Would it be advisable to take PChem (Chem 230) and Biochem (MCDB 310) in the same semester along with Psych 111 and two credits of research? I have done well in previous semesters while pairing two harder stem classes with an easier class (such as orgo and physics along with a humanities class), but I was wondering whether taking pchem and biochem together would be advisable as they seem to be much harder courses?
I would definitely not advise this. I wouldn’t say that MCDB 310 is impossibly difficult per se, but it is extremely time consuming. You should definitely join a study group for this class, and between that, class time, individual studying, and discussion you’ll be putting in at least 15 hours a week. It’s also important to remember that biochem is a huge chunk of the MCAT and the most applicable in med school—doing well in this class in particular is paramount.
PChem is also very time consuming, plus has the added bonus of being a notoriously difficult class. There are a few things I found which made this class specifically difficult: tests are every week and a half, the logic required is hard to grasp, and the class is now flipped, so there’s a full set of lectures and homework problems due before every class. I personally think this class is more consuming than biochem because it isn’t as intuitive, so I spent way more time reviewing every week. The PREP (past and relevant exam problems) for the test is essential to doing well in this class. Since exams are every week and a half or so, you basically have to dedicate any free time you have to doing and re-doing PREP, which is typically around 30 pages (an absolute beast). I also recommend registering for a study group for 230 (another 2 hours/week to consider).
The other thing to keep in mind is that even though you’re doing do credits of research and psych 111, which are light to no workload, you’ll still have to do little things for these are will feel extremely stressful if you’re taking both biochem and pchem—assignments or an extra hour in lab can feel like one more thing you have to do. I’m a big advocate of undergrads really being involved in their research, so even if you’re doing two credits, try pack as much as you can into those six hours. You’ll be able to speak more passionately about your experience when you have to interview (for jobs, medical school, etc.) and your lab is more likely to see you as an invaluable member of the group. The downside of this is that you could come out of your research hours feeling tired because you did so much, and then homework/studying becomes even more of a slog. I definitely felt when I was taking these classes that if I wasn’t studying or doing homework for 310 and 230 that I was wasting time (even if I was actively doing things for other classes or in the lab!).
Good luck in these classes! Please feel free to reach out again, either through this Q&A or in our online advising hours, if you have further questions!