Pre-Med programs are some of the most competitive programs to get into. Whether you are trying to get into medical school, veterinary school, optometry or any of the medical classes, there is a very BASIC set of knowledge that will make the undergraduate science classes much easier for you and take some of the workload off. Success in Pre-Med doesn’t come easy. Pre-Med programs are very difficult and any workload that you can reduce will help you succeed as a Pre-Med student.
“You want to succeed! Here’s how…”
So I mentioned that there is a very BASIC set of knowledge that is the key to succeed in Pre-Med Programs. This BASIC set of knowledge is typically all given to you at some point during your freshman year of college. But it’s given to you with a lot of other knowledge to make the Math and Science classes more comprehensive and detailed.
“…it is estimated that less than 10% of Freshman Pre-Med Students get into Med School.”
First off, it’s important to know why so many Pre-Med Students never even get to apply for Medical School. Though it is difficult to get the exact numbers, it is estimated that less than 10% of Freshman Pre-Med Students end up getting into Medical School. Here’s what happens to most college students in the Pre-Med programs. I’m going to give you an analogy.
All of us learn to speak, read, and write growing up. It’s essential for when we get older. First you learn your alphabet, or ABC’s. Then you learn the sounds the letters make. Next, you learn to spell words. Eventually you are writing sentences and paragraphs. Reading and speaking becomes fluent for you.
So, your first year of college is very similar to learning your ABC’s. But there’s a lot more letters and sounds to remember. At the same time you are trying to function as an adult for the first time, learning to count numbers, and a lot of other information.
So you fumble through your first year and you make a few B’s and C’s. This is “okay” to you because you are allowed a few C’s and will try harder to get adjusted to the new college life from now on. Then you retain about 30% of the information you were given after the year is over.
After the summer, you come back ready for your second year. Well this year, you are learning to write sentences and give speeches. Remember, you just finished retaining 30% of your ABC’s and what sounds they make! So while they are dumping huge amounts of new information on you, instead of focusing on learning the new information, you are trying to figure out your letters and sounds still as you go along.
“You can’t write books, until you learn the letters.”
How are you supposed to write these sentences well if you don’t remember your letters? What happened to reading and writing individual words?! Maybe they crammed that in a little in one of your classes at the end of last semester.
So you never really understood your ABC’s, they aren’t going to cover it again, and you’ve retained a little bit about writing sentences and reading them. Now you’ve got even more B’s and C’s, and you realize that the Pre-Med Program you want to go into might not accept you. If you haven’t realized it by this point, you will realize it next semester while the top students are “WRITING BOOKS” while YOU still figure out your ABC’s.
“DON’T LISTEN TO THEM!”
Your first year matters most. People WILL tell you otherwise! It doesn’t matter if people tell you otherwise. Let me say this again. Your first year matters most! It just does. The best thing to do, is to learn your ABC’s before they teach it to you. Maybe even learn some words and sentences while you’re at it. That way, everything else that they give you, you can learn from and retain the knowledge.
When you’re in college, it’s amazing how many students say “I didn’t learn anything from that class. I’m so glad it’s over!” Or “This stuff is so lame. I’m never gonna use any of this. I just want to be a nurse.” Or the famous phrase, “Well, C’s get degrees!”
Don’t listen to them! It’s all nonsense and it will hurt your goal. I don’t know of anyone that ever made a C in General Chemistry 1 and went on to get into Med School. It just doesn’t happen.
Here’s how the science classes work for your entire curriculum as a Pre-Med student:
- In your first year, you will get the BASICS.
- Your second year, most of your classes are about 50% of the basics, then 50% new information.
- Third year, most of your classes are about 40% of the basics, 25% information from last year, and 35% new information.
- Finally, your fourth year will only be difficult if you haven’t kept up with your previous years. 90% of your fourth year should be things you’ve already learned or seen before. The other 10% isn’t even all new information. The other 10% is also applying all of that information. As I mentioned earlier in this article, it should “become fluent for you.”
“The Links at the Bottom of this Page is Everything! Do it and Succeed.”
