General Chemistry, Exam 1: 28%... to withdraw or not withdraw?

  1. All my other pre-reqs are completed. All but General Chem. I have applied to 1 LPN program and 1 RN program for next Spring while taking General Chem right now. It's only been 1 month into the semester, we just had our first of 4 exams, and I got a 28. I am completely disappointed in myself.

    C+ in A&P 1 (could have been a B but different topic)
    B in A&P 2
    A in Micro

    But this class... I'm at a loss for words. It started fine. Learning about how to calculate protons/neutrons/electrons/mass of an element, atoms and orbitals, groups, scientific notation, unit conversions... No problem. Very straight forward. But as soon as we get to balancing equations, picking apart compounds and polyatomic ions to figure out how much of this and this is in that formula, then calculating bond energy (oh boy lol).... I feel like my mind has been thrown into a laundry machine. Give me a medication problem or a statistics problem any day of the week. I can understand how SOME of chemistry can be applicable to actual nursing work, but bond energies? Dissecting complex looonnggg compounds filled with letters, exponents, coefficients, and parenthesis?

    Now, two things:

    1) According to the syllabus, it says if you fail the first two exams, you should definitely withdraw. The deadline to withdraw is the 2nd week of November (the week after Exam 2).

    2) On the contrary, General Chem LAB is a piece of cake!!! Unfortunately, my college has the bright idea of making Lecture and Lab for Chemistry two SEPARATE classes. Meaning your lab grade will not count towards your lecture grade as it did with classes like A&P and Micro. Otherwise, I might feel a little more confident about this right now.

    My two A&P classes will expire in 2019 and I don't want to be in school forever, I'm in my early 30s with a family, everything just feels kinda 'tight' right now and it feels as if I only have 1 shot to get this chemistry course right. My goal was to get into an LPN or RN program Spring 2018. I'm not sure how they would feel about me passing Chemistry Lab but failing lecture.

    Should i withdraw now or risk waiting until Exam 2 (the week before withdrawal deadline) to see if I can improve?

    I'm considering a switch to Health Information Mgmt or Accounting (in healthcare) if Chemistry doesn't work out this fall. Don't get me wrong, I would love to do nursing but I also don't want to stay in school any longer than I have to (I spent 5 years already doing general pre-reqs part time). But I have to pick something worthwhile and of interest to me if my main choice (nursing) doesn't pan out because of chemistry, I don't want to be stuck as a medical assistant for the rest of my life.
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   caliotter3
    I would withdraw and go on the attack between now and the time to start the class again. Hire a tutor. Go on Khan Academy for X number of hours a day. Get a Chem calculations for Dummies book and teach and teach and teach yourself, until you can do this stuff in your sleep. Go on the internet besides Khan Academy and find each and every website where you can study on your own and practice the problems over and over. It sounds like overkill? Well, if you are successful, it may be just what you needed. I once met a man who took College Algebra Five, yes Five, times in order to get his degree. He worked until he got it. This is what you need to do.
  4. by   beekee
    Do the math. Best you can do is get 100% on the next three exams. Even if you do. Your exam average will be 82%. If you manage to get 85% on the next three exams, you are just barely over 70%.

    Since lab is separate, there probably isn't a lot of other stuff that makes up your final grade. It seems unlikely that you will achieve a good grade this time around. You probably should study on your own for now and try again. Next time, get a tutor, be at every office hour and use every resource you can find. Good luck.

    PS I'd stay until the deadline. You'll know what to focus on for the first 2 tests for when you do take it over.
  5. by   jss1985
    Quote from caliotter3
    I would withdraw and go on the attack between now and the time to start the class again. Hire a tutor. Go on Khan Academy for X number of hours a day. Get a Chem calculations for Dummies book and teach and teach and teach yourself, until you can do this stuff in your sleep. Go on the internet besides Khan Academy and find each and every website where you can study on your own and practice the problems over and over. It sounds like overkill? Well, if you are successful, it may be just what you needed. I once met a man who took College Algebra Five, yes Five, times in order to get his degree. He worked until he got it. This is what you need to do.
    Being that this school made it so Lab and Lecture are two separate grades that can't be combined, I would basically be withdrawing from Lecture but completing and passing Lab this semester, in order to retake Lecture by itself in Spring.

