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Schools Plans to enter university

  1. Dec 10, 2011 #1
    Hi, I'm Anders, this is my first post here, although I have already been reading posts here for months. I've decided to finally create an account here because I really need help with the number of hours I should be studying. I've already searched and I saw many posts here about this subject, however my situation is a little bit different from these...

    I'm 15 years old and a freshman/sophomore, since here in Brazil we have only 3 years for High School. I plan to enter one of the best universities that we have here, it's called ITA. Entering a university here does not depend on GPA, letters and etc. We just have to do tests for each university we plan to enter. ITA's admission tests are so difficult, that students usually have to study with undergraduate-level books to have a chance.

    I had to explain all these things to tell my situation: I am on vacation until the end of January, and I planned to use these 2 months to study a lot (I know people will say I should rest, but I've done this during all this year). The subjects I plan to study are: Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Optics, Waves, Single Variable Calculus and revising Trigonometry. I have to study 14~15 hours each day in order to be able to finish these tasks, sleeping 8 hours per day, and eating normally (Not necessary to say things about social life, I talk to my friends every day and I don't like to go out to the movies or mall).

    Calculus is not required to do ITA's tests, I'm learning it because I love math. I've been using Apostol's book because from the many books I tried, this one was the only one I liked. However, it takes me at least 5 days to finish one chapter, so I wouldn't finish it when classes started again.

    The reason I created this post is: Is this all I'm doing correct? Should I study less? Is what I'm planning to study even possible to study during this period? I'm already tired due to this situation, I try to study, but I don't know if I'm going to finish everything, so I just keep doing nothing. And it is desmotivating me. Sorry for this long post, but I need help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2011 #2
    no idea, i doubt many people are familiar with the program or the requirements to get in.

    if i were in your position, i would try to find old exams / practice exams aka a list of the SPECIFIC topics covered, and then make a plan to learn the corresponding material, and practice relevant problems -- for subjects like organic chemistry, this is the only way you can hope to be proficient with the material.

    also, according to wikipedia, the undergrad courses offered are:

    * Aeronautical Engineering
    * Aerospace Engineering
    * Civil Engineering
    * Computer Engineering
    * Electronic Engineering
    * Mechanical Engineering

    so why on earth would you have to learn organic chem to get into this school?
  4. Dec 10, 2011 #3
    ITA requires people to do 5 tests: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, English and Portuguese (almost all the other universities also require History, Geography, Philosophy and Biology). So I have to study Organic Chemistry.
  5. Dec 10, 2011 #4
    If the goal in the forefront of your mind is getting into some elite university then you're not going to be mentally up to the task of tackling the huge study plan you're proposing. If you're attempting to do that sort of intense studying for any reason other than the pure joy of the subjects then you're off track.

    In the famous words of XKCD: "I never trust anyone who's more excited about success than about doing the thing they want to be successful at."

    Forget the university, just study what you love. If you end up getting into a good school as a result, then that's great, but where you end up academically or economically should really just be an afterthought. Study what you're interested in, that's really the primary thing.
  6. Dec 10, 2011 #5
    where does it say that you have to study organic? it has NOTHING to do with any of the programs they offer.

    none of their programs have anything to do with biology, chemistry, chemicals, polymers, materials, etc.
  7. Dec 10, 2011 #6

    I chose ITA not because it is an elite university, I chose it because it does not require me to study History, Geography and Philosophy, which are things that I just can't study with passion. I love studying mathematics, physics and chemistry, however, there are things in chemistry I do not like, however I need to study these, because ITA require in its chemistry test. I'm studying Calculus because I really love it, but even studying for pure joy, I don't know if I'll be able to study all these during this period, also my body shows the first signs of fatigue.


    Brazil's educational system works a lot different. We don't have courses to take like Algebra I, II, we have a defined part of the subject to be studied each year. So everyone studies the same things. A person that wants to be an engineer studies biology as if he was going to be a biologist and a person that wants to be a doctor studies mathematics as if he was going to be a mathematician. So, when entering any university here, the admission tests are about all the subjects we learned in High School, independently of the BS we want, however ITA only requires those I've said. So, even though there are only engineering courses, the chemistry test is composed of General Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Organic Chemistry (each one studied at one year in High School)
  8. Dec 10, 2011 #7
    Sounds pretty elite to me.
  9. Dec 10, 2011 #8
    It is. Just the best students of the country can get there. But I didn't choose because it is elite. I chose it because it doesn't require me to study subjects that I don't like. Also, it is the only university that has dorms for its civilian students.
  10. Dec 10, 2011 #9
    Ohhhh, darn; I totally misread your wording on that :-p

    That makes sense then, apologies :-)
  11. Dec 10, 2011 #10
    No problem, :-)


    Even sleeping 8 hours per day, eating normally, is 15 hours of studying still unhealthy? 12 hours are spent solving problems, Apostol takes 6 of these hours, very difficult book..
  12. Dec 10, 2011 #11
    Maybe don't study Apostol?? Focus on your other subjects first. If Apostol isn't necessary, then don't study it. You have enough work as it is.

    Apostol is extremely interesting. But don't work yourself to death. Also: don't jeapordize your other courses.
  13. Dec 10, 2011 #12
    As I've said, it isn't required. But I would like to learn for the passion I have for math. We don't learn calculus in high school, so I have to do it all alone. My initial plan wasn't something like Apostol. I've tried Stewart, Spivak, Leithold, Thomas B., Guidorizzi (Brazilian author) and Piskunov. Apostol was the only one I really liked, even though it's difficult. I already removed the basics of Electronics from the list of subjects I would study. I decided that if there are still many things to do when January starts, I'll remove Calculus from the list of subjects.
  14. Dec 10, 2011 #13


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    Hi AndersCarlos,
    I think it's ok to learn all these subjetcs although 15 hours per day looks too much at least for me. Also I suggest you to have plan B. What will you do if you're not accepted into ITA? If you plan on entering other universities you'll have to study philosophy, geography, biology, etc. and this will take you a lot of time too. Furthermore, you can't learn these subjects withing a few days, which is the time I assume you'd have. (I mean the semester of each university somehow should start around the same date).
  15. Dec 10, 2011 #14

    I still have 2 years before finishing high school and doing ITA's exams. My plan B is studying one more year then trying to enter it again. If this plan fails, I will enter another university here called UFMA, its tests do involve Biology, History, etc, but at a very low level of difficult, so I wouldn't have to study as hard as I'm studying to ITA. Yes, I agree that 15 hours are too much, but from what I predicted, it is required to be able to finish all the subjects.
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