So, you like chemistry! Well, you’re in luck! IMSA has an astounding number of science classes, more specifically, chemistry. I can guarantee that you have heard something wrong about each one, no matter how good the course could be. As someone who has taken almost every chemistry class here, I feel it’s necessary to help guide the juniors and seniors into picking the best chemistry classes for you!
Medical chemistry has easily been one of my favorite courses I’ve taken here at IMSA. Not only is the teacher excellent (shoutout to Dr. Thurmond), but the work is both fun and rewarding. The tests reflect the work you are doing in class, which, let’s be honest, we don’t see here often. The course is primarily lab-based, and instead of full-blown lab reports, you write reflections and share your knowledge in the lab in a much simpler way. This is the perfect starting point if you know very little about chemistry! You will have instructions explaining the lab, what you are solving, and how to interpret your results. The course covers basics that will make every other science class a breeze, like TLC plates, learning to use SEESAR, and finding the molecular formula by looking at the compound. Overall, Medicinal chemistry is the perfect elective to begin your first semester.
I have not taken Advanced Chemistry; however, my roommate only had good things to say. From what I gathered, Ad Chem covers the entirety of chemistry. Every fundamental and every concept is covered. In terms of work, most assignments are lab write-ups, but all labs are group work, so you aren’t doing much independent writing. The best thing is all homework is beneficial in terms of taking tests. We all know the feeling of studying for a test and going over past assignments just to find out the test has nothing to do with them. You will never have to worry about this with Ad Chem. All homework is related to the exams; all tests were what you were taught and covered in the labs. I have heard nothing but positive comments about Ad Chem, but it is important to note that Ad Chem is a two-part series, and although you don’t have to take both, it is recommended to cover every concept of chemistry.
If you like how the MI series is taught, you will love biochemistry! I remember getting passed packets of material along with books and spending the period finding the answers. If you plan to go into medicine, I 100% recommend this class. You will learn everything you generally need to know about the cycles within the human body, and this class will give you an up in college biology and chem courses.
However, be prepared for a lot of memorization. I remember having to master the cellular respiration cycles roughly two weeks before the final exam, and half of my camera roll was filled with different feedback loops and bits of the processes. If you’re an upcoming junior, I highly recommend taking this class alongside your ABS class or the semester before because it will make it much easier to understand second-semester ABS!
Amogh Shetty, now a Senior, took both semesters of Organic Chemistry, which covered half of what you would typically cover in a single semester in college. He claims that “the curriculum at IMSA is well organized” and that the order in which you learn the material is untraditional, yet more beneficial. In terms of difficulty, he says that he and many other classmates found it not as challenging as many other students say. “It’s just very conceptual but repetitive. If you can nail down the basic rule of naming and simple reaction rules, you’ll be fine.” From what I’ve gathered, if you are interested in taking organic chemistry in college or pursuing a career, this class is definitely for you!
Having yet to take this class, I interviewed Ara Macaulay, a senior who just recently finished this course this semester. “Being someone who wasn’t a huge fan of science as a subject, I originally signed up for envirochem because a friend had told me it was one of IMSA’s easiest science classes. Honestly, I’d say that it was true. Overall, the class felt generally more relaxing in pace than a lot of other classes at IMSA.” In terms of difficulty, she claims that the class itself is very slow-paced and, although it sometimes dragged on, “definitely staying up to date on any readings as well as post-lab worksheets, as the quizzes often pull from those assignments” was the way to make the class a piece of cake!
“Is it worth it? Yes. if you are looking for a nice, beginner-friendly chem course at IMSA (or aren’t really into science/stem but are looking to get those course credits), then envirochem is definitely a class I recommend you take… Since the class holds a much lighter workload, you can have more room to actually have fun with the subject, so take advantage of that :)).”
Even though Pathophysiology isn’t considered a “chemistry” course, it dives into biochemical interactions throughout the body, making it a chemistry course to me. Pathophysiology is easily one of the most beneficial yet “free” classes at IMSA. I barely remember having homework, yet I can recall more information from this class than any other. I 100% think this is because of Dr. Anjur and her teaching style. There is so much free expression in this course, and what you want to learn and how you understand it. This is not your typical chemistry course, as there aren’t labs, but you do get to build a 3D working heart. All in all, Dr. Anjur is a fabulous teacher who makes this class extremely enjoyable and rewarding!
So, there you have it! These are all the chemistry courses here at IMSA, and I 100% recommend taking them before college. All are highly beneficial, especially if you want to go into any medical or chemistry-related field. Enjoy!