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What is the difference between an "A" student and a "B" student?

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by Pharmtobe123, May 13, 2010.

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  1. Pharmtobe123

    Pharmtobe123

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    Mar 31, 2010
    Hey guys,

    I am a 3rd year prepharmacy student and I'm really frustrated. I just can't seem to figure out what am I doing wrong. So I just got my final grades and here it follows: B, B, B, B+. I am not trolling or trying to act conceited because I know it's B's and there's nothing wrong with that, but what is concerning me is that after 40 credit hours my GPA is only a 3.1!

    Literally I only have 2 A's on my transcript: one in statistics and one in English. Everything else is straight (B-,B, and B+'s) With the exception of organic (and labs) which I C's in.

    It just seems so hard for me to push my GPA up since most of my grades are B's. I mean how are you guys acing your classes with A's?

    I don't have a set routine where I study, I do procrastinate at times but try to do well but just can't make the A's.
     
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  3. Passion4Sci

    Passion4Sci LML Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

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    I don't have a set routine where I study,

    That's the problem.

    In my experience in tutoring a lot of students, (Even ones that ended up getting As in difficult coursework, absolutely), the biggest single difference between someone who gets solid B/B+ grades vs. a solid A/A- grade is how they continually study through the week, a little at a time.

    Say someone's taking Chemistry w/ LAB, Calculus, A&P and Micro. This is not a wholly unreasonable semester/quarter and has happened a lot. The B student, all other things held equal (e.g., experience in biology and chemistry and math prior to these courses, etc) will study less than the A student. The B student will likely go home after lecture and piddle around, might glance at the notes, but really will only study a few days before an expected exam or quiz unless another reason presents itself to do so.

    Another big difference between A and B is that the B student thinks s/he is good enough at whatever subject during lecture that s/he does not seek help or does not take thorough notes during class (Hey, I know how to do this... as the professor explains it, later student cannot reproduce it accurately or can't reproduce a permutation of the more basic example). The A student recognizes that s/he doesn't just master the material by sitting in lecture (Some people can, of course, and also instructor plays a role here... some instructors teach to the test, even at Stanford) so s/he goes home right after class and looks over the notes diligently, etc.

    This is my opinion and I'm basing it on a lot of observational learning from being in a lot of college environments since 2000 thanks to my whacky non-traditional life. There are other differences other posters will likely tease out, but I think those are among the most important.

    Time management goes along with #1.
     
    BidingMyTime likes this.
  4. SHC1984

    SHC1984 Banned Banned 5+ Year Member

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    I agree with Passion. A students on average study more AND they study at a set schedule. For example I study about 3 hours a day, EVERYDAY while I was in pharmacy school...it doesn't matter if there was a exam or not I studied everyday. It doesn't have to be very long hours...just 3 hours but it's on a daily basis. Most B students would wait until the night before the big exam to cram...I can't do that I like to sleep so I rather study a few hours everyday then to pull an all nighter!

    A students also take better notes. I see people in my class on facebook during lecture! I can't imagine doing that. I take down everything the professor saids in class.
     
  5. b1234

    b1234

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    Coming from another non trad - I agree for the most part. It has been my experience, and I have heard multiple teachers say this also - that most undergraduates do not understand the idea of studying in advance. What I mean by this is: studying something with the intent of learning it and putting information into long term memory - as opposed to studying (cramming) for a test with the intent of (for the short term) memorizing something so that you can do well on a test. Even though (unfortunately) the latter method often will produce better grades - in the long run using the former method will pay off - especially when you study more difficult material that requires quite a bit of background knowledge and understanding.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that for any given subject each individual requires a different amount of studying to learn or understand it. Remember that recommended assignments are just that - recommended. Some people will require more than the recommended to learn something and some will require less. If you get a recommended problem set in say a chemistry or math class - you should (probably) not simply do the recommended problems and quit. You should do as many as it takes you to learn - whether that is the entire recommended problem set, part of the recommended problem set, or the entire recommended problem set and then some.

    Two things where I will disagree with P4S on are:

    I believe that it is often not the person that studies the most - that learns the material best and does the best on tests - instead it is the person that studies the most effectively.

