Should I Even Bother With Finishing Prereqs?

  1. Hello, I just found the site and have a few questions for those in the know.

    I've managed to get all my prereqs finished expect chemistry, and I also want to take my coreqs prior to starting NS. That leaves nutrition, Eng102, and patho, IIRC.

    My problem is chemistry. I barely made it through the intermediate algebra class needed for chemistry, and had never had algebra or chemistry in HS. I'm extremely bad at math. I took chemistry a couple semesters ago and got a D. I passed the lab with a C, naturally. The instructor was from another country and very difficult to understand, so I met with a tutor a few times hoping that would help. It seemed like 2 semesters worth of information getting crammed down my throat in 1 semester. I knew I should have just dropped since the instructor was so hard to understand, compound that with the fact our exams were 100 questions to be completed in an hour! Yeah right.... :icon_roll

    Anyhow, I got A's in microbiology, A&P I and II, and pretty much all my other classes I've taken. I've had a couple B's and C's, but mostly in classes I didn't care and got lazy. I found the A&P very easy when so many people in the class felt overwhelmed. I probably only studied one hour, maybe two before our exams. A little more for micro when going over some of the DNA stuff. I love medicine and have read graduate level medical books for a long time as a hobby, but I'm so bad at math. Tutors are often not very helpful because they can't explain why you do what you do, they'll say "That's just how you do it". Okay, so this number is something random you pulled out of your hat and you knew this from conception eh?

    Is nursing school itself going to be this way? I've asked nursing students, and a few nurses, when I worked in a hospital, and they just say it's hard and you can't work at the same time. I understand the amount of study time being longer, but what else can be said about it? The main thing I see people complain about is the fact that answers on the tests aren't 100% clear, that there's so much grey area on the majority of questions, and their respective answers, that it's real easy to pick the wrong one. I've seen this on the NCLEX review books, so I know what they mean by that tactic.

    Any thoughts? Comments?

    Thank you,
    Chris
    •  
  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   PMHNP10
    Quote from TCASII
    Hello, I just found the site and have a few questions for those in the know.

    I've managed to get all my prereqs finished expect chemistry, and I also want to take my coreqs prior to starting NS. That leaves nutrition, Eng102, and patho, IIRC.

    My problem is chemistry. I barely made it through the intermediate algebra class needed for chemistry, and had never had algebra or chemistry in HS. I'm extremely bad at math. I took chemistry a couple semesters ago and got a D. I passed the lab with a C, naturally. The instructor was from another country and very difficult to understand, so I met with a tutor a few times hoping that would help. It seemed like 2 semesters worth of information getting crammed down my throat in 1 semester. I knew I should have just dropped since the instructor was so hard to understand, compound that with the fact our exams were 100 questions to be completed in an hour! Yeah right.... :icon_roll

    Anyhow, I got A's in microbiology, A&P I and II, and pretty much all my other classes I've taken. I've had a couple B's and C's, but mostly in classes I didn't care and got lazy. I found the A&P very easy when so many people in the class felt overwhelmed. I probably only studied one hour, maybe two before our exams. A little more for micro when going over some of the DNA stuff. I love medicine and have read graduate level medical books for a long time as a hobby, but I'm so bad at math. Tutors are often not very helpful because they can't explain why you do what you do, they'll say "That's just how you do it". Okay, so this number is something random you pulled out of your hat and you knew this from conception eh?

    Is nursing school itself going to be this way? I've asked nursing students, and a few nurses, when I worked in a hospital, and they just say it's hard and you can't work at the same time. I understand the amount of study time being longer, but what else can be said about it? The main thing I see people complain about is the fact that answers on the tests aren't 100% clear, that there's so much grey area on the majority of questions, and their respective answers, that it's real easy to pick the wrong one. I've seen this on the NCLEX review books, so I know what they mean by that tactic.

    Any thoughts? Comments?

