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Should Organic Chemistry Be a Premed Requirement?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the both-ways-with-extra-snow dept.

Education 567

1-quack-4-malpractice writes "For the second time, the Wall Street Journal health blog has questioned whether premed students should be forced to suffer through organic chemistry. Dozens of doctors weighed in with comments, and many of them seem to think that the wry subject is an almost useless rite of passage. Wired Science points out that there are not enough doctors who do research in addition to seeing patients, and they are the ones who benefit most from a thorough grounding in basic sciences like organic chemistry."

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567 comments

Classic problem. (5, Funny)

oskay (932940) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062371)

Reminds me of the classic joke:

A college physics professor was explaining a concept to his class when a pre-med student interrupted him.

"Why do we have to learn this stuff?" he blurted out.

"To save lives," the professor responded before continuing the lecture.

A few minutes later the student spoke up again. "Wait-- how does physics save lives?"

The professor responded. "By keeping idiots out of medical school."

Re:Classic problem. (5, Insightful)

coldandcalculating (1311907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062489)

Nothing is funnier than the truth. During my undergraduate career I worked for the Chemistry department and it was my job to watch some of these hopeless pre-med students suffer through o-chem lab. Needless to say, I feel a lot better knowing that a good share of the more inept ones got filtered out so early on in the game. Now I work in a hospital doing biomedical research. I see a great deal of talented physicians, but it really surprises me how many of the old guard (and plenty of the young blood) are ignorant on important topics relevant to medicine today. While organic chemistry classes in and of themselves don't remedy this sort of problem, I think that those who succeed in them generally tend to be the kinds of people who can keep their minds open and who are able to learn into their old age.

Re:Classic problem. (4, Interesting)

Autumnmist (80543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062547)

In my experience, the kinds of people who succeeded in orgo were the ones who were LEAST likely to keep their minds open and actually think for themselves. Orgo can be and is most commonly (by premeds) passed purely by massive brute force memorization. It can also be done by having great intuition and scientific insight, but that is not necessary at all. The premeds suffer through the lab portion of orgo but not the test+lecture portion because the lab portion can't be memorized! The kids who do well in lab are the future researchers and scientists... not the future doctors.

Re:Classic problem. (3, Insightful)

coldandcalculating (1311907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062769)

I agree that the brute force approach will get A grades in o-chem, but don't you think that maybe our doctors ought to learn how to think like scientists? The only difference between a physicist or a chemist and a doctor is the subject matter; They all face unsolved questions and will only be able reach conclusions through deductive reasoning after considering the evidence available to them. While it is certainly unethical for doctors to experiment wildly with their patients, I'm sure that many slashdotters have heard the phrase "let's try medication X.." or "I'm going to run a few tests and then.."

Doctors have to think like scientists. Perhaps another class similar to o-chem in difficulty but more relevant to the medical profession is in order?



A side note: I have worked with several MD-PhDs and they are the cream of the crop (with one or two very ugly exceptions).

Re:Classic problem. (2, Interesting)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062921)

This is so funny, as an (organic) chemist I always thought the one thing med students are good at is brute force memorization. Organic chemistry at the undergrad level should be a relaxing experience compared to memorizing all 200+ bones and 600 + muscles and whatnot there is in anatomy.
On a funny note, my dad always ranted about the professor who tossed him out of his DDS defense (he was an MD already at the time) for being unable to answer an organic chemistry question "that every undergrad should know".

Re:Classic problem. (3, Interesting)

Autumnmist (80543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25063011)

I'm not saying I think it's a *bad* idea for doctors to think like scientists.... but they don't. (speaking as a scientist who took classes with premeds)

Our current system for picking/grooming future doctors almost always selects for the least scientifically-minded students--science is the opposite of memorization, but the students who memorize the best are the ones who get into the best med schools.

MD-PhDs are very very different from regular MDs.

Re:Classic problem. (2, Insightful)

AJWM (19027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25063007)

That's okay, a lot of medical school is massive brute force memorization too. (Anatomy comes to mind in particular, but it's hardly the only one.) It's a useful ability for doctors to have.

(Me, I was premed until I discovered how easy computer science was and switched my major.)

Is o-chem even that hard? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062669)

Is o-chem all that bad? I was a math major, but I had to suffer through it due to my degree being a Bachelor of Science, so I actually ended up taking both organic and inorganic chemistry.

But even though I managed through it somehow, all I remember was that we played "name that molecule" and had to come up with "characteristic" reactions that were almost all inaccurate to some degree.

Oh well. At least I know why there are numbers and commas at the front of so many molecule names! They tell you where the other bits attach. But as far as it being a good weed-out class, I'm less sure.

There were MUCH harder weed-outs out there, like that incredibly evil numerical analysis class. Everybody thought the guy who scored a 50% was some kind of genius and the professor was sometimes reduced to giving partial credit for essay answers to math questions explaining what I thought I was supposed to do if only I had something better than a vague idea of what the hell I was doing and how to manipulate that stupid equation into something I could take a Taylor expansion of at some point in such a way that you could extract an error term.

Hell, that last paragraph would probably be worth 10% on a test...

Re:Is o-chem even that hard? (1)

DeadManCoding (961283) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062779)

O-chem is seriously nasty. I originally started out as a Chem major as the college I attended didn't have Pre-Med (University of Arizona). Ugh, I'm still getting shivers. The class isn't extraordinarily difficult, but it definitely testing you.

Re:Classic problem. (3, Interesting)

PMuse (320639) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062771)

During my undergraduate career I worked for the Chemistry department . . . I feel a lot better knowing that a good share of the more inept ones got filtered out . . .

Plus, the majors need some one to pull down the bottom of the curve.

Re:Classic problem. (5, Insightful)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062551)

The "idiots" just cheat or do whatever they have to, to get that degree.

