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AP Chem or Ap Bio? Elective?

It is around the time of the year again where I have to pick my courses for next year and I am stumped. I want to be a doctor, so I have been focusing on classes to take to help me in the future. I love both biology and chemistry (I got A's for Bio freshman year and an A so far for Chemistry). I am also debating whether or not to take Anatomy or physics as my elective and either AP chem or AP bio as my main science course. (I also consider the option of taking a physics class offered by a school near me) If anyone could help me that would be great! Thank you! :)
#pre-med #doctor #health #medicine #chemistry #biology


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Alison’s Answer

Hi Maya!

I’ll preface this answer by saying that I am not a doctor, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I would think, however, that if you want to be a doctor you’d get more relevant preparation from AP bio and anatomy than you would from AP chem and physics. While you will use chemistry in the medical field, and will have to take some biochem courses along the way, as a doctor you’re going to have to know the ins and outs of how the body works and how its put together. Those things say bio and anatomy to me.

Good luck with your schedule decisions and whichever classes you opt for!

Thank you so much for your input! I will take what you said into consideration! Maya M.

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Alaina’s Answer

The great news is that I don't think you can make a bad decision here--all of those options will further your career aspirations! The different classes will have different advantages. Here are some considerations as I see it:

AP Bio: This class will lay the foundation for many of the courses you will be taking in your undergraduate career, so taking this class will help cement your knowledge base. Some colleges may even accept your AP Bio test scores in lieu of you having to take Biology 101 , so this could potentially free you up to take a more advanced biology class your freshmen year instead. Having said that, some schools may not. My alma mater, for example, did not accept AP Bio test scores if you were on the Pre-Med track, even if you scored a 5. The philosophy behind that is while the AP Bio course is an excellent start to your biology foundation, it is not as broad or as deep as a collegiate-level class. In order to set their students up for the best path to success on the MCAT (the admission test taken to get into medical school), the biology department still wanted them to take the Biology 101 series, even if they had demonstrated competency in the AP tests.

AP Chemistry: Like AP Biology, this class will certainly be foundational and you may get course credit if your AP test score comes high enough. General chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry all feature in the MCAT and will be critical to you understanding of the biochemical causes of disease and how pharmaceutical drug products work.

Anatomy: The amount of information that you are going to have to process in your college Anatomy course could be overwhelming. If you have already seen some of the information before (even if it was years earlier in a high school course), that may help set you up for success. Also, learning anatomy is a lot of rote memorization and learning how to do this quickly and efficiently takes practice. Even just learning this skill will do you well for your future.

Physics: Physics will appear, to a certain extent, on the medical school admission test. I think the more intriguing thing here is that you might have the option of taking it at a local college. My senior year in high school, I took the Chemistry 101 series at the college near me and I am so glad that I did it. For one, it gave me the opportunity to get a taste of what college classes were like before all of my classes were at that level. This facilitated an easier transition from high school to college for me. Secondly, I was able to concretely demonstrate to college admissions that I was going to be a successful student and thrive at their school. While I will never know for sure, I believe that I was granted more scholarship funds as a result of this.

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