Pre-health Standardized Exams

When I say summer, you think… test prep!! Did I get that right? Wait, you were thinking of beaches and ice cream? Well, for some people, summer might be a nice break, but for many College of Biological Sciences students, summer is the perfect opportunity to gain experience in their intended field, take summer classes, or… prepare for dreaded exams. If you are trying to enter a health-related field after undergraduate education, the odds of needing to take a grueling multiple hour exam are high.  These exams will test your stamina, scientific knowledge, and critical thinking skills. But don’t worry, you’ve already started studying! Yup, by taking your major required courses, you’ve already begun the preparing yourself. So, props to you for taking the first step! The next thing to do is understand what exam you’ll be taking and how you can continue preparing for it. Depending on which field you wish to enter, there is a corresponding exam.

If you are interested in: Allopathic medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, or Podiatric medicine, you will take the Medical School Admissions test (MCAT) administered by the AAMC.

  1. The exam is 7.5 hours long (including breaks) and broken into 4 sections: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skill
  2. Some classes to take before the exam include: BIS 2ABC Introduction to Biology, CHE 2ABC General Chemistry, CHE 118ABC Organic Chemistry, PHY 7ABC General Physics, BIS 102 & 103 or 105 Biochemistry, NPB 101 Human Physiology, and PSC 1 General Psychology.
  3. If you find yourself with extra time, consider taking: BIS 104 Cell Biology, MIC 102 Microbiology, BIS 101 Genes & Gene Expression, EXB 106 Human Gross Anatomy, and PSC 41 Research Methods in Psychology.
  4. Other logistical information:
    1. Cost is: $315 (fee waivers available)
    2. Can be retaken: 3 times in a single testing year, 4 times in a two year period, and 7 times in a lifetime.

If you are interested in: Dentistry, you will take the Dental Admissions test (DAT) administered by the ADA.

  1. The exam is 5 hours long (including breaks) and broken into 4 sections: Survey of Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning.
  2. Some classes to take before the exam include: BIS 2ABC Introduction to Biology, CHE 2ABC General Chemistry, CHE 118ABC Organic Chemistry, STA 100 Statistics, and NPB 101 Human Physiology.
  3. If you find yourself with extra time, consider taking: BIS 101 Genes & Gene Expression BIS 102 & 103 or 105 Biochemistry, BIS 104 Cell Biology, MIC 102 Microbiology, EXB 106 Human Gross Anatomy, and EVE 100 Introduction to Evolution.
  4. Other logistical information:
    1. Cost is: $475 (fee waivers available)
    2. Can be retaken: 3 times but must be 90 days apart; to take more than 3 times, candidates must submit a request.

If you are interested in: Pharmacy, you will take the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) administered by Pearson Education.

  1. The exam is 4 hours long (including breaks) and broken into  sections: Writing, Biological Processes, Chemical Processes, Critical Reading, and quantitative reasoning.
  2. Some classes to take before the exam include: BIS 2ABC Introduction to Biology, CHE 2ABC General Chemistry, CHE 118ABC Organic Chemistry, PHY 7ABC General Physics, STA 100 Statistics, NPB 101 Systemic Physiology, BIS 102 & 103 or 105 Biochemistry, Calculus, and Statistics.
  3. If you find yourself with extra time, consider taking: MIC 102 Microbiology or EXB 106 Human Gross Anatomy.
  4. Other logistical information:
    1. Cost is: $210 (fee waivers available)
    2. Can be retaken: 5 times; to take more than 5 times, candidates must submit a request.

If you are interested in: Optometry, you will take the Optometry Admissions test (OAT) administered by the ASCO.

  1. The exam is about 5 hours long (including breaks) and broken into 4 sections: Survey of the Natural Sciences, Reading Comprehension, Physics, and Quantitative Reasoning.
  2. Some classes to take before the exam include: BIS 2ABC Introduction to Biology, CHE 2ABC General Chemistry, CHE 118ABC Organic Chemistry, PHY 7ABC General Physics, and NPB 101 Human Systemic Physiology.
  3. If you find yourself with extra time, consider taking: EXB 106 Human Gross Anatomy, BIS 101 Genes & Gene Expression, or BIS 102 & 103 or 105 Biochemistry.
  4. Other logistical information:
    1. Cost is: $465 (fee waivers available)
    2. Can be retaken: 3 times but must be 90 days apart; to take more than 3 times, candidates must submit a request.