It stops nothing. Seriously, how many times have you gone to a Doctor and said to yourself, "This guy is an idiot."?

I've had a doctor diagnose a broken rib as pancreatitis, spent over $10k paying for doctors to diagnose a problem that I eventually figured out MYSELF with just some research on the Web(verified by 2 other doctors afterwards) and had a doctor misdiagnose a problem, then make it worse by prescribing something that exacerbated the problem.

If an idiot REALLY wants to be a doctor, he will become a doctor.

A more stringent oversight system would be more useful.

Re:Classic problem. (1)

omris (1211900) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062733)

As someone aspiring to continue the path to be an MD, I don't really see how they need more stringent oversight, exactly.

I know quite a few people who have gotten into medical schools. They generally fit into one of two categories: mildly retarded people who could barely get through their undergraduate program but they or their parents are well off and knew the right people, OR very intelligent hard working people whose parents are well off and knew the right people.

You will continue to have the richest people as doctors so long as huge quantities of money stand to be made by making only the richest people doctors. If you want the smartest or most able people to be doctors, then we need huge quantities of money in order to encourage it.

Exactly: weed out is definitely GOOD (4, Insightful)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062645)

I go to the University of Florida right now. We're decent for a public school, and our medical program is actually pretty good. Some prereqs apply to Premed and all of the Engineering majors, so when I started here I had some classes with premeds.

For example, Calc 1 was extremely difficult. Plus, the rude teacher (one of the course coordinator's bitches) was bad at his job. With outside tutoring, I managed to scrape by. I think Calc is important for most majors, even premed, so this might not be the best example. However, the class shrunk as the year went on. Doing Calculus was difficult, but I can only assume less difficult than being a full time, life saving doctor. It's a good thing that these people got weeded out. Plus, it taught people like me to work harder to actually make it.

What am I trying to get to with all this rambling? I think difficult weed outs are good for the earlier part of your college career. Most premeds won't use Organic. But, they need to prove they can work hard towards a difficult subject early on. Otherwise, the resources go to waste. And as an added benefit, the people who do make it by these weed outs usually gain work ethic from the experience.

Re:Exactly: weed out is definitely GOOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062893)

I'm going to graduate medical school soon, and I, too, went to UF for undergrad.

Calc I was a hilarious, easy breeze. Calc II was difficult. The ones after it were incredibly easy.

However, I can easily confirm (hey, we just had a conversation about it the other day) that incredible majority of doctors don't use organic chemistry, and are actually kind of bitter about it.

Trust me, plenty of goofs get in anyway- even at schools like mine, that pride themselves on being among the best in the country.

Using orgo as a weed-out class (especially UF's absolutely goofy orgo program) is pretty misguided, I think. Physics is a lot better (and drat useful in ortho, too.)

As somebody else said earlier, memorization, or at least the type seen in Orgo, is useless to a good physician. Being able to work through dynamic, constantly shifting issues instantly is far, far better.

Re:Classic problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062815)

Of course there are other, more serious, reasons [webmd.com] as well. Take a look around any hospital to gain more insight, of course the wider your knowledge base the more you will see the need for wider knowledge base in the sciences. Would think biophysics to be highly useful to sports surgeons and those involved in aids for those who lost mobility or limbs.

The broader the knowledge of doctor, the less likely that medical corporations can pull the wool over their eyes in the way pharmaceuticals often do these days, so would think the medical schools need to broaden their knowledge of chemistry while restricting pharmaceuticals involvement in that education. WSJ covering this should make everyone remember to "follow the money" on who is financing any such study.

Higher Math not needed for CS (4, Funny)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062389)

For working in that army of Java and .NET developers that drives the industry, do you really need to understand anything beyond basic algebra? Why burden CS students with silly classes when they won't even need to know what an integral is? I think it's a scam perpetrated by the academic industry to force us to pay for more credits and more books.

Re:Higher Math not needed for CS (2, Informative)

soast (690658) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062475)

Your missing the point. Even though you may go through your life not using all the math you have learned the point is Math helps you sharpen your problem solving skills which is 99% of what a CS student will use.

Re:Higher Math not needed for CS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062521)

Do you know what satire is?

Re:Higher Math not needed for CS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062557)

Do you know what autism is?

Re:Higher Math not needed for CS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062685)

holy shit someone figured it out.

Re:Higher Math not needed for CS (3, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062743)

Satire? Of course not; why burden CS students with silly classes on English or Literature when they won't even need to know what a metaphor is?

Re:Higher Math not needed for CS (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062695)

Actually, I'd disagree on the calculus part. It's useful in a few bits of computing, but not any that I've spent much time in. Having had a couple of years of discrete maths before university would have been much more helpful than two years of solving differential equations. Sure, I learned how to calculate the trajectory of a rocket going in to orbit where the acceleration is a function of air resistance (which is a function of altitude and speed) and of mass (which is a function of time), but the only time I've used that is to argue on Slashdot. Graph theory, which I didn't encounter until university, I use all of the time, even when navigating a new area from a map or planning my time on a project.

Re:Higher Math not needed for CS (2, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062479)

Because it gives you a thorough grounding in theoretical math, the type of stuff that I do with computers every day. I program in PHP, which you might think would be even more removed from math than .NET and Java (because it is). But there's no doubt that the analysis of algorithms and the ability to do extended, involved proofs well beyond what you learn in geometry has helped me in my programming job. Hell, even knowledge of Databases is helped by some good, college level linear algebra.

What it comes down to is the theory that someone who's well versed and knowledgeable in a lot of things is going to be better than someone who is specialized in just one thing. These people learn how to think rather than learn how to program, and in the end they're better for it. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, as it were.

