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life science major: math 31 series vs. 3 series

ConsoulationConsoulation Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
Hi I'm going to be freshman next year as a life science major (neuroscience) and I'm trying to decide between taking math 31B and math 3B fall quarter. I know the 31 series is more calculus based since it's for the engineers/math majors but I really do like math and would like to take up the challenge but don't know if it's worth it; other classes I'm taking in the fall quarter = GE Cluster, Chem 14A.

Would appreciate the help, thanks.
Post edited by Consoulation on

Replies to: life science major: math 31 series vs. 3 series

  • vandycamvandycam Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    When I was at orientation, I had asked my OC the same thing and he said it's better to take the 31 series because you can often substitute those for the 3 series later but not the other way around, if you change your mind about your major later on. I have a friend who is also on the life science track and she's taking the 3 series and swears that she does not plan on changing her major. I say, if you don't mind the math, then go with the 31 series. I'm also taking a GE cluster and chem 14A along with math 31. maybe a language. I think you should be fine.
  • mme-linmme-lin - Posts: 2,813 Senior Member
    If you're 100% sure you want to be a life sciences major, take the 3 series. "I really do like math" <-- well, you can always just cultivate this elsewhere. You're only going to need two quarters of calculus for your major. . . so just finish off the 3 series.
  • ConsoulationConsoulation Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Thanks a bunch for the feedback. So unless I'm a 100% sure I'll stick with my major, which I don't think I am, I should go with the 31 series (that's what you mean, mme-lin, when you said "so just finish off the 3 series"?). But what I really don't understand is that if I'm deciding to take the 31 series over the 3 series, the math for physical science majors, then why don't I just take the 20 series Chem as well? What's the advantage of just taking the harder 31 series math but sticking with the life science Chem/Physics since I'm a life science major? And vandycam, I was thinking of taking a language, Spanish, 'cause I'm considering maybe minoring or even majoring in it but not sure how that works. What language are you considering to take? Thanks again for your responses, greatly appreciated.
  • vandycamvandycam Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    I'm on the waitlist for Chinese 1A because everyone has to take a placement test first to see what level you're at. They don't allow students who are at a higher level stay in a lower level class. For all asian languages, they are only offered during certain quarters. Chinese 1-fall, 2-winter, etc. I think for Spanish, you can just enroll because they offer all levels of spanish during fall quarter. I'm not sure whether or not there was a placement test available for Spanish during orientation but you can enroll (via URSA) without taking it, I think. If you have no background of the Spanish language, then I think you're out of luck this quarter if you haven't already enrolled because Spanish 1 is completely full. As is Spanish 2.
  • ConsoulationConsoulation Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Thanks again. I'm pretty sure they had no placement test for Spanish. I think how it works is that for every year of Spanish taken in high school, it counts for a quarter or more at UCLA, but still unsure about that. Hopefully I don't have to take Sp. 1 or 2 'cause I've been taking Spanish for a while and I've taken the AP tests for them, but I'll have to do more research on that. Thanks for the help though.

    You said above that you're pretty much taking the same classes I am with the exception of the language but why did you decide not to take Chem 20A instead of 14A if you're going along with the 31 Math, so why just take the math and not the chem as well because I'm pretty sure that the 20 series chem satisfies the life science chem requirement as well?
  • thecheesecakethecheesecake Registered User Posts: 200 Junior Member
    Personally, I would take the 31 series. I was like you, not 100% sure what my major would be. I *thought* I would go into psychology or psychobiology or something like that, so I started with the 3 series. But I ended up switching to bizecon, so I had to take those boring calc classes all over again. The 31 series is definitely more transferable.

    The good news is, contrary to popular belief, the 31 series is NOT harder or more competitive than the 3 series. I actually found it easier because it was just straight up calc, not like in the 3 series where they would sometimes try to relate it to some biology scenario. I guess people think that the 31 classes would be harder because the engineers take those series, but all the super smart ones probably already took those AP classes and passed 31a/b and jumped right into 32 or whatever comes after that.

    Chem 14 series vs chem 20 series... that's a completely different situation. If you don't plan to be a physical science major, do yourself a favor and go into the 14 series.
  • ConsoulationConsoulation Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Thanks for the advice! So I guess if you're not planning to be a physical science major it would be wise to just go with the Chem 14 series. But I hear that the chem for life science majors is actually a little harder than the chem for physical science majors in terms of depth and focus of certain areas, but I'm not totally sure about that. And wouldn't taking the chem 20 series over the 14 keep your options even more open? Like let's say your undecided between a life science major and engineering major, but are leaning more towards a life science.
  • vandycamvandycam Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    If you're not planning to go in a physical science, take the 3 series and the 14 series, but if there is any chance that you might, I would just go with the 31 and 20 because those are more transferrable. I enrolled in 14A because my OC said it was a good idea and I never thought much about it after. However, I'm considering 20A now.
  • chibichanchibichan Registered User Posts: 74 Junior Member
    Again, I was in the same situation.

    I decided to take the 31 math series and the 20 chem series. I agree that if you like math (unlike me) you should keep your options open with the 31 series, it's the same number of classes anyway. However, although taking the 20 chem series also keeps your options open - I believe you also have to take more classes than in the 14 series, which integrates general chem, o chem and the labs. I might be wrong though, someone correct me. Since I ended up switching my major to biochem, it worked out perfectly for me however.

    HOWEVER, I did take 20A and B as honors classes - in my opinion, one of the best choices I made after hearing horror stories about the regular sections. The honors class was smaller and more intimate, a much easier transition to make from high school and a much better learning environment. You also get to know the professor. Take smaller honors classes if you can!
This discussion has been closed.