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What are some things I could start doing in high school to help me prepare to study Biomechanics?

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13 answers

Ted’s Answer

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Note: I studied Computer Engineering, but had quite a bit of overlap with Biomedical Engineering majors.

Target any STEM AP courses available to you in high school, including math, bio, physics, and chem. All of those will be helpful foundations for more advanced topics in any science field. If available, take any anatomy or physiology courses you can as well. See if your local college has a high school plus program to get college course credit in your senior year, and take any topics that fall under engineering or biomed focus areas.

I went in to college interested in pre-med, with a focus on chemistry, but switched to computer engineering mid sophomore year. Having all of the AP courses going in meant that the year spent in another major didn't put me behind.
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Sara’s Answer

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If you're high school offers Anatomy and Physiology, definitely take that! My biomedical (a little different) curriculum in college required it, and I was thankful to have the basic knowledge from my high school course. Other good foundational courses are biology, physics, statistics and calculus.
Thank you Sara Claudine B. Translate
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Tom’s Answer

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Hi Claudine,

I'm a mechanical design engineer working in the medical device industry.

I agree with many of the answers here indicating classes you should focus on to be successful in college however I believe that networking and "soft skills" (non-technical skills) are by far the most valuable for success both in college and your future career.

I suggest spending some time with some local medical professionals to get an idea of the industry. You can volunteer to work at hospitals or ask local medical businesses if they could use an intern or to shadow. These will provide great networking opportunities as well as give you an idea of where you'd like to work post college or where you'd like to focus your efforts in college. Bio-mechanics and Biomedical engineering are huge topic area's with many different paths you could go down.

I also suggest you focus on communications while in high school. I assume you're great at math and science if you're interested in engineering. Communication skills make the difference in college and in your future career. Learn to write well and speak well to give you an advantage on college admissions papers. Learn to work well with others and resolve conflicts, this will help you in college and post college.


Thank you Tom Claudine B. Translate
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Kuei-Ti’s Answer

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The first step is to identify what colleges/universities you might attend.

The second step is to check the application requirements of the colleges/universities as well as the application requirements of the biomechanics program. Sometimes, specific high school courses are required.

Finally, try these:

1. Study hard if possible. Try to understand the materials of the classes you're taking. Some classes might seem unrelated to biomechanics but can be helpful. For example, good English can help you be more efficient at college reading and technical writing.

2. Check whether the college/university you might attend accepts CLEP results, which subjects of CLEP are accepted, what scores are needed for them to be accepted, and whether they can be transferred to courses that can count toward the biomechanics program of the college/university you identified.

Check whether the college/university accepts only results of CLEP taken before you attend the college/university to plan when to take the exam(s). Also, remember to follow the college/university's process of getting the credits.

3. Check whether the college/university you might attend accepts AP exam results, which subjects of AP exams are accepted, what scores are needed for them to be accepted, and whether they can be transferred to courses that can count toward the biomechanics program of the college/university you identified.

Check whether the college/university accepts only results of AP taken before you attend the college/university to plan when to take the exam(s). Also, remember to follow the college/university's process of getting the credits.

Note that you don't need to take AP classes to take AP exams, and there are free online courses that can help prepare you for AP exams (you can find some on https://www.classcentral.com/search?q=ap ).

Note that you have to take AP exams to have the possibility of getting the equivalent college credits. Taking AP classes without taking AP exams doesn't work.

4. Take advantage of the community college(s). Some colleges/universities accept transferred credits from a community college, so taking courses at a community college might be helpful. Check what institutions' credits can be transferred to the college/university you might attend, what are their equivalent courses at the college/university you might attend, and whether they can be transferred to courses that can count toward the biomechanics program of the college/university you identified.

Remember to follow the college/university's process of transferring the credits.

5. Explore MOOCs. While most MOOCs can't be transferred to college credits, they're usually free and can be good ways to see how college courses might be like. Check Coursera and edX to see if there are courses you're interested. A lot of courses are self-paced, so there's no rush.