Re:Higher Math not needed for CS (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062487)

If they don't like math, then they shouldn't be seeking out a freakin' CS degree then. Computer Science is not Software Engineering/Development. I've seen two friends find this out the hard way by failing out because the stuff we were doing didn't interest them.

There are classes and programs that do a great job of teaching those developers how to make software without a CS degree.

A computer scientist is a programmer, though. They just only know how to compile the one language they know: their thoughts.

Re:Higher Math not needed for CS (1)

robbyjo (315601) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062515)

It depends on what you do. If you're doing a mere run-the-mill database programming, then no advanced math is necessary. But if you're building an expert system (that's not only about simple average or variance), a good grasp of integration will help because you need to know the concepts of cdf, expectation, moment generating function, etc., which are explained in integration.

Re:Higher Math not needed for CS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062971)

Couldn't agree more, I've never written a program that required any concept from Calc I or Calc II.

We have calculators that can solve these problems when they arise, then again, we do tend to unnecessarily re-invent the wheel.

Too little or too much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062391)

For a real researcher, you probably need to know a large amount of organic and then lots of biochem. If you don't want to be a researcher, it probably doesn't do much. Maybe splitting it up into multiple kinds of doctors would be a solution.

Weed - Out Class (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062393)

Weed-out classes like O-Chem keep alot of morons from becoming doctors.

That is reason enough to keep it as a requirement.

Organic Chemistry (0, Flamebait)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062399)

Short answer: no.

Do engineers need differential equations? Hell no, only Maple or Mathematica and the ability to translate differential equations into Maple or Mathematica Syntax, then apply the answers to what they're doing.

Leave the miles-long blackboard scrawlings to the mathematicians.

[/flamebait]

Re:Organic Chemistry (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062481)

So what you're saying is that the engineer shouldn't understand WHY the principles of engineering work. Suck it up, learn your diff eq.

Re:Organic Chemistry (1)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062891)

Nowadays higher math tends to be less about WHY and more about "go memorize these 45 cut and paste transformations and apply them to get the answer".

Seriously, I still don't know WHAT a Laplace transform is - only that the Laplace domain is more convenient for some problems, and that you can transform back and force by cutting and pasting rules. They never really taught us anything beyond that.

I used to LIKE math, until I got to calculus. That's when "understand" started to decline and "do" started to rule. If I need to have problems solved mechanically without thought, I'll give them to a computer.

Re:Organic Chemistry (0)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062571)

The movie Idiocracy made it clear that in the future, doctors only need the ability to push buttons labeled with pictographs, like on a McDonald's cash register. All that diagnosis stuff is too fancy for a doctor to have to train to do. And if you can't even push buttons, you can always get a law degree at Costco. Or better yet, with teleoperators, let's outsource all our medical needs to another country. In a related matter, Microsoft's new Kindergarten.NET technology will allow a new class of programmers as young as 6 years old to begin writing corporate modules. However, critical financial module development will be restricted to Microsoft's Monkey.NET technology, now undergoing beta testing in Africa.

Are you kidding?? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062403)

...it should be a highschool requirement.
What the hell is happening to our education?

Re:Are you kidding?? (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062777)

I'll second that, but I'll also add that college-level organic chem should still be required for med students. There's no way high-school level organic chem would be advanced enough to cover what doctors should know.

If you're a medical doctor, and you think organic chem isn't required, you should have become an RN.

Yes. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062405)

Yes.

costs (4, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062421)

Medical costs have been growing at a far far faster rate than inflation. Clearly, demand for doctors is outstripping supply by a lot. We really need to lower the artifical barriers to entry to practicing medicine, such as unnecessary classwork.

And before you jump up and down screaming "I want only the best of the best to be doctors!" I should remind you that many people don't have access to any doctors at all, and a B-student doctor is just as capable as an A-student doctor at determining whether your sore throat needs further medical care.

We just plain need more doctors.

Re:costs (5, Interesting)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062611)

Actually, what you need are more mid-level providers. Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, and the like are probably the future of front-line medical care, while doctors will provide an increasingly overseer role. Hell, as a future doc, I'm not particularly happy about that, but it's the reality. I'd rather see fewer but better doctors surrounded by an army of trained nurses and PAs, than the converse.

Re:costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25063039)

I see your point but I have to disagree.

More mid-level providers aren't the answer (IMHO). I've had the mis-pleasure of working with terrible PAs (and excellent ones, btw). The problem is universal. There aren't enough people so they become overworked and the quality of care declines. Terrible docs, nurses, pas, etc all have one thing in common: being overworked because of too many patients or responsibilities that take them away from patients.

The problem of being a doc now is their roles are becoming an overseer type of position. Is that why a person goes into medicine? The aspiration of filling out paperwork and double checking the work of nurses and PAs?

Personally, I believe that nurses and PAs should be in a role to support patients. Doctors should be there for their patients and not in a management capacity.

(I'm not a doc, I was pre-med, have worked in hospitals, and currently am doing research... I may go back to the med school path eventually)

Re:costs (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062757)

Medical costs have been growing at a far far faster rate than inflation.

Because oligopolistic insurance companies have raised premiums at a far faster rate than their payouts have increased.

Clearly, demand for doctors is outstripping supply by a lot.

Labor costs of physicians are not the only input to "medical costs", nor are they the prime driver of the increase in "medical costs". Medical insurance profits, compliance and administrative costs (often, again, driven by insurance companies), and pharmaceutical costs are more significant components of the increase in medical costs than any increase in physician salaries.

Lowering the educational requirements for physicians -- even if you made the basic degree required for medical practice back into a bachelor's degree, rather than simply dropping one required pre-med class -- won't have a substantial effect on overall medical costs.

Re:costs (1)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062811)

We really need to lower the artifical barriers to entry to practicing medicine, such as unnecessary classwork.

