If you’ve taken your med school prereqs a long time ago and you did poorly in them, should you retake them or take higher level courses? What about the MCAT?
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[01:55] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:
“I have these core classes that I took ten years ago and I did not do well. These courses, I’ve taken back 2008-2009 at community college. They include Gen Chem 1, Gen Chem 2, Calc, General Bio – all C’s. General Bio 2, a D. Physics 1-3 – C’s, and Genetics – D. Recently, at a university, Organic Chemistry 1 – B, Organic Chemistry 2 – C+, Biochemistry – C+.
Would it be more beneficial to retake all these core classes again especially for the MCAT? Or take upper division science classes like Biology? My science GPA is low, around a 2.5. And I would want to demonstrate to the admissions committees that I was not the same student I was before. I can’t get any SMP or formal postbac at the moment.
I’m trying to do a two-step process, which is postbac and academic enhancer, then an SMP. My end goal is MD or DO. What else can I do to show reinvention?”
At this stage, if you’re not getting A’s, stop. Stop right now. Don’t take any more classes. If you’re in classes right now, withdraw from them. Figure out why you’re not getting A’s.
Go and listen to The Premed Years Podcast session 188. It’s a must-listen to for any student struggling in their classes. Find out ways you can do to try to improve your grades. Right now, you’re not doing that. You’re just digging yourself a deeper and deeper hole.
[04:55] Postbac vs. SMP
You do not and should not shoot to do both a postbac and an SMP. Nobody has to do a postbac and then an SMP. They should be doing the same thing for you. An academic enhancer postbac is proving to the admissions committee that you can handle the coursework. The same is said for an SMP. So you don’t need to do both.
Some students though need to do both a postbac and an SMP because they’re doing what you’re doing – taking classes and not getting good grades. This is the case of Chad. He finished his undergrad, didn’t have good grades. He did a postbac and didn’t have good grades. He had to figure out how to fix that. He did an SMP. He got good grades. And now, he’s a medical student. So do not shoot or plan to do both a postbac or an SMP. That is not necessary.
[06:05] Retake Your Classes
Retake your classes. Since you’ve taken those classes from ten years ago and you got C’s and D’s, retake those classes.
They’re probably not going to help your GPA a ton since all the grades would be included. It doesn’t matter if you retake the same classes or take different ones and get A’s. The GPA is all going to be the same because every grade is included in your GPA calculation. So the grades don’t matter.
It won’t be a surprise if you continue to get bad grades because you don’t have a solid science foundation from ten years ago based on poor grades. So retake your courses, (1) to give yourself that foundation, (2) to prove to yourself and to the admissions committee that you can handle the coursework with a strong upward trends, and (3) to prepare for the MCAT.
Retake all the classes. Get A’s in them. Take the MCAT. If you need to continue to take some higher level courses as you go through this process, do that. If you need to do a formal postbac at that point still, maybe do that. But don’t plan on doing a postbac and an SMP. Either do a postbac or an SMP.
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Also, check out my other books The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview. And soon, we will be releasing The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement.
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