 

If you are interested in: Veterinary Medicine, Physician’s Assistant, Dietetic Internships, Nursing (MSN), Physical Therapy, Genetic Counseling, or Occupational Therapy, you will take the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) administered by the ETS.

  1. The exam is 3.75 hours long (including breaks) and broken into 3 sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.
  2. Unlike other pre-health standardized exams, the GRE is not content based. Test prep books may be most useful solidifying core concepts. However, other Arts and Humanities or Social Science courses which emphasize critical thinking and reasoning may help.
  3. Other logistical information:
    1. Cost is: $205 (fee waivers available)
    2. Can be retaken: 5 times but must be 21 days apart within any continuous 12-month period.

For more information about any of these exams, how to create a study plan, or what resources are available to you, please contact Health Professions Advising (HPA).

Christina Duong
BASC Peer Advisor
Fourth Year: Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major w/Spanish minor

Advertisements

The Many Advantages of Summer Sessions

Spring quarter is off in full swing and it is time to start looking ahead and thinking about summer plans. Many of you may be excited to get some rest and relaxation, or to just get out of Davis for an adventure. Although these all sound very enticing, remember that Summer Sessions is a great option. Whether you are looking to get ahead, catch up on units, or take a challenging major course, the advantages of enrolling in Summer Sessions are plentiful. To peak your interest in staying in Davis to take classes this summer, I will share my experience with Summer Sessions in the following paragraphs.

It was Spring quarter during my second year at Davis, and I had just taken Physics 7B. Physics proved to be challenging to me compared to other courses, so I began thinking about taking it as soon after Physics 7B as I could. After sitting down and mapping out my third and fourth year classes, I realized taking Physics would not only clear up my schedule but help me concentrate on other challenging courses that I was planning to take during fall quarter of my third year, like NPB 101 and BIS 101. My next decision was whether or not to take Session 1 or Session 2. I wanted to take Session 1 because I felt it would be good to take Physics 7C right after having taken 7B, with only a couple of weeks separating the two rather than a couple months. However I felt pretty drained from Spring quarter and I ultimately decided that Session 2 would be best because it would give my mind a break and I could come back ready to learn in the beginning of August.  I also realized that many of my friends from home that were going to semester schools would be going back to school around August too, so I would not feel like I was ending my summer early.

Summer session 2 was fast-paced to say the least. Although I was only taking Physics 7C and a GE course,  I had to constantly study in order to keep up with the work. However, I found it much easier to do so when I only had two classes to concentrate on because the material was constantly being reinforced. This, along with the fact that I was able to go to my professor’s office hours because I had a more open schedule, is why I was able to have a remarkably better learning outcome in Physics 7C than I had with Physics 7B when I took it during the regular quarter. I was also really happy to finish classes in 6 weeks rather than 10 weeks!


Although Summer Session at UC Davis may not be your first idea when it comes to making summer plans here is a short list of the advantages of taking Summer Sessions:

  • Improve your UC cumulative GPA
  • Work towards reaching minimum progress
  • Take prerequisite courses for graduate school
  • Clear up a packed schedule by taking some classes in the summer
  • Benefit from concentrating on less classes
  • Summer session is only six weeks
  • Have more time to explore the city of Davis!

When registering for Summer Session classes, be sure to keep a balanced schedule during each session. This means you should avoid taking two science classes together during one session due to the time constraints and rigor of of science courses.

There has been an important update to financial aid for Summer Session. It will now be awarded based on the earliest date that you are registered or wait-listed in at least 6 units total over the whole summer. For example, if you only wanted to enroll in one session, you would need a minimum of 6 units. But, if you wanted to take both sessions, you would need a minimum of 6 units total for both summer sessions. Also, be on the look out for Summer Sessions pass times coming out April 27th!

 

Have a great Summer Session and good luck!

Zoe Lim

Biological Sciences

BASC Peer Adviser

 

Mythbusters: UC Davis Edition

Between university, college, and major requirements, plus prerequisites for graduate and professional school programs, it can become slightly difficult to keep the seemingly endless amounts of information straight. Incorrect information can often be disguised to seem true, and it’s easy to be misled or overwhelmed by a million different sources. Here are a few common myths that are in need of debunking – test yourself and see how well you know your stuff!