Speaking as someone who got 34 on the MCAT and had a BS from a top-tier school and applied two cycles unsuccessfully for medical school, I can tell you the "artificial barriers" to entry are NOT unnecessary classwork. This is a myth perpetuated by whiny premeds who want to major in psychology with a 4.0 and get into medical school with a breeze. The artificial barriers are (1) finding the time as you are working your way through school to also volunteer at the burn ward, (2) knowing the "party line" when you interview for medical school. E.g.: "I want to be a primary car physician to help people.", and (3) having a good story "My great uncle died of colon cancer and now I want to dedicate myself to medicine." When I realized these bullshit components were what they were looking for, I sought out a different vocation.

So now that I have told you how to do it, young people, go forth and become doctors. Don't forget to major in something easy.

Re:costs (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25063015)

Just from the attitude displayed in this one post, I am not at all surprised you got passed over twice for medical school. You truly are the person that is expressing himself or herself in this post, and I bet it showed in your AMCAS essays and interviews.

I do know a thing or two about this. But you just need to guess, since I'm AC.

Re:costs (1)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062997)

What's to stop B undergrads from going somewhere besides John Hopkins or Harvard? I would imagine a degree at ANY med school could at least get more doctors on the ground helping those with financial difficulties.

There are other barriers to medical help, such as the condition of health care coverage in this country. I'm not saying that's the sole contributing factor, but it's one of them.

the "wry" subject? (2, Funny)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062425)

Is organic chemistry grimly humerus? Or twisted out of shape - perhaps into a boat or a chair? Is the skew E- or Z-? D- or L-? That's the important thing.

Re:the "wry" subject? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062513)

"... grimly humerus?"

Is that a medical joke?

Re:the "wry" subject? (1)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062927)

LOL... :) Our favorite friend Cyclohexane in its "chair" and "boat" conformations...
Thanks for the smile 'gilleain'.. How I hated (at first) those plastic molecular model kits...

Organic Chemistry is ESSENTIAL to the foundations of understanding HOW organic molecules interact in numerous ways within the human body.
I recall one biochemistry professor telling us all that the body is really just an exothermic bag of diluted aqueous electrolytes full of fats, proteins, and enzymes whose job was to slowly burn (oxidation) carbon-based organic fuels (food) and release waste (poop, CO2, and urine).
Of course, this is oversimplified, but it makes a clear point for this discussion... YES, Doctors need to UNDERSTAND Organic Chemistry to be able to understand BIOCHEMISTRY.
Every single Drug, Poison, and Food put into the body all have Biochemical interactions within the body and the Organic Chemistry foundation they, as Pre-Med Students who should have ALL earned A's in, is essential to the understanding of the ORGANIC Drug compaoinds they are perscribing to their patients.

Please resist the notion to take the PhD parts out of being a medical doctor,
"MD" does not now, nor should it ever stand for: "Memorization Doctor". (For the record, I earned my Bachelor's in Biochemistry and now several of my close friends and classmates are Practicing Medical Doctors.)

It's a weed-out course... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062427)

If it's not Orgo, it'll be something else. Gotta have something that separates the unwashed masses from those with some chance of making med-school. And, as chemistry courses go, it's more a memorization than a "physics/math" course and so more applicable to the kind(s) of things covered in med school (from what I can tell).

The fact that it can toast "real" chem majors caught in the crossfire can be dealt with (and was, in my case).

Insane that not all require it (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062437)

Overall the average doc is not a bad critter. But as times change, the drugs change as do their interactions. Organic chem gives the ability to the doc to understand HOW these drugs interact. In particular, when looking at the PDR and seeing the struct, it is possible for a doc to think about what they are seeing in patients, possibly with other drugs.

In the end, an MD with organic is like the difference between CS vs. MIS. MIS teaches the current tech. It gives somebody a CURRENT job. CS teaches principles to allow that person to adopt and change and get future jobs. An MD with Organic Chem will adopt better to knew methods and new diseases (think prions which were unknown in the industry just 25 years ).

Re:Insane that not all require it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062631)

Sadly, most of the docs are just going to listen to the info given to them by the pharmaceutical sales reps. And I'm pretty sure that most of them haven't taken o chem.

Re:Insane that not all require it (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062791)

Well, reading the responses, it's not O-chem per se, it's the second semester which focuses on compound synthesis. This is very likely a specialized bit of knowledge very few physicians need, so some med schools allow applicants to substitute an additional term of biochemistry, which seems reasonable.

Re:Insane that not all require it (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062835)

This is precisely my argument in favor of forcing medical students to learn ochem. If you don't understand this stuff, you really shouldn't be prescribing drugs. We understand fairly little (or nothing) about the way many drugs work as it is. To not have some idea at least about how they will interact is simple incompetence through ignorance.

On the other hand, as the sibling AC comment [slashdot.org] points out, most doctors are just going to prescribe whatever their sales rep is pushing that month. It is a sad reality of patent-protected medicines that when a drug is no longer covered by patent, a new drug will be pushed to the patients both directly and through unscrupulous physicians even if the new drug is less effective than the old one - which is often the case.

As others have pointed out [slashdot.org] the future is most likely to include more medical practitioners, and fewer actual doctors. This is probably for the best - I think we've all received incompetent medical care in the USA; for most of us it is probably the norm. I know that is the case for me.

Incidentally, I am not a "computer scientist", yet I am able to learn new skills. I wouldn't hire me for any kind of substantial programming job or anything, but this is really more about a mindset than anything else. Then again, I know far more about the inner workings of the computer than the average "tech" (whatever the hell that means) and that does help quite a bit.

A great question (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062443)

I don't see why. In fact, I don't see why we require premedical students to take chemistry at all, or even biology, for that matter. Come to think of it, what is the point of requiring a bachelor's degree in order to pursue an MD- the two are only tangentially related. Why not make the MD degree a trade certificate, something perhaps akin to a license to drive a truck? That way we could confine the premedical curricula to only those topics students really need to know on a daily basis as mature, practicing, guts 'n' glory clinicians.

