Which Biology course should I take? Nurse working towards med school.

Nov 1, 2010
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Hello everyone I am 23 currently a Registered Nurse of two years employed in the Medical Intensive Care Unit of a Mid-Sized hospital. After much thought, I have decided I want to take the long journey to become a Doctor. I have my BSN and a GPA of 3.85 with a Honors Degree. Currently I need to go back to school as a post bachelors and take some med school pre requisites to start my path to med school. Besides the gen eds and your typical nursing courses I have taken chemistry, statistics, anatomy and physiology for a full year, biorganic chemistry, pathophysiology, and microbiology. So for med school I need to take 2 physics courses, 1 biology course, 2 organic chemistry courses, and 1 more chemistry course. I am having difficulty deciding which biology course would prepare me best for MCAT preparation. I have the following options:

1) Genetics

2) Cell Molecular Biology

3) Animal Physiology

4) Zoology

Given my already completed coursework, which one of these classes would best complement my education and prepare me to do well on the MCATs. If you could please provide me your opinions and suggestions I would really appreciate it. Thank you. :D
 

cabinbuilder

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Hello everyone I am 23 currently a Registered Nurse of two years employed in the Medical Intensive Care Unit of a Mid-Sized hospital. After much thought, I have decided I want to take the long journey to become a Doctor. I have my BSN and a GPA of 3.85 with a Honors Degree. Currently I need to go back to school as a post bachelors and take some med school pre requisites to start my path to med school. Besides the gen eds and your typical nursing courses I have taken chemistry, statistics, anatomy and physiology for a full year, biorganic chemistry, pathophysiology, and microbiology. So for med school I need to take 2 physics courses, 1 biology course, 2 organic chemistry courses, and 1 more chemistry course. I am having difficulty deciding which biology course would prepare me best for MCAT preparation. I have the following options:

1) Genetics

2) Cell Molecular Biology

3) Animal Physiology

4) Zoology

Given my already completed coursework, which one of these classes would best complement my education and prepare me to do well on the MCATs. If you could please provide me your opinions and suggestions I would really appreciate it. Thank you. :D
Take Biochem, genetics only if you have to. Forget the rest
 
OP
D
Nov 1, 2010
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Well I have to take biochem regardless, my difficulty is deciding which one of the 4 biology courses listed would prepare me best for MCATs.
 

FrkyBgStok

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for the MCAT either cell bio or genetics. make sure the classes you have taken qualify to be considered as prereqs. it isn't that you need to take A chem course or A physics course, you need chemistry 1 and 2 and physics 1 and 2. I am not saying you don't know what you are doing, but MANY nursing credits are not considered sufficient for the prereqs. it would suck to apply with no chance at all for success.
 

cabinbuilder

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Well I have to take biochem regardless, my difficulty is deciding which one of the 4 biology courses listed would prepare me best for MCATs.
All you need is general bio. You don't really need more than that as I recall. Get a practice MCAT book and look at the types of questions. It should say in the front cover what types of material is covered. Sorry it's been too long for me to say for sure.

When I was in undergrad I took micro. gen bio, vertebrate anatomy, biochem, botany genetics. That's about it for the bio classes.

Never took any of the other classes you have listed
 
OP
D
Nov 1, 2010
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All you need is general bio. You don't really need more than that as I recall. Get a practice MCAT book and look at the types of questions. It should say in the front cover what types of material is covered. Sorry it's been too long for me to say for sure.

When I was in undergrad I took micro. gen bio, vertebrate anatomy, biochem, botany genetics. That's about it for the bio classes.

Never took any of the other classes you have listed

ok I will look to see if theres just a standard bio, from the course list I saw I only saw specialized bios and not just a gen bio.

What did you do for your undergrad?
 
OP
D
Nov 1, 2010
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Pennsylvania
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Pre-Medical
for the MCAT either cell bio or genetics. make sure the classes you have taken qualify to be considered as prereqs. it isn't that you need to take A chem course or A physics course, you need chemistry 1 and 2 and physics 1 and 2. I am not saying you don't know what you are doing, but MANY nursing credits are not considered sufficient for the prereqs. it would suck to apply with no chance at all for success.

Thanks for your advice, I appreciate your input, I will call around to med schools in my area to see if my classes will count. Any suggestions for good med schools to look in around the PA, OH, WV area?
 