Kuei-Ti recommends the following next steps:

  • Identify what colleges/universities you might attend.
  • Check the application requirements of the colleges/universities as well as the application requirements of the biomechanics program.
  • Check whether the college/university you might attend accepts CLEP and/or AP results, which subjects of CLEP and/or AP are accepted, what scores are needed for them to be accepted, and whether they can be transferred to courses that can count toward the biomechanics program of the college/university you identified. If applicable, take the exam(s) and follow the college/university's process of getting the credits.
  • Check what institutions' credits can be transferred to the college/university you might attend, what are their equivalent courses at the college/university you might attend, and whether they can be transferred to courses that can count toward the biomechanics program of the college/university you identified. If applicable, take the courses and follow the college/university's process of getting the credits.
  • Explore MOOCs.
Thank you Kuei-Ti Lu Claudine B. Translate
You're welcome. Kuei-Ti Lu Translate
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Kasey’s Answer

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I think the biggest piece of advice to give someone in your position is to gain experience in what you want to pursue as soon as possible.

I wish I started in high school, so you are already in a good position to start! I would look for companies that offer high school internships related to what you want to do in the future. Not only do you get to gain experience in the field, but you also get to determine early on if it's something you definitely want to do.

By gaining experience in the field early, you also get to do some networking. Network early on and do as much as you can!! I stress this a lot because you never know where it can take you. For my intership in a medical device start-up, I got the position because of school (I was a decent student, but had to struggle to get good grades), but most of all for networking; my aunt's ex-boyfriend from high school was the one who helped me with my position. With my current job and first job out of high school, I asked my friend to give her dad my resume because one time she mentioned he worked at Medtronic. Trust me, it works!!

Additionally, if you can somehow get into research early on, it can bring you far as well. I suggest talking to your counselor at school to determine how to pursue research early on.

I hope you found this helpful :)
Thank you Kasey, this was really helpful. Claudine B. Translate
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Abhinav’s Answer

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I would really encourage you to begin taking the basic science courses and gaining a strong foundation in those. I believe the most important course would be human anatomy. Gaining a strong foundation in human anatomy and physiology will really allow you to build a strong foundation going into college. I would also suggest the basic science courses including AP biology, chemistry, and physics if they are available to you. This will put you at a a significant advantage going into college!
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Jenny’s Answer

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I studied Biomedical Engineering in college and took a few biomechanics courses.

While they do cover the basics for you at the beginning of the courses, it would be helpful if you had a foundation of basic physics.

I suggest taking an AP Physics class and getting a general understanding of force, statics, etc.

If you want some hands-on experience, joining any sort of robotics team if your school offers would be great introduction as well! Any sort of exposure early on will help you realize if you like this field or not.

And no pressure if you can't these things, college is the time to learn and explore :) Best of luck!
Definitely agree that taking AP Physics is valuable even more so than any biology/anatomy physiology. And robotics! I wish I had done more with robotics in high school! Kathy Houle Translate
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Christina’s Answer

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Hi Claudine,

It's great that you're thinking about this! Many engineering classes are built on a solid foundation of science and math. In addition to high school science and math classes, you can consider taking anatomy or physiology classes if they are offered at your school. Computer science is also a good one- although it's not directly related to biomechanics, you will learn the principles of logic and that will transfer to many different fields.

Good luck!
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Blake’s Answer

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Hey Claudine,

I would recommend taking Biology.

Thanks,
Blake
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Rodney’s Answer

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Human Anatomy and Physiology is a great building block in high-school for the future of BioMechanics.
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Jacob’s Answer

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Also if you are studying on the side, look into CLEP and other types of testing that can get you a jump start on college credits at a fraction of the time/money!
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Michael’s Answer

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Hi. I would suggest keep study the books in high school and take some time to read some related magazine,
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John’s Answer

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Hey Claudine,

I studied biomedical engineering in both my undergrad and master's with a focus in biomechanics. I would strongly encourage you to find ways to make these studies find and applicable to things you actually enjoy. It's important to keep the subject material relevant and aligned to your own interests so that you don't get bogged down by the complexity of the workload.

Stay focused on sharpening your technical skills, always ask for help when you need it, and never be too distressed when something doesn't immediately click, both in high school and in college. We've all been there at one time or another.

Good luck!
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