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How bad is it that a Physics/Math hope-to-be major is nearly failing Chemistry?

  1. Nov 4, 2010 #1
    You guys read my last rant on the unfair midterm, which by the way, still "locked". Our professor promised us that she will throw the exam away if we do better on the next upcoming one. I can handle that and accept it. In case you are wondering, I did asked for an appointment on the subject, but she told me (with others present who also wanted to see the exam) to forget about it and jsut focus on the exam, like just told us to cast it away forever. If I hadn't told you already, class average was 40%, highest mark was 77%. I got by nearly 51%

    Now here is the other problem, the labs, our course policy states that even if we do pass the written part and fail the lab, we still fail the course.

    If you haven't guessed it already, I am doing very VERY poorly in the labs.

    I perform excellently in my math/physics courses and doing so-so on my computer science (just began and apparently the course had the highest drop out) course. I am hanging on the English course since there is so much boring books to read.

    I had chemistry for 3 years now in high school, this will be my fourth as a first-year student and I don't understand even with so much experience I am doing so poorly in these labs. I noticed that my Physics lab can be improved overtime with my written part, but i keep doing so poorly in Chemistry even if I had tried really hard. I prepare all my pre-labs, a so-so chem partner, and do all my scratch work on scratch paper and finialize on the clean sheet.

    I do everything so properly, but other people still get it better than me. I don't even understand why some of the questions the lab asks are so vague unlike Physics.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 4, 2010 #2


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    If you aspire to go to graduate school, failing any class is not good. If it's just a matter of declaring an undergraduate major it's still pretty bad, but unless your institution requires chemistry to declare a physics or math major it will "only" affect your GPA.
  4. Nov 4, 2010 #3
    Is that why the reason 4.0gpas are so impressive...? Getting 100% on every course? If that is how it works?
  5. Nov 4, 2010 #4
    Which means that you are doing pretty well.

    Given how you've reacted to the tests, I don't know if you are doing poorly in the labs. You may be getting really low scores, but low scores do not translate to failing. You need to see how well/badly you are doing in relation to the rest of the class.

    It makes a big difference whether you are really drowning, or you think you are drowning but you aren't.

    Because that's how lab work, works.
  6. Nov 4, 2010 #5
    4.0 GPA are not impressive for grad school admissions.

    Also don't expect to get anywhere near 100% in every course. The reason I'm concerned is that if you try to get 100% without realizing that this is flat out impossible in any decent physics program, you will burn out, and that's your main obstacle to getting into grad school.

    The other thing is that you just have to get used to not getting 100% in a course and not getting anywhere near 4.0 GPA. I can't tell from the information that you have given whether you are really failing or if you think you are failing, but are doing well. My suspicion from how you've reacted in other posts is that you aren't really failing, but I have no way of knowing.

    If you are *really* failing, then you need to drop the course and do it over later. However, that's the worst possible think to do if you think you are failing, but you really aren't.

    I'd suggest talking with a TA or the professor to see how you are doing, and whether they think you should drop the class.

    Also a failure on a transcript looks bad. It looks bad *NOT* because it shows lack of knowledge, but because it means that you haven't mastered the art of academic bureaucracy.
  7. Nov 4, 2010 #6
    Compare with people who aren't going to grad school...? That's a poor comparison. I just KNOW that they are doing better.

    Are you serious? I don't think the other average people are even going into grad school or plan to major in science.

    I really don't think they can do much...

    i can't drop it because I need the 3-credit. My college doesn't have any summer courses (it has, but it's so limited that you have to take a 5-course load every winter term)

  8. Nov 4, 2010 #7
    My observation.

    Seems the purpose of many introductory university classes is to train students on how to manage time and deal with bureaucratic garbage rather than actually teaching those students anything useful (anything those classes teach, one can learn on one's time). So, what TwoFish mentioned kind of makes sense to me.

    Go talk to your instructors; perhaps they think you are doing well, just like I found out when I spoke to my chemistry professor, even after missing a quiz and forgetting to turn in a lab report.
  9. Nov 5, 2010 #8
    Pretty sure that's only for chemistry, most physics lab questions are very straight forward.
  10. Nov 5, 2010 #9

    Vanadium 50

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    First, don't try and restart that closed thread here. Just don't.

    Second, you seem to be confusing a 4.0 GPA with passing every class. It's possible to pass every class and get a much lower.

    Finally, I again have to http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/nosymp.htm" [Broken]:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  11. Nov 5, 2010 #10
    Managing time and dealing with bureaucratic garbage is one of the most useful things that you can learn in college.
  12. Nov 5, 2010 #11
    If you have any interest in Chemistry, the labs are useful. I think the benefit comes in the fact that you train yourself how to think and in higher level classes, how to solve problems that don't have obvious answers.

    Like Two Fish said, you learn time management skills too, which are key.
  13. Nov 6, 2010 #12
    Yes, time management and bureaucracy navigation skills are very important. Two things I am actually learning in my Chemistry class.

    I actually enjoy this class (sans lab reports); it feels like an algebra-based physics class and from time to time we get some interesting problems to solve, like partial gas pressure problems and thermodynamics problems. I enjoy investing time on those.

    Now, those damn lab reports... ugh.
  14. Nov 6, 2010 #13
    That's just like my uni.

    That's a good mark (like others have said).
  15. Nov 6, 2010 #14
    nice article , makes complete sense, but how do you prioritize studying for that amount of time, 40 hours/ week? As a 1st year student, I'm still getting adjusted to the learning environment, I like the learning but hate cramming.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
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