Jul 12, 2012
107
26
Chicago, IL
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi all,

I'm struggling with the pre reqs in my post bacc program. I am studying my ass off and I can't seem to break B's. The school I am doing my post bacc at is known for having an extremely rigorous science program.

I know I can't get B's forever but I can't study harder than I am now. I don't know how to improve my study habits.

I don't know what to do. I feel frustrated and I don't how to improve.
 

Chip N Sawbones

Ship's Carpenter
7+ Year Member
Jan 19, 2011
1,256
402
62 degrees North
Status
Non-Student
Some specifics will help us pinpoint areas you're weak in. Why exactly are you getting B's? Are you getting bad grades on tests or on all the other silly things you have to do, like lab reports and homework? When you get the test back after taking it and you look over the questions you missed, is it typically because you didn't understand a concept, you lacked key information, or another reason, such as a math error? What methods are you using to study now?
 
OP
rangoon1984
Jul 12, 2012
107
26
Chicago, IL
Status
Pre-Medical
I am having the worst time with the mathier sciences (gchem and physics). Bio typically isn't a problem.

The tests are killing me.

I feel like I go in knowing the concepts. I was doing the practice tests flawlessly, I did all our homework assignments at least 5x each, and I had gone over the terminology. I go to a tutor. I go to office hours. I ended up with a crappy grade, which was around our classes average. Tests do make me nervous and I have a tendency to get kind of freaked out during them.

I just feel sad and dumb right now.

I did well in the lab and on the HW.

The math itself is generally OK.

I got straight A's in community college sciences but this is just tearing me apart.
 
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Dec 9, 2012
463
120
Status
lol this is a long shot since your location says you're in Chicago, but do you go to stony brook by any chance? I ask because I probably got all Bs in my first semester post-bac and I had the same experience of going in feeling like I know the concepts and then getting destroyed.

For me after reflecting on why I did poorly I think it was a lack of repetition. Time was my major issue and there is no time to reason out concepts and answers on the test in my classes. You need to know exactly how to set up the problem and the exact version of the formula you are going to use right as you read the question. This is in direct contrast to my previous degree so next semester I need to focus less on trying to reason answers out from concepts and more on memorizing every version of the formulas.
 
OP
rangoon1984
Jul 12, 2012
107
26
Chicago, IL
Status
Pre-Medical
No not Stonybrook, I am at Northwestern.

I have repeated the homework a lot...but maybe I should also do non HW problems. I put in insane amounts of time to this stuff but obviously I'm not doing something right.
 

Jewels86

5+ Year Member
Apr 7, 2013
198
65
Texas
Status
Pre-Medical
Do you buy and keep your textbooks? Please tell me you do get textbooks and not e-books...this is why...when I was working on my BSN and grad degree, I wrote in ALL my textbooks. What I would do is write what I thought the author was saying. FxM=A, Mr. Awesome tosses a ball upwards and it's going 9.8 m/s up (I did actually pick up a little from my algebra-based physics, which was horrible); write it in the margins in YOUR own terms. Explain it to yourself, your pet, whatever may be the case. Pretend to teach it; get down to the super basics and apply it from there. I had to do this in nursing school. For my BSN, I had a horrible floor nurse/clinical instructor that failed my Foley catheter (I don't think she ever really put one in and probably called the doctor every time a patient snored loudly). Well, Mr. Bunny, my stuffie, had many catheters until I got it down; I used an empty water bottle to simulate the "part" where the catheter went in :/

Perhaps you need to do something like this. Physics, oh my, watch Dr. Lewin with the MIT opencourseware, he's pretty amazing. Get the concepts down before getting the math down. You'll never pick up the why just by doing the problem. Throw a ball up in the air, off a chair, get one of those kiddie toys with the ring that you put around your leg and swing it around your ankle to understand angular momentum, etc. You're a hands on learner. Stay cool!!
 
OP
rangoon1984
Jul 12, 2012
107
26
Chicago, IL
Status
Pre-Medical
Eee I love Dr. Lewin! I use Khan academy a lot as well.

I've been working out of a physical textbook, but I do the HW out of ebooks when I'm on the go and I don't want to carry around a gigantic book.

Yes, when I can actually SEE something happening it becomes much easier to grasp. Very visual/hands on. I had a lot of issues with energy problems initially because I was having a very tough time visualizing it.

Thanks for the advice!
 

Labrat07

5+ Year Member
May 20, 2013
300
246
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
In my opinion, it seem like you don't understand the concepts well enough. You do good in biology because it's memorization not a lot of conceptual. If the professors throw tricky questions/hard to understand in there, you have trouble figuring out. Some concepts in physic take a while to digest. I'd suggest you watch multiple source of teachers. Do more problems. Don't repeat homeworks you already did. There's no point. That steer you into memorization instead of actual understanding. Do different problems. Focus on understanding more than memorization. As soon as something 's not working, evaluate and change your methods right away. Do not let it stay the same too long.

Personally for physic, i watch chad's, khann's, various you tube videos. I do problems books, mcat books, internet... I had a C on my 2nd test. Bam, i sat down, changed my strategy and got all As after that. The course now is A. For gen chem, I didn't have a lot of trouble.

I hope that help
 

Jewels86

5+ Year Member
Apr 7, 2013
198
65
Texas
Status
Pre-Medical
Hey Rangoon, I just thought of this; have you had calculus yet? I did algebra-based physics and it was awful. I'm taking pre-cal next term. I started calc 1 but couldn't grasp it enough so I backed down to precal. BUT, I saw physics in calc. It was eye-opening and made my cruddy physics look as if it could be a doable course later on.

Please don't get too discouraged over your courses. My fav doc in the ED where I work is the one with the 3.2 GPA and mid-20's MCAT.
 

Chip N Sawbones

Ship's Carpenter
7+ Year Member
Jan 19, 2011
1,256
402
62 degrees North
Status
Non-Student
What helped me out was doing the practice problems in the textbook so I could immediately look at the answers to see if I was doing things right. Anything that I missed, I would go back and review the material until I understood where I went wrong and how to do the problem correctly. I would then do the problem again just so I could get the correct pathway into my mind.

Some good news for you is that med school tends to be similar to biology class, where there's lots to memorize but the concepts usually aren't that difficult. I've got the opposite problem as you; I struggled with biology but had no problem with general chem and physics. Once you get into med school you'll probably have an easier time than I'm having.
 
OP
rangoon1984
Jul 12, 2012
107
26
Chicago, IL
Status
Pre-Medical
I have not had calculus - and yes, I am taking algebra based physics.

Thank you for the kind words. I am so discouraged right now and it's not a matter of working harder. I need to change my approach.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
52,547
76,171
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
Your school should have a learning center; go seek them out to find the study style that suits you.

And always have a backup plan in case things don't work out. Remember, medical school is a lot harder than what you're dealing with now.

Hi all,

I'm struggling with the pre reqs in my post bacc program. I am studying my ass off and I can't seem to break B's. The school I am doing my post bacc at is known for having an extremely rigorous science program.

I know I can't get B's forever but I can't study harder than I am now. I don't know how to improve my study habits.

I don't know what to do. I feel frustrated and I don't how to improve.
 

stlrams22

Membership Revoked
Removed
Jun 1, 2011
490
145
Status
Pre-Medical
No not Stonybrook, I am at Northwestern.

I have repeated the homework a lot...but maybe I should also do non HW problems. I put in insane amounts of time to this stuff but obviously I'm not doing something right.
When I took physics I did nearly all the homework problems at the end of the chapter (at least all the even). Then I did the odd for problems I felt unsure about. I suggest going to chegg.com and checking to see if they have your textbook. If they do, purchase a monthly membership. There are detailed solutions in addition the correct answer (each step is explained). This will make you more efficient because you won't spend an hour stuck on a problem and then still not figure it out. Also, make sure you understand the concepts. Do NOT view physics as a memorize formula based course, the MCAT does not treat it like this either.
 

GLaDOS

She has a medical degree. In fashion! From France!
Dec 31, 2012
40
4
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I'm at Northwestern too. Serious grade deflation all up in this b!tch.

I got overwhelmed my 1st quarter, dropped all but my English class, then pretty much restructured my life around my academics. Even with the increased effort I put in, I hardly ever break the A- barrier. It sounds like you're already putting in a pretty solid effort too.

What I ended up having to do was rearrange my work schedule so I never have to come straight from work to class. I've found if I have at least a couple of hours to relax and/or study before a quiz/exam, I tend to do better. Another habit I've picked up is chewing green tea gum while studying & while taking the test. I think there are a couple of studies on the effects, but for whatever reason, while I am studying & during the test, it helps keep me focused & I'm a bit less anxious.

Good luck. NU is great, but sometimes I regret not slummin' it elsewhere ;)
 
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OP
rangoon1984
Jul 12, 2012
107
26
Chicago, IL
Status
Pre-Medical
Good luck. NU is great, but sometimes I regret not slummin' it elsewhere ;)
Hahaha several times per quarter I say to myself "WHY COULDN'T I HAVE GONE ANYWHERE ELSE, OH MY GOD."

Thanks for the feedback. I'm putting in the time but I need to tweak what I'm doing obviously.
 
Aug 12, 2013
32
23
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi rangoon1984, I'm on the same boat! I took Dr. Schmidt's physics too and I had a difficult time understand the weird wording of his exam questions, and English is not my first language. My suggestion is that you don't need to repeat the homework problems many times, since they are way too many and very time-consuming. Instead, I find this is the most high-yielding way is to focus on the handful example problems on the book, and really understand the concepts. I did a postmortem anatomy for my two midterms (which I did crappy) and found that actually most of his exam questions can found prototypes in example problems on the book! So I only studied the book examples for the final, and I got an A in the final. In addition, taking some time to brush up trigonometry skills really helped me in this algebra-base physics course. Hope this helps!!
 
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GLaDOS

She has a medical degree. In fashion! From France!
Dec 31, 2012
40
4
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Have you gone to the UAAC? They're pretty helpful.

Someone did something like a "studying audit" on me & it turns out, I wasn't using my studying time very efficiently. I would keep studying concepts I had already mastered over & over again instead of reallocating that time to concepts that needed more of my attention. So now, before I study, I make a list of what I need to know, cross things off the list as I feel confident I know them, then just keep studying until everything (or mostly everything) is crossed off, then do 1 more comprehensive review right before the exam.

This method takes a little bit more prep work, but I feel like it takes me out of my comfort zone of feeling good about myself for reviewing what I already know over & over again & rather forces me to concentrate on the material that poses a challenge for me.

Anyway, my problem may not be the same as yours, but they were pretty quick at the UAAC to figure out what exactly my problem was & how to address it.