32yr old newbie, taking post bacc classes piecemeal as a student at large since 2010.
Just took Gen chem I and did very poorly (D) I’m just so lost about where I should go and what do from here. Im thinking of retaking it as a summer intensive at NU but I am so scared, especially given that I still need to work. Should I hold off until the fall to retake? Should I take this at a community college?
I’d retake it. Look up what you don’t know online, Khan Academy, every web site you can think of to help you understand the info. MIT offers open courseware which are classes from years past that are actual lectures.
Also, pick up some homeschooling books at either half priced books or online (ebay) about basic chem as refreshers. I found a super basic chem book at the thrift store for $2.00 that’s been a blessing to me. It goes over every little facet, such as what an electron is (funny how I forgot that little nugget).
In addition, the best teacher can teach anything (look at Khan Academy) and the worst teacher can’t teach how to brush a doggie. You may have had the latter. Perhaps retaking it as a community college will be fine ~ I’m retaking biology at a CC but doing the rest at the 4-year gig; my bio is almost as old as dirt and I got a C in it.
BTW: forget the intensive, unless you’re a glutton for punishment.
I hope I helped you a bit. Try those homeschool books for basic chem. Perhaps getting down to the super basics is all you need to take off. YOU CAN DO IT!!
If I were you, I’d do the following:
First, figure out what your academic weaknesses are.
Second, understand that taking the course at a CC isn’t going to solve anything unless you first address #1. Contrary to popular belief, taking science courses at a CC isn’t always easier.
Third, do NOT take this course in the summer unless you’re planning an intensive review between now and then. Khan academy is a good starting place if that’s what you plan to do.
Finally, I’m a perfect example of the fact that you can overcome a “D” in general Chem and get accepted to med school (I didn’t matriculate). But you have a LOT of work, great grades, solid MCAT performance, ect, to get to that point due to this grade.
PS- I’m also now a Adjunct Chem Prof so yeah, any academic mistake that be conquered!
Thanks very much everyone…this all really does help.
I didnt think the summer intensive was a good idea for a few reasons–one being that I still have to work (at least part time) and the other being the level of difficulty in such a short amount of time.
I suppose I’m stuck on what I SHOULD do. I’m so tired of these silly errors in judgment–bitting off more than I could chew last quarter for instance.
If I retake it at a cc, I am worried that it will look as though I took the ‘easy way out’, especially after having done so poorly at a 4yr. In reality, it is only because it is less expensive, and hopefully I can get chem out of the way this summer. I dont expect that it will be any easier.
Or, should I attempt to see if there is a chem class available at another university this summer–one that doesnt have the same level of intensity?
Does your school have a grade replacement policy? Mine does and if you re-take the class they will replace the old grade with the new one and from what I understand old grade is off your records.
I am taking classes at the community college. Learning- not so much since some professors are not very good and I have to do most of my learning from the books and from MIT open courseware - the best resource I encountered. At the same time, community college does curve the grades than regular college.
- Seth80 Said:
Presumably you received your current grade in a semester-length course. If that's the case, then a summer course at another university, no matter the level of intensity, will likely not put you in a good position. I would suggest you figure out your weak points and work on them, then re-take the course during a full length semester.
I would assume that you have all your homework, exams, quizzes, etc from the course you just took. Why not use those to see where your weak points are? Then use that info together with online resources such as Khan to strengthen yourself. And instead of a summer re-take, how about hiring a tutor for the summer, if you can afford it? Just throwing out some ideas.
- Olivia Said:
There's no set formula for which institutions will curve grades. I've had professors at CC's who did NOT curve grades, and I DO curve grades for my Chemistry classes at the University where I teach. Other Professors at my University also curve grades.
My fear is that if I wait until the fall to take it,I will look as though I’m not really serious. I have been at this since 2010 and yes various factors have prevented me from finishing sooner (mostly money), but I’m afriad it will reflect poorly.
Also pathdr2b, thank you for sharing your experience. The helps tons! I wanted to ask you, how did you address your D? Did you explain your working situation, etc?
- Seth80 Said:
It's FAR better to do things well than to do them quickly.
As for explaining my D's and F's, I've NEVER had to because my grades many years later did the talking for me. And although I understand the necessity for working as a nontrad, working as an excuse for low/poor grades doesn't cut it with any med school I can think of.
You're going to have to hunker down, stay focused, work hard, do well, and toss the excuses aside.
My undergrad and grad degrees are from competitive private universities where curving did take place, but was for 3-5 points at the time.
