Not a good start to the summer semester...


I'm taking chem this summer in a 6 week session, and I think I'm starting to regret it.

I hated chemistry in high school. I was just never that fond of it. So I figured it's best to just take it this summer for 6 weeks and get it over with instead of dealing it over the spring/fall semester. It's pretty rough - 8 hours of lecture, 6 hours of lab, and 2 hours of recitation each week. We just finished our second week and had the midterm already. Grades came back today and apparently I got a 74%.

This was just SO discouraging. I couldn't help myself and so I broke down in tears. Mainly because I actually thought I did fairly well on it. I remember thinking to myself, there's no way I can score below a 85% on this. And now I feel so stupid, because this first exam was supposed to be the "easy" exam. I spent hours and hours studying for it, and for what? A 74%.

I know this is just the beginning, and I know I didn't perform the worst in the class (average was a 79% and median 80%). I'm aware that I have other chances to pull my grade up and that a 74% is still a passing grade...but this is just NOT a good start to the summer :( I don't want to come off as whiner, but I guess I just really want to aim for an A in this class (and in all my prereqs).

Okay, I'm done venting, lol. So for those who have done well in chemistry (particularly summer chemistry), any study tips on how to succeed?

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 46 years experience.

Chemistry was torture for me back in the day. I failed it the first time I took it- then repeated it and got an A.

I don't have study advice, per se- but I want to encourage you to stick it out. You can ALWAYS re-take to improve your GPA if needed, and think of how much better you can do the second time around. Best wishes!

Just like you, in high school I wasn't very fond of chemistry, or any sciences for that matter. I maybe finished with a low B in all my sciences in HS.

I've done chemistry, but only in the fall & spring semesters. It wasn't hard, but it wasn't easy either-I was able to pass chem I & II with A's. My first semester in chem I made a 78 on my first exam (with 15 extra credit points -_-), needless to say, I failed. After that I had to learn what study habits worked for me & put them to use. After seeing that grade I made sure to make an A on all my other exams.

I'm going into my 3rd week of summer school--taking biology tho. I was super scared for our first midterm but aced it. Exam #2 is this Tuesday & we've started getting into the harder stuff so I'm even more terrified - I spent this wknd studying. In summer courses you really have to study ALOT & pay attention in class, take extra notes, etc. Get help right away if you need it because unlike fall & spring semesters, there's really no time for mistakes in summer school. I mean NO TIME. Although summer classes are hard, in a way they're easier because you really don't have time to forget anything. Try to figure out why you didn't do so well on your first test & learn from it. Study harder if you need to-talk to your professor if you need to. Luckily, you still have time to pull your grade up. As long as you do well on your other exams you should be ok. You can pull an A.

Sometimes it takes bad grades to bring the best out of you. Use that grade as a source of motivation-don't get discouraged. Good luck!


200 Posts

That's the thing I hated about chem. you have to be very meticulous because you can easily make a simple mistake that can throw off the whole answer. Most of the time the professors will see what you did wrong and will still give you partial credit but there were many times when I did much worse than expected on exams. Hang in there and remember study and practice :)

SmYle4PeDs, BSN

315 Posts

Specializes in PICU. Has 2 years experience.

I haven't taken a summer chem class, but I did just finished the spring session with an A. It was definitely challenging and each exam that I took, I spend about 10 hours (not straight) studying. Usually about 2 hours a day when I had an exam approaching. I also watched YouTube videos on anything I didn't fully understand. Im currently in a&p1 and it is a 6 week course -- extremely fast paced! I'm always studying. Even if I'm not in my notes or books, I'm thinking it in my head, constantly! You can do it. I am constantly in prayer, because I need the Lord's strength and supernatural power to help me succeed!

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19 Posts

You can ALWAYS re-take to improve your GPA if needed, and think of how much better you can do the second time around. Best wishes!

I understand that, but of course I'm trying to do everything I can to avoid retaking it! Haha. For me personally, I'm probably going to re-evaluate my options and decisions to become a nurse if I do end up failing this class. I know that sounds horrible, and that's not really how I should be thinking, but at this point, I really can't afford to spend any more time and money on retaking courses :(

And thank you for all your words of encouragement, guys. I'm definitely feeling better. There's going to be nothing but hardcore studying from here on out!

Specializes in Maternal Child, Home Health, Med/Surg. Has 5 years experience.

I have no tips, but I'm starting my Chemistry class tomorrow! It's an 8 week summer course. We will be having 5 hours of lecture a week, and 6 hours of lab. I'm hoping to do well.

I'm sure you can pull it up. Review? Try Khan Academy - they have a review type part for Chemistry!

GOOD LUCK!! I have faith in you!


115 Posts

Like you, I do not like chemistry at all and did not do well on it in high school. I also took it during summer and it was 5 weeks long. We had labs twice a week, and lecture M-F for 4 hours. It was brutal, but it was worth it.

I had a study group and we would always stay after classes for at least 2 hours to study or do our homework. Come exam time, we would be on campus from 8am to 8pm. It was nice because our professor also stayed late and we got to ask him questions and offered us more help.

Ultimately, what really got me through was my professor and his ability to teach the material presented to us. It was amazing how much I learned from him. He broke everything down for us and he would teach and reteach until we got the material.

I'll admit it wasn't easy and there was a lot of late night studying on my part. There were about 15 people that ended up dropping the class because it was so overwhelming. Keep on going though because you will get it! You're doing this for a reason so keep your eye on the prize!

umbdude, MSN, APRN

1,227 Posts

Specializes in Psych/Mental Health. Has 6 years experience.

Here's how I studied Chem:

1) Read the text and really pay attention to the sample problems and make sure you understand each step. Do not ever gloss over something that you don't or "sort of" understand and think that you'll come back to it. People rarely do and what you don't know add up.

2) Do ALL assigned practice problems *without* going back and look at the text; write out all steps.

3) Mark the problems that you got wrong or unsure about.

4) Read each step of the solutions carefully (get the solutions book that shows steps not just the answers) for both correct and incorrect problems.

5) Re-do incorrect/unsure problems after a day or two, write out each step, mark the ones you're not sure about.

6) Re-do the ones you got wrong or unsure about the second time around.

7) If you have time, try the really challenging problems even if they're not assigned.

8) Use youtube, or ask your professor, if there's anything you don't understand.

For Labs. The most important thing, I think, is to clearly know the purpose of the experiment. What are you trying to figure out or prove? Once you know that, with stuff you learned from class, you'll have an idea of what kind of data and steps you need to collect to perform the experiment. You can get very concrete numbers from these experiments, which is why I thought Chem lab was the most fun of all, followed by Micro lab.

I didn't take Chem over the summer, so there's going to be a ton of work ahead of you. Good Luck!!


19 Posts

Those are some really nice tips! Thanks! :)

Sigh, the next midterm is in 6 days. It's crazy how fast things go! I'll hopefully do well on that so I can bring up my grade for the class.