FrkyBgStok

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the easiest way to see if they could is to look at the course title and course description. if it is introductory chem put on by a nursing department, it isn't going to work. if it is general chemistry (or inorganic chemistry at some schools) put on by the chemistry department, you should be ok. make sense?
 

badb100d

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for the MCAT either cell bio or genetics. make sure the classes you have taken qualify to be considered as prereqs. it isn't that you need to take A chem course or A physics course, you need chemistry 1 and 2 and physics 1 and 2. I am not saying you don't know what you are doing, but MANY nursing credits are not considered sufficient for the prereqs. it would suck to apply with no chance at all for success.
:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

For any courses you have taken and will be taking make sure they will meet the pre-med requirements. For the chem courses you have taken ask yourself "was this class full of pre-meds?" If so you will probably be ok, but check with advising to be sure. It sounds like you only have 1 semester of chem and another of bio-organic chem, this sounds to me like a chem class mean for nursing majors and not the full year gen chem sequence. Science classes meant just for nursing majors likely won't cut if pre-med requirements (but they will count in your sGPA). Also, for bio it looks like you still need the 2 semester sequence of gen bio 1 and 2, unless I'm mistaken. I wouldn't worry about other stuff until you take that. Then the recommendations for genetics and cell bio and biochem are good.
 
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Nov 1, 2010
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:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

For any courses you have taken and will be taking make sure they will meet the pre-med requirements. For the chem courses you have taken ask yourself "was this class full of pre-meds?" If so you will probably be ok, but check with advising to be sure. It sounds like you only have 1 semester of chem and another of bio-organic chem, this sounds to me like a chem class mean for nursing majors and not the full year gen chem sequence. Science classes meant just for nursing majors likely won't cut if pre-med requirements (but they will count in your sGPA). Also, for bio it looks like you still need the 2 semester sequence of gen bio 1 and 2, unless I'm mistaken. I wouldn't worry about other stuff until you take that. Then the recommendations for genetics and cell bio and biochem are good.
The Chemistry course I took was a gen chem 1 and put on by the chemistry dept. As far as my biology requirements go, wouldn't my semester of microbiology count as 4 of the 8 biology credits required by med schools most likely? I know that all schools are probably different, but just curious if you had an idea.
 

CookDeRosa

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The Chemistry course I took was a gen chem 1 and put on by the chemistry dept. As far as my biology requirements go, wouldn't my semester of microbiology count as 4 of the 8 biology credits required by med schools most likely? I know that all schools are probably different, but just curious if you had an idea.

>>

Doubtful. What you'll need is pretty standard, you might find a specific school which specifically states a certain course counting in place of another (you might see biochem listed as an alternative to organic chem II for instance). Really though, here's what you need:
General biology 1 and 2 with lab = 8 credits
General inorganic chemistry 1 and 2 with lab = 8 credits
Physics 1 and 2 with lab = 8 credits
Organic Chemistry 1 and 2 with lab. = 8 credits

If you have not taken ENG102 you'll need that too.

My nursing prereqs were all intros, so while they were taught through the science departments and had science prefixes, they were not the right sciences for premed. The general sciences are what you need- these will generally say "for science majors" and "a 1 year sequence taught in 2 semesters" in the course description. Intro chem, intro bio, and intro orgo are each stand alone courses - so those are out. *in other words, you can't ADD a semester of general science to one semester of an intro science to count as meeting the prereq.
 

cabinbuilder

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ok I will look to see if theres just a standard bio, from the course list I saw I only saw specialized bios and not just a gen bio.

What did you do for your undergrad?
You should only need bio I/bio II since you don't need a science major to go to medical school.

I was a fool and thought I needed a science degree to go to medical school.

I have a BS in biology :troll: and a minor in geography.

If I had known I would have majored in English or Geography and would have had a much nicer time in college than I did. Live and learn.
 

cabinbuilder

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Thanks for your advice, I appreciate your input, I will call around to med schools in my area to see if my classes will count. Any suggestions for good med schools to look in around the PA, OH, WV area?
All medical schools are good. Just depends on where you want to go and how much you want to pay.

I went to LECOM in Erie, PA
 

badb100d

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>>
My nursing prereqs were all intros, so while they were taught through the science departments and had science prefixes, they were not the right sciences for premed. The general sciences are what you need- these will generally say "for science majors" and "a 1 year sequence taught in 2 semesters" in the course description. Intro chem, intro bio, and intro orgo are each stand alone courses - so those are out. *in other words, you can't ADD a semester of general science to one semester of an intro science to count as meeting the prereq.
I had the same experience as CookDeRosa, just because the chem class was taught by the chem department doesn't make it applicable for med school. As much as you may cringe at the thought of taking coursework over, it's best to check with your school instead of finding out the hard way. I am inclined to say that microbio won't count and that you will need to take the whole year sequence of gen bio (may be called something else at your school like principles of biology or intro bio). Plus the gen bio sequence is really what the MCAT will test. However stranger things have occurred and individual med schools may tell you different things. You could call those you are interested in and find out. IMO, you won't go wrong with the gen bio though, and why would you want to limit your school choice? :luck:
 
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There are conventions to this game as any other. The problem that nurses encounter is that they have to switch games.