 

SecondaryConfusedGrad

 

It’s impossible to graduate in four years.

FALSE!
It is absolutely possible to graduate in four years. In order to stay on track, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your major requirements, plan your course schedules ahead of time, and meet with a peer adviser or your major adviser if you need help. However, although it is entirely possible to finish your degree in four years, it is absolutely normal to take more than four years to graduate. It’s difficult to know exactly what you want to study right away – fear not; you’re not alone! Most students change their major at least once before they graduate. If you change your major within the College of Biological Sciences, a majority of the lower division prep courses overlap between majors, so you won’t necessarily be behind on prerequisite courses. Be proactive about planning ahead and taking advantage of the resources available to you!

 

All preparatory courses in series, such as CHE2ABC, must be taken consecutively and must be finished within the first two years before moving on to upper division courses.

FALSE!
Although a majority of the lower division preparatory courses are in series – MAT17ABC, CHE2ABC, BIS2ABC, CHE118ABC or CHE8AB, and PHY7ABC, these courses do not necessarily have to be taken three quarters in a row. For example, it is perfectly acceptable to take MAT17A during Fall, take a break from calculus in the Winter, and continue with MAT17B in the Spring. It just depends on the rest of your course schedule for that quarter and when you plan to finish the series. However, it’s important to pay attention to when each course is offered – for example, CHE2B is only offered during Winter and Spring. Therefore, plan accordingly! Continue reading “Mythbusters: UC Davis Edition”

Summer Sessions

Spring quarter has taken off and we will soon be deciding what to do with this three month summer vacation.  You can work, intern, or just relax on a couch all day! But if you are looking at taking summer classes either at a UC campus or a community college back home then there are some things you will want to consider!

First off: Why consider taking summer school?

  • A student can complete additional units towards his or her degree and can help a student graduate within 4 years.
  • A student can use summer school to meet minimum progress. For information on minimum progress visit https://registrar.ucdavis.edu/records/transcripts/academic-standing.cfm
  •  Summer school is a great option for students who have had trouble getting into classes during the academic year.
  • Taking course during summer can lead to a more balanced work load during the academic year.
  • Students can take courses in order to satisfy his or her GE requirements.

Now that you have heard the pros to summer school you are probably wondering, ” So, do I have to take summer school at Davis to get credit?” The answer is no! There are quite a few options of where a student can take summer classes and be given credit at UC Davis.

Community Colleges:

  • Community college is usually close to home! Many students at UC Davis are far from home and want to head back home for their summer vacation. Also living at home has no or low housing costs.
  • Community college can save you money! UC Davis summer sessions can be pricier than a community college. Community college fees are approximately $46 a unit.
  • Most community colleges are on the semester system and have different way of calculating units.  To convert the semester units to quarter units, multiply the semester units by 1.5. For example, 3 units at a community college on the semester system is converted to 4.5 units at UC Davis. This can be a great reason to take courses at a community because you are give more units which can help towards the GE requirement, graduation, or minimum progress.
  • Another important concept that most students get confused with is the difference between a classed being articulated and a class being transferred. If a class articulates, that means that a class at a community college is equivalent to a class at UC Davis, and the student will get credit for completing the course. On the other hand, if a class is just transferable, then the student will only receive units for having completed the course. To check if classes at your community college can be articulated use assist.org.
  • Community colleges do not offer upper division courses and courses taken at the community college will not factor into your GPA.

UC Davis  and other UC Summer Session:  Summer sessions at UC Davis or any other UC campus offers some additional benefits when compared to a California community college.

  • Taking summer classes at a UC can help improve your UC cumulative GPA.
  • Repeating course can only be done at a UC campus if your intention is to replace the initial grade received in the course.
  • Many lower and upper division courses needed for your major, university, and college requirements are offered at UC Davis.

If you are considering doing summer session at another UC campus, please come in to see a major advisor at the Biology Academic Advising Advisor to make sure a class articulates

Extra information for UC Davis  Summer session:

Dates:

Summer Session 1: June 23-August 1

Summer Session 2: August 4- September 12

Pass times appointments: April 28 – May 2

 If you are receiving financial aid, simply register for classes and the financial aid office will distribute financial aid based on the classes registered. For more information about classes offered, fees, and other important dates visit  http://summer-sessions.ucdavis.edu/