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Photographic memory and perfect gpa, but i have low intelligence.?

  1. Sep 14, 2009 #1
    whats up everybody i just wanted to talk to you guys about a problem im having.i am currently a college student with 4.0 gpa. now this my sound great but ive just taken 30 credits of gen ed courses. not easy but not hard either. Spanish 1 and 2, intermediate algebra, sociology, gen biology lab etc. english 1 and english 2 anyway i was able to pass those classes by memorizing everything AND LIVING IN THE TUTORS OFFICES.. however i have no logic or common sense. now that im in chemistry and trig, its really starting to show. i am extremely lost in chem lab. i do not know what to do. and it seems i have an inability to comprehend anything. i will ask my chem, math, or bio teacher for help on things that everyone else easily understands. however as theyre explaining it im thinking to myself what the ? i dont understand still. at this point i feel embarrassed and just say i understand. i did stay after with my previous professors for a while after class, and thats the only way i got A's but ive been doing that for this semester and its not working.
    how can i have an incredible memory, yet no intelligence? i used to be a smart kid. not only did i have a memory, but i was good at math, and could think on higher levels then most of my peers. i can remember things, but i can not apply things or interpret results. i am basically a stupid person with a camera for a mind. whats worse is i want to be a doctor so i am a math/science major. i know there are different types of intelligence but i feel like i don't fall into any of those groups. i cant comprehend things verbally, i am terrible with pictures and graphs, im not good at music or sports, im not logically nor do i have an utter presences of common sense. i think i might be borderline retarded. im considering getting my IQ done, but i think I'm just gonna drop out of school. whats funny is i had a job at a Christmas tree store and i had trouble learning how to stock the shelves with the hands on jobs has.

    but yeah my dad wants me to be a doctor, but i dont think im up for it. how did i go from being a smart kid to a dumb adult? i did harder chemistry as a 9th grader successfully then i could do now porrly. i think ill just change majors and become a kidnergarden teacher.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2009 #2
    Quit being so hard on yourself. Everyone feels dumb every once in a while. Just keep a positive attitude and keep studying hard.
  4. Sep 14, 2009 #3
    You may be cut-out for corportate management.
  5. Sep 14, 2009 #4


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    Last paragraph from sportsstar469 said:
    What your dad wants you to do can only be used as a start for a direction. What do YOU want to do? At some time, you must change major field of study to what you believe you want.

    You did not do harder Chemistry in 9th grade than what you do now. If what you "do now" is not harder than in 9th grade, then you can do what you have now better. What you have now must be harder. Either your "now" class is easier and you do better than in grade 9, OR your "now" class is harder and you do poorer than in grade 9. Anything else is illogical.

    Are you overloaded compared to your set of courses from 9th grade? You should read about lab activity exercises before lab class session and prepare yourself for the session. Create models and draw pictures to give yourself a feel and produce a map for help in directing yourself. This is early in the school year and you might be going into a transition unlike what you worked through previously.
  6. Sep 14, 2009 #5
    I feel like I am a competent individual, but I didn't even follow ya here.

    But seriously, if you are better at memorizing things you may be pretty successful in chemisty/biology. Just because everyone seems to be understanding the material, doesn't mean they actually do. They may be having as much trouble as you and just embarrassed to admit it.
  7. Sep 14, 2009 #6
    well im taking general chemistry 1 with lab. i am in college which i should have mentioned. in chapter 3 we are going to be covering moles. i am currently in chapter 1 however. when i was searching through my car i found an old worksheet from 11th grade(wasnt 9th my bad) and it was about solving moles and some harder stuff i dont remember. my point is i successfully completed chapter 3s material in 11th grade, whereas i cant even do dimensional analysis in chapter 1 as a college student.

    yes i agree what i want to do is important.i've always wanted to do something math/science related. ive always looked up to people who could take calculus-differential equations and grasp it. i struggle with algebra. i don't enjoy math or science, i just wish i was good at it because no matter how well you can memorize something, true intelligence comes in the form of critical thinking skills!
    but yeah sometimes you can take college classes that are easier than your high school classes. these aren't remedial classes or anything but my college offers remedial classes like arithmetic for people who are truly math deficient. those don't count for credit though. i actually had to take an elementary algebra class for no credit because i bombed the placement test. i then took intermediate alg/intro to trig in the summer. and now im in college algebra/trig/pre calc? but im struggling with basic function notation even though i aced the intermediate algebra in 6 weeks. but i memorized a lot of it didnt really learn so much.