    Thank you,
    Chris
    I'd recommend that you talk to a school counselor or psychologist if one is available. I suspect you have a phobia of numbers more so than just not being able to "get it", because you are obviously able to do well in the sciences. The reason being that you have to take a drug calculation test, and if you don't pass it (and some schools require a 90%+ to pass) you only get a couple chances to pass it and then you are out of the program. Other than that, nursing school doesn't involve much numerical math at all, but in nursing school you do have to be a very critical thinker which is a skill that serves you well in math too.
    Last edit by PMHNP10 on Mar 20, '05
  4. by   Sheri257
    The math in nursing school isn't that hard. I notice that a lot of people talk themselves into flunking the math tests, just because they have a phobia of math in general. From what I've seen, it's the fear of math that really causes the problem, not any lack of ability. People go into it saying they can't do it and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

    The only thing that's really hard about nursing math isn't the math itself, but the fact that it's easy to make stupid mistakes. The reason they want you to pass with 100 percent is that they don't want you making medication errors in clinical.

    As for critical thinking questions, it is different from anything you'll see in anatomy, physio or micro. The questions and, quite frankly, the material is sometimes very vague. Nursing is an art and a science, and it's the "art" part that can throw you ... especially when you've been studying hard core sciences for long time.

    It's definitely an adjustment but, if you really know your stuff, you usually can correctly answer those critical thinking questions.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Mar 20, '05
  5. by   grinnurse
    I can so relate to this post! I am in ADN so I didn't have to worry about chem thank goodness, but the Math tests get me nearly everytime. You will need the ability to figure math though b/c it will be on the boards. Don't have any great words of wisdom unfortunately just hang in there and eventually you hopefully will get it.
  6. by   Glimmer
    i know that with our program they wanted you to have a year of algebra... but yet the math entrance part exam was strictly pre-algebra and you only had to score a 30/90 to be consider passing. (i found a great website that helps refresh any of those long lost pre-alg skills one has forgotten... because of it i got an 87! :dances: if you would like the link let me know).

    i took chem in high school and had a hard time with it... but i think a lot of it was circumstances that happened during the year. i had an awesome teacher who was out for 2 quarters after having a baby... left use with a sub who knew what he was doing but didnt care if we did and would let us get away with murder... and then just as my teacher was coming back my grandfather died so i was out of the state for about 10 days... thank goodness the school was just getting sol testing in place and as an incentive to the students if we passed the sol we could skip the exam... i managed to pass the sol and hence passed the class (her exam would have done me in!!!) it was not the math part that was hard with chem but the remembering where every number came from (using you periodic table and then remembering after you wrote everything down was electrons, etc and what you were going to do with them! )

    one of the things you can try (in addition to the other suggestions) is trying to find someone you know that has to take the same class as you. often times if you take the class with a friend and the two of you are study buddies it seems like it is a little easier. you could also talk to people and find out who is the best professor at your school for chem... that is what i did for my math class (after having an instructor from another country get in my face and yell "do you not understand my english?!" and when i said yes he kicked me out of his class. )

    good luck!
    alnee
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Mar 20, '05
  7. by   crb613
    Quote from TCASII
    Hello, I just found the site and have a few questions for those in the know.

    I've managed to get all my prereqs finished expect chemistry, and I also want to take my coreqs prior to starting NS. That leaves nutrition, Eng102, and patho, IIRC.

    My problem is chemistry. I barely made it through the intermediate algebra class needed for chemistry, and had never had algebra or chemistry in HS. I'm extremely bad at math. I took chemistry a couple semesters ago and got a D. I passed the lab with a C, naturally. The instructor was from another country and very difficult to understand, so I met with a tutor a few times hoping that would help. It seemed like 2 semesters worth of information getting crammed down my throat in 1 semester. I knew I should have just dropped since the instructor was so hard to understand, compound that with the fact our exams were 100 questions to be completed in an hour! Yeah right.... :icon_roll

    Anyhow, I got A's in microbiology, A&P I and II, and pretty much all my other classes I've taken. I've had a couple B's and C's, but mostly in classes I didn't care and got lazy. I found the A&P very easy when so many people in the class felt overwhelmed. I probably only studied one hour, maybe two before our exams. A little more for micro when going over some of the DNA stuff. I love medicine and have read graduate level medical books for a long time as a hobby, but I'm so bad at math. Tutors are often not very helpful because they can't explain why you do what you do, they'll say "That's just how you do it". Okay, so this number is something random you pulled out of your hat and you knew this from conception eh?

