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Nearing End of First Semester and Feeling Low...

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by flyingbridge, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. flyingbridge

    flyingbridge Member
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    I am toward the end of my first semester back in school to get the pre-reqs done. I just took the third of three tests in Gen Chem and scored 20 points under the mean. This is worse than the first test I took. The second I took, I scored only a few points under the mean. In my calc class, I have taken two tests, with the second by some miracle coming in at just above the mean. I expcect a C at this point in both classes unless I screw up the finals.

    I am sort of just venting here and looking for commiseration if anyone chooses to chime in. I rarely drink, don't smoke, have no bad habits to speak of, and 15+ years of real-life experience and yet somehow with my tutors [one for each class! ;)] and attending both classes' study groups religiously, I am still sucking canal water. I am 37 years old for chrissakes and a bunch of teenagers are kicking the $hit out of me.... I just don't get it, maybe that's the problem... :confused:

    Well, thanks for just being here, gang... damn it looks like an awful long haul from this point. I don't even want to think about physics and organic chem but I know they are just around the corner... :eek:
     
  2. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Sorry to hear that. My only suggestion is for future semesters, maybe you want to take these classes one at a time to spend more time on each, and definitely do even more problems in these classes, because that is the only kind of studying that works for the non-bio science courses. Also try a different textbook in each -- the one the professor chooses is not always the one that resonates best with a given student. Good luck.
     
  3. ShyRem

    ShyRem I need more coffee.
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    flying bridge, it IS possible. And I went back at the ripe old age of 36... I ended up doing a chem and math dual major, so I definitely feel your pain. If I might suggest, tho, do EVERY single homework problem. I mean all of them. Go to the professor's office hours and talk to them about what their expectations are and your problems understanding, or perhaps it is a problem of doing the work in the short time allowed... but go discuss it with the professors themselves. Lastly, find the math club and the chem club. These people can be an absolute wealth of resource for helping you pass classes, helping you study, etc. etc.
     
  4. remo

    remo Senior Member
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    I agree with Law2Doc in that multiple textbooks is a great idea. Most people just assume the class text is good enough. Lucky for me I saved my Ochem textbook from when I took a semester of it 12 years ago. When I went back this year to do the 2nd semester, the old book saved me. The one they were using in class was not nearly as clear as my old one. Your school probably has alternate texts in the library so you won't have to buy another one. Also for chem, physics and calculus you gotta do as many practice problems and old tests as possible. That is the only way to succeeed in those classes.
     
  5. albaniandoc

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    Hi flyingbridge.
    Hang in there, things will get better. I too decided to go back to school althugh in my mid twenties (my last science course was in 2000). I find the classes more difficult now than back in the day.
    My advice would be to take evening courses. Even in college I liked night classes better. The students are usually older and you avoid the 18 yr old crowd that are always talking loud in the background and are plain obnixous.
    Chances are most students your age that are going back to school feel the same way you do. So you are not alone.
    Good luck to you and keep your chin up.
     
  6. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Hi there,
    Figure out why you did so poorly. Do you have a knowledge gap or do you need more work with your basic math? If your math is rusty, then drop back to college algebra and get up to speed before you take any more courses. Both calculus and general chemistry require that you are able to use your basic math (algebra/trig/analytical geometry) as a tool.

    Age has nothing to do with being able to do well in these courses. Maturity may give you a good work ethic but often the younger students have been working with math and concepts while you were away from school earning a living. You just need to get back into the groove so give yourself some time to get up to speed and give up the "them" versus "me" way of thinking. The yourger students are your colleagues and will often help you out.

    Get you focus off of the grade and onto the material. You HAVE to KNOW this material for the MCAT. If you focus on really mastering the material, the grades will come. Drop back a bit and get your basics mastered before you take the courses in chunks. It is far better to go slower and do very well then load up and not be able to master theses course because you are struggling. Hang in there.

    njbmd :)
     
  7. MSgtLou

    MSgtLou Junior Member
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    I agree 100% with njbmd!

    I never was good at math as a kid, simply because I was an idiot who didn't apply himself. When I set out to apply to Med school back in the day, I started at BEGINNING ALGEBRA! Although it was humiliating, I MASTERED each concept and used that FOUNDATION to consistently make it through Calculus!

    Mybe you don't need to go that far back, but without the TOOLS that must be understood and at grasping distance, you will never do well in Math or Chemistry. And if you just have a few tools at hand because you have forgot 60% of what you learned years ago, you start to rely on THOSE TOOLS, and fail.

