BodyBuildingDOC

Dr. Camou
Feb 17, 2013
34
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Status
Pre-Medical
Hi everyone. Its my first post here on the forum and I guess I'm a non-traditional student (mid-20s). I have a B.A. Degree in Social Science & Law. And also a MBA Degree in Marketing & Managment (3.6 GPA). I finished my MBA program 3 years ago and just started at a state school to complete my pre-reqs. I guess I'm panicking myself early since I just failed my first exam in my bio1 class.

I studied hard. Attended every lecture. Made a study guide. Did all the practice exams (scored 88%+ on each of the 3 practice exams he posted) so I felt prepared for the real exam in class. Exam time came and I blanked out, didn't get to answer 10/30 questions on the test and just wrote down anything to meet the 50min time period. This also happened to me in chemistry class where I don't have enough time to complete tests. The professors suggested I go to the office of academic support and ask for time extensions/other accomodations. The office of academic support basically looked at my academic record of all A's and a few B's and also said "you speak so intellectually and are so well-educated," there's no way they can qualify me as having a learning disability and give me extra time. I didn't exactly want to be qualified as having a learning disability, nor can I produce a "doctor's note" documenting that I need additional time on exams. I was 2nd in my class in highschool, had an easy time learning in college, great time learning in my MBA program....

Yet I keep bombing quizzes and exams now under the time constraints. As evidenced on my practice exams, I do very well when I'm just studying at my home, yet keep psyching myself out when the real thing comes around. I've never had this problem before as I breezed through undergrad & my MBA. Now I'm putting in many more hours studying and the effort is not paying off :/ I feel that if I had the extra time on exams in class, I would be able to produce excellent results. I just wanted to get my feelings out and think it through... Not sure what the heck to do next... But HI everyone! I'm glad to be here :)
 

wholeheartedly

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Sounds a bit short-sighted on the part of the academic support ppl. Though what you describe with doing well on review and blanking on tests souns more like a test anxiety thing than a learning disability. Since the stakes are higher now in your mind you're probably putting more pressure on yourself than you did in undergrad the first time. Did you just talk to one person there, could you ask to speak with someone else?

Hard science/math and social science coursework are very different and use different cognitive skills, so even though you got good grades in you first undergrad doesn't mean you couldn't have a learning issue related to more quantitative skills. Surprised they wouldn't know/think about that. Maybe you could suggest that they just do the assessment and then see without making assumptions based on previous grades in a completely different content area.

Still, anxiety might be the best guess and it wouldn't hurt to talk to someone in counseling services or whatever your schools equivalent is to see if they think that might be an issue and can suggest some strategies for you.


Oh, and welcome! :)
 

DrMidlife

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Oct 30, 2006
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For the sake of your GPA, consider dropping these classes before the withdrawal deadline. GPA damage at this point would be a dealbreaker for med school.

My suggestion would be to divert your attention to a couple of intro math/science classes, maybe at a community college, over the summer, then try the prereqs at a university again. You need some practice at problem solving under exam conditions, and you need some successes to build on.

And I agree with WH - I'm not very happy with how this school is working with you. I doubt you have a learning disability, but they should be offering you a tutor.

Best of luck to you.
 

Chip N Sawbones

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Jan 19, 2011
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Start doing some of your practice work under timed conditions. Get a stopwatch and a friend who will take the practice test away after time is up if necessary. Try to make practice tests as realistic as possible by taking them with time constraints in a classroom-like setting with no distractions or breaks. You absolutely must learn to think fast if you are going to get through the prereqs, not to mention taking timed tests like the MCAT and STEP exams. If you don't think this is something you can learn to do right away, then I'd second DrMidlife's advice on dropping classes until you are better prepared to deal with timed exams. To borrow an analogy from sports, boxers practice with heavy and light punching bags. The heavy bag is used to develop strength, the light bag is for building speed. From your practice scores it looks like you've got the strength to do well. Now you need to spend some time learning speed, even if it means dropping classes and delaying your postbac a little. Your goal should be to complete exams five minutes before time is up so you have a few minutes to go back and review your answers for obvious mistakes. Once I started doing that I consistently improved my scores by about 5% each test.
 
