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Course Selection - Do I need to take english?

A photo of shadowinthedark shadowinthedark
I'm going into mcmaster life science this year and going into medical school if I can afterwards. I have heard from my friend recently that if you want to get into a U.S. medical school, you have take english in university. Is this true? If yes, do i have to take it for 2 semesters or just one semester (one course)? Are there any easy english courses that I can take? Would it be easier if I take it during the summer?

I'm really worried about english, since my english has always been my lowest mark. I don't want it to lower my GPA so much if I have to take it.
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8 replies
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Do you have to take English? Probably not but check with the individual institution and they'll have a list of requirements for acceptance.

English is a great subject to take though. It's less about the book you're reading or whatever this class is about, and more about the critical thinking skills and being able to express yourself - which is an important skill to develop.

Taking a first year course during the year would probably be best. First year courses are usually easier and offer some form of an intro class, as well you have access to your professor if you need assistance. If your university has a writing center - most do - that can also be a great resource.
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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
I've heard something similar too. It might not necessarily be an English class, but a writing or humanities class in general. If it's any consolation, university-level English is nothing like high school English, especially if you take a writing class instead of a literature class.
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A photo of ktel ktel
English is not a requirement for life science? I find that surprising, because all science students I know have to take English. Even engineers have to take English.
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A photo of Quiz Quiz

@ktel wrote
Even engineers have to take English.

What is the typical class average for this? Quite low, I'm guessing?
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A photo of ktel ktel
I have no idea I didn't take it :P I had IB credit for first year English. They have a special English class for engineers only. I think my friends all did poorly in it and complained about the low marks.
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A photo of CatRunner CatRunner
It totally depends on the medical school. Some medical schools in Canada, like U of Alberta, require a full year of English, so two half courses or one full-year course. Most U.S. medical schools also require a full year of English.

Even in Canada, at some undergraduate universities, everyone, no matter what program there are in, needs to take a full year of English. I know U of Alberta is like that (I have friends who go there - they were very surprised to learn that first year English is NOT compulsory at most Ontario universities).
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A photo of ktel ktel
^ Yes U of A is definitely like that, so I am surprised to hear some of you guys saying that it is optional. I think it's important for everyone to take English.
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A photo of greygoose greygoose
Bleh. When it comes to English, it depends.

I did AP English Literature/Language in high school (only took the exam for the latter and scored a 5). I wanted to get any potential English requirements WAY out of the way. I hate English in an academic setting and didn't want to touch it at the university level.

However, I nailed all of my English requirements in high school. If I went to a university that required English, I could have used the AP transfer credits to get out of it. But it's not just about some arbitrary requirement; it's the English skills that I developed in high school that have really really mattered. Being able to communicate in an eloquent and convincing manner, especially formally, is a hugely important life skill. Because I'm in the field of mathematics and have this skill in communications where many, many of my classmates don't, it gives me an enormous advantage in a) being taken seriously when I have something to say and b) the workplace. This "stupid soft skill" is a huge advantage that lets me negotiate much larger salaries than my peers in a co-op environment.

English skills pay off. If you have them already, first year university English courses will be a waste of your time. But if you don't, they will be extremely beneficial. If you can't do a proper literary analysis, if you can't tear apart the rhetoric of an argument or write a paper/report with little effort (on the writing side), consider taking these courses for sure. They can only help you.
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