    Is nursing school itself going to be this way? I've asked nursing students, and a few nurses, when I worked in a hospital, and they just say it's hard and you can't work at the same time. I understand the amount of study time being longer, but what else can be said about it? The main thing I see people complain about is the fact that answers on the tests aren't 100% clear, that there's so much grey area on the majority of questions, and their respective answers, that it's real easy to pick the wrong one. I've seen this on the NCLEX review books, so I know what they mean by that tactic.

    Any thoughts? Comments?

    Thank you,
    Chris
    There cannot be anyone in the world that was more terrified of math than me.I was determined to learn it & I did. I spent hours & hours working problems. I started with the lower math class inter.alg. & worked my butt off to grasp the concept. I took college alg. in the summer w/5 other classes & passed w/B!! (my teacher was taught in Germany,he was old school & hard) If you set your mind to it you can do it!! Don't worry about why you do something just do it. I had a hard time with that too. I found you have standard formulas, learn them, apply them to the problem & that's pretty much it. You do the same thing over & over, for each problem there is a formula just apply it & you are good to go.My tutors told me to quit asking why... it does not matter why...just know what formula to use. I never had algebra in high school so I am right there with ya. Nursing math is just not that hard & you can learn it but like me you gotta get over the fear.As far as the core nursing classes you just have to learn to think differently & you have done so well in your other classes I am sure you can do this too.For me (so far) the nursing classes are eaiser to grasp than the pre reqs. I still have to work really hard but for me its worth it.Good Luck & I hope this has helped you.
  8. by   Maxs
    Chemistry is a lot different then algebra and a lot similar. Math is no guessing, you either know it or you don't. The part where you don't, you can do something about it, and that is even if takes you 8 hours to learn something well you should do it. I love math and science period...I hated english comp and speech and all those art classes because my mind was so scientific, so I found all speech, art, humanities and history to be very stupid. I got a C in Eng Comp I and a D in speech, and my GPA dropped to 3.24/4.00. It pissed me off, to see people getting easy A's in these courses and then they struggle with science courses. Therefore, I found the best english tutor, and I got an A in Eng Comp II and took speech again and got a B (speech teacher's can be prejeduce). So from there on, I started taking my humanities and etc and man I realized how much easier they were then science and math courses. So I brought my GPA back up to 3.659/4.00, For my elective classes I took chemistry and math and biology as well. If I just knew I could do as well on these arts and humanity courses, it wouldn't hurt so much because all these electives were 5 credit hours each. It's always how you put it to yourself. Now, I can write a book review w/o reading the book and that's the power of english.

    Maxs
  9. by   TCASII
    Thanks for the replies. I realize I'll need to be able to accurately dose medications, and that the tests require 100% passage, at least in the schools I've been looking into. No one wants to screw up medications, only to harm a patient. Even if you can use conversion charts that basically do it for you. I also don't have a phobia of math, in the clinical DSM sense of things It's just been something I've always had problems with. A lot of my teachers growing up were not friendly at all about my difficulty in learning the numbers game.

    With chemistry it was a big issue because the teacher was foreign and assumed we had chemistry in HS. I even asked him about me not having chemistry in HS and that this seemed like it was more difficult than it should be. I was trying to gauge whether I should drop and find a different teacher perhaps. He was real assuring that it will be fine. I should've followed the other 7 people who dropped that semester, two of which were LPNs. :chuckle

    I guess I'll keep plugging away at it. More or less done with prereqs.

