Course Work Pass/Fail?

<p>Hi Guys, </p>

<p>I wasn't sure about this and no one has been able to give me a straight answer so far so I wanted to ask your opinions. I know that most medical schools prefer that you take your science prerequisite courses with a letter grade along with courses in your major (well, they actually only seem to accept letter grades), but what if you wish to take science courses beyond the prereqs/major Pass/Fail just because you are interested in the class but are already taking other letter-grade science courses at the same time in the same semester? Will Medical schools look down upon that in the same way?</p>

<p>not in the same way, but if you are a science major, you should not be taking any science courses p/f.</p>

<p>Thanks for your reply. However, is there a reason for not taking any as a science major especially if your entire semester course load is full of sciences already? I'm just having a hard time understanding what medical schools take away from that and why.</p>

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but if you are a science major, you should not be taking any science courses p/f.

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<p>Not true. The general consensus is that all prerequisites should be taken with a letter grade, however, it is perfectly alright to take other courses (including science courses) pass/fail, and if you come from an academically strong undergrad institution this should not be an issue at all.</p>

<p>There are also some extremes. Anecdotally,there was a premed student from Brown who took all courses P/F and was accepted to Harvard Med a few years ago. It goes to show that it is possible (although I would not have dared to do anything like that)</p>

<p>At my school, I took at least one P/F course per semester. Some were sciences and some were not. I had plenty of interviews and admission offers, including several top 5 med schools. Remember that your complete application is what matters.</p>

<p>Why not get a normal grade. Most pre-meds are taking whole load of science class with letter grade, why don't you?</p>

<p>MiamiDAP, I tell you why. Because the student can take courses out of their comfort zone without having to stress over a letter grade. Premeds are notorious for sticking to courses that are required, or that are easy enough to allow them to maintain the highest GPA.</p>

<p>I was interested in taking a particular art class (substitute for quantum physics or whatever else you want), however I am horrible at drawing. If I had not had the opportunity to take it P/F, I would have never taken the class out of fear of ruining my "stellar" GPA. I was able to experiment with specific courses, get out of my comfort zone, enjoy my self tremendously and have a very well rounded and interesting curriculum....even with my dreadful premed status...</p>

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Anecdotally,there was a premed student from Brown who took all courses P/F and was accepted to Harvard Med a few years ago. It goes to show that it is possible

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<p>I think someone told me that at Brown a P/F was accompanied by an extensive evaluation of your work by the professor. Sort of a mini LOR for each P/F course. Does anyone know if this is true and if so, doesn't this make Brown a special case?</p>

<p>I never heard of that, sorry. D. took some classes that she could do only "A-", she never considred taking pass/fail, although they lowered her GPA a bit. All her pre-med friends took lots of science classes that were hard, I never heard of them having p/f grading. I would be concerned about sticking out for the wrong reason.</p>

<p>I have several friends who attended Brown. You have the option of taking all courses with a letter grade or P/F, except for some courses that are mandatory P/F. There is no extended evaluation accompanying grades. Students may get a "Satisfactory with Distinction" (which sounds like an A to me) but that is recorded internally and does not make it to the official transcripts.</p>

<p>Brown is a special case anyway (because of the Open Curriculum, etc) but I mentioned that example to illustrate the fact that taking some P/F courses should not be an issue while applying to med school. And again, that is where the rigor and the academic reputation of your undergrad school comes to play. I am sure that adcoms will not look at it the same way if you come from a lower ranked university (or community college) with a bunch of P/F courses.</p>

<p>I would go with the general consensus of taking all prereqs with a letter grade, and only taking a P/F course- - here and there - if you really want to experiment with a subject you are really interested in. If you are not sure about how you undergrad is looked at by adcoms, then just stick to letter grades.</p>

<p>I went to Brown, yes you have those options, yes an S with distinction is an internal A (e.g. for PBK calculations but does not appear on transcript). Our pre-med advisor advised us to avoid S/NC for pre-med courses and anything related to our major.</p>

<p>I guess it might be unfair to group "science" altogether. You are right that if you are a bio major and you want to take geology or astrophysics p/f, that's fine, but if the class is not outside your area of study, you shouldn't take it p/f regardless of whatever else you're doing unless you're taking a much heavier than average courseload, and I don't just mean lots of science.</p>