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Taking Chemistry in Fall - Need Advice On How To Do Well!!!!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Confused 20, May 5, 2007.

  1. Confused 20

    Confused 20 Junior Member
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    I am taking Chemistry in the fall and am extremely frightened. I am very unintelligent, lazy, and have not taken many challenging courses in my undergraduate career. Can anyone give me advice on how to do well on Chemistry? I already have the textbooks and class will begin in 113 days. The textbook has 23 chapters. How many chapters do you think will be covered in the first semester sequence? Should I focus on one chapter a week? What are the best self-help books on Chemistry? Is Schuam's Outline of College Chemistry a good source to help me teach myself? What goes on in the lab? Are there any resources that could help me become accustomed to what goes on in the lab? Ultimately, how should I spend this summer preparing for Chemistry (considering that I have the textbooks)?

    Any input on how to do well will be appreciated. Thank you.
     
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  3. Nowaythisnameis

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    read the textbook
     
  4. degoo_

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    First off, you are worrying too much about introductory chemistry. It is challenging but extremely doable. To try to answer your specific questions:

    1. Can anyone give me advice on how to do well on Chemistry?

    Do a lot of practice problems. Understanding the concept is good, but practicing it repeatedly is better. Lots of the test questions will just be permutations of examples from class/text, so make sure you understand and can do these well.
    Study groups usually help too as someone may ask a question you thought you know but don't.

    2. I already have the textbooks and class will begin in 113 days. The textbook has 23 chapters. How many chapters do you think will be covered in the first semester sequence?

    I don't know. You'll do some introduction (masses, nomenclature, bonding theories, equilibrium, rates (kinetics), thermodynamics, little organic.

    3. What are the best self-help books on Chemistry? Is Schuam's Outline of College Chemistry a good source to help me teach myself?

    I found the textbook sufficient (+office hours, friends, TAs, lecture, notes). There are tons of books out there if you need help though. Don't go buying them all beforehand though.

    4. What goes on in the lab? Are there any resources that could help me become accustomed to what goes on in the lab?

    Labs are easy and there is no preparation. Just be careful and meticulous in the lab. There's no real practice for this- you'll be weighing things, mixing, observing etc. Don't worry about the labs. Perhaps get a lab coat and goggles so that you are prepared.

    5. Ultimately, how should I spend this summer preparing for Chemistry?

    If you REALLY want to do something, I'd read the first bits of every chapter, getting a taste for what's coming up. Specific things to focus on which are important in intro to chemistry are bonding theories (VSEPR), ideas of equilibrium and nomenclature. Brush up on this and you'll be fine.
    I personally wouldn't do anything. Maybe peruse through the book and read interesting parts. enjoy your summer
     
  5. lizz1702

    lizz1702 New Member
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    like others have said relax and enjoy your summer. Don't stress now about the course. I just finished up two semesters of chemistry. The key with this, along with any other course is, don't fall behind.

    And also... try to read assigned chapters before each lecture. Take notes off lecture and also take your own notes as you read the chapters. Combine the two sets of notes later on. This is really helpful to use as an exam is coming up when rereading the textbook is not ideal. Work out any (well as many as possible) assigned problems and be sure to stop by office hours if you have questions. You must have a solid grasp of concepts to do well in chemistry. Memorization is not enough. Work on problems from old tests/example problems if available.

    As others have said study groups can be helpful too. I found the textbook and my professors notes to be sufficient. Occasionally I Googled something I didn't understand to pull up notes from other universities or Wikipedia.
     
  6. jochi1543

    jochi1543 President, Gunner Central
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    Don't forget to mention this when they ask you for your weaknesses at the interview.:laugh:


    Honestly, Gen Chem is as hard as you make it. There isn't really any intellectually challenging material there and if you keep up with the reading and assignments and ask questions about things you don't understand before they start snowballing, you're gonna get your A/A-. Some areas, however, do require memorization (think solubility rules) or lots and lots of practice (think reaction rates in Gen Chem II). Gen Chem II tends to be a little harder than Gen Chem I, but both can be easily conquered even if you are not an Einstein, while in physics, for example, you could bust your ass but you'd never get above a B+ unless you got that particular mindset that very few people seem to have.
     
  7. Revilla

    Revilla New Member
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    The only thing I'd disagree with the above poster about is lab. I really think this is school/professor dependent. I worked really hard in all my Chem labs, especially Chem II, which ate up a lot more time than a one-credit-hour class should.

