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does anything make sense anymore

I recently got my midterm mark back from CHM135 and as expected I did horrible. I got a 39.22% (it’s my fault for slacking off full-time). Apparently the labs are “easy marks” but I’ve gotten a 79% on my first one and my friend told me that it’s pretty bad. I’ve never really been good at labs, but I’m willing to improve.

I’m extremely anxious about the next midterm and the exam. Is it still possible to pass the course with a 60-65%? (How do I calculate how much I should get for next assessments to get this mark?).

Thank you.



oh man, we’ve all been there. it’s tough, but you’ll get through it.

a great tool that i’ve used in the past to figure my sh*t out is this grade calculator. basically, you just enter the marks that you currently have and  how much the assignments are worth, and it’ll calculate that you currently have in the course. there is also an option to see what you’d need to get on the rest of the assignments in order to achieve a certain mark and an option to see what your final course mark would be if you got a certain average on the rest of the assignments. i hope that makes sense. it’s hard to explain. just check out the link above.

confused k-pop GIF

i highly suggest going to your prof/ TA’s office hours to discuss strategies for success. i know that that’s super intimidating and scary, but trust me, it’s worth it. it’s always a good idea to talk to the people who’re actually grading you to get a sense of how you could get better grades. profs/ TAs are always happy to see students and to help them out.

you should also check out the academic success centre. they’re a great on-campus resource that is sadly and criminally underused. you can make appointments with learning strategists, attend workshops, and meet up with peer mentors– all of which can help you improve your grades and help you become more…. academically successful.

i hope this helps you out! good luck!



PS- don’t forget that the last day to drop or CR/NCR any F courses without academic penalty is november 5th!!


relative to what

are sciences relatively hard to get into? chem in particular


hey there,

i dunno man. i guess that depends on how smart you are, doesn’t it? and how smart everyone else who applies this year is.

unfortunately, i don’t know how smart you or anyone else is. i don’t know a lot of things. i’m not very smart, myself.

the only thing i can do is direct you to this year’s anticipated grade ranges for people admitted to uoft in 2014. i’m tempted not to give this link out for the umpteenth time, but i’ll do it, ’cause i’m kind. you can use those numbers as a rough guide to figure out how you measure up to the pack.

chemistry is not something you can apply to out of high school at uoft. if you wanted to get into chemistry, you could apply to the life science or physical/mathematical sciences streams out of high school.

from there, you could apply to a chemistry specialist/major/minor after first year. if you want to know how difficult it is to get into those programs, you can read about them on the course calendar.

here’s a tip: look up whether the specialist/major/minor is/are type 1, 2 or 3. type 1 is automatic admission, type 2 has certain prerequisites for admission, and type 3 has requirements, plus the program only has a limited number of spots.

here’s hoping uoft has a positive REACTION to your application! get it? get it?




quaking in my boots for summer school

How difficult are chem110/120 & mat134 during summer school at utm?!? I really need some advice :(


hey there,

well, if you’ll allow me to get a little PHILOSOPHICAL here, difficulty is kind of a relative thing. i don’t know what you specifically find hard. BUTTT if you’d like to know generally how difficult the classes will be, i suggest you take a look at the course descriptions (chem 110, chem 120 and mat134; these aren’t for summer 2014, but they should give you a general idea of the course content).

just read the course descriptions and consider your own abilities. did you struggle with stoichiometry in high school? what about titrations? if you struggled with anything in the course descriptions, maybe brush up on some grade 12 problems to review. same goes for math.

HOWEVER keep in mind that the classes will most likely have a little bit of review incorporated into them already, and you can get that just from the course description. for example, any ontario calculus class should have taught the fundamental theory of calculus, and that’s in the course description for mat134. so they definitely won’t just be throwing you into the deep end.

the second thing to consider is the speed – most summer classes proceed at roughly twice the pace of a fall/winter class. do you think you can keep up with that speed? i mean you’ll also be going to class more often, so there won’t be LESS CLASS TIME, but it will be a bit CONDENSED.

these are all things to consider, but at the end of the day, there’s shouldn’t be a huge difference between the summer classes and fall/winter classes. if you think you need to review, go for it, but i wouldn’t worry too much. if you work reasonably hard and make sure to keep up with the pace of the class, you’ll be alright. have a little faith in yourself.




coo coo for chemistry!

Hey Aska,

So, I did horribly on my first chem midterm for chm138 and decided that I would drop it before the drop date, I am now thinking of taking it in the summer. Do you think that is a good idea? Would it be harder? Easier in the summer? I know the work load will be a lot more intense as things will move by fast, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to handle it. Or do you suggest that I take chm138 next semester and chm139 in the summer? Please help!



Hey hey!

