In our latest blog , we bring you an update on how several common premed requirements: biochemistry physics, organic chemistry and physical chemistry have been changed due to COVID 19. We recommend using this alongside the Choosing the Right Class (Class comparison chart), to help you chose your classes.

PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY

CHEM 230

(3 credits)

  • There are still 5 exams (4 midterms and 1 cumulative final); none dropped
  • Exams are taken on Canvas at home, 90 minutes, open-note
  • Class is still a flipped classroom (lectures at home, zoom for team problem solving)
  • There are homework and mini-quizzes with every module
  • PREPP (past exam problems) worksheets are the main study material, like the orgo coursepacks – solutions are provided. Homework modules are not necessarily a good representation of the exam.
  • Zoom class occurs 3 days/week for team problems (recorded)
  • Attending class is still technically optional
  • If you opt-out, your grade will only be based on exams rather than exams, homework, and class attendance 
  • This is the only “live” instruction, so we would recommend attending
  • You still switch team members three times/semester for in class assignments. 
  • Discussions are optional and not recorded. Typically you will go over module worksheet and questions that other students have
  • The class has a modified grading scale (>90% = A; >85% = A-) and there is also an improvement curve on exams ((highest grade-lowest grade)/2)
  • CHANGED DUE TO COVID: no weekly office hours (neither Gottfried or GSIs hold office hours outside of class time or discussions)
    • Dr. Gottfried is available for questions ~20 minutes before and after class. 
  • Personal note: Although there are not many structural changes due to covid, adjusting to a flipped classroom style with limited time for questions before and after class has made online learning difficult. I would recommend attending review sessions, asking questions before/after class, and going to optional discussions.
  • Joining SLC Study Groups can also be helpful to get more study materials and talk about the class info with other students! SLC study groups are happening virtually in the Winter 2021 semester.

 

 CHEM 130

(4 credits)

  • All lectures posted as recordings and you can watch
  • discussions are optional
  • 4 exams all online– can use internet, notes, and other resources but all canvas resources are erased at noon of the exam day and appear the next day
  • Weekly homework assignments
  • Optional quizzes for practice
  • 2 grading criteria: one includes homework or the other just averaging exams. The one that leads to the higher grade will be used.

  BIOMEDE 221 (Gen Chem 2 for BME majors)

(4 credits)

  • Pre-lectures 
  • Normal courses hours are used for discussions where you can ask questions and do practice questions.
    • Must attend discussion once a week and participate (i.e. answer a question in the chat) to receive participation points
  • 3 remote exams that are open-note, open-book
    • No cumulative final exam
  • Homework assignments due once a week
  • 2-3 Labs (format varies, could be a presentation, completing a lab simulation, etc.)
  • Extra credit questions available (on exams or separate assignments)

 

GENETICS

BIOLOGY 305

(4 credits)

  • 4 midterms, all multiple choice
  • No final
  • Grading: Exams (80%)
  •   Untimed pre-lecture online quizzes 
  • all lectures recorded
  • Mandatory discussion sections
  • 2 different professors
  • Extra credit for answering piazza questions
  • The first half of the class is calculation heavy and the second half is focused on molecular genetics
  • Median Grade: B

MCDB 310

(4 credits)

  • Lectures are posted weekly (about 3 hours worth of lectures/week)
  • 1-2 Lecture “quizzes” are due each week (that you get unlimited tries on) 
  • 3 midterms, 1 final (one midterm can be dropped, final cannot be dropped)
  • Questions on exams are more conceptual, not just simple recall questions
  • Exams have no free response, instead have multiple choice, fill in the blank, and “select all” type questions 
  • Open-note, open-book exams
  • Have to attend discussion sessions every week, where you have to complete a discussion short answer/response (should do even if using one of absences). It is used in place of typical free responses on exams.
  • Newly created projects related to each exam (total of four). Very application based and is related to current events. You can do projects by yourself or form a group of (maximum) four. The people in your group must have the same GSI. 
  • Exams are worth much less as there are projects, lecture quizzes, discussion quizzes, and cell map as well

ORGANIC CHEMISTRY

CHEMISTRY 210/215/211/216

(210: 4 credits    &     215: 3 credits)

CHEMISTRY 210

  • Lectures posted weekly for asynchronous learning, but the exams administered synchronously online
  • The faculty-led scheduled synchronous course meetings will be used for optional problem solving and responding to student questions, and will also be recorded and available for streaming.
  • GSI-led discussion sections will give students a chance to ask questions and collaborate on problem-solving. These sessions will be held synchronously over Zoom and recorded for later viewing.

