Chemistry at USNA

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by texan101, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. texan101

    texan101 Member

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    For any mids out there, how hard is the required chemistry course at Annapolis? I'm taking AP Chem right now but am not an expert by any means, I recently took a practice AP test and got a 3. Just how does it compare with highschool chem?
     
  2. Riv-Rod

    Riv-Rod Member

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    im with you there im in ap chem right now too, and i can get along fine in the class, but i have a feeling i get a lot of help and extra stuff that wont happen at any college.
     
  3. texan101

    texan101 Member

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    ya thats what i'm worrying about, I have a mid B right now and not to be pesimistic or anything but I don't think I'm going to get higher than a 3 on the ap exam and I don't think you can validate with that. So I just kind of want to know how I'll do next year in chem.
     
  4. HuskiesMama

    HuskiesMama Member

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    Unless you are a whiz at Chem, I wouldn't worry about validating out of Chem 1. Most everyone at USNA needs some Chem, and you'd be better off starting in Chem 1 than pushing to validate out of 1 and getting placed into Chem 2, when you're working really hard in high school to keep a B in Chem.

    Just do what you do on the validation exams. Don't TRY to validate. Don't try NOT to validate. Try only to make sure your validation exam accurately reflects what you do know. Let USNA place you where you belong. If you struggle, there are study sessions and EI (Extra Instruction) and other opportunities to get the academic support you need, when you need it.
     
  5. PositiveThinking

    PositiveThinking Member

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    At an admissions seminar we attended in the fall, a current mid told the group he validated out of Chem 1, but after the first couple of weeks in Chem 2 he realized he was in over his head. He was able to switch his schedule to Chem 1 and completed it successfully.
     
  6. wannabe2013

    wannabe2013 Member

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    I got a 4 on the AP Chem test and I was helping some of the mids with their Chem 2 homework during my CVW, but it was definitely harder than most of the stuff I did in homework from high school.
     
  7. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Chem has, I think in the past, been called one of the "Plebe Killers" as a course. Even if you validte CHEM I it will be tough.
     
  8. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Based on what we have seen with our sponsor family over the years, USNA is used to seeing plebes grapple with Chem and Calc from a wide variety of academic backgrounds. Validation tests will help place plebes in the right course. There's plenty of EI, study groups in company, academic skills center and shared effort to help get everyone through. That said, a large number of plebes tank either Chem or Calc, or both, get seen by the academic review board, and have to take it over during the summer. Once you're at USNA and trying, the faculty and Commandant's staff do everything they can to help you succeed. As has been discussed elsewhere on this forum, time management skills, focus and minimizing procrastination are essential to being "sat" academically, physically and plebe-performance-wise.
    Valdiation can be a wonderful thing to help jump ahead on the academic matrix, leaving time for other opportunities. But -- it's not so bad to not validate, and be able to manage a course more easily for perhaps a better grade than the "stretch" course. Anathema to over-achievers, yes, but sometimes optimization is a good strategy for plebe year.
     
  9. peskemom

    peskemom Member

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    When my now Second Class was planning her senior year of high school schedule, she opted to take AP Phyics and AP Bio and AP Calc BC. "No Chem?" I asked. "I'll take that at the Academy"( due to her LOA, she had that option ) she replied. I warned her that Chem was THE Plebe killer - but she wanted to do this schedule.

    Fast forward to the end of Plebe year. She has one of the highest military and physical scores amongst all the midshipmen, has been on the Supe's list once, and has a "C" in Chem. The first, and only "C" she has ever seen in high school or college. She worked her butt off for that grade.

    We sat with another USNA family during festivities during Herndon week. That father, like my hubby, also a USNA grad was curious to know how we - with USNA Plebe daughters, were enjoying this round. I told him the only thing our mid found tough all year long was her Chem class. "Well, My Plebe FAILED the class and has to take it again for summer school." He replied. We compared notes. Apparantly there was 1 teacher who was considered the toughest and both our girls got his class.

    Suddenly my mid's "C" grade sounded mighty good!

    :)

    The key in Plebe year is not just the difficulty of class work - but how to balance EVERYTHING you are given to do - purposefully overwhelming - to train you to think as a clear-level-headed leader under stress.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  10. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Excellent post, peskemom ~

    My feeling is that "C's" at the SA's, especially in those "plebe killer" classes, equate to high B's at less rigorous civ u's.

    Many, many plebes and cadets will get that blast of cold water in the face as they get their first B-C-D and even F's. Someone has to, and with the caliber of SA entering classes, that's usually one of the first hard lessons. That's where the sense of humor and going for the "big picture" perspective come in - stay "sat" in all respects, academically, physically, performance and conduct - and survive. Being "sat plus" or "sat extra plus" academically is a great thing, but the other graded stuff also counts for class standing. Many of our midshipmen, all with stellar HS records, struggled. The brains usually come back youngster year, as time management skills get better and the ability to produce under pressure matures.
     