    I also believe that many times (especially in easier classes) the people that learn the material the best do not always get the best grades. People who study specifically for tests will often earn A's without truly understanding and without retaining the material.


    In the OP's case I think the difference between earning A's and B's is more due to not really knowing how to study the most effectively. Unfortunately for students his is a skill that often is not taught anymore schools.
     
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  6. nexus14

    nexus14 2+ Year Member

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    I don't know about A or B students, but the difference between an A and a B is that the bottom line portion of the B is removed.

    All joking aside, procrastination is the bane of a student. For me, I spent too much time online, watching Youtube videos, etc. when that time could have been better studying.

    Set restrictions on your free time and dedicate a time slot for studying
     
  7. Dezixn

    Dezixn 2+ Year Member

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    IDK. That is certainly true. Good study habits and class habits lead to A's.

    But I know plenty of people that don't go to class, don't take notes, and just study before tests and make A's... Not naming any names :eek:

    I'm going to say determination is the biggest thing. If you aren't determined you won't study and won't study well.
     
  8. arsenalfc11

    arsenalfc11 Accepted Pharmacy Student 2+ Year Member

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    Dedication
     
  9. chemguy79

    chemguy79 New Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    A students usually have the previous year's exams ... :laugh:
     
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  10. PharmGrrlJax

    PharmGrrlJax Accepted Pharmacy Student

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    I have several things to add. It helps to know what type of learned you are. When I came back as a non-traditional student, the CC suggested that I take a class called Student Success, which I assumed would be a huge waste of time, but in retrospect it taught me a lot, and helped me ace my classes. I figured out my learning style in that class, and how best to study based on that, it taught how to take notes effectively etc... Knowing that I am a visual learner with kinesthetic being secondary I knew that a tape recorder wouldn't help me, and might be worse for me. I know that seeing things and doing them is my most effective way to reabsorb the materials.

    And I do have to mention, courses such as Organic Chemistry require daily attention, even from B students. That class isn't class you can put off, because if you don't understand Monday's lecture, then Wednesday may seem like a foreign language and Friday you can end up feeling like you have never taken that class. For some people biology and other sciences are that way too.
     
  11. Sparda29

    Sparda29 En Taro Adun Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    This.

    But seriously, when I was in high school, I noticed the difference between the A students and me a B+ students was that I never studied. Never. Not even if I had a final or Regents or SAT or w/e. Back then, I'd just be able to go to class, do the homework, and get B+s. My parents always told me, if you just try a little harder, you could easily be a A+ student.
     
  12. bottlecap1990

    bottlecap1990 Banned

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    You need to EAT, SLEEP, CHEW, LIVE on that subject you want to ace. A "B" student normally only studies for a bit thinking that he/she will be fine on the test without understanding the materials COMPLETELY. Trust me, it is not that impossible to get an A. And make sure you do ANYTHING possible (extra credit, etc) to get that that A.

    Second semester prepharmacy student
    1st semester : All As
    2nd semester: 1 A so far, waiting for 3 more.
     
  13. jalwa

    jalwa 2+ Year Member

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    What should one think if they get an 89% and the instructor flat out refuses to given an A .

    I worked my ass off this semester in chemistry ending up with a B (89%). However, I do agree with some of the post that studying every day does help retain information than cramming material day before an exam. I'm also a firm believer in being intelligent. Doing well in college is more of being analytical test taker than anything else, if you ask me. Sometimes no amount of studying will prepare you for an exam. This is when test taking skills come into play.

    I used to study everyday, but still ended up with a B. Perhaps, I never understood the material well enough, I thought I did.

