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Trigonometry and General Chemistry

sinsontesinsonte Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
I'm a few weeks from finishing the my first semester of college and I'm not thinking about preparing for what's to come next semester as well as two semesters from now. I'd been out of school for 7 years and I never fully learned Algebra. I never even actually learned any Algebra II, so I had to take some remedial course in math, starting with Elementary Algebra. I've passed my first three exams with 100, 97 and 99, and with only two more exams left, it's clear I'll be moving on to intermediate algebra next in the Fall. I'm planning on taking a calculus course and possibly Physics as well, and I was wondering what types of math books I could get to get me ready for Intermediate Algebra and also what types of problems I'll be working on. Factoring and working with exponents isn't anything complicated, but I imagine things will get more complicated moving forward, or at least this will start to build onto each other more. Any tips to get myself ready?

My second question is in regards to taking a Chemistry course with my math background stopping at acing exams in Elementary Algebra. What types of maths will I be needing to have down to prosper in a Chemistry course? Is the math in Chemistry building on something one learns in these Algebra courses, or is it a different type of math all together that I'll have to learn? I didn't do well in IPC in High School, but I'm really focused now and acing my current courses. Is there anything I can read to prepare myself for General Chemistry I, like a Chemistry for Dummies book or something? Would you guys recommend that I continue growing my math skills in these Algebra courses before taking General Chem I (I have Intermediate then College Algebra) or does that not matter in regards to Chemistry equations?

What can one expect in a General Chemistry I course in general and is it particularly difficult for any reason?

Thanks in advance.

Replies to: Trigonometry and General Chemistry

  • southerncharm95southerncharm95 Registered User Posts: 194 Junior Member
    As one who took General Chemistry I & II at a local college in highschool, I will provide what insight I can. First off, I think you'll be absolutely fine math-wise. I took both courses having only completed highschool Algebra I, some of Algebra II, and absolutely no trigonometry and was beyond fine. Keep in mind I've struggled with math all my life. The math skills it requires are really just basic addition/subtraction/division/multiplication and being able to calculate significant figures. You'll be just fine with the math skills you have. With my math background, I finished both courses with an A.

    As for improving in math, I would highly, highly recommend Chalkdust books. They're expensive, but well worth it. The set I bought comes with the textbook, a DVD showing the process for completing all the problems in the book, and a number to call at anytime for personal help with a Chalkdust tutor. I would purchase it and work on it over the summer. Kind of go back and review highschool level Algebra II (and I if needed). I'm not 100% sure if they have college level textbooks, but I think they do. I was homeschooled k-12, and have tried dozens and dozens of math textbooks...I started going through a Chalkdust Algebra II book about a month ago, and it has made a world of difference for my math skills. I plan on taking College Algebra come fall, and this has really helped me build the solid foundation I've always lacked in math.

    As for what you can expect in general during Chemistry, it's difficult, but if you work hard at it, it should be entirely possible to finish with a good grade. I would recommend taking a light load outside of General Chemistry I because it does require some time to really understand the concepts and complete homework and lab assignments. Of course this varies with the professor, the course, and the individual, but in general, it's going to take time to really understand everything. I personally have a bad habit of procrastinating until the last minute, then doing some last minute flashcard flipping 15-30 minutes before taking the test...usually acing the test too, but I wasn't able to do that with Gen Chem. I really had to set aside 1-2 hours each day to study Chemistry. That said I had a professor who was heavy on the powerpoint slides and didn't really teach. That combined with an incredibly dry textbooks forced me to learn it pretty much on my own. If you feel yourself struggling, immediately go find a tutor before you fall too far behind. I had to get one during Chem II as I felt I was falling behind, he helped catch me up to where I needed to be and gave me a study plan for the rest of the semester. It was a big help. I never tried any "Chemistry for Dummies" or any other supplemental books, but I'm sure those would help. You might also just buy the textbook used in the course well in advance and start working through the chapters yourself. If you get stuck, go on Youtube and look for tutorial videos, there are a lot out there. My two grade-savers consisted of ChemistNate (lovelovelove his videos) and some other nerdy guy whose channel name I can't remember. He has blonde/brown hair, normally uses models to show the process (great if you're a visual learner) and his videos always have two screens, the main one showing a frontal shot of him as he works with the models on a table, the other showing an overhead shot of what he's doing. It's a young guy, 20-ish, his videos are pretty popular, you should be able to find him easily on Youtube. Anyways, I'll stop now, sorry about the book, hope this helps you some and good luck!
  • sinsontesinsonte Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Thanks for the great response. I'll apparently have to finish Intermediate Algebra and Intro to Chemistry before taking the General Chemistry I course. I'll have to continue speaking with the counselors about all of my needed courses as to make sure I'm getting all the correct information. Again... thanks for the great information.
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