Chemistry Roller Coaster

So its been 20 years out of college and to start with Chemistry its been a bit of a challenge. I’ve always been able to grasp concepts with a bit of work, but I am struggling with Chem! I got my first test back…uggh 72%. I’ve actually never gotten a C in my life, so it was a bit of a shock. However I do have to say that the class average was only 68%. Not that it makes me feel any better. As I have taken a step back and tried to evaluate where I can improve, I have one glaring issue…what is being taught in the lecture is only a small portion of what is on the tests. So I am appealing to all you oldpremeds in hopes of some additional study materials you used that helped. I have tried Khan Academy, however the Chem is lacking. Any ideas?

On another note, my bio exam…drum roll…97%, highest in the class. It was mostly application type essay questions and a few multiple choice, so that was a feat for me as I HATE to write.

Just looking for a bit of consolation or pep talks from those who have gone before me. I will not give up as I have waited a LONG time to pursue my dream, just a bit of a kick in the gut.

I really appreciate reading your posts…it is really inspiring, so thank you for taking the time to help those of us on our journey!


The best thing you can do for yourself is to take a deep breath and not panic. You need to go over the material as much as possible and talk to the professor. If they don’t help, go to tutoring as much as possible. If you go to itunes, you can use itunesU and watch all of Ohio State’s chem 101 videos, although they didn’t seem to help me as much as I wanted.

The important thing to do is not let yourself get behind and do not get intimidated. Bad grades will come, but you just have to take the right steps to overcome them.

Talk to your professor or your TA or a tutor, find out what you are doing wrong, and fix it. Bio came easy to me, Chem was harder, I know what it feels like to get that kind of a grade, just don’t panic about it, you got this

I know exactly how you feel when it comes to chem. Although I have not been out of school for 20 years; 10 years is a mighty long time as well.

No science nor math class in 10 years when I started this pre-req rat race however you’re mind and body get used to soaking up the information pretty effectively just as long as you keep at it. I agree with Indie, take a breath. Heck! Even take a walk if that helps. I know that for me exercise is extremely important to get those brain juices flowing.

I had a pretty significant hurdle about a year and a half ago when I took Gen Chem I. I could not make heads or tails out of anything, studied for hours and hours going on little sleep hoping that it would one day click…it didn’t and I ended up dropping the class. Regrouped, went back and took an intro to chem class, then took Gen Chem again and passed with flying colors. I love chemistry now, its actually one of my favorite subjects.

*stick with it

*Don’t let yourself get behind

*Remember to take frequent breaks (not long ones) and do something you enjoy or love.

Hard work pays off and you’ll be a much stronger person for it as well.

God Speed!

This is what I tell my chemistry students (I’m a tutor), because I found this to be true in my own situation: you can’t skimp with chemistry. Read every chapter. Make sure the end of chapter notes are SOLID in your head. And…don’t hate me for this…work every single problem, both within the chapter and at the end. Work them until you can do them in your sleep.

It’s a lot of work. But your book probably gives you way, way more problems to practice on than you’ll ever need. By taking the time to actually work through them (or at least the majority), you give yourself a sense of confidence that isn’t there otherwise.

There just aren’t many shortcuts with this stuff (not that you are looking for any, mind you.) When it came to general chemistry, I always found my text book to be my absolute best resource. Not the case with organic or physics…but with gen chem, it was a matter of reading and doing.

Remember–with any chemistry problem, you’re typically only asked to figure out one thing. (Really, when you tease it out.) All the other variables are given in some way (or can be determined based on what you’re given), whether you realize it or not. Just pull it apart, and take it one step at a time.

The best advice I can give you is simply to persist. Keep chugging along, and it WILL click!

Best of luck!

Thank you so much for the words or encouragement! I actually love Chemistry, and have enjoyed (mostly) doing the problems at the end of the chapters, however; this is where I am running into issues…my professor is not teaching us how to do them and the book does not have examples of the problems I am not getting correct. I will keep on truckin! Hopefully I can find a tutor or some additional online help to get me through. Again thanks so much, I don’t know if anyone truly knows how much it helps to have others who actually understand unless you’ve been there

Oh and carrieliz, CONGRATS on your upcoming addition! (I have 3 boys, youngest turning 4 on Sunday) Good Luck!

Thank you SO much! Being a mom is definitely the best thing I’ll ever do… if I’d have known it was this much fun, I would’ve done it a lot sooner! Happy birthday to your little man!

Have you ever checked out this site?

At the top, there is a search box where you can ‘search for a book or course.’

Try putting the title of your text book in (or a few key words from the title) and see if it comes up! If it does, and it says homework solutions are available? It is MORE than worth it to pay for a few months of membership (or the year, if you want to continue, it’s the best value). The solutions will show you a step by step way to work through each problem…

I swear–I had to teach myself two semesters of physics, and I wouldn’t have survived without this site. (On the contrary, it helped me get the highest grade in the class both semesters!)

Also–feel free to shoot me questions via PM. I’ll be happy to take a shot at something if you get stuck!

Good luck!!!


OH MY…thank you so much. Solutions were there and FREE because I already had an account. I cannot thank you enough, this should be just what I need. I really appreciate your taking the time to answer, so again THANK YOU!

YAY!!! I’m so glad! Hopefully, that site will help you fill in missing pieces as you get stuck. Have fun!!