OP
BodyBuildingDOC

BodyBuildingDOC

Dr. Camou
Feb 17, 2013
34
11
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the replies so far everyone! I have a meeting tomorrow morning with the Director of Academic Support so perhaps he will be able to figure out some options for me.

I really don't plan on dropping these classes since I purposely deferred my admission til this spring when I felt I was ready. I also wouldn't prefer to drop these courses and start all over again given that I have A's in both my labs (prob cause I get a whole 3 hours to do them & calculate, lol)... but also because I've reduced time at work (less than 20 hrs/wk) to be able to accomodate my pre-req classes and I do honestly feel like this is going to get better :)

I don't think I can take any other intro science and math courses as I have many finance/math courses completed way beyond the basics for my MBA. Additionally, in undergrad, all A's in 2 calculus courses and 1 statistics course and 2 anatomy/bio courses (without labs) completed. Hmmm....

I will start performing the practice exams under timed conditions from now on and see how that goes. Perhaps for now, the director can suggest something that might ease my panic in the meanwhile. I will see what the Director comes up with and keep studying hard here as there's another exam on Friday coming up!!
 

Erakis

5+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2013
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All the above are on track. Mathematical/ analytical problem solving skills must be developed through exercise. The science prereqs can be demanding, especially at test time, then you have to face the mcat, which is like the final exam for all those science courses at once, all under time constraint. Practice is the only way to build those skills. I can certainly sympathize, as someone who only started college at 28 years old, those skills get very rusty.
 
Jan 28, 2013
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Status
Pre-Medical
Hey! a fellow non-trad pre-med body building woman to be reckoned with ;)
after reading your initial post my biggest concern would be the mcat - if you are having trouble with timed tests I would suggest taking timed mcat practice tests well before you sit for the exam! best wishes! *^_^*
 
OP
BodyBuildingDOC

BodyBuildingDOC

Dr. Camou
Feb 17, 2013
34
11
Status
Pre-Medical
Well, after another rough test (but I did manage to get a B on it AND had enough time)... I think I might back off a bit and take another route to getting these pre-reqs done. After some introspection, I realize I really dislike the learning enrivonment I'm in. The state school I'm at has 20,000+ students on campus and my classes are huge and impersonal. Coming from a private Catholic university with a max of 22 kids in each class for my undergrad/MBA, this massive state school atmosphere with 400+ kids in my classes is really bothering me.

I already have an issue with distractions/finishing a test on time, and at my last chem exam, the distractions were RIDICULOUS. They interrupted us 4 times throughout the entire exam because there were 4 separate typos and mistakes in the data, formulas, and integral things we needed to be able to calculate!! We had to re-write half the data since it was wrong and go back and recalculate it all later on! I was so distracted and frustrated I actually shouted "holy s#$%^" during the exam. LoL. Felt better afterwards too!

When I thought the distractions couldn't get any worse, the exam proctors told us they would need to collect our exams and move us across campus to finish the exam in another room!! Another class needed this room at 6:30pm! We were scheduled in this room instead of our regular room due to a class conflict there... and now there's a conflict with THIS room too!?!? Goodnesss, it was so frustrating and I realize I'm not happy in this type of environment, regardless of if I got a B on this exam.

I think I am indeed going to withdraw from this large university and take my pre-reqs at a smaller community college. Financially, it also makes sense this way. I believe I would rather have all A's from a CC than struggle immensely to barely make C's in a state university <--Cause that's not going to get me into med school with those crappy grades and med school is the only reason I'm taking these classes clearly. I realize sometimes this is advised against, but there are plenty of people who get into med school with community college credits, and as a non-traditional student who already has an MBA Degree and very good grades there, I need to be able to demonstate my knowledge in the sciences as well without ruining my very good GPA.