Posted by: idm04 | 2010/06/24

Scheduling my courses for 2010W (2nd year Microbio)… and possible GPA boosters…

So, for a lot of yesterday and fragmented parts of other days, I’ve been trying to create suitable schedules on UBC’s SSC.  Currently, I am planning to take 31 credits in 2010W with 5 lecture-based courses per term and a 3 hour weekly lab in my second term, which I suspect will be slightly easier than my first term.

The three hardest courses I am taking this year are probably:

1) Math 220
2) Chem 233
3) Micb 201

Not extremely sure about the order, but Math 220 is definitely not the easiest out of the above three, with an annual average of 58% or something.  I’ve heard Chem 233 is killer, and the grades distribution agrees.  Same with Micb 201.

Right now, I have a schedule that goes from 8-1 on MWF for both terms, which means I get Tues and Thurs off.  The good thing is that I get Tues/Thurs off (obviously).  The bad thing is that I have to sit through 5 hours of lectures starting at 8 in the morning on MWF.  I’ll have to sneak in snacks somewhere to substitute for a lunch, and I’ll have to wake up at around 5:30 in the morning.  Also, if I plan to stay up on MWF (since I have Tues/Thurs off) then I might end up messing up my sleep schedule.

And on Term 2’s Wednesdays, I will have 3 more hours of lab work to do – that’s 8 hours total of school time for my Wednesdays.

As of now, the courses I am planning to take are:

Term 1

Biol 200 (which did I mention has somewhat awful time slots for such a popular class)
Chem 233 (see above)
Math 223
Math 302
Math 220 (it’s gonna be fun times… not)

Term 2

Biol 201
Chem 205
Math 307
Math 317
Micb 201
Chem 235 (the organic lab)

So, there’s a lot of serious courses in here, and we’ll see – if I get overwhelmed I will definitely consider switching some of the Math with other elective courses. For example, something from the following list of “known GPA boosters”.

ATSC 201
PHIL 220 (or 120) – logic based
Many upper level PHIL courses don’t have prereqs
CLST 301
ECON 101/102/310/311
MUSC 103/104
PSYC maybe?
Upper-level PSYC with 60 or higher in the last two digits of the course code count as Science credit
ANAT 390/391 (now CAPS 390/391)
FNH 200/350/355
FMST 210
STAT 200/BIOL 300/BIOL 301
BIOL 343/344/346 (some of these have high averages but are only available to non-Life Sciences)
ENGL 329/301
CPSC 101 (how to write an e-mail and other easy stuff)
CPSC 110/121 (I heard CPSC 121 has many similarities with PHIL 220A and MATH 220) — unfortunately, most people who take these courses consider them to be difficult, esp. 121
CPSC 301 – no prereqs!
IHHS (any, but esp 200)
PATH 375 (or similar)
EOSC 326, 340 (also 310 – 315 for non-Sci/Apsc students) or 112/114/116/118
CHEM 341, 302
MICB 325
ISCI 350/344
CONS 101
SCIE 113/120/300




Check the Grades Distributions if you want to know averages for any course/subject in any year.




  1. Nice post!

    A few random electives I took to fill up space were:
    EOSC 118 (Distance)
    PHIL 220 (Distance)

    Both were really easy and I managed to get above 80% for both without trying. (I was working two jobs at once while taking 5 courses so I needed something effortless)

    Thanks for the info about IHHS! I’m gonna try and get in 300 next sem cuz I’m still looking for one more effortless elective. Anything else you’d recommend?

    • Thanks, I’m actually taking Phil 220 by distance right now. Does EOSC 118 have a lot of reading/material to go through? I probably wouldn’t be able to stand reading tons of material about gold and gems, haha.

      I know that MUSC 103, CLST 301, and CPSC 101 are reputedly GPA boosters – MUSC 103 is for people without a music background so if you’ve taken some music theory lessons outside of school then it’d probably be quite simple. I’m taking it by distance next semester. And apparently in CPSC 101 you learn stuff like how to send an e-mail, lol. The bad thing is that you have to attend labs though.

      Other than that, I’m not very sure of other easy electives… I’ve heard that other 100-level EOSC are easy, but some people have said that it’s a lot of work, I guess it’s worth taking a look. Good luck!

  2. Hi! That’s a great list of GPA boosters, but do you know the ones that UBC Med doesn’t look at? I know that UBC Med doesn’t account the mark for CLST 301(at least I heard that from my sister), but what about IHHS and the others you have listed ? Any clue on this? Thanks :p

    Eosc 118 Distance Ed was very easy as well. It required a few hours reading before every quiz, with each quiz account for 20% of your entire mark. There are 4 quizzes, top 3 are taken. The final was 40%, and extremely easy. Many questions were repeats from the quizzes.

    • Hey, I’ve heard UBC Medicine tries to ignore really common GPA boosters but I’m not sure what they look at or don’t look at specifically. They don’t really like people taking first year courses in their last year to increase their % in the last 60 credits or whatever category, that’s really all I know though. Thanks for your info about EOSC 118 though!

      • Hey idm04, it’s me again – because of IB credit, I’ve got some room in my schedule that I’d like to fill – is taking GPA boosters like EOSC 118 in first year ok?

