Tips for success

This was written a few years ago, largely by a former student. Much of it focuses on the special issues associated with taking the summer Chem 119 class at Contra Costa College (Introductory Chemistry), which is about three times faster than the regular semester. Nevertheless, the general ideas hold in any case. Comments welcome!

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Some students in Chem 119 are taking their first college-level course (and some may be taking their first in a long while). Further, summer school involves an accelerated pace (about three times that of the regular school year), and it's even worse at CCC, with its belief in long weekends. Thus it is worthwhile to think about the level of commitment that is required, and some other suggestions for success.

Time commitment

  • Rule of thumb for college courses: the "typical" student will spend 2-3 hours outside of class for each hour of lecture.
  • Since we have 2 hours of lecture per day, that means about 5 hours of outside study each day.
  • Plus lab prep, probably an hour or so per day.
  • The bottom line... taking Chem 119 on the intensive summer schedule requires as much of your time as a full-time job!

    Regular semester (3 hours class time + 3 hours lab per week): Probably 8-10 hours per week of outside work.
    Chem courses at UC Extension (2 units; about 2 1/2 hours class per week): Probably 5-8 hours per week of outside work.

Prepare for class.

Prepare for lab.

Do problems

Focus on ideas

Be an active participant in class.

Learn from feedback

In general... make a commitment to succeed, and then do what is needed. If you feel overwhelmed, remember to cross one new hurdle at a time -- and recall all the hurdles you have already crossed.


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Last update: November 12, 2014