    Ben
     
  14. holymolys

    holymolys 7+ Year Member

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    i either get an A effortlessly, or barely makes B... sometimes you can just feel that most of the class is behind, and tests are so easy, like for my genetics class i only needed 40 pts on the final (3 out of 11 questions) to get an A, I barely studied in that class... also some classes are easier just because of the material is interesting to you and most importantly, the professor is awesome... then there are some not-so-awesome dudes that hates the world, and gives everyone B/Cs... when i took political science 101 or whatever, the class average is C, i asked around and pretty much everyone's scored 60/100 on their paper lol... good thing i did pass/fail on it
     
  15. byork

    byork 2+ Year Member

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    In Canada, an 89% is an A :)
     
  16. MB41

    MB41

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    I like this topic and am interested in seeing all the responses as well. I consider myself an intelligent person but always seem to end up with more B's than A's. Looking back, I would say that studying every single day would've made a huge difference. Don't get me wrong, I study a lot but definitely could have more. I think in addition to going over notes after class everyday, I would have utilized my resources more (TA sessions, office hours, etc. ). Hopefully I will be able to apply these in pharmacy school!

    Also, I think it comes down to how much determination you have. Sometimes, I would find myself saying "Oh, I studied enough, I don't care anymore!" ha oops
     
  17. rxlea

    rxlea Almost a unicorn Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    1. Intelligence
    2. Spreading out study time/reviewing notes before class
    3. Relating the material to something else that you're already familiar with or that you are interested in.

    EDIT: these are not rankings
     
  18. sappr07

    sappr07

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    Right now I am in my second year of pre-pharmacy and I'm at a solid 4.0. The key to my success so far has just been spending tons and tons of time working. Just studying material isn't enough.

    In math courses you have to practice individual problems as many times as it takes until you get them perfect. I sometimes practice one type of problem for an hour or so until it doesn't matter what style the professor presents it in the next time.

    In english and humanities electives its really a matter of just how well you write. At this age you've either got it or you don't.

    Science courses are the worst however. Like previous people have said, you just have to study for hours and hours until you get it. If you want this job bad enough, you'll find the time.
     
  19. gilgamesh

    gilgamesh 7+ Year Member

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    To most adcoms outside of California, nothing.
     
  20. Thumper17

    Thumper17 2+ Year Member

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    To be honest what constitutes an "A-student" and a "B-student" is completely different by individual.

    For me, I can get a B with minimal effort, but I need to do about 3x more work to get an A in most classes. That is why I've always thought schools that do not use +/- grading are shady, giving someone who got an 79.5% the same grade as someone who got an 89 is rubbish! Maybe I am just bitter because I have a ton of A- on my transcripts:thumbdown:
     
  21. rxlea

    rxlea Almost a unicorn Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    I don't like plus minus. It doesn't really distinguish between those who really get the material and those who don't. Would you say someone who got a 93 knows much more than someone who got a 92? Or that someone who got an 89 knows more than someone with an 87. It also screws up the curve and makes for more competition.
     
  22. JEW UNIT

    JEW UNIT 5+ Year Member

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    +1 :thumbup:
     
  23. samuricool

    samuricool 7+ Year Member

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    Im pretty sure I know what your answer is going to be, and of course it differs person to person and comparatively between teaching philosophies, but what is so bad about more competition?
     
  24. rxlea

    rxlea Almost a unicorn Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Well, if you know what my answer is going to be, why are you asking? :smuggrin:
     
  25. nicolemsm

    nicolemsm 5+ Year Member

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    Another thing that works for me is STAYING busy.Always have something going on to keep myself preoccupied or else I get majorly bored. I would much rather be taking 20 credits than 15...

    Additionally I think that by creating LISTS and agendas planning your day beforehand REALLY helps in keeping track of WHAT needs to be completed by when. Plus it keeps you super organized.

    Lastly, UTILIZED ratemyprofessors.com!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    :)
     
  26. ASuw

    ASuw

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    I think studying a bit in advance and sleeping before the exam night really helps. Plus getting A definitely requires extra dedication...practice questions...even if those aren't recommended. Like for example, for my Calculus 1 and Calculus 2 exams i practiced as many questions i could. And i ended up with straight As
     
  27. Zera

    Zera 7+ Year Member

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    Haha my parents say the same exact thing to me.
     
  28. Pharmtobe123

    Pharmtobe123

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    Wow guys, so many replies, thanks for all your input. Although a lot of you made good points but I could disagree with some. I don't think that a B student doesn't have the dedication or the strive that they can't do well (because I do work very hard for my grades), but I do think after reading most of the responses here that I could adjust my studying habits a little.