        • Hey Arun,

          I don’t see why not take other electives if you have space, especially if it’s something that you’re interested in. If you are considering taking an elective like EOSC 118, I would suggest registering in the course and later if you find out that you’d rather have a lower course load, then you could drop the elective, provided that you do this before the deadline (see SSC).

      • This is a rumor.

        Ignoring few known “easy” courses would be putting a bias against UBC students ONLY, and we know that med schools probably do not try to discriminate against specific group of students. If UBC Med specifically says that they do not care which degree, let it be Honours Pharmacology or Major in General Science, it would be ridiculous to assume that they discriminate against specific courses.

        However these are all speculations since we actually do not know what the adcoms think. Also to note, CLST 301 doesn’t exactly have the highest averages. Pharmacology courses have 80 + averages because of the pool bias of academically strong students.

  3. Great blog by the way. I didn’t get any sleep yesterday because of it! :P

  4. Hey there! Thanks for always posting such great survivor-kit to especially for 1st year students! (including myself!) :)

    I have a question that i would like to get someone’s advice.
    As I will be going into 2nd year in September, I don’t know why.. but I’ve always been planning to take chem 233 and 235 together in term 1, and take 205 in term 2. However, I see that you have divided them up in term one and term two!

    Was there any special reason why you did chem 233 in term 1 and the lab separately in term 2? If you were to do it again, would you still do them separately?
    My plan is to take 5 courses in September (one being an easy elective).

    Any advice? Do you think it’s better to focus on just Ochem (excluding the lab) then do 205 and 235 together?

    • Hey, I’m glad you found my posts useful.

      I needed/wanted to take at least 30 credits in second-year, which means I would be taking 10 regular courses. However, I also needed to take CHEM 235 (1 credit) and so I would need to either fit CHEM 235 with my 5 first-term (September) courses, or with my 5 second-term (January) courses. I decided to pick the latter because my second term courses seemed like they would be easier overall compared to my first term courses and so putting my lab in second term might create more of a “balance.”

      Whether I would recommend that you take CHEM 235 in first or second term really depends on what other courses you are taking in first-term and second-term and their respective course loads. I can only recommend balancing things out such that you do not have an abundance of work in one term compared to the other one (unless you have good reason to do so). For workload, CHEM 235 probably takes up at most 5 hours a week on average, which is not a lot. In my opinion, the work in CHEM 235 deserves at least 2 credits, but unfortunately it’s only worth 1 credit.

      I did not find that there was any reason relating to material to take CHEM 235 with CHEM 233 or take them separately. If I remember correctly, only 2 labs (Lab 7 and Lab 8 ) in CHEM 235 were directly related to concepts learned in CHEM 233, and they were presented in a very simple manner in CHEM 235 compared to in CHEM 233.

      What is your ‘easy elective’ and have you decided on your major yet? Anyway, I hope this response helped. If you have anymore questions then please feel free to ask.

  5. hey i stumbled upon ur blog when i was looking for information about applied linear algebra. i was wondering if you ended up taking math 307? if so, how was it?

    • Hey, I haven’t actually taken MATH 307, the only course I’ve taken about linear algebra is MATH 223.

      I ended up dropping MATH 307 (and MATH 302) and ended up taking other courses instead.. sorry! I should have updated this post… good luck on your search for info, though :)

  6. have you taken cpsc101 yet? i’m really bad with computers so i’m afraid if it would be the right course for me

    • I have not taken CPSC 101 and most likely I will not in the future. However, I do know from others that have taken it that CPSC 101 is a very basic and relatively simple CPSC course, and no previous computer experience is required which means that you should theoretically be able to get by even if you do not have much experience/knowledge. I would recommend the course to those who have little experience with computers but have an interest in learning about using them and a tiny bit about programming. If you are not interested in computers, it is more difficult to learn how to use them. So – as long as you are interested, I don’t think there should be much of a problem.

  7. Hi! I am only registered in about 25 credits in my second year in microbiology…do you know if I absolutely HAVE to take 30 credits in my winter session because I was also planning on taking a summer course

    • Hi,

      You do not need to take 30 credits in your Winter Session.

      If you want to gain official admission to the MBIM program by third year, make sure you are taking in your second year Winter Session (or before) the sufficient “prerequisites” as listed on the MBIM Department website: “When students apply they are expected to provide grades for MICB 201, MICB 202, BIOL 200, BIOL 201, CHEM 233 (or 203) and one of the other core second year science courses in their requested specialization such as CHEM 205, CHEM 201, CHEM 213 or CPSC 210, CPSC 211, CPSC 213, CPSC 221, or EOSC 211, EOSC 270.”

      Also make sure that you will have met the Lower-Level Requirements by your first 60 credits.

      You will need to meet 48 credits total (starting from the beginning of first year) to be promoted to third-year (and other requirements, see the UBC Calendar – Promotion Requirements). Note that summer courses do not count towards promotion requirements until the year after, the next “promotion session.”

      Finally, here are some credit minimums:

      30 credits to enter into an Honour’s program in later years (or continue in one)
      27 credits to be eligible for scholarships the next year
      24 credits to be eligible for housing (12 per term)
      24 credits, including 12 from Lower-level Requirements, to be eligible for promotion
      18 credits to be eligible for BC student loans (9 per term)


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