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3 sciences in 1 semester!! Am I crazy? Or doable?


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i graduated with a bachelors in 2011. In the fall of 2014, I went back to school in pursuit of being a physician assistant. 

Fall 2014- took Bio 1 and Chem 1 (B+/B-)

Spring 2014- took Bio 2 and Chem 2 (grades did not receive yet)

 

The remaining pre-req/ recommended classes I need for PA school: 

Organic Chem 1 + Lab

Organic Chem 2 + Lab (recommended)

Microbiology + Lab

A&P 1 + Lab

A&P 2 + Lab

Biochemistry 1 (recommended)

Genetics (recommended)

 

I'm not sure how to fit these into my schedule for the upcoming Fall and Spring semesters...

 

I was thinking of taking 3 sciences in the Fall semester:

A&P1  + Lab, Organic Chem 1 + Lab, and Microbiology + Lab.

 

What do you think? Thank you!!!

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If you're trying to get the best grades possible, then spread them out and do 2 classes/semester. If you're trying to squeeze the classes in as fast as possible, I'd say doing 3 classes/semester is doable. You'll be taking 20-22 hours/semester of science per semester while in PA school so it may help you prepare for the workload. It only gets harder from here! Good luck

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It honestly depends on your work/home life... I just got done 3 science classes Spring 2014 and will be doing 3 classs for the next few semester (excluding summer). It required a large amount of organization and I'm able to study a lot at work. What is your top priority: grades or completing prereqs as fast as possible? If it's grades, pace yourself

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Here is what I would do if I were in your shoes

 

Fall: OChem 1 + Lab and A&P 1 + Lab

Spring: A&P 2 + Lab, Microbio + Lab, and Biochem 1 or Genetics (one or the other, or both if you have the time)

 

I did well in Ochem 2 (its not a crazy tough course), but I wouldn't recommend taking it if you don't have to. You risk bringing down your GPA

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No not crazy.  This is very sensible thing to do, to prepare you for the onslaught of med courses you will receive in PA school.  It always amazed me that, at my alma mater no on advises pre-health students to schedule semesters like this at least once to get some idea of how well they will handle a heavy science course load.  Anyone can take o chem, and o chem alone, and reel off an A.  The challenge comes when you take o-chem, physics, and cell/molec, each with lab, all in the same semester.

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i graduated with a bachelors in 2011. In the fall of 2014, I went back to school in pursuit of being a physician assistant. 

Fall 2014- took Bio 1 and Chem 1 (B+/B-)

Spring 2014- took Bio 2 and Chem 2 (grades did not receive yet)

 

The remaining pre-req/ recommended classes I need for PA school: 

Organic Chem 1 + Lab

Organic Chem 2 + Lab (recommended)

Microbiology + Lab

A&P 1 + Lab

A&P 2 + Lab

Biochemistry 1 (recommended)

Genetics (recommended)

 

I'm not sure how to fit these into my schedule for the upcoming Fall and Spring semesters...

 

I was thinking of taking 3 sciences in the Fall semester:

A&P1  + Lab, Organic Chem 1 + Lab, and Microbiology + Lab.

 

What do you think? Thank you!!!

 

Given your grades when you took only 2 entry level sciences, I would not add a third. Even if your grades from this semester aren't out yet you should have some idea of how well you did. If you're expecting below a B, rethink how you will manage your science courses in the future.

 

I'm not saying you need to get an A in every class (I certainly didn't), but if you're already unable to do so it doesn't make sense to add yet another class on top of that. Especially since the courses will (mostly likely) be harder than Bio 101.

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If you're trying to get the best grades possible, then spread them out and do 2 classes/semester. If you're trying to squeeze the classes in as fast as possible, I'd say doing 3 classes/semester is doable. You'll be taking 20-22 hours/semester of science per semester while in PA school so it may help you prepare for the workload. It only gets harder from here! Good luck

 

that's true. But I'm just worried if I took these 3 sciences and I flunk them..then it would totally mess me up when I apply for PA school

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Given your grades when you took only 2 entry level sciences, I would not add a third. Even if your grades from this semester aren't out yet you should have some idea of how well you did. If you're expecting below a B, rethink how you will manage your science courses in the future.

 

I'm not saying you need to get an A in every class (I certainly didn't), but if you're already unable to do so it doesn't make sense to add yet another class on top of that. Especially since the courses will (mostly likely) be harder than Bio 101.

 

The first semester, I got a B+ and  a B- is probably because I was getting the hang of school again being that I've been out of it since 2011. But this semester, I actually developed a better study habit. I'm thinking I would get either an A- or A in Chem 2 and B- or B in Bio 2. 

 

But I totally agree with you. Taking 3 sciences might be tough for me, but I'm willing to try and see if I can handle the workload and it can actually guide me to see if PA is fit for me. 

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I would take A&P1 + Orgo1, save micro for the spring semester. At my school, micro is designed to be took after completing both classes of anatomy and physiology and the harder level microbiology class that transfers to Cornell is designed for after completion of gen bio. 1 &2 plus a course in general chemistry. I took the harder version of micro at my school and the test questions were super conceptual and very hard to complete the course while I was enrolled in 2nd semester orgo.

 

I would only take all three courses at once if you are one of those students who is quick witted with the snap of the fingers to understand concepts and problem solving, you can usually tell right away who these students in your class are. If you are not one of these students it could be a very long and overwhelming ride where you really have to buckle down on your studies.

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I did Chem and Calculus together (good combo). And Orgo/labs with the Biology/labs and Stats together (good combo). By far the roughest combo was Biochem, Physics, and Immunogy together (that was gnarly, do not recommend). I would spread out 2-3 a semester. All these semesters were 15 credits. The remaining spaces were necessary degree requirement classes I needed to take. Remember GPA means a lot in admissions! Don't tank it in order to rush.

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gkc08: "Advisors don't advise anyone to take a crazy course load because they know how admissions works.

 

I'm not so sure about that.  I am a former pre-health advisor, and I have yet to come across academic another advisor of any kind that knows anything about med school admissions other than the MCAT.  The MSAR is a very valuable tool to use in med school applications yet I've never come across an academic advisor who knows anything about it.  Same with the PAEA directory for pre-pa students.  To be clear, by advisor I meant academic advisor, not a faculty or pre-health society mentor.

 

 

"In the end, your GPa is more important than how busy your schedule was."

 

I've spoken with a few admissions panels who would disagree with this.  Barring absolute minimum accepted scores, adcoms tend to take both GPA and course load into consideration.  As an extreme example, a student who achieves a 4.0 on a 12 unit schedule with only 1 science course would not be viewed as favorably as a student who achieves only a 3.6 while taking physics, o-chem, micro and calc all in the same semester along with all other GEs.  I have never heard of an admissions panel which viewed the former over the latter.  Perhaps you have, however I've been to some of the largest pre-health conferences in the country and not found your example to be the case.

 

 

Considering that many pre-meds take 2-3 sciences courses at a time, generally sticking to 1-2 of the harder ones per semester, and still manage to make it through med school just fine, I don't think it's a big deal.

 

Which is why I said what I did.  This doesn't happen because an advisor told the student they needed to do this, it happens because scheduling requires it unless students take summer courses or start off with heavy course loads as freshman.  My comment is meant to say that all pre-health students of the med and PA variety would do well to intentionally schedule difficult courses as this is the best personal barometer to measure how well one handles high stress with multiple difficult courses.

 

I disagree that pre-meds generally take a bunch of difficult courses, get into med school, and do just fine.  Many realize during difficult semesters that med school is not for them and begin to pursue other options.  Out of a class which starts with 50 pre-meds, perhaps only 15-20 of them remain pre-med all they way to senior status, and even then only 5-10 of them will even score an interview before graduation.  Of those few that actually get in, there is a subset which does not do fine, is held back, kicked out or just plain quit to pursue something else.

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I did it.  Three sciences and a full-time job.  I got 4.0's in all three classes, but my work suffered.  I only did that for one quarter, though.

how about 2 full time jobs (yes, you read that right), dealing with pregnant wife, and taking 1 science course with lab for an entire year? That was my life 13 years ago last time I was serious about going back to medschool. took a year of college physics with labs and got As all 3 terms. It was a tough year....

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gkc08 - I do not mean to come off as if I am trying to argue with you.  The example I gave of the two student's differing course loads was an extreme example, if you return to the post you will see that I prefaced the example with that qualifier.  Using opposite extremes to make an example in a specific scenario is often done in physics for simple problems.  Again, every med school admissions panel I have sat in on does not view GPA as exclusively more important than course load, rather that it tends to be a balance with weight given to either side according to what was taken, when, and during what other ECs the student had going on at the time.

 

It sounds as if you had an excellent pre-med advising staff.  This is a good thing!  But, you must re-read my post where I specifically state that I am referring to academic advisors, not advisors which are specifically meant to advise pre-health staff, or faculty mentors which come from the science dept.  Even in the instance of pre-health advisors like myself, I knew of little who would take the time to help students know about the MSAR or how low-income students could get it on the cheap, let alone even help them navigate it and make sense of that data tables.  Usually this is done amongst the students who run a pre-med club/society, of which not every pre-med is a part and also of which not every member attends.

 

Your example population is indeed small, which is why I offered my anecdote as a former pre-health advisor who has attended a handful of large national conferences.  It is my own opinion that students would do well to challenge themselves in the sciences as an inoculation against the onslaught that is PA school, or whatever program they are applying to.  It is also my opinion that students do themselves a disservice to sideline the really difficult courses until their graduation schedule demands that they be taken together.  It's just an opinion, my friend!

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If you're just taking classes (ie still in undergrad) taking 3 sciences is normal. As a science major all of my classes were science for most of my career. You take anatomy with ochem and micro and second year bio. That's just the curriculum.

 

Now if you're working and just taking pre reqs, don't stress yourself out taking all 3 at once if you don't have to.

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