    Its not the quantity that you study but the quality (or in other words how effectively one studies rather then the hours)

    I never had a set schedule to study, I would study about a week and a half before a test, straight 6 hours a day, instead of spreading out my study time. If a class had 3 exams I would do really well on two and then bomb the 3rd one which always would bring me down to a "B" average. I always feel like I study a lot but maybe I'm not using my time efficiently and probably should stay consistent with my study schedule.

    But sometimes I feel that taking 4-5 science classes and then coming home I don't have time to review all my notes for all of my classes. And sometimes I also feel if I only study 2-3 hours everyday, its not enough. (I know that smaller study sessions are more efficient than a 5-6 hour study session) but sometimes I feel like I am slow and can't get enough studying done in just 2-3 hours.

    Nevertheless, it's never to late to change and next semester I should readjust my studying habits.
     
  29. Tinkerbell22

    Tinkerbell22 2+ Year Member

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    I agree with PharmgrrlJax... it depends on your learning style too... You can take hints and pointers from everyone here, but when it comes down to it, there will be some that work for you and some that don't. I think all of the advice is valuable though.

    I also agree with Lea... some people just 'get' stuff easier or more quickly than others. It also helped me to relate things to stuff I was interested in... I personally hated Physics, but I just had to pretend that I liked it and try and relate the material to stuff I cared about to help me get into the studying.

    And Thumper... I agree about the +/- thing too. I don't necessarily have a problem with it in general, but it's not fair that some schools don't use it while some schools do. If you have a lot of A-, then your GPA will be closer to a 3.7 than the 4.0 of your counterparts at non +/- schools (a lot of community colleges *cough*) lol jk Please don't yell at me! (I'm getting flamed for saying that... I'm joking, kinda).

    I agree with Nicole too... staying busy always helped me too. If I know I only have 2 hours between class and work (or sports practice, club meeting, event, etc) and I will be too tired to study when I get home, I will study study study in the 2 hours I have, rather than sit around and procrastinate and stay up alllllll night long when I'm bored.

    I do thrive off of stress though (and it kind of seems like Nicole might too) so this might not work for everyone. It's not a bad thing though, and a lot of people are probably the same.
     
  30. Thumper17

    Thumper17 2+ Year Member

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    I agree that someone who got a 93 probably did not grasp the material much more than someone who got a 92, but a 1% change could be the result of many different minor factors (missed HW assignment, late paper, missed exam question or two, incorrect format on a lab report, whatever). That is why the GPA difference in this case is minor, 0.33 points.

    However, someone who got a 89 CLEARLY had a better grasp on the material than someone who got an 80. Therefore, the GPA difference should reflect this, by 0.66.

    Neither system is perfect, but up to a 10% grade difference with no GPA difference is insane. I don't want every course to be cutthroat, but school is SUPPOSED to be competitive.

    If I had scored an 89 on my PCAT for example, but my score reported only read "Top 20%" I would be lumped in with people who got an 80, and the same goes with grading without +/-. That is Rubbishhhhhhh!
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
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  31. bottlecap1990

    bottlecap1990 Banned

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    I go to a community college. and WE DO have A- and B-
    A- is a 3.67
    B- is a 2.67.


    Also you can absolutely compare a B and an A student. An A student truly cares and understand more about the subject more than a B student. But not the case between A and A- because they only differ by 2-3 pts on a test
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2010
  32. keyy200tx

    keyy200tx 7+ Year Member

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    I agree with Passion. I think you will make A's if you put in at least 75 percent of your time and tell yourself I don't know this material so i need to master it. I left my chemistry class which I thought will be an easy A because I know half the book and used my time for physics. My average on chemistry was 89.5% and the teacher gave me B. He told me he knows I didn't put in enough effort and knows this because I missed half of the homework. It's true because I used that time for physics (98% average)
    My time is you put in more effort you will earn a `better grade, we all go to class to learn so don't think your friend is was smarter than you. He might be doing something you are not doing.
     