    Chris
  10. by   Fiona59
    Chemistry is something else. The instructor I had managed to have 50% fail the course with the midterm. So far there are 13 of us left. Some are staying so they can pass the lab portion of course and not have to redo the labs when they redo the theory.

    The problem with our course is that its a senior high course being taught at a college by a PhD. Apparently he is brilliant at teaching college/university level courses but he has a 60% failure rate with his mature students who are redoing the high school stuff. He seems to enjoy failing mature students and nursing hopefuls. Would be nurses need a C+ in his course to gain admission to the programme. I've met people who have had the thrill of being in his class 3 times before they made the prerequisite mark.

    Often its not the student and their study habits, it can be the instructor. I've spoken to the administration and they are well aware of the problems with this instructor but he has TENURE.
  11. by   danu3
    For chem, go for an ADN instead of a BSN. You do not need chem with ADN. Then go for a bridge program to BSN later and look for a school that accept your ADN without chem.

    If you really need to take chem, then find the best teacher you can get your hands on. Talk around obviously or go to www.ratemyprofessors.com and look up the school you are interested in and hopefully they have some decent feedbacks on the chem prof you are interested in.

    For math, you just have to learn it. Have you try something like "Dosage Calculations made incredibly easy!" It is for people who are not "good" at math.

    -Dan
  12. by   morr4336
    The fear of math almost kept me out of nursing school. I needed chemestry as a pre req, and took it without taking algebra. I had been out of school for a loooooong time and was terrified. I made a decision to give it a shot, and passed chemestry with a B. I am not saying that it was easy, but I faced my fear, and jumped in! I must say that I am not the brightest star in the sky, so just do it! You might surprise yourself!!!!
  13. by   TCASII
    Fiona59 - Oh I know. Some teacher are really something else. When I started college I was just taking a bunch of classes for transfer to the university. One class I wanted to take was the one semester A&P. The class was made up of about 18 to 20 people. Well, the instructor (an ex-girlfriends father I realized a few day into it!!!) made the class pretty tough. He made us learn more than I did for each body system in my two semester A&P classes. Out of the entire class, only 8 were passing the entire semester. Most of the people in the small classroom weren't afraid to reveal their D's and F's on exams, nor could they really hide it. I just don't think they worked very hard at it, who knows. Well, except for one kid who didn't show up for finals, the failing students all "passed" with C's. We had to go to his office and look at the final grade sheet on his door. I worked hard to get my A, and so did the others who passed with A's or B's, but these people who were literally failing with F's got C's! I wasn't happy simply because I knew that wasn't possible. Not my only experience with situations like that either.

    danu3 - I wish that were the case. The nursing programs out here all require chemistry, two year community college as well as the university. Only one school that offers an LPN program which doesn't require chemistry, but that's not an RN, and that LPN program is backed up for at least a year and a half. Not to mention it's many other shortcomings.

    I've also used that website, and left a couple reviews myself, just need to take another look. It wasn't very busy for my state when I last checked it out.

    Thanks again,
    Chris
  14. by   PMHNP10
    [QUOTE=TCASII] I also don't have a phobia of math, in the clinical DSM sense of things It's just been something I've always had problems with. A lot of my teachers growing up were not friendly at all about my difficulty in learning the numbers game.[//QUOTE]

    I'm not asking for a response; these are just rhetorical questions: Are you a clinician? Have you already seen one in the past and they told you it wasn't a phobia? If you answered no to both of these question, how do you know you don't have a phobia? If nothing else, certainly you can agree that from your post it seems you were conditioned to not like working with numbers. In addition, your trouble with math is so extensive that you are asking us on a bulletin board whether or not you should complete your prereqs because of the possibility of having to take a math oriented chemistry. I'm just providing some food for thought. In the end, it is your choice; you can eat the food, or feed it to your dog. Good luck to you.
    Last edit by PMHNP10 on Mar 21, '05

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