  11. rksUSNA2013

    rksUSNA2013 Candidate Appointee

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    This makes me really not regret spending 2 years in college. Whether I validate chemistry, physics, calc, etc. or not, I feel like I am at a huge advantage compared to everyone else. My first year of college was a such a shock. After sleeping (literally) through many honors and AP classes in HS and getting straight A's, taking real college classes was like a slap in the face. I've changed my study habits, and in a year and a half I went from being stressed out and a step behind all the time to breezing through tough classes, varsity athletics, and several ECAs. I'm excited to take on whatever USNA can throw at me.
     
  12. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    rksUSNA2013, you're a good "poster-plebe" for all those taking that slight detour through NAPS, foundation school or college courses before coming to USNA. You will indeed be well-prepared, and the water won't feel as cold at the deep end as you jump in! Appreciate your positive attitude and the fact you hung in there to get your slot at USNA after 2 years of college.
     
  13. bmorris244

    bmorris244 Member

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    I have 2 older brothers, both of whom went to the same high schools and different colleges, and each slept through their freshman year of classes in college. My eldest brother (who is studying virology and immunology at a biology-centered school in WV) even used the same textbook for his bio class freshman year that we all used OUR freshman year in high school...
    I'd like to THINK I'm well prepared haha.
    I'm actually looking forward to the challenge, though. Senior year is a BREEZE compared to junior year's workload, and I've discovered that I'm bored with it. Not for long, though! Can't wait!
     
  14. cog_engr

    cog_engr New Member

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    Think carefully about validation...

    Take this as a word of caution -- think carefully about trying to validate chem. Learn from my fun times!

    In my plebe summer, some 18 years ago, I validated both Chem 1 and Chem 2 -- fantastic, right? Well, the consequences weren't so fun. I ended up in majors physics (I was an EE major) -- imagine the surprise on my youngster's face when, less than an hour after come-arounds with him, I showed up sitting next to him in class. Awkward!

    This leads to a few things. First, plebe instructors seem to understand that there are some constraints on your time (!!) that aren't as bad as in later years, and seemed to take that into consideration on workload. (It's hard to speak definitively on that, but I sure seemed to be getting killed in majors physics compared to my room mates in chem - black magic and hot, loud, & bright were tough!). The other big issue is that I didn't have the support network in chem that I would have had, had I taken it with the rest of my classmates. My classmates in the company could often compare notes and work on homework together; it was much harder for me. (I sure couldn't go down to steerage and hang out with the physics study group!)

    Just think carefully about what the downstream impact is going to be from validating.
     
  15. NYCUSNA2012

    NYCUSNA2012 Member

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    Caution, thats just one mid's experience.

    I'm in classes with youngsters as a plebe, I find that overall they are willing to accomadate your schedule, and realize that if you want to study with them, it cann't be in steerage. Physics itself is a harder course, and while the workload may be tougher, one doesn't have to take it until youngster year, unless one is trying to get ahead in their matrix.

    Sounds to me like you just had horrible youngsters in your class who wanted, in their own way, to show off that they were a higher year then you.
     
  16. rksUSNA2013

    rksUSNA2013 Candidate Appointee

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    I've considered this and I'm still not sure. I've taken Calc 1,2,&3, Physics 1&2, Inorganic & Organic chemistry, US history, European History, and a couple of engineering classes. I thought it would be cool to have a head start on my academics but now I'm starting to think it might be better to retake these classes at the academy so I won't be quite as busy and I'll be guaranteed a lot of 4.0's.
     
  17. CurrentMid

    CurrentMid Member

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    LOL!
     
  18. NYCUSNA2012

    NYCUSNA2012 Member

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    You are not guarenteed anything. Don't retake classes, because you will most likely end up doing what numerous people do when they retake, blow the class off because its "an easy A" and then end up with a C in the class.

    Being ahead is a good thing.
     
  19. rksUSNA2013

    rksUSNA2013 Candidate Appointee

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    I know I'm not guaranteed anything. Didn't mean to sound arrogant or anything. But I'm in the honors college at a large university and I do just fine, and I've gotten 4.0's in most of those classes. Organic Chemistry is supposed to be the killer course here, but I don't go to half the classes and I'm still doing great. Are classes at USNA really that hard? Has anyone honestly taken courses at another college that could compare them?
     
  20. usnahopeful

    usnahopeful USNA Midshipman

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    I think it may be because of time management, etc. there just isn't enough time in the day.
     

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