  33. Tinkerbell22

    Tinkerbell22 2+ Year Member

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    I realize that some CC's do use that system, but a lot of them don't either (which is why I expected people to comment when I said that). It's nothing against people who do go to CC's... but I do think almost anyone put into the same situation would feel a little bit slighted. If you have the same general percentages as someone who goes to a different school, but you have a 3.7 on your transcript and they make out with a 4.0... it does seem a tad unfair. But obsessing over it and complaining is just nit picky to me, which is why I said I was 'jk' because I've never been the kind of person to ask a professor to change my grade if I already passed a class, or obsessed over an already 'high' GPA like a 3.7 or something like that (my GPA is actually lower, but I still felt like I had a successful undergrad experience).

    But anyway... what everyone else is saying is true. I've always done better when I feel worried about the material and study as much as I can, rather than feeling overly comfortable and not devoting as much time to that particular class. When I first started orgo I freaked out over its difficulty level because I was expecting it to be impossibly hard. I went to every class, did lots of problems (something I admittedly never normally did... I just did the in chapter examples rather than all of the ones in the back of the book/chapter)... and I managed to do really well.
     
  34. rxlea

    rxlea Almost a unicorn Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Competition is only good to an extent. When you get into a class with a bunch of gunners, it is not enjoyable. Although I use the word gunner liberally in this context, I must say that there is something to be said about a "cohesive" class; meaning that people want to help each other out to succeed rather than trying to outdo each other in every way. It can get a bit cut-throat. There is such a thing as healthy competition and, well, the alternative...
     
  35. shimme

    shimme

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    i also have a question about this..........

    would getting mostly B's in your preqreqs decrease your chances of getting into pharm school?

    or is the general consensus that B students have as much ability as A students , but just dont put in as much effort?
     
  36. Passion4Sci

    Passion4Sci LML Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

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    I think that's going to be a completely different response at every pharmacy school, since not every school has the same admissions people and opinion on this differ widely.

    That said, a ~3.2 cumulative GPA and a similar pre-requisite GPA (Mostly B/B+ grades) should be absolutely fine.
     
  37. Tinkerbell22

    Tinkerbell22 2+ Year Member

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    IMO having a 3.0+ GPA is okay, but if it's on the lower end it's important to do well on the PCAT (non-California schools) and have other things to boost your application. Like having pharmacy experience, long term volunteer service, maybe a part time job, extra curricular activities, club membership/leadership positions, etc. Obviously not everyone is going to have each one of these things, but a well rounded mix is good.
     
  38. b1234

    b1234

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    We never had a problem with people being too competitive or not helping each other/studying together etc. in undergrad - even in classes where grading was curved. All depends on the program you're in and what kind of students it tends to attract...

    Agree - higher is better, but as long as you meet minimum pre-reqs you at least have a chance - you just have to have enough other things that are positive to make up for (lower than average) grades. I've said enough times before - that I think most (undergrad) students place way too much emphasis on GPA.
     
  39. rxlea

    rxlea Almost a unicorn Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Of course.

    But, I am talking about the pre-pharm, pre-med courses specifically. These are not programs.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2010
  40. Passion4Sci

    Passion4Sci LML Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

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    We were talking about grades so I thought I'd pull my A&P class grades out of the hard drive. This was prior to the final but no one's grade changed very much (15% final and it was quite difficult).

    [​IMG]
     
  41. rxlea

    rxlea Almost a unicorn Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    I am assuming that you are the A :D

    EDIT: Someone got an 8? lmfao
     
  42. Passion4Sci

    Passion4Sci LML Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

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    I am actually the 89, and I ended up with 89.791% in the class, and managed to convince him to go with significant figures and eck out the A.

    2 As finished in that class... and yeah, someone got an 8% in lab - They turned in every lab extremely late, and the professor had a rule where if you turned it in more than 1 class period late, it was immediately only worth 10% of its original points.
     
  43. delano2000

    delano2000 D-Mod likes to parTAY Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Pharmacist

    I agree with P4Sci. One thing to note also is that everyone have different study habits. I tend to procrastinate as well but I usually end up doing well regardless. Also, mind over matter works at times. For example, I never had an A in any Math course throughout my collegiate life. I told myself that this semester I would get an A in at least one of the Math courses I was taking this past semester, especially since this was it for Math for me. Even though I had a lot of issues and injuries this past semester, I came out with A's in both Calculus and Statistics. It can be done so just keep trying.
     
