Purpose: Organic chemistry has been shown to correlate with academic success in the preclinical years of medicine, dentistry, and graduate physiology. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between undergraduate organic chemistry grades and first-semester biochemistry grades at a Midwest chiropractic doctoral program. Methods: Students enrolled in a first-semester biochemistry course who had completed the prerequisite courses in organic chemistry offered at this same institution were entered into the study. The total grade for each of the three courses was calculated using the midterm and final exam raw scores with a weighting of 50% each. Analysis consisted of obtaining correlation coefficients between the total grades of organic 1 with biochemistry and organic 2 with biochemistry. Using the biochemistry total grade, the students were divided into quartiles and course grades for both organic chemistry 1 and 2 were calculated. Results: For the 109 students in the study, the correlation coefficient between the biochemistry and organic chemistry 1 and biochemistry and organic chemistry 2 courses was r = 0.744 and r = 0.725, respectively. The difference in organic chemistry grades between those in the first and fourth quartiles was 63.2% and 86.9% for organic chemistry 1 (p < .001) and 60.9% and 79.4% for organic chemistry 2 (p < .001). Conclusion: This study shows that organic chemistry can be used as an indicator of future academic success in a chiropractic biochemistry course. Knowledge of such a relationship could prove useful to identify students who may potentially run into academic difficulty with first-year biochemistry.

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About the Authors

Marc McRae is with the National University of Health Sciences.

* This paper was selected as a 2009 Association of Chiropractic Colleges-Research Agenda Conference Prize Winning Paper. This award is funded by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners.