natural aptitude and pre-pharm

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

NOS925

New Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2007
Messages
3
Reaction score
0

Members don't see this ad.
Ok here's my story - I am 21 and throughout my life I've never been a math guy, whether it be apathy or just an unnatural ability to grasp it. My family has been associated with a pharmacy for nearly 30 years and I've been working there for the last 8 months. I've become interested in pre-pharmacy and took general chem last semester (i'm currently a psych major) and it was quite difficult and I had to drop. Is math and science something that you're just naturally good at and have an aptitude for? Or is it possible to acquire the knowledge and be able to pass even the more difficult courses? I'm really torn and I guess I either need motivation or just an honest assessment whether this is right for me. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks in advance guys!
 

Quiksilver

Secundum Artem PharmD
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2007
Messages
1,040
Reaction score
3
most of everything is hard work. Some are naturally very talented in the sciences and not put as much work into it. Either way, you need to work hard and practice.
Also the fact is, chemistry and physics, like math have rules. If you can fully understand those rules and how to apply them, then you can do chemistry with a little work. Get involved with a tutor or student organization like ACS. Maybe another explanation is all you need
 

rxdrugsrx

New Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
Messages
10
Reaction score
1
I can tell you truthfullly that math and science is not something that comes naturally to me. I have failed two bio classes before realizing what the right way to study for a bio class was. After I figured that out, I have earned an A in every single bio, math and physics class that I have ever taken. You have to be dedicated to understand the material well and also seek help and get tutoring if you need it. Don't be shy to go office hours! There were plenty of times when my professor hinted what types of questions were asked on the exam. Don't lose hope, math and sciences is not natural to me but I learned to adapt and so can you!
 

sleazye

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2006
Messages
228
Reaction score
6
Math and science have always been the hardest subjects for me. In high school I was more into English and art, I never took chemistry, physics or math beyond geometry in high school. I always thought I would do something artistic like photography or graphic design as a career. I feel like if I can acquire the science knowledge anyone can. I say try it, you'll find out if you like it or are good at it.
 

Hosstheboss

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2006
Messages
141
Reaction score
0
There is alot of math involved in science. However, your science classes are very concept orienated and it you can understand the main concept the details are not as essential. Almost all chemistry classes, however, in my experience are math intensive so like someone else a tutor maybe best. Biology on the other hand I don't really see the need for understanding math except in the lab setting. Work hard and it should all fall in place. Good luck to ya.
 

TheHillCrew

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2007
Messages
122
Reaction score
0
I could have never passed anything without the help of the tutoring center at my school. Tutors are the key to life, if you think you are just going to understand everything on your own than you are kidding yourself. You know the kids in school that understood the material before the teacher taught it...well those are the dorks... and unless you are a born dork than you need to get help..tutor..tutors..tutors..
 

acetyl

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2006
Messages
743
Reaction score
1
Everyone who does well studies. If you're not doing well, you need to study more, and more, and more, until you're blue in the face and don't like it anymore. That being said, most of the pre-pharm classes are memorize and regurgitate and something you just have to get through, and that everyone has to spend time doing. Some like them more than others, and if you don't like them, you have to find someone who does and feed off of their positive motivation to do well. But to answer your original question, yes, math and science come naturally to me, but I suck at verbal and english related things. I'm good at chemistry and physics, but still have to study a lot.
 

Farmercyst

From the shadows
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
7,863
Reaction score
7
As said above, the key is understanding the underlying concepts. It may take brute memorization to learn what they are, but unless you know how/when to apply them it'll be a struggle. The problem is finding the person who understands it and thinks similar enough to you to explain it so you can understand it. That's not always your professor, which is where the tutor's come in. If you try hard enough and search long (hopefully it doesn't take too long) you should be able to reach that point where you may not know everything, but you understand how it relates to what you do know, which makes it easier to learn.

