Would I be put at a significant disadvantage if I do Chem 3a/3aL before Chem 1a? Just to clarify, I heard that 3a gives a good look into the MCB major, and since I’m deciding between MCB and CS, my main priority is to decide which major to do, and I know chem 1a will not help me decide that, so I’d prefer taking Chem 3a. I did well on AP Chem but I heard Chem 3a does not really depend on Chem 1a. I also did cs61a over the summer and got an A. I’m not someone with a ton of programming experience so the class was still difficult. Are the chem classes significantly more rigorous than a class like 61a? Should I do Chem 1a first to test out the rigour of the chem classes at cal?
Official prerequisite for CHEM 3A is “CHEM 1A with min grade of C-; or AP Chem with min score of 4; or Chem HL IB with min score of 5; or GCE A-Level Chem with min grade of C” according to http://guide.berkeley.edu/courses/chem/ .
MCB is not overflowing like CS is, so you just need a 2.0 GPA overall and in major courses to declare: https://mcb.berkeley.edu/undergrad/declaring . MCB allows but does not recommend AP chemistry score of 4 or 5 to waive CHEM 1A/1AL: https://mcb.berkeley.edu/undergrad/advising/advising-office/freshmen . If you are a pre-med who skips CHEM 1A/1AL with AP credit, many medical schools expect you to substitute a more advanced chemistry (other than organic chemistry or biochemistry) course for the skipped course.
Here are some CHEM 1A exams that you can try to check your knowledge: https://tbp.berkeley.edu/courses/chem/1A/
You can find syllabi for CHEM 3A at the bottom of https://tbp.berkeley.edu/courses/chem/3A/ .
You can compare career destinations for CS and MCB graduates here: https://career.berkeley.edu/survey/survey