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Will not taking math hurt me?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by idkwhattodo, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. idkwhattodo

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    I want to eventually go to med school, so I'll be entering pre med next year. Thing is, I absolutely suck at math. I got a 22 on math on the ACT. I know this sounds weird, but I'm great at what I see "important" math (math in Chem, Physics, etc). This math makes sense to me, and I feel it has a purpose. Calculus, for example, is much more theoretical, or applied only in rare cases. There are MANY med schools that don't require math. However, since many applicants have taken math, would not taking math hurt me? I know for a fact that if I do take math in college, I will fail. I guarantee it. What should I do? Should I take stats?
     
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  3. MrLogan13

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    Calculus is applied regularly, every day in fields like physics and engineering. If you don't want to take math, then be sure to select schools that don't have any math courses as a prerequisite. However, many schools want you to at least have taken stats. Personally, I think taking math courses are good for you; it helps you develop pattern recognition and abstract problem solving abilities. Don't be afraid of it. I flunked math in high school, and started in beginning algebra in CC. I became more proficient at mathematics and aced a year of calculus at the university, while also gaining an interest and appreciation for all things quantitative.

    Don't let it scare you, you'd be surprised how well you can do when you start to see the utility of what you are learning.
     
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  4. jd989898

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    "Calculus, for example, is much more theoretical, or applied only in rare cases"

    Lol
     
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  5. milski

    milski 1K member
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    Unlike "math in physics." Interesting perspective, to put it mildly.
    No, not taking math is unlikely to hurt you application to medical school.
     
  6. kraskadva

    kraskadva ...
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    1) are you still in high school?
    2) you're not entering 'pre-med' next year, you're entering college (I'm assuming) and the "pre-med major" is a unicorn, i.e. it doesn't really exist. If you take some variety of science major, then you will most likely be required to take calculus. Deal with it.
    3) yes, not taking 'math' will hurt you. Either by preventing you from applying to med schools that have it as a requirement, or by allowing yourself to be the kind of person who is defeated by your fears and lack of interest. You will have to learn many things that you don't particularly find interesting or applicable along the way. Might as well get used to it now. If the analogy works for you...treat it like a video game, defeat the obstacles and level up.
    Go get a tutor and quit whining. Also remember that doubt is usually a self-fulfilling prophesy.
     
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  7. NoDakDok

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    Not taking math will certainly not inhibit your application to medical school, so long as the schools you're interested in do not require it.

    If you actually believe this, I would highly encourage you to take a look at what Calculus actually is. I may not use Calculus directly every single day, but I certainly use the concepts I learned from Calculus every single day.
     
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  8. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist
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    This shows how much you don't know about math. Calculus represents real life phenomena a lot better than algebra. The "math" you use in Physics isn't actually 100% correct; they're simplifications at best. True physics cannot exist without calculus.
     
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  9. linearbbq

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    College-level math courses, including calculus, are very different from math in high school. I hated high school math and didn't start to appreciate math until I hit calc -- which, like you, I expected to hate. The way that you think will change in college, and you may find that you're better able to appreciate things that are more abstract/theoretical.

    If you can only handle math when it's applied to real life in a context that you find meaningful, you'll probably do fine in stats. You may not enjoy it, but the real-life applications and significance for research and medicine are very clear.
     
  10. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I'm not even sure this is a true statement.
     
  11. ciestar

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    My major itself in undergrad required a full year of calculus.
     
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  12. Conflagration

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    You know the average Math score on the ACT is a 21, right? So, you're around average. I wouldn't consider that "failure" or "sucking", but alright.

    Isaac Newton was both the father of physics and the father of calculus (the latter *technically* co-discovered with Leibniz). Calculus is the math that Isaac Newton "made" to explain physics, and although higher level concepts like E&M are ugly regardless of the math used, most people find that Calc-based Physics is far more intuitive.

    A lot of statistics courses are fairly self-explanatory, especially if you're opting to take the GE variant of statistics.

