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What is the deal with Organic Chemistry being weighted much less on MCAT?

Discussion in 'MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test' started by christian15213, Mar 15, 2007.

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Is Organic Chemistry losing its status as an important pre-med course

  1. Yes, in fact I see the effects in Universities right now as well as the MCAT

    5 vote(s)
    6.9%
  2. Yes for the MCAT, but the effect on the Universities hasn't been felt as of yet

    45 vote(s)
    62.5%
  3. No, Organic chemistry is an important subject for MCAT and pre-med courses

    22 vote(s)
    30.6%
  1. christian15213

    christian15213 Membership Revoked
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    And, does this mean medical schools are actually looking to give it less weight as well? Hmmmmm, before I go off on some conspiracy theory I was wondering if anyone know or had anything to say about it...

    From what I hear and fromt the people who have taken the MCAT they say genetics is more of a player and the Organic is super straightforward O-Chem... I wonder what gives... Furthermore, my thought is that perhaps Biochem would show its face more on the MCAT since that is a natural progression for O-Chem anyway. AND the first thing one does when getting into medical school is start taking Biochem!!! To me, O-chem is a million times more important than gen-chem. and or physics...

    So, are the classes taken in college for pre-meds going to adjust in the future? The funny thing is, prof's and departments exist a lot of the times on the curicula put forth by the pre-med / biology departments which require it for a bio degree. Would they ease up and make it easier? Would they crack down on genetics making it more difficult?

    Again, just wondering what you all had to say about it...
     
  2. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator
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    1) Genetics because well, its starting to gain momentum in the field and half of the diseases out there are genetically related in one way or another
    2) Biochem really isn't on the MCAT probably because biochem isn't a requirement to get into medical school so it would be unfair to have it on the MCAT for students who don't take it. Personally I think it would be a better pre-req to take in college instead of ochem, but for purposes of learning how to study and learn material, both are fairly relevant, in that sense
    3) I disagree with O-chem being more important. How often will you see anything really o-chem related in the field unless you go into research? O-chem deals more with mechanisms of reactions and how things work the way they do via synthesis, etc..etc.. For example, stuff like benzene substitutions, or SP2 or SP3 reactions, you will rarely see unless you go into the research field and you're devising ways on how certain mechanisms of reactions work in the body. Standard gen chem has alot more relevance to the practice of medicine (anything ion related, giving potassium to someone under surgery- anything anesthesiology related, etc..). For example, you'll learn that sickle cell is as a result of glu6 substitution with valine, and that deoxygenated hemoglobin will reveal a hydrophobic pocket for deoxygenated hemoglobin to polymerize, which is pretty relevant to learning about how to treat sickle cell patients. You learn this stuff in medical biochemistry, but the basics are founded in general chemistry. Things like zwitterions, or differences between Fe+3 or Fe+2 and how it changes how your body works are also things that you learn the basics of in genchem.
    4) Physics- there's a thread on this in allo right now which discusses this but you'll see it in pharmacology, cardiac conduction pathways, nerve conduction, PM&R related things, etc.. Radiology is mostly pure physics if you think about it.

    Classes taken in college pretty much a hurdle to jump over in order to prepare your study skills more than anything else. You pretty much learn a semesters worth of stuff in a few weeks. Im not sure what your third paragraph is getting at, but in the genetics/population statistics block we just finished in medical biochem- it seems pretty important, so you'll probably see a large shift towards this.
     
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  3. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas.
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    Dangit Braluk, stop having all the answers.
     
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  4. Pancho Villa

    Pancho Villa Senior Member
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    christian, you are an extremely talented, intelligent, and gifted individual. i only wish there were more of you in this world.
     
  5. jbrice1639

    jbrice1639 Cub Fan, Bud Man
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    as braluk said, genetics is huge in med school. organic chem is non-existent. i have had no need for any organic mechanisms or any other crap from that course anywhere throughout the first year of school. physics is also a lot more important than i thought it would be. it's a huge part of physiology in cardio and pulmonary sections. organic is probably the least useful undergrad course as far as knowledge you will actually need/use/care about in medical school.
     
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  6. thebeatblitz

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    O-chem is just an extension of gen chem. So if you have a foundation-level understanding in gen chem, you shouldn't have much trouble with O-chem, as it's a specialized set of knowledge derived from gen chem. This is probably why the MCAT is ~50% gen chem and maybe ~10% o-chem. Either way, the o-chem questions were so stupid and drawn straight from the useless, memorized crap bin.
     
  7. OP
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    christian15213

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    Wait a minute time out? We can't have genetics until we have Organic Chemistry. What do you think that COO- carbonyl is doing there? in fact the whole system is Organic. Not only can you not have genetics... You for sure can't have Biochem. Haworth structures right off of the hemiacetal and acetal / ketal groups. D L system, being R and S system. Etc, etc...
     
