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Calculus as a Pre-med

ChoobieChoobie Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
I will be going to UNC next year as a Biology BS major on the pre med track. I recently have been hearing that some medical schools do not accept AP credit and that it is better to take entry level classes (gen chem, Bio I, Calc 1 and 2) in college even if I could place out of them. I was wondering whether I should take my AP credit for AP Calculus BC (I got a 5) and start freshman year taking Calc III even if I have forgotten most of the calculus I learned because I took AP Calculus in 11th grade. Or should I start out with Calc II freshman year and forgo the AP Credit? (I heard that Calc II is one of the most failed classes at UNC). Is Calc III easier than Calc II at UNC for someone who has lost a ton of calculus knowledge? Also do I even need to take calculus if I use my AP credit?

Thank you.

Replies to: Calculus as a Pre-med

  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,040 Senior Member
    edited July 2016
    According to both Ds (who were math majors) Calc 3 is easier than Calc 2, but if you don't remember basic integration and differentiation, you're not going to do well in Calc 3. Before you enroll in Calc 3, you may want to hunt around online to find a copy of the final exam for Calc 2 at your college. Take the exam honestly (no notes, no help and time the exam) and see if you pass. If you pass, then you can confidently move forward to Calc 3. If you don't pass, then you need to re-evaluate what math class you're going to enroll in. You may want to restart with Calc 1 if you really, really don't remember anything

    But consider whether you actually need to take a calc class--

    Here's a slightly outdated list (from 2015) of which med schools accept AP math credits
    AP Credit Policies for Allopathic Medical Schools

    I would double check the AP credit policies of your home state med schools. (Since your home state med schools will always be your best chance to get a med school acceptance.) Just to be safe since policies do change.

    Does your major require additional math classes beyond what you have AP credit for? Do you remember enough calc that you won't be struggling in any of the courses you'll need for your major and its co-reqs?

    Whether or not you take a calc class, you do need to take a stats or biostats class.

  • umcoe16umcoe16 Registered User Posts: 699 Member
    At Umich, calc 2 is also more failed than calc 3. However, I would disagree when people say that the reason is because calc 2 is harder than calc 3. The reason calc 2 is failed more often is because many people who really struggle with math stop taking math classes after calc 2. There are a number of majors which require up to calc 2 and have a decent number of people who really have a hard time with math. At Umich, biology was one of them (but very recently, they decided not to strictly require calc 2). Those who actually continue on to calc 3 and beyond are those who are good at math.

    I think that you can most likely get away with not taking another calc class. Very few med schools seem to require strictly calculus, and you can probably just take stats.
  • ChoobieChoobie Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    Thank you for your responses! I looked at the AP Credit Policies and I saw that UNC Med does not require calculus. I also saw that the vast majority of schools accept AP Calculus credit so hopefully that means I don't need to take any calculus in college as my major also does not require any more calculus past Calc I and II.
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,040 Senior Member
    edited July 2016

    Two things to check:

    1) make sure that your AP credit appears on your transcript as credit for MTH 1241 (or whatever calc 1 is at UNC). If it doesn't appear in that format, med schools will not accept AP credits in lieu of your math requirement.

    YES---AP Calc BC score= 4, 4 credits MATH 1241, 4 credits MTH 1242

    NO-- AP Calc BC score =4; 8 credits mathematics

    2) check to see if your any med schools you might want to attend in the future require math credits (not necessarily calc 1 or 2, but just math coursework) taken during college. (Some med schools are surprisingly picky about this.) This has bitten a few people on the behind because they assumed since they had AP credit for calc, it was all fine---until they get accepted to med school but notified they have deficiencies that must be remedied before enrolling. You may want to consider taking 2 math classes just in case. (Stats for one, your choice for the other. Heck retake calc 1 for the easy A.)
  • plumazulplumazul Registered User Posts: 1,743 Senior Member
    Heck retake calc 1 for the easy A.

    Whatever you decide to do, DON'T retake a course. That's a terrible waste of time you could be spending learning something new.
    Best of luck.
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