For all the orgo fans: think of how pH=pKa* log [A-]/[HA] might apply to how/where drugs metabolize.
 

rxlynn

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2005
Messages
917
Reaction score
5
Ok here's my story - I am 21 and throughout my life I've never been a math guy, whether it be apathy or just an unnatural ability to grasp it. My family has been associated with a pharmacy for nearly 30 years and I've been working there for the last 8 months. I've become interested in pre-pharmacy and took general chem last semester (i'm currently a psych major) and it was quite difficult and I had to drop. Is math and science something that you're just naturally good at and have an aptitude for? Or is it possible to acquire the knowledge and be able to pass even the more difficult courses? I'm really torn and I guess I either need motivation or just an honest assessment whether this is right for me. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks in advance guys!

Ask around and see if a different professor might help. Unfortunately the academic system tends to reward chemistry professors who do good research, and not necessarily those who do good teaching. But, my experience is that in every department there are at least a few chem professors who are truly into the teaching aspect, and therefore do a better job with their classes.

My other general comment is that I think it's quite likely that your university level chem and bio courses will require more studying than anything you've probably done to this point in your life. Not to dis other majors, but my observations were that the science and engineering majors did simply have to put more time into school, partly because you end up having a lot of laboratory hours that a business major just won't have.

I don't think you have to like math to do well in chemistry - I personally loathed everybit of the math I took in college (I'm a chemistry major, so I had to have 3 semesters of calc), but you really don't have to retain it (except long enough to take the PCAT or if you want to do something crazy like become a physical chemist). Ask yourself - did you find the chemistry class you took interesting at all? If it's just hard but interesting, then that's a problem you can fix with tutoring/right prof/hard work/etc. On the other hand, if you found every moment uninteresting, then you might want to rethink pharmacy.
 

Rumplestiltazepam

Full Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2006
Messages
835
Reaction score
3
I don't think you have to have an aptitude for math and science. Like said above work hard, study groups are awesome for science classes. You will be surprised how well you retain info when you talk about it in a group or explain it someone else. I think for the most part math and science are the hardest classes for anyone. What other classes are there that could be hard?
 

medblue

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2006
Messages
99
Reaction score
0
i don't think anyone is born with knowing about science and math. it's what interests you, what your parents emphasize and what the teachers shove down your throat. i think anyone can learn with passion and hardwork. good luck to you.
 

pharmk011

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Messages
107
Reaction score
0
I think that being naturally good at something will get you A's in high school.. but it's rarely enough to get you good grades in college. I was incredibly surprised about how much studying I'd need to do in college vs high school. You just have to make the adjustment. If you want something bad enough, you'll work hard enough to understand the material. But it is by no means something that comes easily. I spend almost ALL of my time (and I really mean that) studying... while my two roommates (one is undecided and one is kind of pre-nursing) rarely study and go out all the time. They think I'm crazy for putting as much work into it as I do... but that's what needs to be done.. it's not like organic chemistry is knowledge someone is just born with... Don't give up... you can definitely do it if you want it bad enough!
 

twester

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2004
Messages
1,389
Reaction score
12
I have a friend/study-group mate who needs to approach things from a different angle than I do. We draw pictures and talk processes through and she get's it. We do it several times and from different approaches, if necessary. She gets it. Then she teaches me something that I'm struggling with. So I recommend a good study group (one that is focused and not overly social).

Gen chem is practice, practice, practice. I used notebooks full of paper doing practice problems until they became second nature. If I didn't understand a problem, I just sat there and thought/stared at the paper until it made sense. There are no short-cuts.

I benefitted a great deal from taking an introductory chemistry course first. I recommend doing that even though it delays the start of full-blown gen chem by a semester. (I didn't take chemistry in high school.)
 

LECOMorBUST

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
160
Reaction score
0
I benefitted a great deal from taking an introductory chemistry course first. I recommend doing that even though it delays the start of full-blown gen chem by a semester. (I didn't take chemistry in high school.)

Good advice here, I took chem. in HS but it has been a decent number of years since, so needless to say I remembered very little (I didn't learn much in that class anyways). I took the lowest chem. (non-majors course) possible before I jumped into Principles of Chem. I (for chem. majors). It did reduce the learning curve or else it would have been 1st day in Chem. I you hit the ground running but find out you do not have the stamina to keep up.
 
Top