Savantrice

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I'm doing an informal post-bac at the moment...and slowly filling out my AMCAS. (usual story: horrible undergrad GPA....so i'm retaking some classes and finishing all my science prereqs...)

my problem is General Chemistry....the bane of my existence. i took part 1 in '99...got a D, i retook in post-bac this Spring '06 and got a B.

i took Gen Chem 2 during undergrad...got an F....just retook it and got a C! I'm horrified, honestly thought I got a B.

not sure what to do now? retake it again? leave as is? My trend was great (academic probation to consecutive Dean's List)...but I feel like this C would make the adcoms that might have overlooked a crappy undergrad experience leery about me all over again....

in undergrad i was in one of those accelerated medical programs, but was one of the kids that didnt make it all the way through (dropped because i didnt maintain a 3.8...my undergrad is littered with C, D, and F's)....i did go back and speak with the director of admissions at the medical school, who told me to retake anything i had C or below and apply.

so should I retake this class (that i already retook)?
(i have straight A's through the rest of my post-bac....Organic Chemistry, Physics, etc...just had two B's...from Gen Chem 1 and Genetics)....also...dont know if it makes a difference, but all of my post-bac classes are from a State University...with the exception of these Gen. Chems which are at a community college....

ideas, suggestions? i'm freaking out, because i felt i had a glimmer being a post-baccer...but now i feel that i've just ruined any fighting chance i had.
 

RAD11

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I don't think you should re-take it again since that would be the 3rd time you're taking the same class. Just try to do really well on the rest of your pre-reqs and the MCAT.
 

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Savantrice said:
so should I retake this class (that i already retook)?
(i have straight A's through the rest of my post-bac....Organic Chemistry, Physics, etc...just had two B's...from Gen Chem 1 and Genetics)....also...dont know if it makes a difference, but all of my post-bac classes are from a State University...with the exception of these Gen. Chems which are at a community college....

ideas, suggestions? i'm freaking out, because i felt i had a glimmer being a post-baccer...but now i feel that i've just ruined any fighting chance i had.
Hi there,
You certainly have not done yourself any favors with those re-take grades and the fact that they were community college courses. Because of your previous performance, you are battling up hill.

I cannot recommend that you re-take these classes. If you did another re-take and received anything short of an A, you would be in a very, very deep hole if not abyss. At present, you should figure out why you have done so poorly in General Chemistry and be ready to explain your performance objectively and rationally in a medical school interview if asked. You may want to consult with your General Chemistry professor to get a good handle on what happened and make sure you don't repeat the performance with any other courses.

In light of the fact that you have done well otherwise, I would make sure that your knowledge base is tight for the MCAT and try to do very, very well on this exam (Good Physical sciences score and no-retakes here either).

Is all lost for you? No, but you cannot take any more hits and you need to be sure that you are (overall) above the matriculant averages of GPA 3.6 and MCAT score of 30. This is doable for you but you need to be very diligent with the rest of your academics and extraordinary with your extracurriculars. Nothing else in your application should be less than outstanding. If not, make it so.

njbmd :)
 
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Savantrice

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njbmd said:
Hi there,
In light of the fact that you have done well otherwise, I would make sure that your knowledge base is tight for the MCAT and try to do very, very well on this exam (Good Physical sciences score and no-retakes here either).

njbmd :)
thanks for the responses...
gen chem is the only classes i've retaken at cc...all the rest are at my state university....and all of my other post-bac grades are fine.

my guess is math is the problem for me...i am not mathematically inclined...barely made it out of pre-calc in undergrad and have never taken calculus.
it baffles me how i can have retaken Gen chem and still have problems...but i took organic once and got A's in both?

neway, the class ended last week...but i am still meeting with the professor to keep studying the material. i'm leaning towards not retaking the class...frankly i cant afford it...
i've already taken the MCAT...and my PS score was an 8, with almost no gen chemistry...which was why i was taking this class over the summer, thinking i would be able to apply new knowledge to the August MCAT...but now...i dunno.
 

QofQuimica

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It sounds to me like some math coursework would be helpful for you. Presumably you haven't had physics yet, so those math skills will come in handy for you anyway. You should be very comfortable with algebra and trig before you take physics, plus calc if you're going to take calc-based physics. I think if you do well in your math and physics coursework, then retake the MCAT and do well in PS, you can explain your chem grades as being a result of a formerly poor math background that has since been remediated.
 

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I suggest taking upper division level Physical Chemistry at a 4-year university to make up for the OP's GChem performance. PChem is essentially GChem combined with calculus and physics. If the OP aces the PChem series, then it should make adcoms feel better about the D and F received for GChem on the first time.

As njbmd said, there's very little room for error now. Adcoms can easily say that you are at risk for not performing well enough and may require to repeat a class in order to merely pass a course, a course that is lower division, and taken at a community college. Although I can vouch that GChem taken at a CC is just as hard (at least in CA) as a 4-year's, adcoms may not see that, and may penalize the OP even more.

Our director of admissions at UCD School of Meds have always told us to take a more advanced course in something you did a C, or B in. Obviously if you got a D or F, then you should retake the class. This is because: (1) Retaking a class you got a C or B in doesn't add much to your GPA, (2) getting an A after when retaking a class doesn't mean much since you RETOOK IT! One is expected to get an A when retaking a class for obvious reasons.

Therefore PChem can be a good successor to GChem, which is actually what I did. PChem was part of my major requirement, but the fact that I didn't do so hot in GChem made it all the more important for me to ace PChem. The same could be applied to this situation. Hope that helps!
 

