Biochem or AP Chem?

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I took Pre-Ap Chem and got through it extremely easily. The only question is where to go from there. I can take AP Chem or Biochem if I want to stay in that area, which I do. I think I'm majoring in some form of Chemistry. I know the AP Chem teacher (she was my Pre-Ap teacher, too) and she says it wouldn't be too difficult for me, and I'd learn a lot.. But I'm not sure what Biochem is, and I might want to take that instead (I don't have time in my schedule, and just one more year to take classes...) I've heard from my friend's dad that he majored in Biochem, and he travels all over the world, but I'm not sure what he does exactly... I've also been informed that Biochem majors sometimes make vaccines??
 

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There are a looot of topics in Biochemistry. When I took Biochem (3 semesters, I majored in Chemistry though), the general breakdown was: chemistry of macromolecules (proteins, membranes, carbohydrates, nucleic acids), cell metabolism (citric acid cycle, stuff like that--but on a molecular scale), and nucleic acid chemistry (RNA and DNA structure, replication, translation, and experimental analysis--again, at a molecular level). It gets way more complicated than that, and to really have a good appreciation of it, you need to have at least an introductory course in Biology as well as two semesters of Organic Chemistry (for which a course in general chemistry is a prerequisite). Without having even completed AP Chem, I really don't think that you'd get much out of a Biochem class.

Basically though, Biochemistry is a hybrid of chemistry and biology (as the name implies). It's still a branch of chemistry but concerns itself with topics of biological interest, such as enzyme kinetics or protein functions. Understanding how photosynthesis works on the scale of molecules and enzymes, for example, would be biochemistry.
 
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  • #3
Borek
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US schooling system is somewhat a mystery to me, so could be I am missing something, but - assuming I understand your post well - I would go for AP Chem. Correct me if I am wrong, but we are talking about low level classes here, right? If so, one year of biochemistry now is what will be covered in just a few weeks in the college. It is better - IMHO - to have a solid foundations in general chemistry, then to skim surface of the biochemistry now. I have seen way too many students (biochemistry, biology) struggling with the very basic chemical concepts.
 
  • #4
Ygggdrasil
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I majored in biochemistry in college, and I would advise taking AP chemistry. Even if you want to study biochemistry in the future, good biochemists always have a strong foundation in the fundamentals of chemistry that you would learn in AP chemistry. It is much more productive to start studying biochemistry in depth once you have a stronger background in chemistry (e.g. 1st year university chemistry, and ~1 year of organic chemistry). That isn't to discourage you from looking into biochemistry now. If possible, you can start taking some biology courses (especially those that include molecular biology) to start getting a sense of what's out there in biochemistry. I just think at your stage (high school, I presume), it is much more important to focus on learning the fundamentals of chemistry than delving into a topic that is a bit more specialized.
 
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I would advise taking AP chemistry. Even if you want to study biochemistry in the future, good biochemists always have a strong foundation in the fundamentals of chemistry that you would learn in AP chemistry.
Couldn't agree more. Biochemistry is different from chemistry because there are more abstract concepts (it's similar to organic in this aspect), but if you find yourself unsure of ANY of the basic concepts of chemistry, you'll probably either be completely lost or find yourself struggling to keep up in the courses.
 
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How can you do biochem without genchem and ochem lol?
 

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