What Free Class to take the Spring Before Med School?

Mar 28, 2013
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Hello SDNers,

My employer has just notified me that they will be paying for me to take a science class at the local university this spring. I'm headed to med school this fall, and since I took all of my pre-med requirements 5-10 years ago (so I'm realllly rusty), I think it'd be silly for me to not take advantage of this opportunity.

Before people jump on me and say 'just relax', I do want to mention that I will be spending the summer before med school traveling and hiking to Mt. Everest base camp, so it's not like I'm trying to cram and 'get ahead'-- I really just want to take the course to re-familiarize myself with the routine and study habits associated with studying for a basic science course, and if possible, pick up some useful background knowledge along the way.

What class would you recommend? Biochem? Anatomy/Physiology? Or should I take something completely off the wall like P-Chem to get me back into the basic science study habits?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

baxt1412

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If anything, maybe Biochem. Many people go into med school w/out A/P and are fine. However, I have seen many people say "Idk what i would have done without biochem".

Of course that's ~n=1, but take it FWIW.

I think Biochem or Molecular/Cell Bio would be more beneficial than A/P.

BUT overall, I would take whatever seems the most interesting to you. I assume you aren't borderline on a minimum GPA requirement for your school, but make sure that this could never come back to bite you in the butt.
 

yocharlie

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I heard that biostatistics is very useful when in medical school and in medicine in general. Coursera offers that course pretty often.
 
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MPHOrtho13
Mar 28, 2013
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Thanks for the replies!

To clarify- yes, I am borderline GPA for my school bc of a low undergrad GPA. I completed a MPH degree a couple years ago, so I've taken lots of epi/stats courses (so I def agree with you yocharlie that stats is useful). I looked further into the bio courses, and they include:

- Anatomy
- Biochem
- Cancer bio
- Cell bio
- Developmental bio
- Endocrine physiology
- Evolutionary bio
- Genetics
- Immunology
- Medical school microbiology

Any further input on these specific courses would be much appreciated. :)
 

PlaqueBuster

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Since you are going into medical school take a class that may actually help you during your first year: anatomy, microbiology, genetics are my recommendation
 

cliquesh

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Since you are going into medical school take a class that may actually help you during your first year: anatomy, microbiology, genetics are my recommendation
I agree with this. I'd personally take anatomy.
 
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Don't take anatomy, you won't retain it. Anatomy is merely memorization without much else, take biochem. Remembering the "gists" of pathways going into medical schools and then just needing to remember the specifics will help a lot more than trying to memorize everything for the first time through medical school. Also, biochem was my favorite course through undergrad, it's incredible how much you can use facts you learn in biochem in your everyday life (especially when it comes to diet, energy, etc.)
 

YourMD

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Be careful with undergraduate biochemistry. My university's class titled biochemistry is nothing like medical school biochem. It focuses on the chemistry of cellular structure and function and does not include metabolic pathways which compromises the majority of medical school biochemistry. We offer another course titled Cellular metabolism which is more similar of medschool biochem. This class covers all of the major metabolic pathways in the human body. Look into this and be sure to make the distinction between the two courses before enrolling. Goodluck!
 

cabinbuilder

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Having gone through medical school I would take microbiology and pharmacology together. Ugh. Biochem at my med school was the "make or break" course that may people had to remmediate. A&P will not help you. Don't take genetics, what you did in high school is about all that is covered within the biochem class (I had a total of 3 hours of lecture on genetics) during med school. Good luck in your decision.
 
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For me, I would go ahead and take Anatomy (up to advanced level) because it is all about memorization with too many details. It is like a new language, so it needs time to consolidate. DO schools spend more time on anatomy than MD schools. My friend at a DO school also suggests me to take anatomy if I haven't done so. All of the free A&P courses online are just at very basic level...
 

DoctorKrieger

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I will be spending the summer before med school traveling and hiking to Mt. Everest base camp
“I want to climb a mountain—not so I can get to the top—cause I want to hang out at base camp. That seems f*****’ fun as ****. You sleep in a colorful tent, you grow a beard, you drink hot chocolate, you walk around, ‘Hey, you going to the top?’ . . . ‘Soon.’”


Regarding your question: if your school has block scheduling, find out what course is first and take that.
 

medickdb

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Hello SDNers,

My employer has just notified me that they will be paying for me to take a science class at the local university this spring. I'm headed to med school this fall, and since I took all of my pre-med requirements 5-10 years ago (so I'm realllly rusty), I think it'd be silly for me to not take advantage of this opportunity.

Before people jump on me and say 'just relax', I do want to mention that I will be spending the summer before med school traveling and hiking to Mt. Everest base camp, so it's not like I'm trying to cram and 'get ahead'-- I really just want to take the course to re-familiarize myself with the routine and study habits associated with studying for a basic science course, and if possible, pick up some useful background knowledge along the way.

What class would you recommend? Biochem? Anatomy/Physiology? Or should I take something completely off the wall like P-Chem to get me back into the basic science study habits?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I took undergrad courses in most of the basic sciences that you commonly see as part of the first year of medical school. If anatomy comes easy to you, then I wouldn't worry too much about it. My roommate majored in biochem and I had never taken it before. After speaking with him, he said that medical school biochemistry is different than undergrad. It's less structures and more overall pathways. If I were you, I would make sure that I took cell bio first. If you've done that, then I would take a micro course.
 

medickdb

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Having gone through medical school I would take microbiology and pharmacology together. Ugh. Biochem at my med school was the "make or break" course that may people had to remmediate. A&P will not help you. Don't take genetics, what you did in high school is about all that is covered within the biochem class (I had a total of 3 hours of lecture on genetics) during med school. Good luck in your decision.
I agree that biochem seems to be a make or break course for many people. But, from what my classmates who majored in biochem have told me, it's nothing like what you see in undergrad. I didn't have biochem before coming to medical school and it was a time consuming course. However, it was definitely doable. I also agree with you about microbio. I had a great microbio course in undergrad and it helped me immensely when I had to take it here. That said, it was still probably the most time consuming and detail oriented course I've had to date. I was lucky in that my undergrad professor covered a little immunology, too. That course, immunology, seems to get people as well.

Actually, I just want to throw a quick piece of advice to rising OMS-Is. Take it or leave it if you will. If ever you feel lost in a process, whether it be biochem, immuno, cellular pathways, etc. find a good video going over the overall process. I highly recommend Khan Academy medicine videos.
 

NontradCA

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Biochem or pharm