How bad does it look for med schools if I take ochem 2 pass/fail instead of taking a C?

So I got a B- in ochem 1 and it’s looking like I’m going to get a C in ochem 2. I switched the grading to pass/fail for ochem 2 to avoid a C on my transcript (so it would show up as a P), but how bad does this look to med schools? Do I need to retake this class? Do I have a shot at med school? My other classes are going well (mostly As and A-) and I’m worried that ochem will hurt my application.

@WayOutWestMom do med schools accept pass fail marks as described by this poster?

I’d check the admissions requirements for the schools you’re interested in because they may have made accommodations for pass/fail especially since many schools switched during spring and fall 2020, as well as spring 2021. The question may be will they accept a p/f for fall 2021 since to my knowledge most schools have returned to letter grades.


Did you talk to your advisor before you made the change to pass/fail?


My pre-health advisor said that a P looks better than a C, but I’m not sure how med schools will view it.

Are you planning on re-taking Organic Chem? I’m not sure you can with a P, but maybe with a W.

Several very close family members are doctors of all vintages. As far as I understand, Organic Chemistry is one of the major pre-requisites for med school. Maybe that’s changed, but I don’t think so?

Check the med schools you want to apply, but I would be surprised that they would accept a P for one of the most important pre-reqs for med school.

I do think I would be able to retake it with a P - is that what you would recommend?

If you can retake it for a grade, I would think so. It’s been YEARS since I worked with family members who were pre-med, but I have always understood that Organic Chem was an extremely important class. A P probably won’t work. The meds schools want to know how you did.

That being said, perhaps the pandemic has changed things. I would strongly urge you to check with the med schools you are thinking about it.

If I retake it (and get an A) and do well in my other classes, would I still be competitive for med school? I’m a sophomore right now, so I do have a few more semesters left to show an upward trend.

Never give up on anything!

Of course if you got an A in Organic 2 and aced the MCATs (and did well on other core pre-med required courses like Chem, Bio, and Physics), as well as the rest of your courses, you would be competitive.

Don’t get bogged down in that though right now. Take it one step at a time, please…what you want to find out ASAP is whether (a) the med schools you’re interested in will accept a P for Organic; and/or (b) whether you can retake Organic at your college if you already got a P. Do that tonight or as soon as possible.

The rest will happen if it happens.

My advisor did say I could retake with a P (it just wouldn’t count towards my credits), and as far as med schools go, would a retake (for a grade) cover the P?

They will see both the P and your final grade in OC2.

But research this issue with the AAMC and AMCAS:Section 4 of the AMCAS® Application: Course Work | AAMC

Medical schools will not accept a P grade as fulfilling admission requirements if your college offered a graded option for the class.

You will need to retake the Ochem 2 for a grade.

When you go to apply for medical school, you will need to report that you’ve taken the class twice on AMCAS even if your second grade covers or replaces the original P on your transcript. AMCAS will mark your second attempt at Ochem 2 {graded version of the class) as a “REPEATED CLASS”.

Truthfully I think your premed advisor gave you bad advice. Adcomms are going to see that you took Ochem 2 twice and because you have a P will assume that you got a C or lower the first time. Because Ochem 2 will be a repeated class, earning anything other than an A will hurt you. (ava0 had two tries at Ochem 2 and still couldn’t get an A). And even if you do earn an A, that A will be discounted. (Of course, ava0 got an A, she’s seen all the material before.)

The general recommendation is that if you are passing the class with a C or better, to take the passing grade and then do better in the next higher level class in the subject. (Which would be Biochem.) This avoids the repeated class stigma and still reassures adcomms that you have mastery of the material.

One C or even one F is not fatal for med school aspirations.
And even if you do have several Cs or Fs, it’s still not fatal. (It will require more effort and some GPA remediation, but it’s not fatal.)

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Thank you for this - I actually decided to cancel my pass/fail request and potentially take the C. My final is on Wednesday - wish me luck!


Study hard.

Hope you do well on the final.

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Good luck with this and best wishes.

Good luck on that final. I personally know a kid who got a C in one quarter of OChem. That kid is a second year resident this year.

That kid did take an online Ochem course to better understand the material. But this was not something that was accepted by medical schools applied to.

And that kid did way better in biochem in undergrad…

And also had some other compelling parts to their application.

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