Student don't read text = course not hard enough?

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1AO KTG

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"Students don't read text"
I usually bet three or more of my classmates in General chem 2. There is one guy that keeps beating me by a few points. He does not read the textbook. I know this is true because we have studied together. All he does is look over the lecture notes and practice problems. I tend to try and comprehend each and every word in every chapter. This ultimately gives me less time to do practice problems because I have spent so much time going over the concepts before practicing. Our exams consist of math problems and only a few questions for understanding. So he is more prepared for the mathematic side of things. However in class when the professor asks a question to test understanding he does not know, I always/usually do.

Do you guys think this means I will most likely score higher on the MCAT? I'm beginning to think this may explain some of the disparities between lower GPAs and high MCATs. At least I hope thats an accurate statement.
 
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Courses are too easy if the class average is ever an 86-88% or higher. Tests should cover both concepts and [relevant] details (at least in a hard science).
 

wololololololo

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Med students study mostly from lecture notes, course outlines, and review books and I'm pretty sure those classes are plenty challenging. Sure concepts are important, but pouring over every detail in the book is an inefficient use of time considering that not everything is (usually) tested. It's good that you have the concepts down since the MCAT is concept-heavy, but the meat of your test prep is going to be doing practice tests so both are important.
 
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circulus vitios

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Studying from textbooks is a waste of time. The vast majority of textbooks are poorly written and overly complicated. Use lecture notes and consult the textbook only when you need clarification.

No, it probably won't help you when you take the MCAT. The MCAT doesn't test on the pedantic details which textbooks focus on, and even if it did you'll have forgotten them all.
 

1AO KTG

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Med students study mostly from lecture notes, course outlines, and review books and I'm pretty sure those classes are plenty challenging. Sure concepts are important, but pouring over every detail in the book is an inefficient use of time considering that not everything is (usually) tested. It's good that you have the concepts down since the MCAT is concept-heavy, but the meat of your test prep is going to be doing practice tests so both are important.

Yeah, but med students have already gone through pre med. They should be able to learn new scientific medical material in medical school with an preexisting heavy science backgrounds
 

Stumpyman

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When I took Gen Chem 2, the questions were both math problems and conceptual problems, so reading the book helped. And it wasn't reading the book like a novel, it was more like taking active notes, rewriting practice problems, and doing any practice problems the book presents to you while you read.
 

Mountaineer12

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I've taken some pretty challenging courses (biochem, anatomy, neuro, immunology, etc.) and have honestly never needed a textbook. It depends on what methods work for you, don't compare yourself to others.
 

coyotelime

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My psychopharm class avgs are Ds. There is a "required" textbook but I would be surprised if anyone has kept up with it. A professor can be equally if not more challenging with PowerPoint slides or writing on the board. Textbooks are tools to guide you in a course while the professor teaches, not the other way around-at least in a class with a competent professor. Scrutinizing your friend's study methods is silly because everyone learns differently. Figure out what works best for you and stick with it. There is no guarantee if you stuck with the books that you will perform better, as you've discovered yourself.
 

1AO KTG

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it is unrelated to the mcat and why are you comparing yourself to your friend?

And how is it unrelated to the mcat. The test is about understanding the subjects as a whole. If you just have a bunch of formulas and mathematical steps memorized, thats not going to get you very far.

Most people would say Bio is nothing but memorization, however there is a lot of conceptual knowledge to be gained in chemistry as well. This is sort of what I was getting at.
 
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Whiskeypunch

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1. General chemistry is a joke. Skimming the lecture notes and showing up to class should be sufficient for an A.
2. The big concepts (acid/base, henderson-hasslecrack, etc) are all you need from gen chem for the MCAT
3. One person's study methods don't indicate anything about the difficulty of a course

Feel free and obsess about organic chemistry though, that'll get you farther on the MCAT. Also feel free and count organic chemistry as a hard class. Because it is.
 

Neurosis

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i don't read my textbook because I get enough info from the lectures to do decently, unfortunately not everyone is like that.
 

