Q&A: Should I Retake my Nursing Pre-requisites?

I already took Anatomy and Physiology, but only passed with a “C.”  My nursing program says that the minimum required grade is a “C,” but I’m still worried that I won’t be accepted into nursing school.  Should I retake the class and try to get a better grade?  I don’t want to waste my time (and money!) retaking a class if I don’t need to, but I really want to get into nursing school on my first try.  What should I do?


The answer to this question is going to vary for everyone, but the answer is usually going to be what you don’t want to hear…you should probably retake Anatomy and Physiology (A&P).

Even though retaking a pre-requisite class will cost more tuition money, and could even cause you to miss the next nursing school application deadline, it’s often a good idea anyway.  Here’s the two major reasons why:

1. Nursing School is Competitive

Just because you got the minimum required grade in A&P doesn’t mean that you’ll be accepted.  Most nursing schools have to reject hundreds of applications each year!  That means they can afford to be a little picky with who they accept.  So if one applicant got a “C,” while the other applicant got an “A,” who do you think they are going to accept?

Some schools are more competitive than others, so I’m not saying that it’s impossible to get accepted into nursing school with a “C” in A&P.  In fact, some schools even use a lottery system to choose who gets accepted.  If your school uses a lottery system or has fewer applicants, then the grades in your pre-requisite classes might not be as important.  But that still doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t retake them because…

2. Pre-requisites are the Foundation of Nursing Knowledge

This is by far the most important reason to retake a nursing pre-requisite, especially A&P, if you weren’t happy with your grade the first time.  A&P is the foundation of everything you are going to learn in nursing school.  If you didn’t get a good grade, then it’s likely that you didn’t learn the information well enough to help you in nursing school.

Think about it this way.  If you were going to build a house, you would first build the foundation.  If that foundation was shaky, crooked, or incomplete, would you go on to build the rest of the house?  No way!  You would go back and work on the foundation until it was firm and solid, capable of supporting a house.  Nobody would try to build a house on an unsafe foundation.

And yet many nursing school applicants want to attempt nursing school without a solid foundation of A&P, or other important pre-requisites.  Trust me…if you get accepted but have a shaky foundation of A&P, you will struggle all the way through nursing school, and it will just get harder and harder with each semester.  If you take the time to get a strong understanding of A&P before starting nursing school, then you’ll have a much easier time with your nursing classes, and learning how to think like a nurse.

2 thoughts on “Q&A: Should I Retake my Nursing Pre-requisites?”

  1. Ramona

    I am going to retake A&P again in the fall. I didn’t do so well, and I was told so many bad things about retaking a course. But I have been fight for this for a while. I had a bad professor and mostly just retained his insults and nothing of the body.

  2. Sarah Morgan Randolph

    I made a C in Anatomy and Physiology. It was a difficult course.

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