  8. Tired Pigeon

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    QFT:thumbup:
     
  9. OP
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    christian15213

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    UAFAHAIFUMIHA :thumbdown: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

    Anyways,,, what was the point of that... Organic Chemistry is important... it is just a building block just as gen chem was... but Org Chem actually makes more sense because it actually deals with synthesis. I.e. Protein synthesis.
     
  10. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator
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    If organic chemistry was that important, Id think that medical schools would already have implemented into their courses (they never have), AAMC wouldn't start drastically scaling back on organic chemistry and putting more into genetics on the MCAT (probably to reflect the status quo of the disease state in the world), and things that you claim are organic chemistry (such as protein synthesis as you had mentioned above) wouldn't be taught in Biochemistry. There are plenty of experts and medical school administrators, and AAMC and federal watchdogs that, Im sure, have a close eye on what medical schools teach their students. I would think that if they deemed Organic Chemistry necessary they would have done so now.

    When we talk organic chemistry synthesis, we're not talking about macromolecular synthesis, we're talking about mechanisms of synthesis or reactions (like Grignard reactions, etc..etc..) which is nowhere in medical school. Everything synthesis-relatd taught in medical school (DNA, amino acid de novo synthesis, salvage reactions, for example) are not what organic chemistry entails (I have yet to find one organic chemistry course that taught anything about these things that I mentiond above). It may be important in other areas of science- such as a PhD based doctorate, but in terms of an MD, you won't really find it prevalent.

    I mean hey Im with you, Organic chemistry was my best class in undergrad and I wished it was in medical school, but for the sake of getting down to business and learning exactly what you will need to know to treat your patients, organic chemistry won't be in the horizon.
     
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  11. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    Are dehydration reactions really that complex? Come on!
    Organic is just a hurdle to get over. There isn't a need for 2 whole semesters. You could learn everything you need for the background needed for biochem in 1 semester max.
     
  12. dutchman

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    What the hell?:confused:
     
  13. dutchman

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    You mean one day?
     
  14. OP
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    christian15213

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    Inherently I agree with you blaluk... However, I just think we should give O-Chem more credit than we are stating... You really can't have Genetics and Bio-Chem until you have learned Organic... this is on a micro level of what I am speaking of... I mean, even the concept of hydrogen bonding isn't really conveyed until O-Chem II... that is extremely important...
     
  15. dutchman

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    Yes you can. Have you taken biochem or genetics? especially genetics.
     
  16. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator
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    I dont really remember learning anything hydrogen bonding related in organic chemistry. To be honest, I can't recall one instance in any classes Im taking now that is related to anything I learned whatsoever in Organic chemistry. All the things that I did learn that I still use today is from gen chem. The things I remember in Organic chemistry, like Markovnikov reactions, benzene substitutions, all those lab experiments where we synthesize smelly chemicals, or things of that nature, I don't see it.

    But I will compromise, what I DID learn from Organic chemistry that has carried over after graduation was not so much the material, but more the methodology of learning how to study. It was easily one of the harder classes in college, but it taught me how to study and I can understand its importance there. In terms of the actual material, I can't really say much there.
     
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  17. OP
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    christian15213

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    Lol, I really agree with that. But Hydrogen bonding and interactions where deeply covered when you learned about tautermerization and intermolecular bonding.... and in conjunction with BP's... Moreover, the hydrogen interactions in Genetics and Bio-Chem is very important. All I am saying is that while Gen Chem opened the doors. Organic put everything to work and started showing how some of this stuff works internally. Can you get away with it for Genetics, meaning not take it... YES... but in my school you have had to pass all chems to ever step foot in a Biochem course.
     
  18. Tired Pigeon

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    Actually, most people see this in gen chem I, or general bio, freshman year.:)
     
  19. Tired Pigeon

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    I'm guessing no.
     
  20. OP
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    christian15213

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    LOL, I agree, I probably saw it there too but it sure wasn't making sense... now as I am studying the MCAT I see how it was there... but in O-Chem I guess it just made a little more sense.
     
  21. drdan766

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    n case you wanted to know . . .

    Organic Chemistry holds many EXTREMELY vital roles in ALL of medicine EVERYDAY. Some things have been outsourced to the "LAB" department of the hospital. However, most hospitals REQUIRE the use of a synthesis hood and many distillation processes. In a sense, organic chemistry (the course) exists in my mind so that you will be competent enough to trust in a laboratory with the chemicals in orgo-lab. Orgo lab is where you learn the real-world repercussions of the chemical models of Lewis and Bohr.

    I think it is very important that you understand SPECTROSCOPY. Mass spec, UV-Vis and NMR are all VERY IMPORTANT TO MEDICINE EVERYDAY!! The NMR is now used as the MRI. The UV-vis is used (esp. with TLC plates) to separate and classify compounds.