Re:A great question (1)

Nexus7 (2919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062589)

And, to address the OP's concern, we'll have lots and lots of doctors. Or, more accurately, "doctors".

maybe it's just me (1)

joe_bruin (266648) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062455)

Nah, forget it. I think the desire to help people and a positive attitude should be all that it takes to get into med school.

Or maybe if you're going to be practicing a science, you should understand it.

For the love of god YES!! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062471)

Just like CS students should have to have Cal II and III and Diffy-Q and assembler.

Too many things are dumbed-down too much already. I'm sorry if you're too dumb to learn organic chem or assembler or higher maths... Too damn bad. We don't want you. Go be a project/product manager or an assembly line worker. We don't need you here.

Re:For the love of god YES!! (0)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062827)

My, my, someone is an elitist!
Not everyone gets everything. Look at myself. I learn VERY quickly - to a point. After that, I hit a sort of plateua. But once I get past that, I'm usually pretty good.
The American dream doesn't deny based on "Oh, you didn't get it the first time around."

Take Organic Chem... (1)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062503)

I wouldn't feel comfortable if my doc didn't know how to make his own LSD.

Re:Take Organic Chem... (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062847)

When I took Organic Chem, in high school, that's about all I could think for a real use for it for me (I'm in accounting now; I *was* in music). I hated that class; anything where you do pure memorization, rather than application and synthesis, is the bane of my education existence.

Are you kidding?? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062511)

It should be a highschool requirement...
What the hell is happening to our education?

It's the method, not just the subject (1)

dreold (827386) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062519)

While Org Chem might not be necessary in everyday practice one could argue that neither is Math (Calculus, Statistics), Physics etc. The truth is however, that all those basic science courses teach more than just the subject, namely how to think scientifically - and this is of great value to physicians of any specialization.

In addition, to understand some of the biological and molecular aspects of disease an understanding of the sciences is absolutely vital. Otherwise physicians may as well be glorified plumbers (surgeons come to mind, but I digress... ;) )

While medicine is sometimes (rarely) an art rather than a science, the fundamentals are inherently scientific and need to be taught more rather than less.

Inorganic chemistry is necessary for engineering (1)

StandardCell (589682) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062525)

I find myself coming back to chemistry as an engineer, voluntarily or involuntarily, at various points. It's intermittently important to understand how the devices I'm using work, but still important.

I'd say it's necessary to have a good understanding of the underlying basic science if you're an applied scientist.

O-Chem as primer (5, Insightful)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062543)

Speaking as a current medical student, I absolutely think that Organic Chemistry is an appropriate pre-med subject. While the material covered isn't particularly useful beyond establishing a solid basis for understanding the chemistry of biochemical pathways, the value of O-Chem is that it's usually the first time an undergrad student is hit by a tidal-wave of information. O-Chem, just like a lot of the stuff in med school, isn't necessarily difficult stuff; the challenge lies in assimilating information and understanding relationships at a high rate. O-Chem was an excellent primer for the drinking-from-a-firehose atmosphere of medicals school, as well as a good tool to test scientific critical thinking on the MCAT.

It ISN'T a requirement. (5, Insightful)

lancejjj (924211) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062603)

I have a doctor who couldn't pass organic chemistry. We call them "nurse practitioners". Sure, they aren't formal doctors, but they'll see me.

Here are some great follow-up examples:

Why on earth should engineering majors study optics, when so few will work with optics?

Why should a computer science major study operating systems, when scant few of them will actually work on an operating system?

Why should English majors study poetry, when so few will become poets?

Why should Business majors study economics, when so few will actually become economists?

Why should a home owner buy fire detectors, when so few will have their house burn down?

Why should people buy the Journal, when it publishes such stupid crap?

Re:It ISN'T a requirement. (1)

SpottedKuh (855161) | more than 5 years ago | (#25063025)

Why should a computer science major study operating systems, when scant few of them will actually work on an operating system?

I think that your analogy is off slightly. The justification for teaching organic chemistry to MDs (aside from weeding out) is that it's a fundamental science upon which many aspects of modern medicine are built. Understanding drug interaction, for example. But organic chemistry isn't really a branch of medicine (like, e.g., oncology).

I think a better analogy would be: why teach computer science majors advanced mathematics, when so few will ever need group theory? It's taught to provide a foundation for many branches of computer science (e.g., cryptography).

Let me see if I can fix up a couple more of those analogies:

  • Why should engineering majors study physics, when so few will work in a physics lab?
  • Why should English majors study Latin, when so few will ever be in a situation where they really need to speak Latin?

No, premeds should not have to take orgo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062651)

They all hate it anyway, and show no interest in the subject, ruining the class for people who are actually interested in orgo. Put both parties out of their misery and stop requiring premeds to take orgo.

Bunch of whiners (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062655)

Wait, wait, Organic Chemistry... for people WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, humm... I wonder if the two subjects have anything in common...

I just hope their poor minds are not stressed with the subject during college, I mean...

Like Calculus (1)

solweil (1168955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062671)

There are plenty of programs where calculus is required, but not really used. It seems to be used as an arbitrary winnowing mechanism. Maybe organic chemistry is the same.

health care industry needs to be opened up (1)

markjhood2003 (779923) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062673)

It seems to me that, given the soaring cost of health care, the industry needs to be released from the artificial scarcity of qualified professionals driven by gate-keeping organizations such as the AMA. For most routine medical care we don't need people who have gone through the excruciating and expensive process of four years of medical school followed by the hazing of residency.

Of course surgeons, medical researchers, oncologists and other highly specialized professionals will need the full training that all doctors get now -- but how often does the general public need their services, and how many people with that amount of training do we we really need to provide quality health care for everybody?

