lot looking for information. Now I realize that many statements are made that aren't necessarily true, or are not true for all schools. While I realize it's a grand idea, I'm just hoping to deter people from giving out information that they don't really know about, in hopes to help out pre-pharmers.

    Again, sorry to be harsh. No hard feelings, personally! I've just got some free time to vent during break, but I'm back in class on Monday :)
     
  29. bluesickle

    bluesickle ... it begins
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    If individual grades don't matter, can I get C's in all my pre-req's and get A's in bowling, ceramics, and in other irrelevant classes? I thought there was a reason why PharmCAS broke classes into categories.
     
  30. monsterbrain

    monsterbrain Drinking for sanity.
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    Right, absolutely. Because all we do in pharmacy school everyday is read and analyze old English literature. :rolleyes:

    Are you crazy? 85-90% of our classes are science, and many directly relate to what we learned in undergrad. I used to wonder why I had to take physics, and then I was introduced to a little subject called pharmacokinetics.

    I hear about "weed out" classes constantly. That's what undergrad students say to make themselves feel better about poor grades in required courses. Personally, all of my pre-req classes were absolutely necessary for pharmacy school.
     

Share This Page