Jul 9, 2013
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Pre-Medical
I don't understand why i am doing so poorly in general chemistry.
I failed the first test with a 46% feeling like i got a C, or maybe a B.

I then failed the second test with a grade of 56%, feeling like it was a solid B.
I spent at least 3 times the amount studying for the second test, and even got A's on 3 tests from previous semesters.
I don't know what i am doing wrong. I get straight A's on all the homework and everything.

I have always gotten A's in almost every other type of science course i have taken before, and i can't even manage to pass this one.

There are 2 more exams and a final exam left.
The only good news is, the final exam replaces your lowest score.

The entire class is 800 points, 550 of them consisting of all exams including the final. So, so far im at 102/200 for the exams and about a 95% on all the homework combined.


My thinking is, if i don't get a B on the next test to drop the class.
 

ciestar

All grown up! MS4!
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Sep 18, 2013
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Let's start from the beginning…
how exactly are you studying for this class?
 
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OP
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Jul 9, 2013
53
3
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Pre-Medical
I do book problems, online homework problems, make flashcards over important concepts and other things to know like compound formulas and charges. I also do a ton of review material my professor provides. Like past exams to practice off, a "review sheet", along with sheets to go along with certain concepts, like a set of 50 different lewis structures for this test. I even went to two 5 hour long tutor session the week of the test, and i thought i felt really good, and even during the exam it felt good. Like i said i got high A's on taking the review sheet, lewis structure, book problems, and even the practice exams after studying and before taking the actual exam.

Maybe its my test taking technique?
Alot of the questions had tricky wording to them, so i don't know.
 
OP
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Jul 9, 2013
53
3
Status
Pre-Medical
I also found out that the last day to withdraw from the class is BEFORE the 3rd exam, so i don't know what to do.
 

moisne

5+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2014
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I don't know why you are making notecards in gen chem - that is just a time suck...

Did you ever take a look at your old exam to see what you did wrong? You should visit your prof.

Or if you have your old test back - evaluate why you missed them. Even learning from previous units is crucial because chemistry builds on itself. If you can't figure out what you did wrong, I suggest dropping. PM me if you need more help - I used to instructor gen chem.
 
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OP
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Jul 9, 2013
53
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Pre-Medical
The first exam was almost all calculations, this one was completely conceptual.. Lewis diagrams, electron configuration, chemical compounds, names, bonding, lattice energy, etc. I only make flashcards for conceptual material. I have both exams and i know what i got wrong from them... I am leaning toward dropping, and i will just study alot harder, and i already have copies of the first two exams.
 

MrLogan13

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When you look at your old exams, where are you making your mistakes? What's giving you the most trouble?
 
OP
N
Jul 9, 2013
53
3
Status
Pre-Medical
Calculation type problems, problems that involve tables and/or graphs, and "statement" type questions. the rest of my answers seem to be not taking enough time on the question or just not reading it carefully enough, just stupid mistakes that i should of got right. Either way, unless i get like A's or high B's on all 3 of the exams, i don't think i can pull a B in the class.

Maybe i should take a class on test taking strategies, because going over my last test, i really should of done much better than i actually did. I knew the material and it like i said i aced all my practice exams, which i treated like a real test.

No matter what happens, i think my best course of action is to drop the class,
and just study 10x next semester and pull an A, which would make it up for the W in my mind i guess. It just sucks to have a W on the transcript.

My university does offer a "repeat/delete" for a max of 3 courses though. i don't know if it applies for W's or just a letter grade though, which i have to check into.
 

Ophthoseidon

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May 5, 2014
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I would probably withdraw. Next time I'd hit the professors office hours and have him/her help you out with things you are struggling with. If your university has a peer tutoring program that might help as well
 
Why flashcards?

Use your common sense, imagination and understand concepts. When you feel that you understand all the theory, then proceed to the calculation part of chemistry by understanding every calculation exposed in the book. Finally proceed to do old exams in case they're provided by your school or search for worksheets in Google.

Recommendations:

Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter and Change by Martin Silberberg

In case you want to practice, http://chemunder.chemistry.ohio-state.edu/under/chemed/qbank/quizmain.htm
 
May 18, 2014
169
180
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Medical Student
Gen Chem is VERRRY math-heavy, in both level 1& 2. that seems to be part of your (and tons of other people's) issue. Do you have a tutor that you can meet with privately on a weekly basis? if not I suggest you find one-- I tutor students privately, and it seems like that extra attention and also a different teaching style than the professor's really helps to just make everything "click". If there is any chance of improving with these methods, I recommend you go for it and dont drop the class. with your current points, you can still earn a good grade. Plus, you need gen chem for the MCAT, and you wont do well in orgo (which you also need) if you havent taken gen chem. dropping the class will just put you all the more behind, so IF you can fix things now, that would be in your best interest. Good luck!


Edit: ALSO, khan academy (on youtube) helps a lot of people.
 
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Jul 12, 2012
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Something that improved my study techniques was having an honest conversation with myself about how I was studying.

I would subconsciously gravitate towards problems that was good at and avoid problems that were hard. I would feel really good about myself when I got a 100% on the problem set - but I wasn't challenging myself, I wasn't learning anything. I feel if you're getting perfect scores on every problem you're doing you're not learning because you're doing things you already clearly know how to do.

That's what pushed me from B's to A's (esp in classes where the tests were nothing like the hw). When I catch myself skating through a problem set I seek out something harder so I can fail on it, and learn why I failed, and never make that mistake again.
 

Conflagration

Avatar from MeluuArts of dA.
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Sep 26, 2011
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If you think gen chem 1/2 is math heavy you clearly haven't taken p-chem. Addition/subtraction =! differential equations.
Fortunately, not a lot of people have to take p-chem. P-chem is an entirely different ball game.