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relentless11 said:
I suggest taking upper division level Physical Chemistry at a 4-year university to make up for the OP's GChem performance. PChem is essentially GChem combined with calculus and physics. If the OP aces the PChem series, then it should make adcoms feel better about the D and F received for GChem on the first time.
The OP said he haven't taken any calculus classes yet, which by the way, is a requirement in some med schools. I don't think it's a good idea to jump into a harder class in the same topic when the person didn't do well in the more basic class.

I would recommend to NOT take the August MCAT until you can consistently get balanced and respectable score in the practice tests. It looks like your PS section needs work. You already taken it once and can't afford to not do well the second time.
 
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Savantrice

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I'll give that Physical Chemistry suggestion consideration....I was actually planning on taking Biochem this fall....would that be too much to take them concurrently?

i have taken physics already, and got A's in both I and II....but it was concept-based not calculus based...so my math deficiency didnt come up....

my #1st choice school requires pre-calc...not calculus....

another question: is calculus really something that I MUST take in order to do well in medical school?
 

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Savantrice said:
I'll give that Physical Chemistry suggestion consideration....I was actually planning on taking Biochem this fall....would that be too much to take them concurrently?

i have taken physics already, and got A's in both I and II....but it was concept-based not calculus based...so my math deficiency didnt come up....

my #1st choice school requires pre-calc...not calculus....

another question: is calculus really something that I MUST take in order to do well in medical school?
Hi there,
Do NOT take calculus unless you plan on applying to a school that requires calculus. DO not take Physical Chemistry unless you have taken calculus. As I said in my previous post, you are going to have to explain your performance in General Chemistry but the rest of your grades are OK. There is nothing in medical school that requires calculus.

Leave the higher math and Physical Chemistry alone unless you know you can do well in these course. These are NOT courses to take for fun or to "impress" an admissions committee. As a member of an admissions commitee, I am most impressed with strong academics (GPA and MCAT) and competitive application.

njbmd :)
 

GraC_undr_PrsR

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Don't take physical chemistry concurrently with Biochemistry, OP. Take Biochemistry and prepare for general chemistry on the MCAT by gleaning what you have to work on and then helping other students in the subject. Why not find out how to be a general chemistry TA? This way you prove that you know the subject and are determined enough to continue and go above and beyond what is required? This would be more useful than P-chem. I took that class during college and decided not to also take Biochemistry at the same time. It was a wise decision. You need to put yourself in the position where you are most likely to succeed (and it may be that you need a boost in morale). Best wishes.

~GraC
 

GraC_undr_PrsR

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njbmd said:
Hi there,
Do NOT take calculus unless you plan on applying to a school that requires calculus. DO not take Physical Chemistry unless you have taken calculus. As I said in my previous post, you are going to have to explain your performance in General Chemistry but the rest of your grades are OK. There is nothing in medical school that requires calculus.

Leave the higher math and Physical Chemistry alone unless you know you can do well in these course. These are NOT courses to take for fun or to "impress" an admissions committee. As a member of an admissions commitee, I am most impressed with strong academics (GPA and MCAT) and competitive application.

njbmd :)

Good advice!
 

Taty

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njbmd said:
Hi there,
Do NOT take calculus unless you plan on applying to a school that requires calculus. DO not take Physical Chemistry unless you have taken calculus. As I said in my previous post, you are going to have to explain your performance in General Chemistry but the rest of your grades are OK. There is nothing in medical school that requires calculus.

Leave the higher math and Physical Chemistry alone unless you know you can do well in these course. These are NOT courses to take for fun or to "impress" an admissions committee. As a member of an admissions commitee, I am most impressed with strong academics (GPA and MCAT) and competitive application.

njbmd :)

Yea I agree too. I took Physical Chemistry got A and wrote thesis on Quantum Physics, but my MCAT is 27 ( my third try). It did not help me to bring my score up. Just study for the MCAT :luck:
 

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If you're going to take an upper level chem course to buffer your gen chem grade definitely don't do physical chem - you simply don't have the math background for it. You'd have to take the entire calculus series and should take differential equations and/or linear algebra before jumping into physical chem. Upper-divisions that you might be ok at would be analytical chem and/or inorganic chem. But since they are both similar to gen chem you might have difficulty with those too unless you work on the math deficiency.

For what it's worth I used to have a major math deficiency myself. I didn't make it back AlgII/Trig in high school, and started college in college algebra. I never got an A in a math class until I took Calculus I (for the third time - my first two teachers sucked). Many people find Calculus I easier than algebra. I know I do (despite my poor performance with it the first couple times), but it is a different kind of thinking that takes some getting used to. Calc II was a pain in the behind, because integration is harder than differentiation. Calc III (multivariable at my school) is easier than calc II (although the exams in my class suck so I'm not doing as well as I'd like. Too many of the questions have nothing to do with anything we did in the chapter). I had major math anxiety coming into all of these classes, but after having a couple good physics courses, and exposure to the calculus in a couple of my other classes (biomechanics and analytical chem lab) everybody thinks I'm a math whiz now and the anxiety is gone for the most part.

Do you need any calculus to get into med school? No, for the majority of the schools you don't. But I'd suggest taking a look at a Schaum's calc outline and see how you think it is. If you think you can handle that better than the algebra go for it. It certainly would help the BCPM if you do well in it. Just make sure you get a good teacher for it by checking the ratings at ratemyprofessor.com. Since the rest of your grades are good though I wouldn't worry too much about the one C in gen chem II - especially if you're planning on applying to DO schools.

Good luck!