    yes i have an overloaded schedule. i have math, biology 102(gen bio 2) lecture and lab, chem 1 lecture and lab. 5 days a week.

    btw i am an excellent speller i just type with two fingers sorry if this is illegible.
    but i do have a pretty good memory. i can visually picture someone to an exact tee who ive seen as a child. i met my great grandmother maybe 5 times in my life and she died when i was like 6 but i can envision her exact details, her earings her dress her pearl necklace..this sounds wrong. but ive never been diagnosed with a photographic memory.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009
  8. Sep 14, 2009 #7
    well the chem requires a lot of math. biology is cake for me. im in biology 2 now, and i expect an A. biology is cake. we're just doing taxonomy. chem is math and my brain is not wired to well for math.
    btw the quote you quoted wasnt posted by me, idk why it says i said that lol.
  9. Sep 14, 2009 #8


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    Maybe you should try learning things without resorting to rote memorization first?

    Try to convince yourself why something is true (in everything you learn) and not just accept it as fact. Usually you'd personally know if you have convinced yourself enough, or if your "proof" has some holes and inconsistencies. That's how I think you'll actually learn the material.

    What parts of math/algebra are you struggling with, if you don't mind me asking?
  10. Sep 14, 2009 #9
    whats rote memorization? we're just reviewing function notation and the word problems get confusing for me. i wasnt to strong in right traingle trig so that unit should be fun....lol
    i could try to learn the material without memorizing it however that would lead to me not passing the course. i am not really able to learn that way.
  11. Sep 14, 2009 #10


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    My response to post #6:

    Do not fool yourself about General Chemistry in college. It can be a HARD course. Would you consider backtracking a bit before you are in too far through the semester and do "Elementary Chemistry" instead? Also you NEED Intermediate Algebra competence in General Chemistry.

    You really must UNDERSTAND Intermediate Algebra for much of what this leads to as a prerequisite: for Physics, for Pre-Calculus, for Trigonometry, for many other physical science courses including Engineering; even possibly for some mathematical modeling in biological sciences. If necessary study Intermediate Algebra again and master it!
  12. Sep 14, 2009 #11


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    It means relying purely on memorization to learn the material.

    Are you having trouble understanding the problem itself? Can you put the problem in mathematical terms (ie. an equation)? Or are you having trouble with the math itself (solving equations, etc.)?

    Maybe that's the problem. The stuff isn't really sinking in because you're studying "to pass the course", not to learn the material itself. Of course if "passing the course" is your goal, whatever you learned today, you will forget tomorrow.

    On the contrary, I don't think you're actually learning the material if you're just memorizing it. Say, for example, mathematics. No one is going to be able to "memorize" all the facts and equations and whatnot. You learn by understanding the concept behind it.

    I see that you're in trigonometry. I'm pretty sure memorization won't help you in proving identities that much :frown:
  13. Sep 14, 2009 #12


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    sportsstar469 continues:

    That just means, memorizing exactly what is seen or written but often or not necessarily with much understanding, but not necessarily excluding understanding.

    Memorization cannot serve you as the only way to learn Algebra and Trigonometry. You need to understand the concepts and must think. This is why I say, learn Intermediate Algebra well. The skills and concepts carry over to the study and applications of Trigonometry. The function notation may be confusing at first, but then this requires study and practice. You learn about number fucntions in Intermediate Algebra. You must really learn how to express and work with function in written and graphic form so that you know by context when "f(x)" means "The function named 'f' with the independant variable 'x'", and when it means simply, "the number 'f' multiplied by 'x'". This may be a little confusing for a few hours during its introduction in Intermediate Algebra, but later in the course and certainly in Trigonometry, you must make the correct reading interpretation instantly.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  14. Sep 15, 2009 #13
    Nope, being able to stack shelves is a major requirement for Kindergarten :-)

    Heck, if you're getting A's just keep on getting A's! It doesn't matter if you're doing it by memorisation. What works ..er.. works! You might like to memorise "Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction" by Timothy Gowers. He says, if you don't understand something, just memorise the trick and move on. The penny might drop later. If not, don't worry, you have the trick memorised! You can still get the answer, which is what really counts. That'll get you the A, as you have found out. That'll also allow you to calculate bone density, or whatever doctors do.

    Medical school involves a lot of memorisation, they're always complaining about it. All those Latin names of bones & vessels to learn. No need to know how to calculate much of anything. You should really shine there!