Stumpyman

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1. General chemistry is a joke. Skimming the lecture notes and showing up to class should be sufficient for an A.
2. The big concepts (acid/base, henderson-hasslecrack, etc) are all you need from gen chem for the MCAT
3. One person's study methods don't indicate anything about the difficulty of a course

Feel free and obsess about organic chemistry though, that'll get you farther on the MCAT. Also feel free and count organic chemistry as a hard class. Because it is.

Well that's open to subjection. Many (including me) find gen chem 2 harder than Organic. Probably cause I don't like math, and memorizing things/conceptual problems are easier for me.
 

Whiskeypunch

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Well that's open to subjection. Many (including me) find gen chem 2 harder than Organic. Probably cause I don't like math, and memorizing things/conceptual problems are easier for me.

I dunno, that just seems so foreign to me. General chemistry was like some easy math and a tiny bit of memorization.

My o-chem tests were brutal. Short passages all text. All the questions were short answer/essay. So nasty.
 

DinoSaysRawr

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Studying from textbooks is a waste of time. The vast majority of textbooks are poorly written and overly complicated. Use lecture notes and consult the textbook only when you need clarification.

No, it probably won't help you when you take the MCAT. The MCAT doesn't test on the pedantic details which textbooks focus on, and even if it did you'll have forgotten them all.
:thumbup: Just from my experience, I agree with that statement. Last semester, in Physics I, I tried reading the textbook and it kind of confused me. This semester, in Physics II, I completely ignored the textbook and I feel much better about the material when we're tested on it. I just rely on lecture notes and doing practice problems.
 
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well it doesn't sound like your attempts to compete with your friend are very successful so you might want to rethink that
and i pretty much never read any textbook and still did okay on the mcat
 

LazyElemental

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Well that's open to subjection. Many (including me) find gen chem 2 harder than Organic. Probably cause I don't like math, and memorizing things/conceptual problems are easier for me.
Not all Chem classes are created equal. I've taken chem at 2 different colleges, one had me deriving equations and the other was multiple choice. :(
 

sliceofbread136

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And how is it unrelated to the mcat. The test is about understanding the subjects as a whole. If you just have a bunch of formulas and mathematical steps memorized, thats not going to get you very far.

Most people would say Bio is nothing but memorization, however there is a lot of conceptual knowledge to be gained in chemistry as well. This is sort of what I was getting at.

Maybe you should take the MCAT before you decide how you need to do well on it. Honestly, I'd guess your friend has the better strategy than you (which is why he gets better grades).

1. General chemistry is a joke. Skimming the lecture notes and showing up to class should be sufficient for an A.
2. The big concepts (acid/base, henderson-hasslecrack, etc) are all you need from gen chem for the MCAT
3. One person's study methods don't indicate anything about the difficulty of a course

Feel free and obsess about organic chemistry though, that'll get you farther on the MCAT. Also feel free and count organic chemistry as a hard class. Because it is.

Many find gen chem harder than ochem. And why would obsessing over ochem help you more on the MCAT? Theres like 5 reactions you need to know....
 
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Aerus

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Focusing on BOTH conceptual and mathematics are important.

Balance reading the textbook with doing practice problems. If reading the textbook has birthed some success for you, I suggest you do that. You would probably score higher than your friend if you take some of that textbook time and devote it to practice problems. See how you do.

The MCAT is certainly not going to test you on all those details. Big picture ideas are much more important.
 

V5RED

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More than likely, a year from now you will have forgotten most of those untested details you spent hours trying to understand while your friend focused only on the important concepts and the problems which would be tested.

In no way do I see the strategy of reading an entire textbook as a win.
 

1AO KTG

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More than likely, a year from now you will have forgotten most of those untested details you spent hours trying to understand while your friend focused only on the important concepts and the problems which would be tested.

In no way do I see the strategy of reading an entire textbook as a win.

Yeah I wish I had of figured it out earlier. Someone did say organic chem was kind of an exception, I'm wondering if there are any others, like Cell Bio for example.
 

music2doc

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I usually bet three or more of my classmates in General chem 2. There is one guy that keeps beating me by a few points. He does not read the textbook. I know this is true because we have studied together. All he does is look over the lecture notes and practice problems. I tend to try and comprehend each and every word in every chapter. This ultimately gives me less time to do practice problems because I have spent so much time going over the concepts before practicing. Our exams consist of math problems and only a few questions for understanding. So he is more prepared for the mathematic side of things. However in class when the professor asks a question to test understanding he does not know, I always/usually do.