  44. jalwa

    jalwa 2+ Year Member

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    I feel that having superior test taking skill is key to success. Think about it, majority of the grade is depended on performance of exams.


    Ben
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2010
  45. gilgamesh

    gilgamesh 7+ Year Member

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    If you are going through your material just barely once before the exam and expecting to get an A, you know you're doing something wrong. My undergraduate classes went something like this:

    If it's a lecture class, listen to all of the lectures and make sure you understand every sentence in the recording while you're taking notes. Go over every lecture as many times as you can and memorize what you need to.

    If it's a textbook class, read all of the chapters (every section) and do every problem so you understand them. Go over the readings/problems as many times as possible and memorize what you need to.

    I am referring to undergraduate college here: I know this isn't true in all cases (especially on "hard" exams) but deciding to guess more than 2-3 questions on a 25-33 multiple choice test after giving the questions much thought is a sign that you did not prepare for that exam in order to get an A. It's about being thorough and consistent... knowing what to do is really just a given. It's OK if you don't succeed, your adcom probably won't know that you made that B+ by the skin of your teeth with a curved 77.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  46. rxlea

    rxlea Almost a unicorn Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Sounds like too much work.
     
  47. Thumper17

    Thumper17 2+ Year Member

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    I will use this as my example of why knowing WHAT to study is more important than how much time total is spent studying.:thumbup:
     
  48. b1234

    b1234

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    I am a firm believer that "memorizing" (when most students say memorizing they are referring to short term memory) most things for classes is counterproductive. Far better to understand concepts so that you can figure things out later. Not only does this better prepare you most tests, it also helps you retain the material longer. While memorizing everything you think you need to know may help you do well on a particular exam - if you memorized the right things - in the long run you are worse off than if you'd actually learned the material. Of course some memorization is necessary, and some memorization will come naturally just because you see or do certain things so often.

    I'll use organic chemistry as an example because it is a class where most students feel the need to memorize every reaction:
    So let's say you memorize all the reactions you learn in class. When you take your exam, you can easily regurgitate all of the information and do fine... But what if you get problems that are more complex than the ones you memorized? Or examples using obscure reagents or obscure solvents?
    What about a year later when you've forgotten most of the reactions (because they never made it into long term memory, just short term memory)? Or what about when you're trying to figure out why your synthesis didn't work the way (you thought) it should have?
    Now on the other hand, the person that instead of memorizing - learns the concepts and the "why" behind things can handle those situations much better.

    Agreed... mostly - I would include knowing how to study also and state that knowing what to study does not mean only studying things that you think will be on an exam.
     
  49. dblock05

    dblock05 7+ Year Member

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    Feb 28, 2009
    Really nice thread...bookmarked it. Sadly, I bombed first semester with 1 A- and 3 B's. I've always been a B+ student in highschool and its always killed me inside.

    Some of the things mentioned here are really great and hopefully will inspire me to change my ways. For this spring semester, I finished with 3 A's and 1 B because I was really motivated to do well. Even then, that 1 B I got should've been an A and I did not put enough dedication into it. It was anatomy by the way....

    Now for the summer, I need to study for the PCAT so I am going to try to use these study habits/techniques to do well and on this upcoming fall semester.
     
  50. Bruna Mae

    Bruna Mae

    2
    0
    Jul 26, 2015
    This is a really interesting thread! I've been frustrated with the same thing, I would study really hard for the whole quarter and only manage B's. In high school and lower level college classes I've done fine, I've been able to barely study and get A's and B's. Now I'm taking upper level science classes for my Biochem major and I'm frustrated I'd study so hard! And still I can't seem to get anything higher than a B+ (88%)

    I think what people have been saying sounds really right because I'm not fully understanding what I'm studying. Cramming for a test has worked for me in the past but I definitely have to alter my study methods. I'll work on study a bit everyday, rather than freaking out and pulling all nighters for tests.
     

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