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What to do: Disappointing first semester

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Replies to: What to do: Disappointing first semester

  • albert69albert69 3191 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,247 Senior Member
    Post #135, yeah, that's what I've heard. I've studied Physics more than Chemistry, though.
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  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP 16183 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16,184 Senior Member
    Studying over the summer for the fall semester is NOT a good idea at all. The good idea is to seek help when have slighest doubt in understanding the concept in any class. Help is widely available at colleges, it is paid by your tuition, why not use it? Many do not realize that and their grades suffer. There are supplemental sessions lead by Supplemental Instructor leaders, there are prof's office hours, there are informal study groups, there are paid tutors. Do not hesitate to use them ALL if needed.
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  • scout59scout59 3466 replies67 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,533 Senior Member
    @albert69 - whether freshman chemistry is a weeder class depends on the university; at some places it's definitely a weeder class (or at least a shock to the system), while at others it's really not so bad. At most places, the real chemistry weeder is organic chemistry, but at some schools (UMIch, I'm looking at you), organic chemistry IS freshman chemistry.

    I know that I was stunned - STUNNED - to make a C on my first chemistry test in college. I was valedictorian in high school, National Merit scholar, all that, and I still struggled with college chemistry at first. I actually think it's a good idea to review the material during the summer because the class can move very fast.

    I say all this as a chemistry major and current chemistry teacher.....
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  • albert69albert69 3191 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,247 Senior Member
    @MiamiDAP When did I say that I was going to rely solely on my own knowledge and not ask for help? Of course I intend to ask for help and find extra instruction if I need it. I'm not stupid. I got an A in Calc I and part of the reason is that I visited the teacher's office hours every week to ask for help on homework, quizzes, etc. It isn't an either/or proposition - I can both study in summer and still ask for help there.

    My dad's a Ph.D chemist, so if I cover some stuff in summer, he can help me understand it. ;)

    Thanks, @scout59. Nice avatar.
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  • DrGoogleDrGoogle 11023 replies24 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 11,047 Senior Member
    Post #138, I didn't know Michigan teach organic chemistry as freshman chemistry, why? What does Michigan teach in the real organic chemistry class than?
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  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 6626 replies139 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,765 Senior Member
    MiamiDAP wrote:
    Studying over the summer for the fall semester is NOT a good idea at all.
    TOTALLY disagree. Studying physics over the summer before I took it was one of the smartest moves I ever made. I don't know why I wasn't thus motivated to study other subjects likewise, but having covered the first 6 chapters of the text before the semester started resulted in the first 6 weeks being a breeze while others foundered.

    albert69, if you're motivated to study, make the most of it. Get the text if you can, read meticulously, and do as many problems/questions as you can manage.
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  • albert69albert69 3191 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,247 Senior Member
    @sylvan8798 Agreed. I already have the textbook :)
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76122 replies663 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,785 Senior Member
    At schools with lots of pre-meds, frosh general chemistry is a weeder that is one of many that can crush pre-med dreams.

    Regarding Michigan, frosh can start in CHEM 130 or 210/211. 210/211 is for honors students or those with a strong high school or AP chemistry background and includes organic chemistry. See https://webapps.lsa.umich.edu/CrsMaint/Public/CB_PublicBulletin.aspx?crselevel=UG&subject=CHEM .
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  • Cardinal FangCardinal Fang 18182 replies155 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 18,337 Senior Member
    Were you asking me, Dr. Google? Someone up above said that the OP shouldn't be too concerned about her son's GPA, because engineering GPAs are typically lower than liberal arts GPAs. I say, take that with a grain of salt. If engineering GPAs are low for freshman, sophomores and juniors, but there is a lot of attrition in engineering and low GPA students don't end up graduating, then the OP should not take comfort in the fact that other engineering students also have lower GPAs. The other students with the low GPAs might be the ones who are going to drop out.
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  • MichiganGeorgiaMichiganGeorgia 4387 replies85 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,472 Senior Member
    "Chemistry is not hard. Most kids have problem with Physics."

    It is going to depend on the student. DS is EE and he had no trouble in his 3 Physics classes however the 1 mandatory chemistry class was hard for him.
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  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP 16183 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16,184 Senior Member
    Then, do whatever you want, why you are wasting time asking here? We know only what we know, you have a plan and it does not include listenning to suggestions, then follow up with your plan, I do not see anything wrong with it.
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  • PickOne1PickOne1 704 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 704 Member
    As you progress, the weaker students get weeded out. Some decide engineering is just too hard and switch majors. Some outright get kicked out of school (a 2.0 puts you very close to that). Some don't get into an engineering program.

    At many schools you are talking 60% weedout. Highly selective schools or limited enrollment programs might be 30% (more voluntary, less fail outs, some freshman who are not as smart or prepared as their high school record suggested). This is a huge change in the curve ... the D's, Fs are gone, gone, gone, so a C student is now a D/F student, low B ->C-, low A -> B etc.

    And, the classes are getting harder too. Freshman chemistry << organic. Calc III is pretty hard, but you should have gotten it, DiffEQ similar, and then you are supposed to know this math in all your other classes and use it .. quickly. Physics, you do need to figure out enough to get through statics and dynamics unless you are an EE and then you have electromagnetics as core to your field. Chem Es have Chem they are supposed to know.

    I assume a more generic engineering discipline almost implies ... knowing chem + mechanics + electricity = math skills + chem understanding + physics fall + physics spring ... plus maybe programming plus high level of math profiency.

    So if you are starting from a low GPA and then get hit with double whammy of smarter peers (less curving) and harder material AND also have some gaps in your education (those students with As do know more than you, whatever the grading system, and may be smarter, quicker, harder working) - well this can be a very, very tough program to get through.

    A 3.0 is OK, a 2.5 is really not...

    Other than somehow getting the most value of your college tuition by having the school deal with your academic needs, which is crazy, since YOU need to learn the material, I don't see why you would not study in summer.

    Reviewing previous materials in subjects like math and physics that are core to engineering will help you catch up with the A/B students who .. yes, will now makeup 90% of your class. If this is your only chemistry class. maybe that is not so urgent... unless you want to study materials or something chemistry based.

    You preview the material, you get to see how hard it is, get to learn some of it, and get to think about how effectively to study.

    Also consider on-line courses which are now plentiful. Maybe a Caltech professor can explain the whys of calculus to you or the whys of physics much better than your previous or future professors.

    And you buy precious time. 8 weeks to midterms is not long and if you get a C on a midterm or lower the entire semester becomes an exercise in catching up with the class while learning even harder material and also overcoming the shock, the horror of that C or lower. Getting an A or B on a midterm because you got a 2 month headstart - awesome.
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