    When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, all of your problems are going to start to look like nails.
     
  8. eccles1214

    eccles1214 Member
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    I thought the same would happen to me; that an almost-42-year old would never be able to compete with 18-year olds. But, actually, I'm doing quite well. I suggest doing practice tests, lots and lots of practice tests, using them to master the concepts, and never going into a test without fully understanding the concepts beforehand.
     
  9. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin'
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    I'm in the same boat- 31, and chem has never come easy for me. I've been doing a lot of practice tests and problems, which has helped me a lot.

    To the OP- does your text come with a CD-ROM? That's been an invaluable resource for me. It helps me brush up on key concepts, as well as has practice tests that actually have the answers to them (unlike many of the problems in our text). Bonus: In my class, I've noticed that the professor has taken a few test questions directly from the CD-ROM.
     
  10. N1DERL&

    N1DERL& HP4!!!!
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    Sorry to hear about your last exams! Gen chem and calculus just suck!!

    But the upside to those classes is that it is more problem based so keep those problems. Are you looking at the solution guides a lot? Once I stopped relying on my solution manuals, things started to improve slowly. Also when I'm doing problems I end up just solving them without thinking about the why's or how's. It happens especially when you do 10 acid-base problems in a row and my brain turns off.. try to be engaged with the material to reinforce concepts.

    Last thing, do you have test anxiety? Sometimes putting too much pressure on yourself can backfire..

    We're all here to help ya through this!! :luck: :luck:
     
  11. MsEvolution

    MsEvolution Senior Member
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    It may be a matter of TOO much all at once. Consider dropping calculus. Only a small percentage of medical schools require it. Make sure the physics you take is the NON-calculus based.

    It's going to be hard no matter how you slice it... don't look for ways to make it harder. You can do it!

    Realize that science requires a different level of studying/learning than most other disciplines. Be patient with yourself as you start to "learn how to learn" this material. Cut back on your number of classes and use your resources. Devote yourself 100% to this during the class term.
     
  12. karlin009

    karlin009 5 more minutes..
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    Agreed!
    I had trouble the first two semesters when I went back. Please don't get discouraged it will get better.
     
  13. mshheaddoc

    mshheaddoc Howdy
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    I totally can relate. My first semester (besides summer which I didn't do well) and I had to drop 2 classes (ochem I and biochem). I'm now retaking ochem for the 3rd time in 8 years (as I last took 8 years ago). I am just going to probably get by the 2 science classes I'm in now. I didn't do well this summer either, but I know I can do this. I have had issues with test anxiety and depression with all this pressure I have put on myself. I want to be in med school YESTERDAY. I have learned that it can take a toll on your body and yourself, so before you start stressing, take a step back and evaluate. I won't have a 4.0 in my "post bacc" but I'm hoping that over the next 2 years I can get my gpa raised. I have pushed back my application and MCAT for 2007 and now I'm going to concentrate soley on my task at hand.

    Eye on the prize and :luck: Its frustrating when you have all the resources but still don't seem to have it all together.
     
  14. eccles1214

    eccles1214 Member
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    Yes, it does come with a CD, but the professor doesn't use it. It is actually too basic for most of us in the class.
     
  15. gaki

    gaki needs help
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    aww man.. that sucks.. i myself am wasting time online right now procrastinating studying for an organic test i have coming up, because I have also been scoring belowwww average on the first two tests. it sucks getting your butt kicked by these chatty kids who have time to ace their classes and still go out partying :p

    calc and chem are kinda hard though.. i took them (and two other easier classes) at the same time last year and i did alright, but i was literally crying through my homework some nights :p

    oh well


     
  16. Doctor_Lovely

    Doctor_Lovely New Member

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    Venting is good for the soul! We've been there, so keep your chin up :D

    I returned to college three years ago to complete a degree in engineering (i.e. working math and physics problems in my dreams as well as waking thoughts!), and I have found online resources to be a tremendous help. Many colleges these days are posting lecture notes, homework problems and lab assignments as part of an open courseware cooperative (OCW). I believe MIT was a pioneer in that endeavor (http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html). A favorite calculus resource I continually refer to is Operation Mother Hen offered by the University at Buffalo (http://motherhen.eng.buffalo.edu). The latter has lecture notes in pdf format, and pre-recorded video feeds (using Real Player) of class lectures for first and second semester calculus--no registration required, just click and go.