    If you have to do pre-labs, make sure you do them before lecture so that you can go to office hours and ask questions if you don't understand them. Some of our pre-labs were just awful. Also, we were graded on yield so many people in my class ended up with less than satisfactory grades on some of the labs and since the lab is considered a separate course from the lecture, you really have to pay attention to that if you don't want a D in lab on your transcript.

    As for how to prepare -- I'm not sure it's wise to prepare now. With a good professor, you'll learn everything you need to in order to do well. Just stay on top of it. Chemistry requires a lot of time doing problems. As long as you can solve the problems assigned for homework and understand the concepts behind the answers, I think you'll be fine.
     
  8. little pebble

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    cosign, cosign, cosign! The only reason I got a B in Gen Chem I was because the bookstore ordered the wrong book for the class, so the class didn't have a textbook the first few weeks and bombed the quizzes. So stay at least with the professor's lesson plan, if not a little ahead.

    Go to office hours. I did this in physics (my hardest introductory science) and it helped out so much.

    And don't slack on any quizzes you get handed out. Those suckers can help you! Gen Chem I isn't that bad, so just relax! No worries.

    ;)
     
  9. Chem I for me was all memorization. Calculations are very basic, so those shouldn't be too hard.

    For Chem Lab, make sure you have a good TA. I know of some TAs who say they take off points just because they never give full points on their labs. Read the instructions about the lab before so that you can do everything quickly. Try to go to your TA's office hours so they can tell you what your lab report is missing, before you turn it in.
     
  10. searun

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    When you write your personal statement, focus on the theme of how you are unintelligent, lazy, and afraid of chemistry, and getting into med school should be cake. Good luck.
     
  11. bwonger06

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    depends... i did not open up my text book at all in my chem class both semesters unless i got stuck on some math problems, and going to end up with an A- first semester A/B pending final second semester. If you want to be successful using my method, go to all tests reviews. never miss class either.

    my friends are so jelous, i dont do anything and pull off better GPA. the luxury of being a psych major. ahhhhh
     
  12. scrubsaresexy

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    I think everyone else hit the nail on the head with keeping up with readings, if not staying ahead. It helps, especially since once you fall behind, you're sunk. Take good notes, ask questions, do practice problems, you'll be fine!

    Good luck! :luck:
     
  13. jochi1543

    jochi1543 President, Gunner Central
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    Hey, I never went to class, and even though that resulted in my missing a couple of pop quizzes, I still got an A!

    I did all the readings AND the "optional" problems. I think it was really the optional problems that set me apart from everyone else despite the fact that I went to like 3 lectures in the entire semester. I guess nobody else did them.
     
  14. Vvandenn

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    :bow:
     
  15. jochi1543

    jochi1543 President, Gunner Central
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    Fret not, I compensated with a D+ in Orgo I despite busting my ass for the entire semester so hard, I had to Lysol my entire apartment.
     
  16. Vvandenn

    Vvandenn Member
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    Chem I at my school is completely devoid of any calculations; it's all conceptual stuff. But because of this, they cram ALL the calculations into chem II and it's sort of a shocker at first. That being said, I had to work harder to maintain an A in chem II.
     
  17. shantster

    shantster Eye protection!
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    :confused: You're lazy, but you want to spend the summer starting to learn Chemistry before class starts? I'd hate to know what you think what "non-lazy" people do. :rolleyes:
     
  18. jochi1543

    jochi1543 President, Gunner Central
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    Prepare for the USMLEs summer after sophomore year of high school, you fool.
     
  19. christian15213

    christian15213 Membership Revoked
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    Act as if... Act as if your life depended on it... Act as if this was the most interesting thing you have ever done in your life. Act as if you like this ship and want more of it. Act as if you're the most cockiest kid on earth and you are looking to destroy mofo's... Act as if there is no turning back the mission must be completed or you will not LIVE... ACT AS IF THIS CRAP MATTERS...
     
  20. RowaH

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    Good point.
     
  21. Raihan Mirza

    Raihan Mirza The Lone Rider
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    Also studying the labs that you have for general chem I think will help you a lot too. Does anyone know the all labs that are done for general chemistry and have a description of each lab? Like a site from a college website?
     
  22. CTtarheel

    CTtarheel Senior Member
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    i found reading the textbook to be worthless. My advice is to GO TO LECTURE!, then make sure that you can do all of the assigned practice problems. If you find you can't do one, go back and look in the textbook for clues or go ask the prof.