It's already happening in some respects. I get almost all my routine medical care from PAs (physicians' assistants) and nurses and very rarely actually see an MD. The process should be expanded IMO.

the truth is in here somewhere? (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062687)

If you RTFA, and not really in depth, but just the title and author, and the website it was posted on, you'll see that this was posted by one Jacob Goldstein writing on the Wall Street Journal BLOG. So, this is clearly an op-ed piece of some sort. The thing I have to ask Mr. Goldstein is, does he have children? What ages? Did one of his kids recently not get into med school because he flunked O-chem? With all the talk about "helicopter parents" and the dumbing down of education these days, it wouldn't in the least bit surprise me if this was written by such a person who wants to lower the standards so their precious little snowflake can get into medical school to make his $2 million,...

Re:the truth is in here somewhere? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062877)

With all the talk about "helicopter parents" and the dumbing down of education these days, it wouldn't in the least bit surprise me if this was written by such a person who wants to lower the standards so their precious little snowflake can get into medical school to make his $2 million,...

anyone who thinks their precious snowflake is going to make their $2M is fucking deluded. Well, that's not really true. They'll make their two million... But our currency will be debased by several orders of magnitude by then. The economy is going straight into the toilet and so is the environment and if you want to learn some useful skills for the future I suggest taking a wilderness EMT course, learning everything you can about farming in all types of weather, and practicing the biathlon and triathlon.

P-Chem is the scary one (1)

isomeme (177414) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062699)

I've never heard organic chemistry described as a "wry subject" before.

I can't believe that pre-meds are whining about o-chem. Organic was cake compared to p-chem, which was the weeder class for chem majors. The American Chemical Society sells bumper stickers that say "Honk if you passed P-Chem"; my professor handed them out after the final...to most of us.

Regarding basic science Ed (4, Insightful)

Daishiman (698845) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062705)

Knowing the basic science behind professions should be a basic requirement of all university curricula. It is one of the things that separate trade schools from universities.

Some might say that it gives an additional burden because it might not be applicable directly to the actual job. But it serves two increasingly important purposes: it teaches you to think, and it gives you the ontological foundations for incorporating more knowledge.

I can only speak from my CS knowledge, but having studied Calculus and Algebra on my first year have truly opened up my mind and helped me become a better programmer, not just a computer scientist.
Calculus is essential because it's something that most people in related fields need to apply, and the CS curriculum should be designed so that one can interoperate with physicist, chemists, and engineers who have a need to apply their equations with computers.
Algebra completely changed the way I think about every logical construct, helped defined concepts that abstract away numbers, types, and classes, and presented me with some extremely difficult problems for which there was no other recourse than to brighten up and study and practice until one gets it. Forcing one to think and study beyond what one was used to in High School is a necessity.

In later years I was able to understand functional programming, abstract data types and numerical methods much more easily than if I hadn't; your mind clicks and relates all these concepts to each other and your learning accelerates exponentially.

So sure, if you're just a Java drone you don't need this. But Java drones are not true software engineers or computer scientists, and what's worse, they don't really know because they never managed to get into the depth of knowledge the subjects can get.

Take Type Theory and functional programming, for example. Very few people get to learn this in detail, and while you may never apply it fully professionally, the knowledge it brings helps you to define mental frameworks where proof of properties for objects, abstraction away from implementation, and modelling become significantly easier. Or numerical methods; chances are if you haven't taken a class on numerical methods - where you get pounded with rigorous proofs, arduous excercises, and loads of theory on computation, linear algebra, matrixes and such - you'll never really be capable of pulling off complex math problems without introducing slight calculation errors.

In the same vein, if you have the basics of organic chemistry, understanding how cetain medicines and biological processes work become significantly easier as you can get a feel of how that works on a fundamental level. I don't think that's exactly what keeps people from becoming doctors(something tells me it's got to do with being tens of thousands of dollars in debt by the time you graduate). I mean, if you suffer so much from just one course that it prevents you from continuing another 6 years of education, you never really had it in you to keep going, right?

practice run for applying the basic chem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062711)

In organic chem, you apply knowledge learned from the basic chemistry courses. In medicine, you also apply knowledge from basic chemistry courses. Look at it as a practice run for applying the more basic knowledge. Sheesh. Doctors are dumb enough already, thank you.

first hand experience (3, Insightful)

Ubi_NL (313657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062713)

As a PhD in the research dpt of an academic hospital, I can tell you that such classes are really beneficial. Not in the least so that MDs finally understand what they are working with. Make no mistake: Doctors generally have no clue *why* for instance a lymphe node has swollen, or even what many antibiotics actually do. This complete lack of mechanistical insight in disease and cures by MDs has boggled my mind since I came here (and I have to teach them lab skills). Some background info on their actual work is no luxury.

Premed, eh? (1)

Calindae (1256922) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062745)

Premed majors aside, why did I, a pre-pharmacy student, have to take Organic I and II. I'm not planning on discovering new medicines and working in a pharmacy in Wal-Mart is less organic chemistry intensive than any medical doctor's job...

Re:Premed, eh? (1)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 5 years ago | (#25063059)

That's so that your don't try to tell people that phenylephrine is the same as pseudoephedrine and that there's no difference between sudafed and sudafed PE.

Other classes to avoid... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062763)

Dozens of doctors weighed in with comments, and many of them seem to think that the wry subject [organic chemistry] is almost useless rite of passage.

I hear the pre-med Biology classes are a bitch as well.
[Note: Learning the "Ankle Bone" song helps a lot.]

H3LL YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062789)

My friend was in a car accident and needed emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain from a bleed.

