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How much chemistry is there in medicine?

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    Hi there. I'm a graduate, going to study medicine from this September. It's been a while since I did my A-level chemistry and I know that chemistry is essential to most medical schools for A-level applicants so I was just wondering how much chemistry is actually in medicine? It'd be really helpful to hear from any current medical students. Thanks
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    I'd like to know too - I've completed a first year of Biochemistry, so I feel I should be ahead of the curve. What was your previous degree in ?
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    I don't think I've applied a single thing from A-level chemistry so far. It does tie in with pharmacology quite a bit (rates of reaction, half-life concentrations of drugs, interactions etc.) but overall still very little. The only reason it's compulsory (and biology is not) is because you'll never be taught chemistry again, whereas you go through human biology in your preclinical years anyway.
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    some physical (equillibria, partition coefficients etc), a little organic (mainly structural), little inorganic. broadly speaking anyway.
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    (Original post by Isometrix)
    I don't think I've applied a single thing from A-level chemistry so far. It does tie in with pharmacology quite a bit (rates of reaction, half-life concentrations of drugs, interactions etc.) but overall still very little. The only reason it's compulsory (and biology is not) is because you'll never be taught chemistry again, whereas you go through human biology in your preclinical years anyway.
    This. However I think it is compulsory because it is considered one of, if not, the hardest A level traditionally.
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    could everyone say what university they are at - cause it seems like your answers are differing
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    Does isomerism come up?
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    Very little. You'll get stuff on rates of reactions, equilibria, types of bonding, and activation energy and such but it really isn't that much.
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    As others have said, very little really. What I covered during AS Chem has been more than enough... topics that have come up:

    Redox
    Acid-base balance, pH, etc.
    Activation energy I think might have at some point... maybe.
    Certainly helps to have an intuitive understanding of reaction rates, and chemical equilibrium, etc but technical details have never come up.
    If you remember the structure of some things that might come up during A-level organic e.g. glycerol, triglycerides, glucose, etc - then I guess that could be of some limited use.
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    (Original post by Dr. Cool)
    As others have said, very little really. What I covered during AS Chem has been more than enough... topics that have come up:

    Redox
    Acid-base balance, pH, etc.
    Activation energy I think might have at some point... maybe.
    Certainly helps to have an intuitive understanding of reaction rates, and chemical equilibrium, etc but technical details have never come up.
    If you remember the structure of some things that might come up during A-level organic e.g. glycerol, triglycerides, glucose, etc - then I guess that could be of some limited use.
    The last point about structures of those organic compounds - they're covered in Unit 1 Biology, so not much chemistry needed for that
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    (Original post by thegodofgod)
    The last point about structures of those organic compounds - they're covered in Unit 1 Biology, so not much chemistry needed for that
    My bad - it all merges itself into one mental blur :P
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    3 years and havent used it, yet.
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    Oh yeah, acid-base balance is very applicable. Actually does help to get your head round metabolic/respiratory acidosis/alkalosis...
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    (Original post by That Bearded Man)
    Does isomerism come up?
    knowing what an isomer is would be sufficient.
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    At Manchester there's virtually none - the little bit of biochemistry that came up was similar to what was covered in A level biology.
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    I was in a similar position to you, I started my course at st Andrews without doing any chemistry since I resat my higher in 2007!
    Iv struggled a wee bit in first year with getting my head around some equations and ph, pka, Nernst, Bragg equations and acid/base concepts. It is def pharmacology that it appears in most, but also in muscle physiology. Oh and I also had issues with logs, hadn't done maths since 1996. But with some extra help I got through first year!
    If I can do it, then anyone can! (I failed higher chemistry twice at school!)


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    I find it funny that some school's have Chemistry as a hard-line requirement if the above is true for those courses. I appreciate Digitalis' point that is generally considered one of the hardest A-levels but if, for example, a graduate has done a good portion of Chemistry in their degree I think they should be exempt from this requirement. Some school's do offer that if you can prove you have a good level of chemistry knowledge from your degree, but other's won't accept anything less than an A at A-level no matter what.
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    (Original post by MattKneale)
    I find it funny that some school's have Chemistry as a hard-line requirement if the above is true for those courses. I appreciate Digitalis' point that is generally considered one of the hardest A-levels but if, for example, a graduate has done a good portion of Chemistry in their degree I think they should be exempt from this requirement. Some school's do offer that if you can prove you have a good level of chemistry knowledge from your degree, but other's won't accept anything less than an A at A-level no matter what.
    My guess would be that more than anything it's a useful way of keeping applicant numbers manageable.
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    (Original post by MattKneale)
    I find it funny that some school's have Chemistry as a hard-line requirement if the above is true for those courses. I appreciate Digitalis' point that is generally considered one of the hardest A-levels but if, for example, a graduate has done a good portion of Chemistry in their degree I think they should be exempt from this requirement. Some school's do offer that if you can prove you have a good level of chemistry knowledge from your degree, but other's won't accept anything less than an A at A-level no matter what.
    Yeah, as chloemo14 above me said, I think the requirement is only a way to cut down a few numbers, as it's very illogical to ask for an A at A level, if for example, your degree was in Biochemistry and you got a 1st...
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    (Original post by thegodofgod)
    Yeah, as chloemo14 above me said, I think the requirement is only a way to cut down a few numbers, as it's very illogical to ask for an A at A level, if for example, your degree was in Biochemistry and you got a 1st...
    I agree that's why they do it, it just seems a shame they couldn't use other aspects of the application to reduce the numbers. Ah well, moaning gets me no where :P

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Updated: June 5, 2012
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