Chem is getting difficult

We are doing a lot of things grounded in trig and calc or so says my professor. I’ve never had either. Algebra was the only pre req for this class. He’s tossing terms I’ve never even heard before and I’m just glazing over. I’ve handed homework in late twice now b/c I’m not on campus the same time he is to ask questions until right after class and then I generally have to leave shortly there after for physical therapy or doc apts for kids etc. Today I finally got in and said “I have no clue what a tangent and derivative is! How am I supposed to do this stuff?” so he gave me a quick intro to the topics.

My tutor I fired. He was wrong too much and cost me more time than struggeling through on my own. I’m hesitant to use the tutoring services after that, but I’m starting to feel my grade is going to take some hits if I don’t figure this stuff out.

I’m finding that this quarter is definitely big on self study for both Chem and Bio. We haven’t gotten into the trig stuff in Chem yet. So far we’re covering solubility, IMF’s, gas law, effusion, etc. Calc being used in Chem is new to me.

Bio is incredibly frustrating. We have group labs and the last two experiments we’ve averaged a B when the class average (like 500 total students) has been a solid A. I’m still trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing wrong since I’m carrying the load for this lab group.

Yeah I hear you on bio too. The amount of info is overwhelming sometimes when you can’t see how it relates to your future career goals. Dead fish 3.5 billion years ago? Not so sure how it relates to human a & p. lol

Given our group lab report landed with us scrambeling the night before it was due b/c one of our partners never did her part and never contacted us to let us know she was sick. We were stuck writing her stuff, and finishing off the abstract we originally intended to to together.

My group means well but one member is a Math major and hates science. The other members consist of an aspiring pre-pharm and a wrestler who is interested in mol genetics. They just don’t seem to be as enthusiastic as me (or neurotic when it comes to the grades).

The math major has a 3.86 GPA and said ‘I won’t be hurt if I get a B in this class’. Meanwhile, I feel like Sylvester Stallone in Cliff Hanger holding onto the side of a mountain with all veins popping out trying to keep my head above 3.0 country and perhaps climb the mountain a little. To make the metaphor even more entertaining, I have no professional tools, no oxygen tanks, and a group of criminals led by John Lithgow are chasing after me with guns.

I don’t know if this will work for you, but I found that the examkrackers study guides were something I wish that I had when I took Chemistry in undergrad. Much clearer and to the point instead of intentionally making things more difficult. Just a suggestion, good luck, Jaysun

Thanks for that tip Jaysun. I’m going to look into those.

Interesting post - how is your instructor incorporating trigonometry into his Chemistry lectures?

We were given a graph with a descending concentration curve and asked to find the instantaneous rate of reaction. Apparently the formula is a calculus term (or pre calc or something?) using a derivative. I am a little clueless there. Our prof told them to use a tangent to find something which I had to google later as I’ve no clue what a tangent is.

I never did figure it out. I brought it to him and explained I had no clue. He basically drew the tangent to the x and y axis and said to use the intercepts in the equation to figure out the rate. I need to see if I can repeat this with further problems. mistry…

These may help. They also have it for biology and Organic chemistry


Interesting means of using trig… We used trig in the lab for Planck’s constant but nothing else and the trig required was in our lab manual anyway (for those that didn’t have trig, it was plug and chug math).

Wow! Kudos to you for sticking it out!

Yeah, my head is sort of swimming right now lol. Looking like “B” is going to be my grade all around. Maybe all my questions in class will count towards extra credit and pull me back up. I don’t understand his EC. It has something to do w/ class participation lol.

I feel your pain! The final nails are being driven into my Chem Coffin right now. Though I finally got an A on a test last week, it’s been mostly B’s for me. Inorganic Chem simply does not compute with me!

As far as your situation goes, I think it’s ridiculous to derive an instantaneous rate of reaction. Average reaction rates are sufficient. All of the reactions we’re carrying out in lab happen at room temperature over a second or two. The only time I could see an exact/instantaneous reaction rate being useful is during very fast nuclear reactions for the purpose of reactor design. Other than that, who cares??

Well, being we are gearing up for nuclear chemistry the last week of class perhaps that’s why? I don’t know. I don’t ask why. I just do what I’m told right now LOL.

The answer to everything is Fission.


Hey Susan–I just want to put this out there, this is not intended as discouragement at all, BUT. If you are frustrated with the mathematical level of difficulty and seeming irrelevance of general chemistry, just wait until you hit physics. And many medical schools also require a semester of calculus. I have no doubt that you could slog through and learn all of this, it is not impossible, but is this really what you want? Would you, for example, consider a nurse practitioner program that has prereqs that are much more applicable (anatomy and physiology, microbiology), a shorter path to being an incredibly valuable practitioner, and a very good salary at the end of it?

I seriously considered NP programs and almost went for it; they are fantastic programs. In the end I decided medicine was a better choice for me. But I would advise you to think very carefully about this because really, it only gets worse from here. Even in med school.

See, I think the chem IS applicable in spite of my weak math skills. Math has never been a strong point but once I grasp the chemistry concept all the math makes sense. It’s tangible math, as is physics, so tough as it may be, and whine as I go about the process like I do, I am actually looking forward to the physics classes. I know it sounds crazy but I’m a “show me why” kind of girl. Every question I had for my chem professor last semester was responded with “you need to take physics to understand that”. So, honestly, I can’t wait. I’m going to get a few questions answered I didn’t have before.

My problem is I never got above basic geometry in high school and that was many many years ago. My original undergrad didn’t require any math. I never had any upper level math classes until this trip through college and right now I’m only up to college algebra, so this is all new to me. It’s fascinating though, in spite of my panic attacks.