Now even though you see the same information over and over again, it won’t always be in the same form. It might be integrated a little more into the new information or have more detail than before. The chemistry might be applied to a biological function. No need to memorize the molecules that can pass through the cell membrane, you already understand polarity of molecules and can determine it that way!
Here’s a few examples. The dimensional analysis process you learn in General Chemistry I, is the same process you will use when calculating the drug dosing for a person’s body weight in Human Physiology. You use it in Physics as well. Same goes for the dilution equation. Once you learn that, never forget it. The Gibbs free energy equation from Chemistry, you will see over and over again in classes like Cell Biology. Don’t even think about taking General Chemistry II without having a solid grasp on basic college algebra. Even General Chemistry I. Don’t take it without knowing basic algebra.
“Destroy Your Competition and Succeed in your Pre-Med Program!”
Something else people will say all the time is, “I hate algebra! What would you even use this for?” Or “I’m awful at math. I’m glad I made a C in it and I can move on! I only have to take chemistry and physics next semester.” That person is in trouble next semester.
So what do you do? I will give you a list. Consider it a checklist or reference.
“You Should Bookmark This Page to Use It as Reference”
Learn the following BEFORE going into any Pre-Med Program. Take the 2 or 3 weeks to look at all of this, and you will DESTROY YOUR COMPETITION in your college Pre-Med Program!
Do these in order as shown:
The following links are Free Videos from Khan Academy. No registration required.
1. Basic Algebra
Most of what you need to understand, I call “Algebraic Juggling.” If you know this well, you won’t need to memorize as many formulas in physics, chemistry, and other Pre-Med classes. Watch the videos from the first three sections from Khan Academy from the links below. Do them in order as seen here. Spend a day or 2 on this:
*NOTE: If you have trouble catching on to these Algebra videos, you may need some remedial math before jumping into any of these classes. You are NOT ready for a College Pre-Med Program and will likely fail making it to medical school.
2. General Chemistry I
General Chemistry I is one of those classes where people never realize how often they see it again. This class requires an ABSOLUTE FUNDAMENTAL UNDERSTANDING to be successful in almost EVERY SINGLE OTHER SCIENCE CLASS! Understand General Chemistry! Don’t just pass it. Be successful in it.
Learning chemistry is like learning a new language that is used in other areas of science. Know General Chemistry I extremely well and you will increase by a letter grade automatically with no additional effort in almost ALL of your future science classes. Khan Academy, again, has great videos for learning this. See the links below. Watch them in the order given below. Finish every section before going to the next link. Spend 4 or 5 days on this:
3. General Biology
Know the fundamentals of Biology. If you want to succeed in pre-med you must know Biology. Get a solid grasp on the basics, then learn the details of the more specific classes later. Knowing the basics of general biology will make it much easier to learn Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Cell Biology, Microbiology, and many other classes in the future. Watch the links below, again, in order. Note how much Chemistry is going on here. Almost every section’s title has a very specific topic from Chemistry in it. Spend 4 or 5 days doing this:
Yes… Trigonometry. If you are complaining about College Algebra, you won’t be after taking Trigonometry. What is it? It’s the Math of Triangles. Don’t even ask why you need to know this. You need it to succeed Physics. Some schools don’t require taking Trigonometry before Physics. (Can you believe that?) Just learn it. Spend a day or 2 on this. Watch these videos below… in order:
To be honest, if you’ve made it this far in preparing for your Pre-Med program to start and haven’t started college yet, You are in FANTASTIC shape for success. Only do this one if you really have time for it. Although it’s really not that time consuming, you might be better off reviewing Chemistry. Watch the videos from these sections. Spend a day or 2 on it. You may want to save this for right before you start physics:
Some Pre-Med programs don’t have you taking Algebra before General Chemistry at all. I don’t care what your Adviser says, know basic Algebra before you start.
I hope you at least learned a few things from this article about Success in Pre-Med programs and these programs, essentially, weed people out. The system is pretty complicated, but can be simple with the right information for success! If you have taken the time to look through and learn most of the information from above, you will Succeed in Pre-Med classes.
Check out these ACS Exam Tips to help study for your Chemistry Final!