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Importance of Biochemistry

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Hello everyone,


I've been accepted into a program that does not require biochem but recommends you take it before starting the program. 


I have not taken the course but I am beginning to think I should. 


This question is primarily for practicing PAs and current PA students:  Is biochem worth taking before starting PA school when considering the pros and cons below? UPDATE: I would only be able to take the lecture (3 credits) because the lab time does not work with my work schedule. 



  • I can go into PA school knowing I prepared to the best of my ability.
  • Enrichment- Learning a new subject



  • I would not have a break before starting PA school.  I start in May. 
  • Increased stress
  • I would have to pay out of pocket for the course.


Also, I've heard Khan Academy has good videos for various subjects.  Does any one have experience with that website?


Thank you and I appreciate the responses.

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Practicing PA here.  I took 2 years of biochem.  It is useful and gives you a deeper appreciation of medicine.  However, it is far from necessary, and can get by without it.  However, I am glad I took it, and especially in hem/onc pts and difficult cases and medications, it gives you a better understanding of the basics.  Clinically it is less useful.


I loved KhanAcademy during my undergrad.  Used it constantly.  Plus it's free, and they even added a section for medicine.


Bottom line - got the free time and interest, go for it.  If not, skip it, and you can always read up on the subject yourself but you may lose interest without a class to keep you on topic.


Biochem lab was a huge pain in the ass, btw.

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Sorry I meant to type "2 semesters" aka 1 yr of biochem.


Here is the book I recommend.  May be over your head but just read it here and there.  The knowledge will be tucked away somewhere and begin to come out as you learn more pathophys in PA school.




Sounds like you are making the right choice skipping the class.  Enjoy your time off and get in some time to rest up before PA school begins.  And if you do not get around to really studying biochem, that is ok.  You will still make a great PA.

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FWIW, one of the MDs I know well advised me that of all the pre-requisite and other undergrad courses he took prior to medical school, the course that most directly benefited him when he was actually in medical school was Pharmacology.  His health care experience prior to his MD was all in radiology.  Mine is a bit broader (lab, nursing, EMT, in addition to radiology).  So I took Pharmacology as one of my additional, but relevant, courses I needed to get my GPA a little higher.  I enjoyed the class and even with my prior health care experience and knowledge, I did learn quite a bit.  I start my PA program in May ... 


just another $0.02 worth of info!  

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Thanks for the additional insight.  I started studying Anatomy and Physiology this morning before work.   I'm going to aim for about six hours a week of studying until May.  So, nothing too intense but enough to refresh some of the material I learned a while back.  I think I will focus on A&P, biochemistry, and pharmacology. 


It's kinda exciting looking through old A&P's books...knowing you will have to apply that knowledge very soon.  :-) 

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