    A little about me- I left high school taking AP Statistics because I was terrified of calculus; I hated pre-calculus. I have to admit, I originally switched out of a Biochem major because I was terrified of Calculus II. I took it anyway in a semester where I was deciding what I wanted to do, and Calc II convinced me that I actually enjoyed math more than I gave it credit for. When I apply for professional school (hopefully next year), I will most likely apply for a dual-degree program so I can have both a clinical license and a Math PhD so I can conduct biostatistical/biomathematical research.

    So, you never know what you may end up with. I would have never believed you if you told me as a high school student that I would be doing mathematical research. "Excuse me? BARF!"

    Now I appreciate it more, to the point that it's now my major. You never know; college is more about learning about yourself than it is about "getting the pre-reqs done", although the latter is a crucial portion. Give it a shot, and don't be stubborn- if you need the help, most universities have free student tutors. :)
     
  13. NoDakDok

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    I honestly think that, at the bare minimum, an Introduction to Statistics course should be required for medical school. The understanding of basic statistics is fundamental to sciences.

    It is true, at least it was when I applied. I know they're adding requirements for medical admissions now, but I'm pretty sure math still isn't one of them.

    - AAMC Admissions Requirements, https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/requirements/

    The only school I applied to that required mathematics was Harvard. Even Harvard only required it for their HST program. And only through Calculus I, I believe.
     
  14. Law2Doc

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    When I applied it was widely required, and those places that didn't require strongly recommended it. Not necessarily calculus but a semester or two of college math. Plus many colleges don't let you take some of the sciences without it. If you google math and med school you will find on the Emory website a list of 70+ med schools drawn from the MSAR of a number of years back, that require or recommend 1-2 semesters of math. This is a bit out of date and some of those requirements likely have changed but I think it's improbable most med school no longer expect ( if not actually require) math when just a few years ago most clearly did. Just saying -- I really don't have a dog in this fight.

    Fwiw the AAMC website itself says their list isn't exhaustive and you need to look at MSAR or school websites for the actual pre reqs.
     
  15. NoDakDok

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    I think you're more likely to run into issues with this than you are likely to run into issues with medical schools. Even if a medical school requires it you could just take it during the summer between undergrad and medical school if they insist upon that requirement or suggestion, but not being able to get your major (e.g. Chemistry, Physics) without Calc I will be much more imposing.

    Not arguing with you at all, you're right, but that would also mean there are at least 50 schools that don't. And those that do often have pretty mediocre requirements. My medical school requires 3 credits of "College Algebra." And I'm pretty sure they don't mean Linear Algebra...

    Most of these "math course suggested" could be fulfilled by something like "Intro to Psych Stats" that you list on AMCAS as a MATH instead of PSYC.

    I'm fully aware, just linking to an AAMC source that shows the most common requirements, which don't include mathematics. Also, Harvard's HST is the only school I actually know of that requires Calculus and suggests higher level mathematics. The only reason they do so is because the HST program is a combined program with MIT.
     
  16. knv2u

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    I thought Stanford required calculus. I know it was strongly recommended that students take pchem, and I cannot imagine taking that course without knowledge of higher level math.
     
  17. kraskadva

    kraskadva ...
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    Of the 28 schools I applied to this year, ~10 required calculus &/or college math.
     
  18. NoDakDok

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    http://med.stanford.edu/md-admissions/how-to-apply/academic-requirements.html

    And there is no way any US medical school would require (or even suggest...) Physical Chemistry, an upper level Chemistry/Physics/Mathematics hybrid course. That doesn't even make sense...
     
  19. knv2u

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    It is quite possible that the school has changed its requirements and I will try to find the web page from last year when I was researching the subject, but it absolutely did suggest physical chemistry. It struck me as very odd as well which is why I remember it.
     
  20. Mr.Zero

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    My school requires that you take stats or calculus. I took both in undergrad, and I really liked calculus. On the other hand, I didn't particularly like stats. It was easy with a lot of busy work, but I just really hated our professors teaching style.
     
