Is that doable or no? Is it okay to take biochem together with pchem or this is too much? Any advice on how I can succeed in these classes too? I don\\\’t want to tank my GPA, but also I need to take it and be familiar with the material prior to my MCAT.
Hi, this is a great question. Generally, taking more than 2 STEM courses in a semester is not recommended due to the large workload and difficulty of the classes. In terms of the combination of pchem and biochem, it would definitely require rigorous balancing. While pchem is a 3 credit course, the workload is closer to 4 credits. To succeed in pchem, I would say that it’s essential to not only understand the material, but also to be able to apply it to new contexts. The professor gives a packet of past exam problems, which are great practice. They are definitely one of the best resources for studying. They help familiarize the types of questions that will be on the exam and allow you to get a grasp on how to approach problems. The best way of completing the past exam problems is by fully attempting them (even if you’re not 100% sure whether you’re doing it correctly) before looking at the answer key. Office hours are also a must. There will be times where just looking at the solution to questions will not be enough for a complete understanding. The professor does an amazing job at breaking it down into logical steps, so I would definitely recommend taking advantage of asking questions.
For biochemistry, something I recommend doing is explaining the concepts out loud or to a friend. Many of the concepts are connected to each other in an almost story-like fashion. Explaining it out loud will not only help you memorize information, but it will also help you make those connections. Reviewing the lecture slides immediately after finishing a lecture is also a way to engrain the information in your mind. It doesn’t take long and it will help you understand which parts you don’t quite get (then you can post on piazza, go to office hours, or make a note to focus on that portion of the slides more later).
In general, pchem is more math-based and biochemistry is more memorization-based, so you’ll have both going on if you choose to take them together. Taking both the classes at the same time will be a big commitment to your schedule, but as with most things, it is not impossible. Something to consider is what other classes you’re taking next semester and whether you will be able to allot the necessary time to all of them without sacrificing other parts of your life (extracurriculars, mental health, social life, etc). In terms of the MCAT, something to think about is whether you have flexibility for when you take it (for example, if you choose to take biochemistry in the fall and pchem in the winter, you’ll still be able to take the MCAT in the spring with both classes under your belt). I hope this information helps, and good luck on your classes next semester!
-Elizabeth, PMH advisor