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Study advice

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by 7175pank, Apr 22, 2012.

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  1. 7175pank

    7175pank Banned

    Apr 18, 2012
    I'm noticing a trend with a lot of my grades where I do a lot better in certain science courses than others in spite of the class average. I was wondering if anyone had any idea as to exactly why this is.

    The trend goes like this: Bio > O-Chem > Phys > Chem

    I don't find any of these classes significantly more interesting than the other. It's weird but bio and o-chem feel like they come naturally to me. Phys not so much but with a little bit of practice I find that I can handle myself just fine. When it comes to chem I feel like a total dunce who, despite struggle, is forever stuck in the B range. If anyone here has a better appreciation for what sorts cognition is involved with these classes offering advice is much appreciated.

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  3. Elemino215


    Feb 13, 2012
    I am a bit of the opposite. I have an easier time in Chemistry than Biology.

    I think this is because Biology is all concept and memorization. There aren't a large amount of variables, and very little use of math. Chemistry does have it's own share of concepts and theory, but it involves a much larger amount of math and practicality. Memorization only gets on so far.

    Some people just seem to be better at one than the other.
  4. 7175pank

    7175pank Banned

    Apr 18, 2012
    I think there is a lot to that.

    I do better in physics, which involves math, but it usually involves memorizing clever short cuts and broad application which can be summarized into single step processes. Chem, on the other hand, is very precise and elongated and quite frankly I do not have a very meticulous personality (but I'm working on it).

    Do you just do oodles and oodles of practice problems?
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012
  5. Praefectus

    Praefectus MS-0

    Mar 30, 2012
    You might just have a weaker math background, although that would apply more so to physics. I'd try to nail some of the concepts of Chem because it gives you a better understanding of the overall picture.
  6. 7175pank

    7175pank Banned

    Apr 18, 2012
    The funny thing is that I feel like I do nail down the concepts, or understand the 'why', but I can never quite nail down the method.

    Example, a question from the final:

    Pt (s) | HCl (aq) (10 mmol) | H2 (g) (1 atm) || H2 (g) (1 atm) | HCl (1 mmol) (aq) | Pt (s)

    Find the voltage.

    Use Nernst, find the standard potential, yadda, yadda, yadda. I know WHAT the cell is doing, but I am unsure of how the **** it's doing it. I know it involves Le Chatelier and what not, finding equilibrium lies on one side which makes it more favorable for e- flow, but there's that little nagging piece of you that just isn't 100% sure.
  7. SMCmedicine

    SMCmedicine 2+ Year Member

    Jul 13, 2010

    JESSFALLING 2+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2011
    I'm Physics > Biology > OChem > Gen Chem. I'm good at mathematics & memorization, but I think that I struggled with setting the problems up in Gen Chem. (HW wasn't required for the course, so I didn't do enough practice problems....which is likely why I had such a hard time).

    For me, Chemistry = :eek: .......everything else is moderately easy.
  9. 235788

    235788 God Complex 2+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 2008
    The Slab

    I'm goofy.

    OP, you're clearly not doing the practice problems until you're proficient.

    Its easy to understand the concepts, but if you don't know how to manipulate equations and do the easy calculations you're scores will be lower.
  10. 7175pank

    7175pank Banned

    Apr 18, 2012
    Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm thinking :/

    Well I'm done with the course anyway so I'll never have to use it in that context again but it's definitely good to know where you fall short.
  11. 7175pank

    7175pank Banned

    Apr 18, 2012
    Yeah, that's exactly how I feel.
  12. solitarius

    solitarius 7+ Year Member

    May 20, 2010
    A burst of intense joy just overcame me as I printed out the hard-copies of my final two lab reports for Physics II. No more pre-med labs or lab reports for this fool. I still got a lab exam, finals, some homework problem sets, but it's all good. :D

    To the OP, I think the pre-reqs emphasize different types of learning and hence activate different parts of the brain/mind. Physics is pure quant, chem is quant and a potpourri of qualitative material, o-chem is applying a large quantity of qualitative principles to different contexts, and biology is framework-driven with a lot of memorization of details. Of the four, I can see how Gen. Chem. can be challenging due to qualitative & quantitative aspects. How unique is equilibrium (ICE) math?

    That said, all four pre-req courses involved problem solving; the only exception for me was Bio 2 (Molecular and Cell) which was 100% memorization and multiple choice. Bio 1 (Organismal & Evolution) had exams where the prof. gave us contexts and asked us to apply the material learned to the problem at hand.

    A third variable was that the workload differed by course. For me, physics had the most grueling lab of the four (screw uncertainty analysis!), but bio had some intense lecture papers as well as more exams. A final variable was the professor. Our Gen Chem 1 professor was easy. Our Gen Chem 2 prof was hard. Our Bio 1 professor set up the class to be the most grinding and workload-intense of all the pre-reqs, while the Bio 2 professor set it up so that everything came down to 2 hourlies and a final.

    Regardless of MCAT studying and ECs, I'm already looking forward to going out again when summer comes and my finals are over.

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