I’ll be updating this at some point, but as of now, enjoy what I have here. 😛
COMING SOON – Chem 233, Math 200, Psych 208
STATISTICS 200 – ELEMENTARY STATISTICS FOR APPLICATIONS
I found this course to be “fun” because it was different from all the other courses I had taken. I had never really taken a statistics course before this course so I was basically being thrown into this ocean of newness. The pre-req for this course is Math 101/103/105; although I’m pretty sure you can still register for it regardless of that pre-req restriction, “at your own risk” – seriously though, there’s no calculus involved in it. Keep in mind that I am incredibly weak in calculus, and I still came out with an above average final mark in this class(not to brag, I’m just giving you a ballpark idea of how knowledge of calculus is basically irrelevant to doing well in this course). There is a lab component to this course that is indeed mandatory to attend as you do group assignments during the labs. When I did this course, the labs were marked easy and it was pretty easy to get an A/A+ on the assignments(although they were only worth 5%…but every little thing counts in the end!). We had weekly webwork assignments as well with a limited number of tries/question, but I didn’t find the webwork assignments to be too difficult or tedious. The course covered things like: looking at different types of data and understanding different distributions and relationships, producing data(mainly done during labs), various sampling distributions, and other things, probability wasn’t a very major focus in this course, but we did cover it briefly. Examination wise, we just had a midterm and a final – it was mandatory to pass the final in order to pass the course. Overall, I would say that this course is very doable and you can come out with a pretty good mark in it if you put in the effort and keep up with the material, as everything tends to build on previous concepts.
CHEMISTRY 205 – PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY
This course is fantastic. One of the “easier” ‘pre-med’ courses in my opinion. The course covers three major topics: Thermodynamics, Spectroscopy(try saying that 10 times fast), and Kinetics. Thermodynamics was covered in the first 3.5-4 weeks, and the midter(which I believe was worth 20%) was solely based on Thermodynamics. Due to the fact that the midterm tested very little material, our average for the midterm was ~85% with a median of around ~88%. WHOA, WHAT?! IS THAT POSSIBLE?! Yes. We knew we had it coming in the final, to bring the average down. Thermodynamics is very similar to what was taught in the P.Chem portion of Chem 123, it mainly consisted of plugging in numbers into formulas and spitting out numbers. The practice midterm exam questions were very similar to the format of questions that you would see on the actual midterm. As long as you do the calculations correctly from the beginning, you should have no problem with answering the questions. After Thermodynamics came Spectroscopy and Kinetics…I for the life of me couldn’t figure out spectroscopy until a couple days before the final exam – so for me, I would say I found that to be the most difficult component, but that may also be because I happened to skip 4-5 lectures on spectroscopy….so I was pretty lost. BUT, once you actually LEARN the main concepts behind spectroscopy, you should have no problem with the questions they throw at you. Some concepts in Kinetics were a little tricky to understand at first, but overall it’s not difficult if you do enough practice questions. The final exam when I took it was worth 65% (all or nothing? yup), it was incredibly long which was annoying, but they HAD to figure out a way to bring down the average. And yes, the final exam is cumulative so it covered thermodynamics, included a little electrochem, spectroscopy, and kinetics/rate questions. We also had online Problem Sets that were worth 15% of our final grade, these problems sets I would say definitely did reflect exam questions, and were fairly easy to do! I found that the online problem sets for marks were much easier than the “practice” problem sets, so don’t be too discouraged if you find the practice ones a little difficult. As for references, we had an online resource called ‘WebText’ which was provided to us on Connect – I’m not sure how I found this resource, sometimes it was helpful, other times it really wasn’t, so I say it’s your own personal preference as to whether or not you want to use it. We also had the option of buying a textbook, I know a lot of people didn’t, but I found it really helpful since our prof had suggested questions from the textbook – the only ‘downside’ is the fact that the textbook does go into far more detail than what is expected of us to know, but that’s like every textbook, right? The main things I did to study were: reading over the lecture notes/re-doing the examples in the lecture notes, re-doing the online problem sets, doing ALL the practice exam questions, and for spectroscopy I went online to find helpful resources to help me understand the material better. I think Physical Chemistry is all about practice, there are only so many ways that they can twist around the questions, so the more practice you put in, the more likely you are to be familiar with the type of questions that will appear on exams. All in all, if you do all the practice questions you’re given, and put in the effort, you could most likely come out of the class with an A.
BIOLOGY 200 – FUNDAMENTALS OF CELL BIOLOGY
Well, let me start off by saying that I am not a cell biology kind of person.. Biology 112 was all about unicellular organisms, so stuff like prokaryotes, this course is about eukaryotes. Although I dislike cell biology, I preferred this course content-wise than Biology 112. You basically go in-depth about each structure in a cell (mitochondria, nucleolus, nucleus, Golgi body, etc etc), in depth about processes (transcription/translation stuff), and then you need to be able to distinguish structures under the microscope through different types of microscopy(on exams you’ll get pictures of slides, and then you need to label what it is/which technique was used) – just study these really well because those are some pretty easy marks to get on the exams if you know them well enough. The textbook really isn’t “required” in this course, it’s good to read if you have time and want to get a really detailed and in depth grasp on the subject matter, but otherwise, it’s not worth the money, unless you want a really expensive paperweight. An online textbook-like thing is provided via Connect, so make sure you read all that. Problem sets are also provided online, I would highly recommend that you do them, the only negative part is the fact that answer keys ARE NOT provided, which to be honest, really peeves me. They do that as a way of encouraging you to discuss things with your fellow peers and go to the learning centre and talk with the peer tutors. In saying that, the questions are quite representative of what you should expect on your exams, you really need to know the material well so that you can apply it in any which way that they may present it. There were two exams in this course, the midterm and the final; the majority of the exam is written answers + one essay(although my final didn’t have an essay due to the final exam being at the end of the exam period, which meant that they wouldn’t have had time to mark the essays and submit all the marks in due time), and they are looking for specific key word type answers, so like I said, KNOW THE MATERIAL WELL. Know all the key things in every process. Tutorials are “mandatory” to attend, there are quizzes every few tutorials and in my opinion, the tutors DID help me to understand the material better because the TA goes over certain problems from the posted online problems. There is also a paper in this course, I think it was around 3-4 pages long, really simple and you’re given the topic, so it’s really not a big deal, and if you suck at paper writing, you still have a chance at doing well on this, I personally hate writing papers, but I feel like Science papers are easier to write and do well in than English papers. And as far as profs go, I never really heard any complaints about the profs, they were all pretty much on the same level…but generally speaking Dr. Abraham(my prof, SUPER approachable, tries really hard to get his students engaged and wants them to understand the material well – seriously, GO VISIT HIM DURING OFFICE HOURS!) and Dr. Chowrira are the ones that usually tend to have high section averages.
** I took these in the 2012W session, please be mindful of the fact that things MAY or MAY NOT have changed. 🙂