Do you guys think this means I will most likely score higher on the MCAT? I'm beginning to think this may explain some of the disparities between lower GPAs and high MCATs. At least I hope thats an accurate statement.

Nope. I actually anticipate he will do better on the MCAT than you will. Sorry. Sounds like he's the better problem-solver and needs far less time to understand the topics. You are basically a "memorizer" while he is a "synthesizer." He doesn't need all of the details because he can approximate them well enough to get a "good enough" answer, while you have to memorize all the details. Sorry, he's probably got the advantage here as well. The MCAT is about synthesis (i.e., critical thinking). They give you all the details in the passage....
 

music2doc

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Yeah I wish I had of figured it out earlier. Someone did say organic chem was kind of an exception, I'm wondering if there are any others, like Cell Bio for example.

Ochem's not the exception. It's the rule that everyone has to have pointed out to them.

Gchem was the same way. So is Physics. Cell isn't as much because it is so foundational and most of the underlying concepts are not yet familiar to most people taking the course (i.e., it's a pretty big step from the cell bio taken in gen bio...unless your Cell class is just that bad). (That said, with Cell and G-Bio as background, Genetics and Physio should both be fairly intuitive.)
 

1AO KTG

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Nope. I actually anticipate he will do better on the MCAT than you will. Sorry. Sounds like he's the better problem-solver and needs far less time to understand the topics. You are basically a "memorizer" while he is a "synthesizer." He doesn't need all of the details because he can approximate them well enough to get a "good enough" answer, while you have to memorize all the details. Sorry, he's probably got the advantage here as well. The MCAT is about synthesis (i.e., critical thinking). They give you all the details in the passage....

I seriously doubt that. Don't jump to conclusions. I CHOOSE to spend more time reading the book more than once. Now that I realize this is not the best approach for every course, I will change what I'm doing. I believe I am the more ambitious student here. We have our final exam on Monday. My book is closed. :cool:
 

sliceofbread136

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I seriously doubt that. Don't jump to conclusions. I CHOOSE to spend more time reading the book more than once. Now that I realize this is not the best approach for every course, I will change what I'm doing. I believe I am the more ambitious student here. We have our final exam on Monday. My book is closed. :cool:

Do you also choose to get lower test grades?
 
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Doesn't really make any sense, considering we have already outlined the reason that I have slightly lower test grades.


Just work harder. Spend less time relaxing and more time on the books. There is no substitute for work (except for mental intuition - which most are not fully blessed with).
 

TheKDizzle

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I usually bet three or more of my classmates in General chem 2. There is one guy that keeps beating me by a few points. He does not read the textbook. I know this is true because we have studied together. All he does is look over the lecture notes and practice problems. I tend to try and comprehend each and every word in every chapter. This ultimately gives me less time to do practice problems because I have spent so much time going over the concepts before practicing. Our exams consist of math problems and only a few questions for understanding. So he is more prepared for the mathematic side of things. However in class when the professor asks a question to test understanding he does not know, I always/usually do.

Do you guys think this means I will most likely score higher on the MCAT? I'm beginning to think this may explain some of the disparities between lower GPAs and high MCATs. At least I hope thats an accurate statement.

I honestly think you're both overanalyzing and rationalizing here.

Just do what you need to do to get the best grade that you yourself can, regardless of what other people around you are doing or scoring.

Also, the MCAT isn't about "understanding every word in every chapter." It's more often about applying general knowledge to new situations and drawing meaningful conclusions.
 

Neurosis

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I usually bet three or more of my classmates in General chem 2. There is one guy that keeps beating me by a few points. He does not read the textbook. I know this is true because we have studied together. All he does is look over the lecture notes and practice problems. I tend to try and comprehend each and every word in every chapter. This ultimately gives me less time to do practice problems because I have spent so much time going over the concepts before practicing. Our exams consist of math problems and only a few questions for understanding. So he is more prepared for the mathematic side of things. However in class when the professor asks a question to test understanding he does not know, I always/usually do.

