Validations and Plebe Chemistry???

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by bandad, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. bandad

    bandad Member

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    Had a good call my my Plebe yesterday and got his AP scores this morning. He did well. On the call yesterday we asked about validation exams and he said he may have validated Chem 1. Wondering about Mids who started in SC151 vs SC111. Any thoughts on SC151? DS is good student with A in AP Chem but a 3 on the AP exam (I think he expected to do a little better).

    Also, if I read the validation policy correctly, he may be able to validate several classes. He and I have discussed pros and cons prior to his departure for Plebe Summer. If he doesn't validate as much, he will probably start off with better grades and be in classes with his fellow Plebes. If he validates a bunch, he will be in classes with 3C Mids his second semester but he may have a chance to either start a Masters degree or lighten his load a bit in the future.

    This is his decision. I have encouraged him to talk to Mids in his Company and to the academic folks. I understand there is no right or wrong blanket answer, but I am curious and appreciate the feedback.

    Thanks,
    bandad

    PS Praying that I can let go but not quite there yet :smile:
     
  2. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    You'll get both sets of opinions here: validate and get ahead a little; or don't validate and have an easier schedule, be with your classmates, etc. Each side has pros and cons.

    As a plebe, one of my roomies was able to double major because she validated a year of calc (might have validated Calc III as well, I don't remember), a year of physics, a year of chem, and one semester of English. The academic load is heavy no matter what, so I'm not sure that plebes who don't validate really have it better. (One consideration that others have brought up before is that not validating - staying in a class you've already mastered - can backfire if you don't keep up with the work because you already know the material. I have this experience with some of my own freshman students, though!) The important thing is that your DS is choosing based on facts and careful consideration, not impulse, so you can trust his process of decision.

    Oh, and don't worry about the letting go. That too is a process, and you are doing fine.
     
  3. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I don't recall too many folks who regretted validating courses. I like to think that USNA won't "let" you validate a course if they don't believe you've sufficiently mastered the material.

    Plebes who validate plebe courses are generally not placed with youngsters in the next level class but instead with other plebes who validated that class.

    Also, validating allows you to start your major classes earlier (and most folks enjoy those classes more than the core curriculum) and, later on in your four years, can free up precious hours in your day. That extra "free" time allows you to double major, do independent study, start your Master's degree, or simply have extra hours to study, sleep, etc.:smile:

    Finally, I agree with the above poster in that you shouldn't assume you'll do better in a course that repeats some or all of the material you already took. In theory you should but USNA isn't high school.
     
  4. CSGuy

    CSGuy Class of 2016

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    The chemistry professors are notoriously difficult at USNA so make sure your son is completely ready for Chemistry II (SC111 is Chem I, SC112 is Chem II). Just this past year, the final exam for Chemistry II was modified to include 30-40% material exclusively from Chemistry I. Also consider that the Chemistry II professors move fairly quickly because they assume all of their students perform well above the average and are highly motivated chemistry students. One of my friends passed the Chemistry I validation test but received a C in Chemistry II because he forgot the little ins and outs of the previous course, and by the time he took the final, his last Chemistry I class was more than a year prior.
     
  5. bandad

    bandad Member

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    All, Thanks for the feedback and thoughts. I can see both sides. I read that SC151 (Modern Chemistry) is the chemistry course taken by validators of Chem 1. Is that correct? Any feedback on the SC151 course? Thx again,

    bandad
     
  6. bandad

    bandad Member

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    CSGuy - sent you a PM
     
  7. Seavoyager

    Seavoyager Member

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    One thing to consider is how his company is going to be run. The training staff of some companies will be very strict and can often take up a lot of their time. If he can validate a lot of classes, then more power to him, but whether he can handle a tougher course load along with the plebe year games is entirely up to him.

    I think he should shoot for validation but be sure that he keeps his eye on the prize...what does he want to service select? GPA and your class rank play a huge role in what you do for the navy after graduation. I know its early but this will be important. I validated Calc 1 and Chem 1, and was placed into calc 2 my first semester. I had a really difficult marine prof that semester and ended with a C in that class. The study time for this took away from my other classes as well...further dampening my GPA. I'm not suggesting 1 class ruined my GPA at the academy but you get an idea of the concept of taking on more than you can chew!

    Just so you know, service selection is a very fical process. I have witnessed people ranked at the very bottom of their class select the community they want. However, if you are ranked high, your chances of selecting the community you want will also be very high.
     
  8. balloonattack911

    balloonattack911 Member

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    Yeah SC151 is an advanced Chem II, for those who validated Chem I and did well enough on the exam to almost validate both semesters. I took the SC151 course my first semester as a Plebe, and though I did really well in Chem I in my previous university, I struggled in SC151 and barely got a B. I'm an Econ major though, so I'm by no means a math & science whiz.

    Even though the class was tough, there's no way in hell I'd rather have not validated Chem I at the Academy and suffered through 2 semesters of Chemistry there. I strongly encourage your son to validate as many classes as he can. I disagree that retaking classes you could've validated helps your overall GPA, because despite the possibility of you struggling in the class sooner than your classmates, they will eventually have the same class to struggle in.

    Furthermore, if you validate a lot of classes and don't want to study abroad or do VGEP or double major, you can take the minimum 15 credits per semester rather than 17-20, which lowers your workload and helps your stress level and grades.

    For me personally, I was able to take cooler classes as a freshman (especially 2nd semester) and get done with the crappy ones sooner, which made the Plebe stuff less stressful and academics more enjoyable.
     
  9. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    Validate. The classes at USNA may be difficult, but the professors will bend over backwards to help midshipmen. They're not there to screw people over. There are also midshipmen study groups, professional tutoring, and that guy in your company that gets straight A's (every company has one). Not validating and choosing to take more classes to relieve stress is backwards. There is no stress reliever like taking 16 credits a semester.

    Honestly, plebe chem isn't that hard. If he did well in AP Chem and took the time to really learn the material in high school, he will be just fine in 151. The folks who got a 5 on the AP test should definitely validate; the AP test was much more difficult than the SC112 final. Not kidding.
     
  10. bandad

    bandad Member

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    Guys,

    Thanks for the comments. Talked to DS on Sunday, and he had a meeting with his academic advisor toward the end of last week and I believe he has his schedule set for the Fall. He validated some classes and he has a plan. Maybe he will be able to talk to some 3C Mids in his company about school before classes start, or maybe not.

    Thx again,
    bandad
     

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