The surgeon -- not a resident, but a surgeon at a major and reputable hospital near our nation's capital -- ducked in for what was supposed to be his usual once-a-day 15-second check-the-chart follow-up to surgery when I jokingly asked him whether he'd seen any prions in there as my friend is notoriously forgetful and ill-tempered.

[I was implying that my friend had Creutzfeldt-Jakob/Mad Cow disease. Bad joke. I know.]

The surgeon asked me what a prion was.

A BRAIN surgeon didn't know what a prion was.

FUCK!!

He was not joking. He had not mis-heard me.

I don't want to be smarter than my friend's brain surgeon. There's something seriously wrong with that.

Not useless, but not necessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062793)

I just finished medical school, following a degree in computer engineering. I found organic chemistry to be quite useless in both my medical training and practice.

Granted, I've gone into family medicine where the research and pharmacology is typically filtered through the specialties first, but I think the majority of org. chem was useless.

However, some details, like racemic mixtures, molecular configurations (i.e. citalopram vs. escitalopram) are useful. Biochemistry is also useful, as is pathology and pharmacology based on organic chemistry such as amyloid plaques, drug half-lives etc.

I think organic chemistry can be useful as integrated into medical school, however as a prerequisite I feel it is useless. As it is, there is a bias towards academia in med school admissions which I don't think serves our profession in the long run; most issues I see in our field relates to communication and relationships rather than medical mistakes due to a knowledge gap. We need to screen for personality as much as knowledge when looking at future doctors.

In short NO. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062795)

At my school, there was always more than one way to do things. ex: in lieu of basic physics one could take diff equs.
Because they tired the requirement, and made sure that classes at each tier were generally equally as hard as one another, and required different pre-reqs to take, one could be pretty much assured that someone taking advanced molecular genetics in place of Orgo 2 was getting an equivalently valuable education.

Re:In short NO. (1)

jschen (1249578) | more than 5 years ago | (#25063057)

Yes, molecular genetics is also valuable. But it doesn't mean it's a good substitute for more organic chemistry. Medicine lies at the crossroads of multiple fields. Being really good at one of those fields does not compensate for a working basic understanding of other fields.

Hell no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062809)

It should barely be an honours chemistry topic as it is. (I'm not bitter, I'm traumatised. I still wake up at night screaming about Woodward-Hoffman rules).

Hell, yes, (unfortunately) (1)

bargainsale (1038112) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062817)

I'm a UK-qualified doctor.

Our system is different from the US in that medicine here is a first degree (well, tenchically two simultaneous first degrees) and not postgraduate entry usually.

The nearest equivalent of your premed is the subjects we take in our last school years.

I took the very usual combination of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. I liked Chemistry least by a long way.

Chemistry turned out to be the only one of the three that I ever really used at medical school.
(It may seem odd that it wasn't biology, but you relearn all the relevant stuff in much greater depth at medical school, whereas competence in chemistry is assumed at the start)

It's the AMA's fault (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062831)

The American Medical Association, in order to raise the salaries of doctors, have purposely tried to cut down the number of admits to medical schools. By doing this they artificially lower the supply of doctors and raise their salaries.

And How do they artifically lower the supply? By making entry into the profession incredibly hard by making you take pointless classes such as organic chemistry and physics and with the MCATs.

The whole system is one big scam yet the average American seems to defend a system that they don't understand how it works.

For example, have you been to a doctors office? Its probably the nurse who sees you and asks you questions and the doctor doesn't even really do much. Are you telling me those 8 years in medical school all justify the patient being seen mostly by a nurse?

Imagine if there were an American Technological Association that dictated arbitrary standards for people to become computer programmers. So in order to become a computer programmer, you have to take physics, biochemistry, organic chemistry, and NOT computer program. And then you have to be at the top of your class and then apply to a COMPUTER SCHOOL. And then after 8 years in COMPUTER SCHOOL, that is when you have to study a bit more in order to pass your boards in order to start practicing programming computers. So by the time you're done you don't actually start programming in your late 20s at the earliest. Seems like a terrible system right? I'm sure all you tech geeks woould cry outrage since most of you started programming early in your teens or somewhere around there. Well thats what the AMA has done with medicine yet you people defend the system and that is why change will never happen.

Has Anyone Told These Guys - (1)

kilgortrout (674919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062867)

that the organisms they are going to treat have a whole lot of organic chemistry going on inside them?

Terrible title / summary (2, Insightful)

sgent (874402) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062873)

The proposal is to eliminate 1 semester of O chem (currently 2 are required) and substitute it with biochemistry.

The second semester of O chem is mostly synthesis which is useless to physicians.

the value of organic chemistry (1)

jschen (1249578) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062879)

Why study organic chemistry when most people in the class will never so much as make one dime as a practitioner of the field? In the undergraduate science curriculum, organic chemistry occupies a special place that makes it a great case study in problem solving. Students come in generally with no background in the field, and they must learn to adopt a formalism for something they cannot see (even having completed a PhD in organic chemistry, I have never directly observed any of my reactions on a molecular level) and for which they do not come in having any intuition. They have to work with the vagaries of the real world, where things don't always fit neatly into simple mathematical formulas. Problems can be tactical or strategic in nature, involving qualitative or quantitative comparisons. Introductory organic chemistry is as much about learning problem solving (especially as relating to stuff you can't directly observe, as thus cannot develop an intuition through normal means) as it is about learning organic chemistry.

O-Chem... not a requirement, but a studentÂs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062887)

It sure does, how is anybody going to understand anything about the body when we are made mostly of carbon atoms, and the only way to understand this kind of interactions is through organic chemistry, a doctor is not the one that gives drugs and pills, or that performs surgeries, a doctor is the one that knows best about the body a itÂs mechanisms!