    In terms of use in everyday "doctor-like" activities, I think it could be helpful for a doctor to understand organic chemistry thoroughly. Every drug that is prescribed has a chemical composition which dictates how it may interact with the body and other chemicals it encounters. Not to mention that casts and many other surgical procedures employ chemistry synthesis reactions in real-time as a part of in-patient and out-patient treatment procedures.

    And further more, I love orgo. So I also wish the MCAT had more orgo.

    I am sure people will argue that genchem, biochem, cell bio and genetics are more appropriate. However, organic chemistry and orgo lab are the ONLY way for a doctor to get a full understanding of the powerful effect of a chemical reaction. That WOW factor in the lab when a pot bubbles or a reaction spurts shows us that any change to the balance of our bodily chemistry can have powerful consequences. There is NO other class I took in college where I could manipulate my environment with dramatic results in lab. I made things and changed their chemical and physical properties! Nothing can compare to the real-life experience you get in a laboratory setting.

    Not to mention learning chemical safety!! Doctors used to use a lot of ether, and still use a lot of chemicals. Know your safety protocols!!!!!)
     
  22. OP
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    christian15213

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    Yea, I hear you... That really is the first and most powerful arguement of a 2 part argument that O-Chem is O-so important...
     
  23. drdan766

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    i guess people don't understand passionfor organic chemistry. Their loss.
     
  24. HippocratesX

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    Why don't u just become an organic chemist if you enjoy organic chemistry so much? They'll give you a nice hood in some dingy, dark basement somewhere and you can synthesize, extract, distill, and crystallize to your heart's content...
     
  25. drdan766

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    well, it seems a lot of people hate orgo. Sucks to be you. Not to mention that you clearly have limited knowledge in the subject to be reacting in this manner. If you don't like orgo, that is your problem. I was writing because I think orgo IS VITAL TO MEDICINE. If you disagree, well then you just disagree.

    Medicine involves all the sciences. I am just arguing that orgo is no less important and in many ways vital to medicine.

    If you didn't want to learn that stuff, you should just stick to the subjects that you understand like . . . i don't know. Just do that. Knowcking orgo reflects poorly on you and that is all.
     
  26. gujuDoc

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    Well I'm too lazy to read everyone's posts so I'm just going to give my two cents....

    Organic chemistry at the level of undergraduate introductory courses is not all that big of a deal but at a deeper and more advanced level its implications and importance can be seen. Take QofQuimica for instance. She has a PhD in organic chemistry and did not even need to memorize so much in biochemistry from my understanding of what she said. This she said was due to the fact that she could figure out the actual mechanisms causing the pathways to occur as they did. The only thing I'd imagine she'd have had to memorize was the enzyme names or where ATPs and electron carriers came off etc. Maybe she can emphasize more and correct me if what I said was wrong.

    But at an introductory level its implications are often not seen because they do not focus on its applications so much as the general concepts of reactions and mechanisms.

    Organic chemistry has implications in a lot of things but do you need to know these finer details to succeed in genetics and other classes? probably not. However, if you want to think about it from a conceptual standpoint, everything that is living is made from organic chemistry molecules. The reactions that take place in our body often have both inorganic and organic chemistry reactions occurring like macromolecular synthesis and degradation, biochemical pathways, etc. It has applications in research for production and discovery of new medications through research like natural products research or pharmaceutical research. So it does have its roles and I woudn't dismiss it as a useless science. But like most undergrad classes you won't directly do things like that in med school. Even physics, though it has applications in a lot of things and is the foundation of all other sciences including all forms of chemistry, has no use in med school in the way they teach it in undergrad. Sure cardiology kind of principle have physics applications but the need to know how far a car goes in a certain time or things of that nature is not important. The point of these courses is to teach you basic science principles and how to problem solve and study. Even what you learn in your biology courses is probably nothing compared to what you'll learn in med school because they go so superficial to the reality of what you'll learn in med school.



    A class that is offered at many but not all universities is bioorganic chemistry.
     
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  27. gujuDoc

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    Oh and though Ochem may help in biochem if you've had an advanced background I don't think it really helps if your background is superficial because most people just memorize the pathways instead. Also, genetics doesn't really require anything but the most basic concepts of chemistry for understanding. Most of genetics at an undergraduate level is Mendelian genetics which involves the following doing things like punnett squares, test crosses, etc. Or it is stuff like linkage situations and things of that nature. Only a small portion of undergrad genetics is devoted to macromolecular compounds like DNA, RNA, etc. Most of genetics does not deal with the chemistry but with the biology or application in terms of things like discussing mutations on certain chromosomes and what not. That's hardly ochem for you.

    As per biochem, it is a combo of both ochem and gchem concepts. The concepts like Hbonding, ionic bonds vs. covalent bonds, and other basic chemistry concepts are more general chemistry concepts. A lot of the basic delta G concepts regarding free energy change, activation energy, acid base concepts, etc. are things learned in undergrad.
     
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