Pre-Med Q&ACategory: MCATMCAT – which classes to take
AvatarParnika asked 2 months ago

Hi! 
I’m currently a sophomore and I’m planning on taking the MCAT in the summer after sophomore year. I still have to take biochem, pchem, and physics 2. 
I was hoping someone could give me advice on what classes I should take next semester in order to best prepare for the MCAT.
I’m currently planning on taking MCDB 310 and physics 235 next semester along with the lab and soc 302 (and maybe psych 280 if that’s manageable). Would you recommend taking pchem in the spring and the MCAT late summer or is it better to self-study for pchem? I do have a strong background in IB Chemistry HL.
Alternatively, is it advisable to take biochem and pchem in the same semester and then self-study for physics 2?
Thank you!
 

3 Answers
AvatarTina answered 2 months ago

Hi Parnika!
I was in a very similar situation during my sophomore year and here’s what I did: I took MCDB 310 and Physics 235 and 236 (as you are planning to) and chose to take pchem over the spring semester. After doing so, and then going on the study for the MCAT, I realized the knowledge I had from AP Chemistry in high school honestly would have been a sufficient enough background for me and I wish I had self-studied general chemistry.
Seeing that you have a strong background in chemistry, I would advise simply self-studying during the spring semester since the workload for pchem is very high and honestly exhausting. If you choose to take it, you won’t have time to study anything else for the MCAT which is not ideal. However, to make sure that this decision is right for you, I would highly recommend looking at this document which details all of the information you’ll need to know going into the Chem/Phys section.
It is manageable to take MCDB 310 and PHYSICS 235 at the same time, but be aware that the exam weeks may overlap. During my semester, I believe that they did twice out of the 3 non-final exams. I will admit, that when studying for the MCAT, I found the way that the Physics 2 content was explained in the prep books (I personally used Kaplan) was much easier to digest than some of the ways my professor introduced the material. However, it is possible that my background from taking the class helped with that. 
I would not advise taking biochem and pchem in the same semester solely because they both require a lot of time devoted to learning the material and understanding how to apply its concepts. I believe physics to be a more manageable pairing with biochem and would advise taking that rather than pchem.
I hope this helps!
 
Best,
Tina, Advisor

AvatarParnika answered 2 months ago

Thank you for your detailed response Tina! This certainly helps me a lot especially since I was able to hear your personal experience. I’ll go ahead with taking MCDB 310 and Physics 235/236 along with Soc 302 next semester (13 credits total). Is there any other class you would recommend adding to this that is beneficial before the MCAT?

AvatarTina answered 2 months ago

I’m so glad I could help! I think that your schedule looks good as is! I personally haven’t taken PSYCH 280, but after looking at it on the LSA course guide, it seems like that could also help you. The psych/soc section of the MCAT is pretty easy to self-study for, but there is a lot of content, so being familiar with some of it prior to MCAT studying is definitely a plus. 
 
Good luck this next semester and with studying for the MCAT!
 
Best,
Tina, Advisor

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