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How Bad is Orgo/Bio Together?

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Replies to: How Bad is Orgo/Bio Together?

  • MDreamsMDreams Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
    @wildbuck thanks. So would you recommend taking bio/orgo together or not? Since you studied at NU I would assume you have a good feel for those courses as well. Thanks!
  • wildbuckwildbuck Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    I think that I would hold off on that decision until you've had a chance to see how your first year goes. Most people (depending on AP credit) begin their freshman year by taking three quarters of General Chemistry (101,102, and 103) or in some cases the accelerated version of that course (171 and 172). I took the three-quarter sequence and would definitely recommend it, as that course is manageable and earning A's is very doable (though still challenging). A number of students I encountered started with the accelerated version or with orgo during freshman year because they had already performed well in AP Chemistry in high school. This makes sense logically, but it can hurt you in the long run. Getting a high GPA is more important for medical school admissions than is taking the hardest courses. Everyone who applies to medical school has taken the required courses. There is no advantage given to those who took them faster than others. Earning as many A's in science courses as possible should be the goal. Starting with the general chemistry sequence also provides a great foundation going forward as you'll have a better idea what professors and TA's in the department expect on lab reports and exams.

    Some freshman also take the physics sequence because it's generally regarded as less rigorous than gen chem, orgo, and bio. I took both together and although I found physics very doable, it was difficult to manage taking two courses with a lab component during my first year. I managed to perform well and was glad to have it done, but keep in mind that physics is like gen chem in that you can do well if you give it the time. This is different from a course like orgo or bio, where for me personally, I devoted a great deal of time to those courses and still felt like my grade was a crapshoot.

    After going through a quarter or two, look at your grades and try to determine for yourself if you'd be able to handle orgo and bio together. I did not take them together and I think that was the best decision for me. My grades were likely better for it. There is no penalty or boost either way and medical schools will be more concerned with your grades in those courses than the order in which you took them. Similarly, there is no penalty for taking them over the summer. If anything, people I know who took summer bio told me that it was easier (not easy) to do well than during the school year. This was only their experience and it was a few years ago so take it with a grain of salt, but I think it's worth considering.

    Last thing - don't get caught up with what others around you are doing. There isn't one right way to tackle the premedical curriculum. The people in your courses are working with the same limited information (none of them have taken the MCAT, applied to med school, etc.). Use information from people who have applied and from the pre-med advisors. Some people I know had bad experiences with the advising office, but I found them extremely helpful and always willing to offer frank advice on the decisions I was making. Good luck!
  • GA2012MOMGA2012MOM Registered User Posts: 5,440 Senior Member
    Wildbuck, I appreciated your post and pointing out that people have different ways of studying. I didn't mean to come off hostile to wefreg, but I just don't like seeing posts where a student tells of horrendously long hours of studying (12 hours per day) lack of sleep (8 all nighters per quarter) and basically having no social life. If I were the OP and read posts #2 and #4, I would run for the hills before taking orgo and bio together. That may be wefregs life, but I hope the OP realizes that is NOT typical for a premed, anywhere. Again my apology if I came across harsh.
  • Sam LeeSam Lee Registered User Posts: 9,449 Senior Member
    ^Regarding your thought that med school has "exponentially more work" than courses at NU, one of my friends got two B+ in orgo (don't know how he did in his third quarter) but he got the second highest scores in one of his first year classes at a top-20 med school.

    I do know that NU orgo is a lot harder than some others. One of my classmates got so scared of another C that she took it at a college near her home over a summer. It became as easy A for her. To mitigate the risk that med school admission may frown upon such practice, some of the students would take orgo/bio at Harvard during the summers.
  • CentralFCCentralFC Registered User Posts: 412 Member
    Is it possible to take organic over the summer, or is that option limited to bio?
This discussion has been closed.