    Also, use the practice problems to test yourself. Go through your lecture notes, be pretty confident that you know your stuff and then attempt the problems. They'll show you what areas you need to work on.

    To those of you that said chem is memorization you couldn't be more wrong. There are a handful of important concepts and equations in gen-chem (same for organic too) and if you really understand those you can figure the rest out. Memorizing is only for those who don't understand it in the first place.

    Good luck! I'm sure you'll be fine.
     
  23. shantster

    shantster Eye protection!
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    [email protected] I'm screwed. Even if I started now, I'll be two years too late.

    Maybe I'll go work at McDonald's. :laugh:
     
  24. c0mpletec0ntrol

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    try to get the old exams from a current student.
     
  25. LUCPM

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    It may be too early to start studying for the class that hasn't started. It may be difficult to keep yourself motivated and focused.

    If I were you, I would review some algebra and make sure you can do all the basic calculation that will be used in gen chem.

    Good luck.
     
  26. RowaH

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    Good idea.
     
  27. Karnage

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    Exactly. I got a B in Gen Chem I and II because I let myself fall behind both times. The material is far from challenging and I know that if I put any sort of effort in to stay ahead that I would have easily had an A in the classes.

    I would enjoy your summer but if you already have the book, the week before classes start I would read the first chapter and take notes on it so that you're ready to rock when the semester starts. It would let you get off on the right foot and allow you stay ahead.
     
  28. paranoid_eyes

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    :laugh: riiiight.....

    anyways, ur on the right track with schwaums (sp?) because that book is pretty darn good for extra problems. So is REA problem solvers. Just sit down two days before the exam and do the following: Day 1: Skim all the theory and understand the equations. do all the problems the professor recommended. Day 2: Do extra problems frm other sources. Get a good night's sleep the day before the exam
     
  29. DreamyKid

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    are you serious? you calculated how many days it'll be until this course starts? wowwwwwwwwwwwwww. talk about fear.

    Don't worry, it shouldn't be too bad. If you're good at math, it'll come fairly naturally. If math is not your specialty, thats still okay. just prractice the hw. Seriously, theres only a few ways a professor can ask you a question, and if you've done them all, you're fine.

    Honestly, I don't think it'll be good to use another book. Just focus on your official textbk and do all the hw probs n you should be fine.
     
  30. geneticclone

    geneticclone Guest

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    Haha, your afraid? Im taking 1 year of chemistry in 1 summer. I can't wait, and i sucked at chem in high school.
     
  31. cnoevil

    cnoevil good with kids
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    no one cares
     
  32. RowaH

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    Very good point. In fact, I bookmarked this entire thread because of your wisdom.
     
  33. EMDream

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    "I am very unintelligent, lazy"

    LOL. That's a bad combo. You can be lazy and intelligent and do well. And unintelligent and have a great work ethic and get it done. I suggest modifying the one modifiable factor there :)
     
  34. bigDee

    bigDee Junior Member
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    I always slept in lecture. I made an A by reading the book and doing the practice problems.
     
  35. xanthomondo

    xanthomondo nom nom nom
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    Don't drink excessively and you'll be fine
     
  36. PChemGrad

    PChemGrad I am a banana.
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    If you are a chick, sleep with your TA, they will give you a good grade. One of my students almost did this to improve her grade, this past semester. And she was Hot too, so I would've done it.
    It is an unwritten rule.
     
  37. Jacks Mannequin

    Jacks Mannequin if you're into it
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    Chill...gen chem is not that bad, dude.
     
  38. RowaH

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    Would it work the same way if you're a sexy male?
     
  39. JaggerPlate

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    You'll be fine. Matter a' fact, I wouldn't personally recommend reading the textbook on your own before the class starts because you truly don't know what will be covered; and you could end up just confusing yourself. As far as what will be covered (searching brain for gen chem I info): bonding (covalent and ionic), pka, hybridization, electronegitivity etc ... etc. I truly can't recall too much right now, but here is your best bet: 1. Go into the class ready to dominate, and keep up with everything in the class. This means doing reading, problems, and studying a bit each night. 2. Make yourself known to your Professor and TA right away ... basically, attend office hours. 3. Don't flip out about g-chem, you'll get the hang of it.
     
  40. AlXguy

    AlXguy idk.
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    whats wrong with memorization huh? I don't undertsand why people always complain about memorizing stuff, e.g biology and chemistry. For me memoriziation is the best study technique. Thats the reason i get high grades in every one of my classes. Fact:the more you memorize, the better you get at it.
     

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