It's not clear to me why there is not more continuum between these obviously related careers. I have my ideas, most of them unfriendly towards medicine's arrogance, but I'll leave that aside.

You must get oriented to a new set of rules. Ones that demarcate the "prestige" of medicine from all those "ancillary" allied health curricula. So you'll need to look to your left and right in science classes and see scientists and premeds and no nurses.

Sdn has a booklet that publishes the rules of the game. But any bookstore will spell out the gritty details. Such as they are.

Good luck.
 

Lefty Doodle

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Don't listen to people who say you shouldn't take an advanced bio course. At least one of the schools I'm applying to requires a year of upper-level science (excluding orgo).

I'm taking physiology right now because a lot of people told me it helped them prepare for the MCAT. I also felt like my physiology preparation was weak from Bio II because I took it in the summer. We've done a lot of things we did in Bio I and II (excluding the plants!!) only more in-depth so for me it's been a useful thing to have since I took bio I and II in the summer.

Having said that don't take much more than you really need to for the schools you want to go to because your GPA is awesome!! If I can keep a 4.0 this semester I'm considering dropping human phys and picking up my last upper level after the MCAT. Orgo II and physics II are killer.
 

zebalong

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Another RN here that is a MS1. Most of these people are right about really really really check your courses and see if they are the ones that the normal science majors take, cause those are the gen. chem, gen bio, gen phys, ochem courses you need to take. I would just set up an advising session with the bio department and ask them. The one exception to the rule is don't take the calc. based physics, the normal science non-calc phys course is fine.. unless you REALLY like physics and that tickles you or something.

Biochem really isn't needed for the MCAT.. i doubt if you will even encounter one biochem question on there. Just take your basic courses and study study study and blow away the MCAT.

No upper divisions really help for the MCAT, genetics is helpful if you have a hard time understanding it, but what it tested on the MCAT is pretty simple stuff... just asked in tricky ways sometime.

If you've been ICU/CC i wouldn't advise you to take an upper division physio course for the MCAT, you will know all the physiology that is on there if you just review a bit. Good luck, like other people have said your gpa is golden, just rock that MCAT and you'll be set. GOOD GOOD luck! your RN will be a great asset in your application if you can get that MCAT score to open the door.
 

badb100d

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Don't listen to people who say you shouldn't take an advanced bio course. At least one of the schools I'm applying to requires a year of upper-level science (excluding orgo).
I don't think many here are advising the OP not to take upper levels (at least I'm not), as they can be very helpful and are sometimes required. However, I am saying to the OP to get all his/her ducks in a row concerning the basic science courses before worrying about anything more advanced.
 

CookDeRosa

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I had the same experience as CookDeRosa, just because the chem class was taught by the chem department doesn't make it applicable for med school. As much as you may cringe at the thought of taking coursework over, it's best to check with your school instead of finding out the hard way. I am inclined to say that microbio won't count and that you will need to take the whole year sequence of gen bio (may be called something else at your school like principles of biology or intro bio). Plus the gen bio sequence is really what the MCAT will test. However stranger things have occurred and individual med schools may tell you different things. You could call those you are interested in and find out. IMO, you won't go wrong with the gen bio though, and why would you want to limit your school choice? :luck:

Well, ya know what? There is another thread here now talking about a few folks who used A&P to count toward their bio requirement- so who knows??? FTR I'm still in camp of doing the list as is written because I'm applying wide, but if your list of schools is small, you can certainly find out easily if you meet the requirements of a few select schools.
 
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StudyShy

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You are in the same boat as I am. I have taken microbiology and am currently taking a graduate level pathophysiology course for my nurse midwifery degree. I'm at the same time taking general biology which is really funny that I'm taking a basic course and an advanced course, but this is the game that we must play to become doctors. Just think of the general biology courses as some more easy A's.

I agree that if you see a prospective nursing student in your class, the course probably isn't on your desired track. Remember, the demarcation starts early in the game. Doors shut pretty rapidly in order to prevent ordinary people from becoming doctors.