Should Calculus Be engineering Requirement? (1)

leomaro (1221010) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062917)

Now, some anonimous flogger asks whether engineering students should be forced to suffer through calculus and physics.
Dozens suffer hard hours studying instead of been drunk.
But we actually need engineers, so, lets make it easy and take calculus away ... by the way, physics could go away too.
Ops, now I remember, if we do that instead of engineers they will be technicians.

O-chem - Biochem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062923)

I think everyone would agree that doctors should understand Biochemistry?
I would ask, how could anyone could diagram the mechanisms of the various biochemical pathways if they haven't taken Organic I&II?

its important you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062961)

everything in your body including drug interactions and the like are best understood through organic chemistry... frankly your doctor should have an idea of how chemistry works as biology and medicine is based upon it entirely.

An MD does NOT make you qualified to do ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062963)

the actual research an design. Medical school is just undergraduate level science followed by clinical practice.

In medical research, the MDs would look at clinical documentation to make their judgments as to whether in fact said compound is actually doing it's thing, causing side effects, etc....

They weren't the guys with the beakers and the CAD systems. Although valuable to the process (and paid much much more than the PhDs in Chem and Bio) they weren't the ones coming up the the breakthroughs that actually saved lives. Although, there were some REAL geeks who had both PhDs and MDs. They got out of school in their 30s and, well, really really loved medicine and science. They were also the very few who realized they shouldn't be dealing with people - unfortunately, quite rare in medicine.

An interesting note: from what I understand in some countries, to become a Dr., you have to start at the bottom - literally as an orderly. Then become a nurse after a few years and THEN a dr. No wonder their medical care is so much better than ours!

Most docs know their medicine just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25062983)

I heard an interview with a guy who evaluates foreign doctors. He said the problem was almost never with their knowledge of medicine. The doctors who were unacceptable almost always had problems with the way they practiced, not with their knowledge.

Demanding high academic standards doesn't stop inept bozos from entering practice. What it does produce is swollen headed egos who never listen to the patients and manage thereby to miss simple obvious symptoms.

The debate continues, new field now... (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 5 years ago | (#25062985)

Yeah this reminds me of the classic problem in lots of Comp. Sci. programs today, why bother to teach the nasty stuff like C++/Assembly/etc. when all anyone ever uses is Java, .NET and similar langauages anymore.

I've heard the argument both ways now, my thinking is what I've seen some universities do and offer 2 degrees, the Comp. Sci. sticks to the tougher stuff and the people graduate knowing how to build operating systems. Then you usually get a business computer programmming major of some sort that teaches the higher level languages. So you graduate people who can build business apps.

aIn either debate (the organic chemistry or Computer Science one) they all have their merits. I forsee in this debate 2 classes of doctors getting created, eventually you'll have the medical science students who took everything needed today, such as organic chemistry. Then the applied medical doctors who took what they needed in College (mostly useful stuff and not the organic chemistry component) then went straight to med school. Similar to the schism that's been going on in Comp Sci. for awhile now. The ramifications for both professions remains something I don't quite see however, I'd need to study more what it takes to be a doctor I think.

O.Chem - Biochem - Medicine (1)

John.P.Jones (601028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25063017)

While doctors may not need most of what is covered in O.Chem they do have a necessary requirement for Biochemistry (usually a 1 year series following O.Chem as a 1 year series) and that one Biochemistry class usually needs to support the needs of both Medicine and Biochemistry undergraduates. While the medicine folk could probably get away with an abbreviated O.Chem and a Biochemistry series that doesn't directly use that O.Chem knowledge, Biochemistry undergrads can NOT. So, if you remove that restriction for Medicine students then you need to separate the Medicine students from Biochemistry students and that will cost $$$. This type of problem where students with different majors need to share classes that could better be focused for their needs, if there was sufficient demand, is not unique to doctors sitting through O.Chem. Sharing of Electromagnetics between Physicists and Elec. Engineers and Discrete Mathematics between Mathemeticians and Computer Scientists (as well as Linear Algebra) are all similar examples.

Let's knock out a few more subjects, too (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#25063019)

How about killing off maths - so tentative doctors aren't required to know the difference between a 10mg dose and a 10g dose.

Let's get rid of a need to know physics, so doctors won't need to bother with the difference between a dietary intake of 2000 calories and 20,000 calories - they're only arbitrary numbers, after all.

How about english? Do doctor's really need to know how to spell, or read properly. Let's face it, there's not a lot of difference between death and dearth, or patients and patience.

In fact why not open the doors wide and let anyone who can pay the fees become a doctor - issue them with white coats and stethoscopes on receipt of $100k and let them prescribe whatever they like to whom ever they choose.

You know what? (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25063043)

You need O-Chem to understand Biochem. And oddly enough, I want my MD to actually understand what the hell is going on with my body chemistry.

of course (4, Informative)

scapermoya (769847) | more than 5 years ago | (#25063055)

As a pre-med undergrad at UC Berkeley, I think it needs to be taught. I have been through a year of it (including labs) as part of my requirements, both for my major (molecular cell biology) and for med school. It was one of the hardest subjects I have ever taken. The kid next to me during the final for the second semester of it didn't write a single thing in three hours. I just heard him flip, flip flip.

It isn't about the course content. To be an effective doctor you don't need to remember how to synthesize carbonyls. Find me a clinical physician who can take me through the steps of glycolysis. Organic chemistry is a gauntlet. It's an incredibly difficult subject that doesn't smile kindly on rote memorization. Rather, a complete understanding and application of knowledge, often in seemingly-unfamiliar settings, is required to excel in the course. Yeah, some people made hundreds of flash cards, and some of them probably did well. But the longitudinal thinking that one has to go through to really shine in ochem is also needed in medicine.

Also, especially at Cal, classes like ochem are needed to pare down the pre-med pool. The merits of "weeding" kids out can be discussed, but there's no doubt that ochem is good at that.
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