    Let's say I do that. That gives me only Fall of 2018 to get into any program. A one shot only type of deal. Because in 2019, my A&P credits are no longer any good. I would hate to have to retake those two classes again and delay my education even further.
  6. by   WesDavis
    Drop. But don't drop until the deadline.

    Why? Because you can see what the class is like and start learning the material anyway.

    I've tutored and helped many Gen Chem students.

    So... here's the thing. Make sure you are pretty solid on your basic algebra. In between semesters, go do ALL of the Gen Chem videos from Khan Academy. Here's the thing about Chemistry. You NEED to learn it, and retain it. I've heard so many students say they just want to get it "Done With" and move on.

    But if you learn Gen Chem, all of your biology based science classes afterward will be much much simpler. The kind of simple where you can put in half the effort and make a letter grade better... all because you understand Gen Chem.

    Understanding Gen Chem will make your life so much easier for all the rest of your science classes. Forever. No joke.

    But yes... if you failed exam 1, remember Exam 2 builds on Exam 1. And Exam 3 build on Exam 2. It's a progressive class.

    For example. Let's say you were learning your ABCs. Like Children do. Then you learn to spell words, then write sentences.

    Okay so, do you think you will be good at writing Sentences, or even essays, if you didn't learn your ABCs?

    No. You will continue to struggle. Food for thought.
  7. by   jss1985
    Quote from WesDavis
    Drop. But don't drop until the deadline.

    Why? Because you can see what the class is like and start learning the material anyway.

    I've tutored and helped many Gen Chem students.

    So... here's the thing. Make sure you are pretty solid on your basic algebra. In between semesters, go do ALL of the Gen Chem videos from Khan Academy. Here's the thing about Chemistry. You NEED to learn it, and retain it. I've heard so many students say they just want to get it "Done With" and move on.

    But if you learn Gen Chem, all of your biology based science classes afterward will be much much simpler. The kind of simple where you can put in half the effort and make a letter grade better... all because you understand Gen Chem.

    Understanding Gen Chem will make your life so much easier for all the rest of your science classes. Forever. No joke.

    But yes... if you failed exam 1, remember Exam 2 builds on Exam 1. And Exam 3 build on Exam 2. It's a progressive class.

    For example. Let's say you were learning your ABCs. Like Children do. Then you learn to spell words, then write sentences.

    Okay so, do you think you will be good at writing Sentences, or even essays, if you didn't learn your ABCs?

    No. You will continue to struggle. Food for thought.
    This is my last science class. I've already done A&P 1 and 2, micro, and nutrition.. The chem covered in A&P I didnt go as in depth as this.

    Exams 1, 2, and 3 in this class arent cumulative. But 4 (the final) is.

    I was doing well in this until they got up to ionic compounds and bond energy. Everything just got confusing fast at that point.

    I was on a roll - reading the periodic table, figuring out the charges, mass nukbers, number of protons/electrons/neutrons, Lewis structures, unit conversions, covalent vs ionic bonds -- all a piece of cake. Straight forward material..

    But trying to read those compounds along with figuring out the names/formulas is like reading another language.

    I will definitely drop lec but finish lab. I started on khan academy last nite.
  8. by   jss1985
    Does this mean i should delay my enrollment for the RN and LPN program that I applied to for Spring?

    If i do, then my only option is Fall 2018 to enter. Becsuse come spring 2019, my two A&P classes will expire.
  9. by   WesDavis
    Quote from jss1985
    This is my last science class. I've already done A&P 1 and 2, micro, and nutrition.. The chem covered in A&P I didnt go as in depth as this.
    1. If you are APPLYING for Nursing School, this is NOT your last science class...

    2. I know the "CHEM" covered in the other classes didn't go into as much depth, but I think you are missing the point on this one. For instance, if you understand Gen Chem by the end of the class, you will be able to calculate everything throughout your nursing program (which you are applying for) without needing to memorize formulas. You will understand metabolism, concentration gradients, Gibbs Free Energy, electrolyte deficiency, exothermic processes, the list goes on and on.

    I'm not saying that all of your classes will have in depth chemistry, I'm saying that if you learn chemistry really well, all of your classes will be easier.

    Most students don't realize how much they see Gen Chem over and over again. Usually it's because they can't recognize it in applied topics.

    Regardless, if you are about to start a Nursing Program, this isn't your last science class.

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