Chem 1 Exam Almost Broke Me

Hi…I haven’t been on here for oh so long. I just got the results of my first Chem 1 exam and did horribly. I feel a bit broken…as a good portion of my Chem class is also feeling this way. There was an air of somberness when we got our exams back, yesterday. The exam was difficult and over too much material…even the T.A. agreed that the instructor covered the topics like a runaway trainwreck. I feel like I didn’t have time to learn and absorb before I had to regurgitate. I feel panicked…and wonder how I’m going to make it to med school, if I can’t even get a decent grade on a Chem 1 exam…because I’m sure med school isn’t going to be any easier. BUT, being the eternal optimist, I am now even more determined in my resolve to do well. I can’t let Chem 1 defeat me and I need to come up with a strategy to get me through this. I am one of those who has to work harder at making good grades than the average “smart” student and I am finding that I am not learning the basics in Chem quickly enough before the instructor moves on to a new concept…and as we all know, in chemistry, if you don’t have the basics down, you’re screwed. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can learn the basics while at the same time keep up in class?

For some people retention increases significantly if they cover the material either before the instructor covers it in class (pre-read) or read it immediately after the instructor has covered it (post-read). Its up to you to find what works for you.

In Chemistry and Physics there is absolutely no substitute for hands on problem solving. Just reading the material is not going to help you learn the material and be able to use it.

But as with any problem the first step is to recognize that there is a problem and to identify it. Seems like you’re well on your way to finding a solution!

Thanks for the advice, Dazed. I completely agree with you. I truly need to practice the problem solving more…however, the instructor is moving so quickly that I am barely having time to practice the problems while keeping up with the new material. I gotta figure out a way to get on top of this. Coming to this forum and reading everyone’s trials and tribulations helps me to realize that I am not alone in this. There are others out there who are facing difficulties and doubts…and it helps me to hang in there and keep focused. Thanks to all who contribute to this forum…I appreciate the sharing and support.


consider dropping the course and switching schools, if at all possible. It’s not worth it to stick with it if the tests are going to be unfair. Just keep in mind that your goal is not only to learn but to get high scores, and it sounds like this teacher is not facilitating you toward either goal. Best of luck,


Usually when the instructor moves fast, they are cognizant of that fact theirselves.

As a result, most of the exams they give will be entirely if not mostly, from the material they covered in class, i.e., put on the board, slides etc.

If that pattern is true from his previous exams, just cover the sections in the text that pertain to what he explicitly talked about in class and no more.

If not, then as ttraub said, consider dropping his class, but be careful about having a W show up on your transcript.

I found out that this instructor curves at the end of the semester…so I guess he does take into consideration that his class is difficult. Now, I am hoping that there are no geniuses in my class. Getting an “A” is not possible at this point, but I am determined to make a decent grade. Fortunately, I am delving into my resources and remember that I have an acquaintance who teaches Gen Chem. I have recruited her assistance. I feel that once I get the basics down, I will be better equipped to keep up and do well.