I've heard that if Gen Chem was hard for you, then Orgo will be easier for you. They work different parts of the brain.

OP, if numbers are really messing you over that much, you may want to talk to Student Success at your institution. If you can get the math help you need, it may be the thing that lets you kick Gen Chem's butt. They may be able to help you with study techniques as well.

Khan is really good, and I'll recommend it to anyone.

You could drop, but it may throw off your timing with your other classes. Does your university offer Gen Chem I during the spring? That's something to consider as well.

Is it curved? Will it be a W or a WF? Those would be the things I'd want to know before pulling the trigger.

Best of luck to you, OP!
 
May 18, 2014
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If you think gen chem 1/2 is math heavy you clearly haven't taken p-chem. Addition/subtraction =! differential equations.
That comment was for a student who is struggling with calculations in gen chem, and to whom it probably feels like a lot of math. And relative to MANY other pre-med courses, gen chem IS very math heavy. it had nothing to do with my own abilities in math, and actually I have taken both p-chem and difEQ. Regardless, I have no idea why you felt the need to add your post to this thread.
 
OP
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Jul 9, 2013
53
3
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Pre-Medical
I am just going to drop, but i will be taking it next semester. On the math basis, i am taking calculus next semester along with physics 2, Which i will also take chem 1 i guess.

I am just going to go to a tutor more regularly, and start studying alot earlier than the actual test date.

Thanks for all your advice.
 

altblue

5+ Year Member
Feb 11, 2014
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I am just going to drop, but i will be taking it next semester. On the math basis, i am taking calculus next semester along with physics 2, Which i will also take chem 1 i guess.

I am just going to go to a tutor more regularly, and start studying alot earlier than the actual test date.

Thanks for all your advice.
Not to be a downer, but 3 science/math courses can be pretty intense, especially when you've had to drop one already. Maybe take only one science course, chem ,or just one other STEM course along with it so you can have more time to work on it?
 
Apr 8, 2011
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Medical Student (Accepted)
If you think gen chem 1/2 is math heavy you clearly haven't taken p-chem. Addition/subtraction =! differential equations.
The bolded statement is a rude and inaccurate exaggeration. Everyone has different strengths; no need to show off.

In the context of courses that a premedical student normally takes, general chemistry is very math heavy. I'm referring to the general chemistry courses that overlap in material with the MCAT. Ex. ICE table for general chemistry.

I once tutored a student in general chemistry, and his professor was forcing students to memorize the H2 wavefunction, schrodinger equation, and etc. I had to remember stuff I learned in physical chemistry just to tutor this student. OP's course may be just as intense. In fact, your physical chemistry course could be equivalent to the OP's general chemistry course because you have no idea how difficult OP's course is.

@Noniy :
1st. I recommend dropping/withdrawing from this course. You could just be really unlucky and be in the situation of the student I tutored in general chemistry.

2nd: When you retake, observe how other students are studying for the course and adapt. I use different study habits depending on what science course I'm taking. Even between similar courses (memorization courses or calculation courses) I studied differently.
 
OP
N
Jul 9, 2013
53
3
Status
Pre-Medical
Not to be a downer, but 3 science/math courses can be pretty intense, especially when you've had to drop one already. Maybe take only one science course, chem ,or just one other STEM course along with it so you can have more time to work on it?
I am taking physics I, trig, and 2 easy elective courses all of which i am currently pulling an A.
Chemistry is my only problem. Although both physics and chemistry are both calculation, i find physics to be much easier.

The difference in the actual exams is that in chemistry it is 30 multiple choice questions, and in my physics course its all complex problems in which you have to show full work - no multiple choice.

I just have to change my study habits in chemistry for next semester. I already have a good chunk of knowledge for the first two exams, which i just have to expand on in order to be successful. I will just find different ways to study for chem, along with tutoring.

Also for next semester, if i drop any of the 3 courses it will go below 12 credits. In total between calculus, chem I lecture, and Physics 2 lecture/lab it is 14 credits. Also after this semester is over, all i need for my major and prerequisites consist of all science and math courses, i will be done with all elective courses.

I may of just piled on too much this semester, with everything in total im taking 18 credits, which has now dropped down to 14 with my dropped lecture course (although im still in the 1cr. lab)
 

billybumbler

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Jan 25, 2010
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I am curious as to what math classes you all would recommend prior to starting gen chem I. I have been out of school for a few years and want to be prepared. I never was great in math. Thanks!
 

Conflagration

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LOL that is a good picture.

However, Orgo is more spatial than Gen Chem. I'm not saying the OP can declare "To hell with General Chemistry!", because it's needed. A lot of the stereochemistry may come easier to them because they're inclined to think of a molecule as a 3D thing instead of a quantity. That was my trouble with Orgo I.
 

premedbrah

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Jul 2, 2014
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Don't you have a tutoring center on campus? And you sound like you aren't putting the hours in and just doing passive studying. You need to be actively studying not just copying and regurgitating information
 

tmn

Dr. Blake Downs
Jul 27, 2013
357
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LOL that is a good picture.

However, Orgo is more spatial than Gen Chem. I'm not saying the OP can declare "To hell with General Chemistry!", because it's needed. A lot of the stereochemistry may come easier to them because they're inclined to think of a molecule as a 3D thing instead of a quantity. That was my trouble with Orgo I.
That may be true to some degree. But that's like those kids who say they're going to blow off preclinicals and then crush Step 1 and crush clerkships. Generally in life, people who succeed continue to succeed, and people who don't continue to not.
 
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