I got a 3 on AP CHEM. How do people like me do in CHEM 230? Is it still possible to get an A?
Also, if taking CHEM 230 is not a good idea, should I just do it at another institution over the summer as a guest student so it won’t count towards my GPA?
The answer to this question is dependent on your Chem background.
If you did take Chem 130 at U of M and did well, you most likely have a strong Chem foundation and are prepared for Chem 230.
If you did not do well in Chem 130, I suggest that you talk it over with your professor and GSI, to discuss what may have lead to a poor grade, and then decide if you feel you can do better if Chem 230. It is entirely possible that you can do better in Chem 230 than Chem 130 because there is no obvious difference in difficulty or grading. In this case, I would not recommend taking Chem 230 or upper-level Chem elsewhere, because it is important to show improvement.
If you are trying to decide whether to take Chem 130, do not do it because it increases the chances you can get an A in Chem 230, but because you want to cement your Chem knowledge if you feel its’ not strong enough for the MCAT, your major, etc. Chem 130 and Chem 230 have similar averages and are both difficult classes, so taking one difficult class just to make one other class less difficult for you doesn’t make much sense.
There are many premed students who don’t take Chem 130 and make their way through Chem 230, just fine, without regretting their choice. Many of these students had 3’s on the AP Chem test. The AP test is just one score and not always an indicator for how you will do in a class years later when circumstances and the material will different. While having Chem 130 background can be helpful, you do not need it to do well in Chem 230 or as a premed, and you will not fail from not having it.
If you choose not to take Chem 130, I highly do not recommend taking 230 at another institution. Because Chem 130 grade will not appear on your transcript, you need to show a mastery of inorganic chem content, by taking an upper-level inorganic chem at U of M. It would be better to get a B in Chem 230 at U of M, then get an A elsewhere, if it is the only inorganic chem class you take.
Many students are in/have been in the same position as you, so you don’t need to stress too much.
I hope this helps!