Starting Post Bacc but no Chem background

Hi all, Im starting a Post bacc this summer and ill be taking General Chemistry. Ive never taken chemistry before is there anything i should do to prepare? will they teach me the basics? Thanks for your time.

The single best thing you can do to prepare for general chemistry is to make sure your math skills are up to par. Algebra, scientific notation, some basic logs, word problems, etc. Most people who struggle with gen chem don’t struggle so much with the content, but the problem solving required. If your math skills are strong, then you can focus on content more than trying to figure out the math.

I agree with Emergency! When I did my post-bacc, one of the non-trads was a nurse who washed out at Chemistry because she could not decipher the word problems and set up the algebraic equations. If it’s been awhile since you have had algebra, there are self study review books out there. My husband used one before starting an algebra-intensive electronics course of instruction.

I can’t concur more. Unit analysis will save your life in Chemistry and Physics. Even thru the MCATS.

if you can change 60 miles per hour to meters per sec, your are 2 steps ahead

My fellow Matt,

At my school there is a “intro to chem” class for people who didn’t have high school chem or haven’t had it in awhile. Check out the local CC for this class or check your schools catalog.

I would say that the single hardest thing about gen chem is the memorizing of terms and procedures, not the math. My gen chem was not hugely quantitative, though basic math skills were used regularly. However, there was a huge amount of chemical equations, such as balancing of chemical equations, figuring out concentrations of solutions, calculating masses of reactants, radioactive decay, energy needed to form molecules, etc…the trick to these is to make extra time every week to practicing these procedures. So give yourself enough time to do homework (usually youa re given a problem set every week)AND review the problem topics by doing extra problems in your text book. By reviewing problems along the way, in addition to homework, you should be more comfortable with them come exam/quiz time.

Also, each week, read the chapters before they are covered in class. It is always best to be able to use class time to clarify questions, rather than to learn the material anew. Most of what you’ll learn, you’ll need to teach yourself anyway - so try reading before class, and ask questions in class. Review after class, and do your homework.

Another piece of advice - make sure you understand everything. One way I have learned to make sure I am on top of everything is by recopying my class notes each week. This acts as a way to help me identify problem areas, and to memorize concepts and definitions, and things like naming of compounds.

All in all, the review, recopying notes and homework should take 10-12 hours of non-class time. If your course includes the lab, add on an extra 4 hours outside class and lab. So, you can see, chem requires a lot of extra time to do well. But if you plan for it, it should be no big deal. It’s not rocket science. And if you like it, like I do, it’ll be fun.

All of you have made good points. Are you not doing (don’t you have to) some math courses in post bacc?

General chem will teach you the basics and some lab. Do the one with the lab. The lab experience will come in handy the in Organic chem class, which you will have to take.