CHEMISTRY 215: 

  • Lectures will be recorded and made available asynchronously for both sections
  • Weekly GSI led discussions will be held synchronously online and recorded
  • 4 major exams will be held at their regularly scheduled times on Canvas
  • Surveys will be held for accommodations/ to address time zone differences
  • Weekly quizzes via Canvas will be offered during regular class time on Fridayys

CHEMISTRY 211: 

 

There are weekly, recorded lectures (typically last 1-2 hours) and synchronous office hours with the professor or GSI

Every week, students turn in one assignment. The assignments take 3-4 hours to complete.

You can choose to be remote or in person/hybrid, in which you will attend the laboratory sessions every three weeks. Remote students will still require some synchronous activities to be held with the GSI.

CHEMISTRY 216:

Lecture will be held online

Most sections will be held in-person, however an online option is available

      • This online section will be synchronous

PHYSICS

Physics 135/235

(both are 4 credits)

  • Most common physics sequence taken by pre-med students. Life sciences based, learn applications of physics to the human body (blood flow, lifting objects, etc.). Some content in 136/236 (labs) overlaps with 141/241 (labs). 
  • Algebra based. 
    • Physics 135There are no midterms in the course, but there is one final exam.
    • There are 12 weekly quizzes that account for 60% of your grade. Students are allowed to drop their lowest score.
    • Lectures are completely asynchronous and there are 2 per week (1-2 hours each)
    • There is weekly homework (1-2 hours)
    • Quiz review sessions with ULAs and GSI
    • Physics 235: 
    • New format of studio sessions. The studio sessions are just incorporating some previous part of the physics 235 material and blend them into application based setting
    • Studio preparation will be similar to lecture preparation with a reading quiz (done before class) and a short presentation from the professor at the start. Then the rest of the class is doing a quiz with other people in break out rooms which is due at the end of the studio. 
    • You will attempt each studio question twice. Both individually and as a group. You will not get jeopardized for individual answers but will be for group answers.
    • One live studio session per week (in replace of one of the lecture) , and three recorded lecturer in canvas quiz format (quiz questions as clicker questions) 
    • The exam will have studio-styled questions while they present some new scenarios to you and you have to apply what you learned to solve problems related to that.
    • Both courses have non-cumulative midterms and a final that is ½ cumulative, ½ material learned after Exam #3. Both courses allow 1 index card of notes for Exam 1, 2 notecards for Exam 2, and so on.
    • Physics 136: 
    • Students use Loggerpro to make graphs and analyze the given data.
    • Given pre-lab manual/protocol to read before the lab and for the mini-quiz.
    • Mini-quiz every week before starting the experiment.
    • Labs last for 2 hours, with a lab report due at the end and an individual reflection due at midnight.
    • Lab groups change every week.
    • Personal note: Make sure you read the lab manual and watch the videos before class. It is very useful for the mini-quiz and for doing well on the lab reports.
    • Physics 236:
    • Data is given so you don’t actually perform any experiments – you use the data to plot graphs and answer questions 
    • 5 question quiz before each lab *lowest score will be dropped
    • You work with different group members via zoom breakout room for each lab
    •  You need to write an individual reflection for each lab, which is due by the end of the day for your lab (worth 7 points); the lab itself is worth 33 points, with a total of 40 points per lab
      • Lab report is due at the end of class (the lab is two hours long) 
      • Your group changes every week and is assigned randomly
  • Median grade: A- for all 4 courses

    physics 240

    ( 4 credits)

    • 6 quizzes, bi-weekly
      • Lowest score dropped
      • Open-book, open internet
      • Cannot go back on Canvas Quiz to change answer, so cannot change answer once you go back
    • Regular final exam
    • Pre-lecture assignments (about 2 per week) and usually ~20 minutes long
    • Homework assignments (two units per week typically)

     

 

In our latest blog series, we bring you a comparison between similar classes that satisfy common premed requirements: biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, sociology, physics, and  physiology, and physical chemistry. Keep in mind that not all of these classes are required for medical school, and that certain medical schools may accept only specific classes for a certain topic. However, if you are in the tough spot of choosing between two courses for the same topic, we hope our comparison chart can help you pick the right class for you.

We also suggest checking out the Umich Grade Guide and the LSA Audit Checklist ( if you are in LSA) when choosing your classes! Good luck scheduling!

PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY

CHEM 230

(3 credits)

  • More heavily chemistry/premed based (more aligned with the MCAT)
  • advisory prerequisite of CHEM 215/216
  • Flipped class, watch videos at home and team-based problems in class, weekly quizzes and online homework (you only need to get a certain percentage right and the professor will make it a 100% at the end), PREP course pack similar to an orgo course pack that has a ton of practice exam problems 
  • 72.5% of your grade is based on exams and the rest of your grade is based off of participation and homework OR you can have your grade solely determined by exams scores
  • Median grade: B+

CHEM 260

(3 credits)

  • More heavily math based 
  • advisory prerequisite of  CHEM 210/211, MATH 115, and prior or concurrent enrollment in PHYSICS 135 or 140 or 160.)
  • Get to use notecards
  • Covers one unit of quantum
  • Most of the grade is composed of exams but there are weekly problem sets taken for a grade.
  • Median grade: B+

BME 221

(4 credits)

  • For BME students- More engineering focused and Calc based
  • 9 homework assignments (36%), 4 exams each 15% of grade (this semester was take-home exams)  80% of it is the take-home, 20% team exam… lots of extra credit (up to 7%) 1 presentation (4% of grade)
  • Median grade: B+

GENETICS

BIOLOGY 305

(4 credits)

  • 4 midterms, all multiple choice
  • No final
  • Grading: Exams (80%)
  • Weekly* online quizzes
  • No lecture attendance taken, all lectures recorded
  • Mandatory discussion sections
  • 2 different professors
  • Extra credit for answering piazza questions
  • The first half of the class is calculation heavy and the second half is focused on molecular genetics
  • Median Grade: B

 

PUBHLTH 311

(3 credits)

  • 2 midterms, short answer + long answer
  • 1 final
  • Grading: Exams (89%)
  • Weekly* homework
  • No lecture attendance taken, all lectures recorded
  • No discussion sections
  • 1 professor
  • Fewer calculations and math than in BIOLOGY 305, but more talk about diseases outcomes and family level genetics
  • Median Grade: A-

SOCIOLOGY

SOC 100

(4 creds)

  •  For freshmen and sophomores 
  • 1.5 hours 2 times a week plus 1 hour discussion section per week
  • General sociology
  • Grade is heavily based on the work/projects your GSI assigns
  • Median Grade: A-

 

SOC 300

(3 creds)

  • For juniors and seniors
  • 1.5 hours 2 times a week
  • No discussion section
  • General sociology
  • Median Grade: A-

 

SOC 302

(4 creds)

  • Health-professions based
  • Specifically designed once sociology was added to the MCAT
  • 1.5 hours 2 times a week plus 1 hour discussion section per week
  • Exams are M/C and free response
  • Memo assignments (essays) 
  • No lecture recordings
  • Median Grade: A-

MICROBIOLOGY

MICRBIOL 207

(4 credits)

  • 3 hours of lectures each week 
  • 3 hours laboratory session each week
  • Recorded lectures 
  • Grading: 75% exams (3 or 4 exams, multiple choice and short answer), 25% Lab.
  • Median grade: B+

MICRBIOL 405

(3 credits)

  • 3 hours of lectures each week
  • No lab, but many students choose to elect MICRBIOL 350 (1 credit) in addition which is a 2 hour section once a week
  • Non-recorded lectures
  • Grading is entirely based on 4 exams
  • Median grade: B+

BIOCHEMISTRY

MCDB 310

(4 credits)

90 min, 2 times a week + 1, 90 min discussion per week

  • Usually in the afternoon/evening (around 4 PM)
  • Have to go to lecture because iclickers,  optional discussion 
  • Exams are multiple choice and short answer, final isn’t cumulative
  • Relatively more bio-based, BIO 171/172/225 -esque, not as much like orgo/pchem
  • Offered in the summer and more SLC study group supported
  •  Other project/hw grades to buffer if you’re not an exam person
  • recorded lectures
  • Median grade: B

 

BIOLCHEM 415

(4 credits)

1 hour, 3 times a week

  • Usually in the morning (around 9 AM)
  • Lecture isn’t required (no iclickers), new  required discussion 
  • Exams are 40 multiple choice questions only, 5 non cumulative exams (90% of grade)
  • Relatively more bio-based
  • Combined class with graduate students 
  • Recorded lectures
  • Weaknesses: Too early in the morning for some people
  • Median grade: B

 

CHEM 351

(4 credits)