  21. rushmore4

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    Not having strong math skills is likely to hurt you when you take the MCAT.
     
  22. optimistic3

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    What do you plan on majoring in if you don't take math? I thought most majors require at least one math class but I guess it depends on your school. I'd say don't avoid math just because you don't like it and aren't good at it. Instead get a tutor (most schools have free tutoring on campus) and conquer your fear over math!
     
  23. linearbbq

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    Art history, anthropology, classics, philosophy, English, religion, any foreign language or cultural studies major, any art or performance major, possibly sociology (depends whether there's a research methods/stat course)... so many majors that don't require math :) Most schools have some kind of math proficiency requirement, though, unless OP is going somewhere with no distribution requirements whatsoever... and those schools are hard to get into with a 22 on the ACT.
     
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  24. The Milkman

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    1. Chemistry and physics will most likely require algebra and/or trig as a prerequisite
    2. Many majors have some sort of math in it, whether it is algebra or stats
    3. If your college has a general education program, math will be a category
    4. Most med schools do require it and I'm sure others will continue to add it. Don't let one class keep you from applying to schools you would want to attend

    You may not have a way around it, but either way it's a good thing to take and comprehend! I'm sure you will be fine in it. Use your university's resources and start at the lowest level. First thing to do is change your "I'm going to fail" mentality.
     
  25. Nadim012

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    I'm currently taking Calculus, Statistics, and Physic I this semester. A lot of math so wish me luck. Math is required for the medical field and science material anyways.
     
  26. Labkid

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    It's not hard. Trust me, this is coming from a person who got straight C's in high-school for all math because my teachers plain sucked (I attended mostly private schools and all of them had English teachers trying to teach math from a book) and as a result went on to college level courses not even knowing most basic geometry and trigonometry rules. This left me frustrated and hating math so for a long time I didn't do anything about it and was convinced (like you) that I sucked at math.

    I suggest doing the following instead of avoiding math courses:
    1. See if maybe your teacher is the problem by spending some one on one time with them and try to get them to tutor you on your weak points. If they can't seem to get you to understand then their teaching style is not helping you.
    2. If that's the case you can learn alternatively by investing in a tutor. This helped me massively and when I took calculus for the first time I ended up getting a B+ (first grade above C for math) since I was getting tutored for it during the first week I was taking it.
    3. If your teacher isn't the problem and tutoring isn't helping I suspect the problem is that you don't really want to put in effort to learn it either because it is boring, or seems out of your realm of understanding and thus are convinced you'll never be good at it.

    Hopefully you aren't in that mindset anymore after reading that but if you are just use me as an example to see that anyone can learn math.

    Going further into what I said before I was NEVER taught proper algebra and it really hurt my scores in my first few college level math courses. That calculus class I mentioned was more focused on solving integrals and derivatives and not trigonometry/geometry in the slightest. I went into Physics I not knowing ANY trigonometry and decided to spend the first two weeks teaching it to myself by going over it again and again until I felt I got familiar enough with it and managed a B+ overall in the class.

    Though I still struggle with Trig from time to time it has gotten much easier the more I practice it and it has paid off in more ways than just learning the math itself for the sake of a course.

    Moral of the story: You can do math, it takes practice yes but more importantly it takes discovering what you are failing to understand and being willing to find the proper way to fix that by any means possible.
     
    #25 Labkid, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014
  27. Gregor Wiesmann

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    Most Medical Schools don't require Calculus, but it seems like most require at least some college math. I had to take Pre-calc 1 before I was allowed to take Chemistry, and I can assure you that having a solid background in algebra is pretty vital for Chem.
     
  28. moisne

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    I don't know what kind of BS physics you have been taking but physics is built upon calculus...

    Btw most med schools requires calculus last I check - stats may have counted.

    As an ex engineer - I used calculus ex at least 50x per day if not more. Plus calculus makes everything in the world make sense. Chemistry is based upon physical/quantum chemistry, which is based on physics, which is based on calculus....
     
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