How can I take these classes but not be graded on them

I love molecular biology. There are alot of interesting molecular biology classes at my college right now. Classes in virology, immunology, endocrinology, the HIV virus, cell biology and probably a few others. Problem is I am not sure I can fit these classes into my schedule. Plus I figure if I maintain a 3.0 GPA the rest of my college career I’ll graduate with a 3.3 CGPA, which is reasonable. If I take an extra 15 hours of high level biology classes that may bring my GPA down a bit. At the same time I may want to do graduate work in something more biology related so having a couple of them on my record could be a good thing.

So I want to learn the material, but I don’t want to be forced to learn it under threats of bad grades. So I assume I have several options to pull this off.

  1. Take the classes pass/fail instead of for grades, which means I can still learn for fun but not be forced to compete with the pre-med students.
  2. Don’t even sign up, just sit in on the lectures and in my spare time read the book and the notes to learn the material reasonably well and not show up for tests.
  3. Find some introductory book at the library that covers the same material and forget learning it in school.
  4. Roommate says there are programs where instead of taking the class, you just take the final and a test or two to get credit for the classes.

However I find it easier to learn this stuff in school than at home. At home I’d just learn bits and pieces. Are there other options I should look at for taking these classes?

Some universities will permit students to “audit” certain classes. Which usually means you’ll pay the normal fees to attend the lectures, but you won’t be graded and the course won’t be entered on your transcript. Talk to either the dean of the college, or your advisor.

If you take the classes pass/fail will that affect your GPA? Because if it doesn’t that’s what I’d do. Sneaking in lectures, while fun, just isn’t as motivating. Every course has its slow parts and sometimes the threat of failing is what keeps you working :wink: Of course, that’s just me. It depends how well you want to learn it really.

I think with pass/fail the classes are just considered the same as your overall GPA, meaning they are just averaged in. I think that means if I have a 3.3 CGPA then the classes count as a 3.3.

You could audit the course, meaning you probably have to pay the same, but they don’t record a grade or anything. (ok, what UncleBeer says).

#3 is boring and hard. If the prof doesn’t mind (or doesn’t notice), I’d go with #2. I took Computing Science in University, but attended an astronomy class and an environmental sciences class that way. Other obligations (classes I paid for, work, etc) prevented me from checking out more, but I’d highly recommend it.

I suppose it also depends on what kind of class it is - the two classes I mention were taken in large auditoriums with ~100 students, so I could easily stay quiet and skip the tests. The prof would probably care more and ask me to leave if it were a smaller class on, say, literature, where the participation of (properly paying) students is expected.