  • 1 hour, 3 times a week
  • Usually in the morning (around 10 AM), has a discussion
  • Exams involve problem-solving questions (multiple choice, true/false, short-answer, matching and fill-ins, mechanisms, chemical drawings, etc.)
  • Relatively more chem-based
  •  Some majors require this one, precursor class to CHEM 451, more in-depth knowledge of biochem if you plan to continue in either the minor, major, or field of study (might help for the MCAT, talk to an advisor)
  •  Bigger time commitment than the other two, notoriously “hard”
  • Median grade: B

BIOCHEMISTRY LAB

CHEM 352

(2 credits)

  • 4 hours lab + 1 hour lecture
  • Scheduled for 4 hours, but can often end early. The remaining time can be used as office hours to ask instructors for help writing the reports.
  • Lectures are not required and recorded, but recommended for lab report help
  • Frequently there is quite a bit of work  to get done at home (lab reports and prereading) unlike some labs that only span the 4 hours and you never think about it until the next week
  • Median grade: A

 

CHEM 353

(3 credits)

  • Exact same lecture and lab as CHEM 352, but contains an extra discussion
  •  ULWR
  • 4 hours lab + 1 hour lecture + 1 hour discussion weekly
  • Learn to write a scientific paper
  • Median grade: A

 

BIOLCHEM 416

(3 credits)

  • 2 hours twice a week
  • Grade based on written laboratory reports, homework, preparation for the lab session, and a final paper focusing on an individual experiment or technique
  • No lecture, only lab
  • Median grade: A

PHYSICS

Physics 135/235

(both are 4 credits)

  • Most common physics sequence taken by pre-med students. Life sciences based, learn applications of physics to the human body (blood flow, lifting objects, etc.). Some content in 136/236 (labs) overlaps with 141/241 (labs). 
  • Algebra based. 
    • Physics 135: 3 midterms and a final, can drop any of the 3 midterms not the final. Grade breakdown is each exam is worth 20% (60% total), remaining 40% composed of weekly Mastering Physics problems, iClickers, and Daily Canvas quizzes.
    • Physics 235: 3 midterms and a final, can drop any exam including the final. All exams for both courses are 20 multiple choice questions. Grade breakdown is each exam is worth 20% (60% total), remaining 40% composed of iClickers and weekly Mastering Physics problems.
    • Both courses have non-cumulative midterms and a final that is ½ cumulative, ½ material learned after Exam #3. Both courses allow 1 index card of notes for Exam 1, 2 notecards for Exam 2, and so on.
    • 136/236: Only one credit. Grade is based on in-class lab reports and weekly quizzes on the manual. Overall, the courses are curved depending on GSI averages.
  • Median grade: A- for all 4 courses

 

physics 140/240

(both are 4 credits)

  • Mainly taken by engineers and individuals interested in pursuing a professional career in Physics. 
  • Calculus based. 
    • Physics 140: About half the class is graded on participation and hw, the other half is graded based on exam performance. Each midterm is worth 12% and the final is worth 16%. 
    • Physics 240: No midterms. Every two weeks there are in-class quizzes. Class participation is also recorded with clickers for accuracy. 
  • 141/241:Grade is based on in-class lab reports and weekly quizzes on the manual. Overall, the courses are curved depending on GSI averages. 
  • Syllabus and grading scheme can and does change based on professor and the term it is offered in. 
  • Median grade: B/B+/B/A- for the 4 courses

 

PHYSIOLOGY

BIO 225

(3 credits)

  • Human and Animal physiology
  • Grade is determined exclusively by 4 exams, all multiple choice, point-based, depending on the semester an A is 94% or 93%, 
  • 1 hour 3 times a week
  • 2 different professors
  • Recorded lectures 
  • iClicker points are used as extra credit at the end of the year, so attendance is not mandatory but highly encouraged
  • Median grade: B+

 

 

 

PHYSIOL 201

(4 credits)

  • Grade is determined by exams, homework assignments, extra credit assignments
  • Attendance in class not required, lectures are recorded
  • 1.5 hours 3 times a week  and optional discussion section
  • Only one professor
  • Class is held in the medical school, so may be further away from other courses on central campus
  • Median grade: B

 

 

BME 419

(4 credits)

  • Quantitative Physiology
  • 70% of the grade are based on exams, while the rest of the final grade is based on homework 
  • Each system is taught by a different professor each with different teaching styles (2-3 lectures per professor)
  • 8 system sections total
  • There is some matlab coding involved in the homework
  • Homework and exams are more math focused
  • Class sessions not recorded
  • Median grade: B+