    Good luck!

    DL
     
  17. medicalbound

    medicalbound Senior Member
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    I suggest slowing down. I had the same aspirations when I came back to get my prereqs. I wanted to take everything and the MCAT in one year to get to medical school and start the next phase of life. That was three years ago, but it is paying off. It is better to take longer, get good grades and do well on the MCAT than to go down in a ball of flames. I'm not saying you will, but there are definitely challenges that we non-trads have to deal with that our younger peers do not, and another year or two will not mean the difference between acceptance and rejection. The adcoms are aware of these challenges, yet they expect us to make good decisions to overcome the obstacles in our way. If that means taking a little longer or a lighter course load, so be it. The adcoms will not confuse a lighter course load as inability instead of temperance if your post-baccalaureate courses are strong. It is not too late by any means, just finish out the semester as well as you can, and do everything possible to correct the problem. Best of luck!
     
  18. chasingmytail

    chasingmytail Member
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    Aww I totally feel what you're going through. I was so motivated to get an A in both Orgo and Physics, and now as the semester drags on, my expectations are falling FAST. Just hang in there, the semester is almost over and you can always take an extra upper level bio class to prove your will to do well.

    now, back to the hell of organic :eek: somebody please SHOOT ME
     
  19. kimmcauliffe

    kimmcauliffe Surfer Chum
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    I hear you! So many people have been in that boat. No use dwelling- just keep your chin up! The good thing is that now, you understand what your professors are asking of you and what types of answers they will be grading on. Keep your head up and use these past few grades to your advantage and turn it around in your favor!!

    Good luck! Keep us posted on your progress! :luck:
     
  20. flyingbridge

    flyingbridge Member
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    All,

    Just wanna say, thanks for all your replies and advice, insights, opinions, etc. They all really do help a lot. Break a leg, everyone, on your semester finals and whatever else you got going! :D

    -- Matt
     
  21. eccles1214

    eccles1214 Member
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    another bit of advice:

    find out what type of learning style works best for you: are you an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner or some combination of two or all three/ normally, one style predominates. there are online tests that can help you find out your type. then tailor your studying toward your "style". when i first took gen chem, calc, etc. it was miserable -- i just didn't get it. now that i know that i learn visually, i have arranged my studying to have lots of visual things -- and my grades improved. this occurred mid-semester, so i had some catching-up to do, but it worked out okay.
     
  22. flyingbridge

    flyingbridge Member
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    I got my first course grade, in calculus. It's an A- !

    I guess I must have aced the final. I can hardly stand it... it's totally unexpected. I am not gloating here, I just want to say that I guess even when you think you are looking at a C going into the final, you may just get a nice surprise if you manage to pull it out in the end, so "there's always hope". Now I have to wait for my chem grade. I am trying not to be too pessimistic or too optimistic, but just realistic. If I get a B in it, I'll consider this first semester back a definite success. I may just try to take that second course next year, too. But I will bide my time and see what happens.... :cool:
     
  23. flyingbridge

    flyingbridge Member
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    I am definitely more auditory, and after hearing things a couple times usually get them at least in principle. Another thing that definitely helps me is to make my own notes, distilling stuff from lecture notes and the book so that I see things in my own handwriting and can more easily remember things hand-written than just typed out (this could be some of the kinesthetic piece of things, also something I am disposed to I have noticed). The study groups and tutoring sessions I got this past semester definitely helped with the whole reinforcement thing. Something else I have noticed about studying too... if I am too tired, studying does me no good. But if I am just tired enough, the material sinks in a easier and especially if I am studying right before going to bed, I am in fact more likely to have mental images of the material hit me just as I fall asleep. I read somewhere that material studied at the point of pre-sleep like this is retained and integrated in most people much more readily than material studied at any other time. Alas and unfortunately, one can only have such periods for brief amounts of time and only once a day. But I'll take any help I can get! ;)
     
  24. flyingbridge

    flyingbridge Member
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    B-

    Praise God!!!

    Lesson learned: don't despair, there's always hope even for a graying-bearded computer geeky wanna-be mid-life crisis liberal artsy would-be doctor-boy like myself! :D
     
  25. mshheaddoc

    mshheaddoc Howdy
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    congrats!!!!!!!!!! :clap: :hardy:

    I'm not happy with all my grades either but I get a fresh start next semester and will perfect my study methods!
     

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