Do you guys think this means I will most likely score higher on the MCAT? I'm beginning to think this may explain some of the disparities between lower GPAs and high MCATs. At least I hope thats an accurate statement.
I have to agree with the others, most likely if he's outperforming you right now without reading the text he will probably perform better on the MCAT. He probably is just able to absorb/process info more efficiently (which explains why he doesn't need the text, he just listens in the lecture).
 

music2doc

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I seriously doubt that. Don't jump to conclusions. I CHOOSE to spend more time reading the book more than once. Now that I realize this is not the best approach for every course, I will change what I'm doing. I believe I am the more ambitious student here. We have our final exam on Monday. My book is closed. :cool:

I'm not jumping to conclusions. I am your roommate.*


* In a figurative sense here. I was "that guy" that often didn't even bother buying the book because he just went to lecture and "absorbed" the material. I wouldn't say it made the MCAT "easy" but it certainly helped me to answer questions for which I had little background. (I managed a mid-30s MCAT with a humanities background and my practice tests were all high 30s/40s.) The MCAT is a test of synthesis/critical thinking, not memorization.
 

impact2d

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When I first started with Gen chem, I read everything. I read ever chapter and did every practice problem. The thing is, after I learned to think on a certain level and process information in a certain way, all I needed was review books or lecture slides in most cases.

I usually flip through the text, and if something seems to jump out as "foreign" to me, then I read it. I also read chapter summaries.

Same for physics, The lectures stress the concepts well in my class, the math is left for us to practice-so conceptually I get all I need for the lectures, I get the math practice from homework.

Bio was really the only subject I read, and go figure it's my least consistent section in my TBR chapter tests. Although, if reading works for you, read. If nothing else it helps build your endurance for the new style of MCAT bio passages.

I always made 1-2 page review sheets before tests and studied off of these. Now that I'm prepping for the MCAT, it's these sheets that I remember details from-all the high yield data and none of the fluff. It makes studying for the MCAT much easier. One thing I will say is make sure you FULLY understand acid base chemistry before O.Chem, it will make your life much easier.
 

UnclePhil

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I usually bet three or more of my classmates in General chem 2. There is one guy that keeps beating me by a few points. He does not read the textbook. I know this is true because we have studied together. All he does is look over the lecture notes and practice problems. I tend to try and comprehend each and every word in every chapter. This ultimately gives me less time to do practice problems because I have spent so much time going over the concepts before practicing. Our exams consist of math problems and only a few questions for understanding. So he is more prepared for the mathematic side of things. However in class when the professor asks a question to test understanding he does not know, I always/usually do.

Do you guys think this means I will most likely score higher on the MCAT? I'm beginning to think this may explain some of the disparities between lower GPAs and high MCATs. At least I hope thats an accurate statement.
I'm not sure what you mean by disparities between lower GPA and high MCAT. I'm pretty sure that overall, MCAT score would be more positively correlated than vice versa and that low GPA-high MCAT is more the exception than the norm.

And no, I don't think that you will score higher on the MCAT than him. People who have the complaints that you do usually don't know how to apply concepts (and thus see questions as simply "math problems"). This is the beauty of physical sciences, you're not memorizing a bunch of concepts you actually have to be able to do something with them. Gen chem requires no heavy math (beyond often tedious raw computation), this isn't upper level thermo or quantum, being "prepared for the mathematical side of things" means that he actually knows how the math ties into the concepts, either that, or you are really bad at basic algebra (which should probably be a concern on it's own). These "math problems," are a matter of 1) identifying what principle is being tested 2) applying such principle to solve a problem (via an equation or other) and 3) solving the problem. You have a breakdown in one of these steps and you should probably try to figure out a new method.

And yes, textbooks are basically useless these days and if you go over tiny minutia that is not emphasized in class, then you need to think about picking out the important stuff from all the fluff. The MCAT is going to be much less in-depth than your current gen chem class.
 
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