    Patients are a lot easier to deal with than toddlers, be a doctor not a kindergarten teacher!
  15. Sep 15, 2009 #14
    who am i trying to fool? i said i thought gen chem was hard. but ive already discussed the curriculum with my professor, and i have done these things in 11th grade. i asked him about it. i am not repeating courses, i aced intermediate algebra i na 6 week accelerated summer session. my chem teacher says i have the concepts down im just talking myself out of it. idk im not so confident.the class im in now is college algebra/trig/intro to precalc. but yeah im not retaking classes. i understand enough, and i worked hard the first time. to be honest i only care about my degree and knowing what i have to do to get my degree. i dont even know what iwant to do yet i might just switch to education and ill have all my requirements.
    solving equations is like from pre algebra lol. i think i have some understanding other than memorization, but for like word problems i memorize how to do them. it just wont get solved by anyother way.
    well i understood functio nnotation i nintermediate algebra, and i was able to get through last nights homework ok,just needed refreshing. if q is a function of for each x input there must be one output of q etc i understand that just word problems arent clear, and the unit conversions dimensional analysis gets messy in chemistry. but ive done dimensional analysis in elementary algebras back in the spring.
    yeah i agree what ever works works imo. im not gonna kill myself to ask why the square root of a negative number like -9 is 3i. even though i know that's cause its an imaginary number. ill ust memorize that thats how it should be. but we havent even talked about imaginary numbers in this class that is from my intermediate algebra class fro mthe summer. i was just trying to make a point.im going to check out that book though it sound pretty nice.
  16. Sep 15, 2009 #15


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    So if the instructor decides to slightly vary the problem for the test, then you're pretty much screwed because you didn't "memorize" how to do that specific problem.

    Meanwhile, if you actually take the time to analyze why the problem was done that way, then no matter how the instructor toys around with the problem you're not going to have any problems with it. Also, you begin to realize that that is not the only way to do the problem, which in turn gives you the flexibility to approach the problem however way is most comfortable to you.

    Just trust me with this, since some point in my life (albeit a young one), I've thought of resorting to memorization, until I finally realized its ramifications.
  17. Sep 15, 2009 #16
    well im sure the problem will be varied i mean in my previous math class there were tons of variations. i dont know what im supposed to understand. the way math is taught i nschools, is that you need to learn HOW TO DO MATH. learn the quadratic formula, learn,factoring,learn rationals.learn how t osolve for y. i mean but what does it all mean? i know that solving an equation you are finding the y value but youre not tought why that is important. thats not how math is taught nowadays.
  18. Sep 16, 2009 #17
    wow i didnt think this was possible but today in biology a student who sat next to me said he bombed the quiz. im like is this hard for you he said yes i can not recognize things and momorization is hard for me. i saw he had a math syllabus im like what math are you in. hes like.....calc 3... im like wtf? i figured if you could do math yo uwere smart enough to rule the universe in my opinion.

    btw i had a question. im still trying to convince myself im not stupid. i have been trying to multiply big numbers in my head. if i can multiply a number like 6945x3 in my head and get the right answer is that at all impressive? or is that 3rd grade material. like i dont even write the problem down i have to remember the problem and work it out all in my head. also when dealing with the number i listed above you have a lot of numbers that you need to carry over and **** to the next groups.
    if its not impressive tell me the truth i can take it LOLS.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  19. Sep 16, 2009 #18
    You didn't need College Algebra before enrolling in Chemistry? At my school, we had to have it already or be enrolled in to two simultaneously. Don't feel bad. I tutored my girlfriend last semester who was totally clueless and she got an A and I got a B in College Algebra. She still laughs at me about that.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  20. Sep 16, 2009 #19
    i had to pass intermediate algebra, which was algebra 2 with some trig thrown in there (right triangle)
  21. Sep 17, 2009 #20
    I agree that it sounds like you're being really hard on yourself. You say you "can't" do a lot of things. But I think maybe when you try you spend the whole time thinking about how you can't do it. Your mind can only think so many things at once, and it sounds like you're focussing all its energy on negative self-talk. I have this problem sometimes too actually.

    Maybe you could try writing down what goes through your head when next time you try to solve a chemistry problem.

    (I mean the stuff like "I'm never going to be able to do this. I can't even stock shelves. I'm really not intelligent. That other guy is smarter than me and he couldn't do it, so how am I supposed to? All I can do is memorise.")

    Then once you've got that all cleared out, put it aside and think about chemistry instead.
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