So I’m currently taking orgo 1 and it is going pretty well, but I’m a little lost with scheduling next semester’s classes so I am prepared for the MCAT. The pre-med reqs that I have left are orgo 2, biochemistry, pchem, physics 2, sociology, and upper level biology. I would ideally like to start preparing for the MCAT next summer (I’m currently a sophomore), so I could potentially take a spring course as well. I was wondering which of these requirements are high yield on the MCAT, and how feasible different combinations of these courses are. I have heard that pchem, biochemistry, and orgo are all high yield, but would it make sense to double up on orgo 2 and biochemistry next semester and to take pchem over the spring, or would that be way too much to accomplish? Should I be considering a gap year or is it possible to self-study if I’m unable to take some of these courses?
This is a tough timeline, but if you are committed to going straight through to medical school it is possible. I would say while all of these classes are helpful for the MCAT, the ones you definitely need are Biochem and Physics 2. While Orgo 2 is a high-yield topic, many of the questions that relate to organic chemistry are more from the first semester (in my experience). You should be able to fill in gaps using prep books. However, since you are in orgo 1 this semester, I highly recommend taking Orgo 2 next semester so you are taking them consecutively. Physics used to not be as relevant on the MCAT, but in recent years has become more common, especially physics 2 concepts such as lens/optics, circuits, magnetic fields etc. In terms of scheduling, I know many people double up with orgo 2 and physics 2. It is a pretty large workload (and a lot of times exams fall on the same week), but many people have still succeeded with this schedule. This means that you would have to then take Biochem during the spring semester which I don\’t think I can endorse. Biochem is a lot of memorization and it very important for the MCAT. Therefore, I think I would suggest taking Biochem and orgo 2 together (I believe orgo 2 is a prereq but you can take them concurrently) and then physics 2 in the spring. This would allow you more time to really solidify the biochem concepts and also get to he physics 2 topics. Although it is possible to self-study physics 2 topics, I don\’t know if I could recommend this unless physics is really intuitive to you. In terms of Pchem and Sociology, these are courses that people often self-study directly for the MCAT. I would definitely recommend using Anki (a flashcard app) for sociology (I recommend the Victory Deck). Pchem is included in the general chemistry books from all of the major prep companies and they will highlight in those books which concepts from Pchem are most needed (Definitely thermodynamics is one of them). Overall, I think this is a tough schedule, but going straight through to medical school is tough and requires a more rigorous course load. If done well, it will showcase your commitment and ability to being successful in medical school. However, if you don\’t mind the idea of a gap year, it can rally help with giving you more flexibility and potentially better grades in your classes and a better score on your MCAT. It definitely depends on you as student and if you think you can do the more rigorous route. I hope this was helpful! I wish you luck on whichever path you take. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best, PMH Advisor Allison