I took chemistry from the regional campus of a large state university last year and curving was easily for 10-15 points at a time. Result, one could get a low D on the exam and still ended up with upper C or even lower B after the curving. The other class I took from them, physics, the exams were a joke. One could memorize the answers from the review exams and the same problems would be on the exam. The prof would not even change the numbers around. Better yet, the exams were multiple choice, so one could just guess and/or remember the right answer letter from the review tests and end up with a B in the class without having a clue how to solve a simple problem. This guy did not curve our grades at all.
I am sure everybody’s experience is different and I am just sharing mine.
- Olivia Said:
community college does curve the grades than regular college.
When I attended CC, there was a strict no-curve policy school wide.
Don’t be discouraged!
Look for patterns in your mistakes, and track your progress. If there’s certain content you simply don’t get, just hire a tutor (or contact me).
Dr. Ross MCAT
Here’s my 2 cents, which echoes what most of the other OPs have said:
- Don’t take it at a CC as it will probably look like you took the easy way out. Now, if you had gotten a B, and then retook at a community college and got an A, that may look different.
- Do not take the intensive course; it may be too much, especially if you still have to work to support yourself while taking the class.
- Try to figure out what you did wrong the first time around when you got that “D”. Also, try to determine if your reasons for doing poorly were due:
- a knowledge/understanding issue
- a recall/test-taking issue
or both. Most people who do poorly in a class often assume that it is a knowledge/understanding issue that resulted in bad grades. However, sometimes, albeit much less often, the bad grades are due to a test-taking issue. Either you had difficult recalling material on the test due to insufficient preparation, test anxiety, or maybe you just read too slowly and don’t finish the test, etc.
If the former are true, then you need to work on your understanding of the material, your ability to problems, etc. If the latter is the case, then you need to work on your test-taking skills. For these latter issue of test-taking, not all of these can be overcome easily; unfortunately most professors and college advisers never consider that the latter issues, working under the assumption that all students have the same abilities under all circumstances and the only differentiating factor among them are their mastery of the course material.
- datsa Said:
It's absolutely amazing how "enlightened" to the educational process I feel after just one semester back in a college class teaching chemistry.
The issues I notice with my students who don't do well comes down to one of two things. If they give a damn and are sincerely trying and still don't do well, it's usually because they: a) Don't do nearly enough practice problems and/or b) Have test anxiety/self-confidence issues regarding science exams. To this point, I spend about 20% of my teaching time telling my students they can do it!
The practice problems thing is also HUGE!! You MUST practice those areas you don't understand over and over and over again until it becomes second nature to you.
The final issue I notice is that there seems to be a LOT of professors out there that don't care one way or another if they're students learn anything or not. For the students that I privately tutor, everyone of them tells me that their teachers/professors don't teach well which I think comes from their attitude about teaching in general. Of course, trying to move beyond a teacher with an attitude, isn't easy, but must be done!
Have you taken any other classes since you started? How have you done in those classes, if so? Are you considering osteopathy (grade replacement)? How many credits were you taking per semester? You’ve definitely got to have excellent time-management skills to work and take a class or two.
Unless it’s strictly for financial reasons, I would not switch to a CC. Generally, I believe most schools do like to see the core prereqs completed at a 4yr institution. Were you at NU before?
Whatever you decide, you’ve got to put everything you’ve got into your next effort, and nail it. Some schools will show some forgiveness if you can prove it was just a bad time for you, and the DO schools will use grade replacement if you perform better, but another mediocre or poor semester may put a more serious dent in your application.
It can no doubt be done; just take your time and make a plan!
I have taken intro bio, cog psych, and two math courses. I did great in the first two courses and recieved 2 c’s in math. I also took anantomy and dropped it with a W.
I know that my major problem has been time management and well, working a stressful full time is a lot harder than I anticipated. Not that that is an excuse and I dont intend to lean on it. I will say that my fiancee and I were talking things over and I am actually ending my employment this summer and focusing on school. In the fall I will resume a part time job but thats the extent of it. My hope is that if I can get stellar grades from this point on I can prove that I am capable of doing the work when I can devote my full time and energy.
As far as CC’s I agree. I’ve heard various things from admissions (at least in Chicago) but I wonder if thier “support” is just a very pc way of saying ‘we cant actually say no to those schools, but we will not look upon you favorably.’
I know there is a post-bacc program at Dominican in Chicago that Lorien could tell you more about.