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Are there ways to improve lab skills?

  1. Jul 28, 2012 #1
    I've never been good with labs and often have bad luck with them as well because what usually happens is equipments do funny things that only happens to me. My old TA tells me he purposely checked my equipments before the lab and sometimes, funny thing still happens and it frustrates him. But aside from that I am also responsible for having poor lab techniques.

    In my old chem lab for instance, I always have trouble pipetting and diluting. For some reason I had a lot of trouble understanding how to suck water from a cup with a tube and that suction thing (I don't know what is it called).

    I also have trouble understanding how the breadboard worked for a long time and we had a snapshot in the back of our lab manual of how it works (two pictures) and it wasn't clear to me until I watched a YouTube video recently.

    I also find my lab manuals often to be very brief and vague and doesn't seem to give me a full idea the lab procedures while my other classmates seem to know what they are doing.

    There is this one girl in my first year whom always finishes her lab before anyone else and always seem to know what she is doing. So one time I looked at her lab report she got back and for some reason she got a lower grade (usually a huge difference for some reason on the prelabs) than me even though I always stay behind. Which doesn't make much sense to me because maybe her data is incorrect, but she seems to know all the methods and techniques while I jsut stand there with a blank face. It's very frustrating.

    Does anyone have any good advice on improving these mistakes?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 28, 2012 #2
    No need to rush through the process. I was always the last one out in my labs. I always made sure that my things were set up correctly, my data made sense, and that my write ups were written well. There is a chance that your classmates *think* they know what they are doing.

    Also, read the manual before going to lab to see what it is that you'll be doing.
  4. Jul 28, 2012 #3
    I don't know about that...

    In my old chem labs, my TA usually stop what I am doing or ask "What are you doing?", while the other people (including that girl) do things fine and the TA never questions what they are doing (okay sometimes, but very rare)
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