To be completely honest, I think it’ll be harder if you try to take CHM138 in the summer. I don’t have anything concrete I can link you to, but judging by your situation, if you had trouble during the normal-paced version, an accelerated course might not be the greatest idea.

But if CHM138 is offered next semester, I strongly recommend taking it and then basing whether or not you want to take CHM139 in the summer off of that experience.




up, up and away … to summer school

Awhaddup, AKSA?!

I am a grade 12 student and have been accepted to U of T’s faculty of Social Science! I applied to social science with plans to study economics, but have discovered that I still want to do science courses. Basically, I planned my grade 12 courses around a social science application but still want to do science. I’ve taken chem, advanced functions and calculus & vectors, but left phyiscs out. As a result, I’m going to be taking the full course this july. Apparently OUAC knows that I’m registered for my summer course and will pass on the good news, but when do I select my courses for next year? will I be able to choose ones like chemistry and physics even though I’m in social sciences?

Many thanks!

No matter how many times I’ve been asked what’s up, I always firstly think of what is literally up.

Side Bar Ted

Five things that are currently “up”

– gas prices

– the sun… moon … other solar thingers

– tuition

– keener’s hands in class

– 15 year old boys looking at a photo of Megan Fox

You will likely choose your courses in late July. This summer, first years found out their start times on July 15th and their course enrolment was on July 25th. So, it is likely that similar dates will apply for next summer.

You don’t actually declare your subject POSt until you have completed 4 full credits (so after first year). Most first year courses then, are not restricted. However, they have ‘priority’ indicators on the courses. This means that certain students get first dibs, but if there is still space you can still have chance to get in.

You can look here to see the enrolment indicator.

The fact that you’re taking the course in the summer won’t effect you being able to take courses in the fall.

snuggles and whisky,



Stinkin’ Chemistry

Hi aska,

So I’ve just gone through the first 2 months at utm, and I failed my first Chem mid-term test worth 7% of my final mark, which I’m not too proud of. My goal is to graduate with a CGPA of 4.0 in 4 years time (doing a Physics Specialist). So my main question would be what is a general formula for one to tackle the insane first year science courses to squeeze out a 4.0 while staying sane in the process (e.g how to be more efficient, how to maximize my resources) 😛 . Thanks xoxo


Hi there poor, poor Chemistry Student,

There’s a few things that you can do.
1) Time management is a huge, HUGE aspect of doing well. Make sure you allot more time for things that are going to give you some trouble.

2) Connect with a Physics Major – ask a 4th year student how they possibly managed to survive 4 years of hell. You can probably go to one of your profs and they can recommend someone for you.

3) Surround yourself with people who have the same goals as you – its easier to be a study bug if the people around you are also in a study cave and not out at a rave (a little Dr. Seuss moment for you there)

4) Study snacks (they seriously keep you going)

5) Coffee and Baileys (Caffeine and good taste)

6) Have dancing, video gaming, beer ponging breaks so you don’t completely lose your mind

7) realize that you’re not the only one in this position (take for example the kid in the post below your … also thinking that Chemistry is being a little bitch)

8) apparently you can’t have an eight with a bracket without it becoming a cool dude face, BUT WHATEVER, we like sunglasses

UTM has Chemistry department advisers and i BET they love helping you develop a good work ethic.

9) St. George offers seminars on time management, developing study work ethics, how to be more effecient etc. So I would suggest looking into the UTM academic Learning Center as I’m sure they will offer help in similar topics

Good Luck!



someone get this student 10 mojitos and a backrub

Ok, heres the deal. I have major issues on deciding where I want to go in life
(ex. career). I’m entering 2nd year and I’m torn on whether to study something
like architecutre/english or human biology. Firstly, I am bad at math and I am
frightened of CHM139. Plus, I dont want a crappy GPA at the end of my undergrad
so that it hinders my competitveness for grad schools. I feel, or I should say
engrained, that getting a BSC is like so godly where as a BA is like for stupid
or lazy people. AHHH. Am I being lazy for not wanting to enter biology despite
the fact it interests me? Plus, I know that our undergrad programs don’t matter
for law/medical schools, but in reality how many non-science undergrads actually
make it into med school?

Thanks for the advice wise one lol! (more…)


chem credits: spicy or extra-spicy?

whats easier chem 151 or chem138h +139h ? is the pace relatively slower than the
other two chem half courses? Thanks ! (more…)


from top to bottom: the journey of the student

I’m doing first year life science and is it ever a kick in the pants. I come from top of my class and am probably near the bottom here. If my TA is completely useless where do you suggest I go to get help in Chemistry or Physics? I’m also concerned about applying to second year programs…what kind of of marks do they look for, how hard is it to compete for a space?

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