MacInsiders Logo

Chemistry 1A03

 
Chemistry 1A03
Introductory chemistry I
Published by kenneth526
07-01-2008
Published by
kenneth526's Avatar
Elite Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 425

Author review
Overall Rating
80%80%80%
8
Professor Rating
80%80%80%
8
Interest
70%70%70%
7
Easiness
70%70%70%
7
Average 75%
Chemistry 1A03

Overview
Chemistry 1A03 covers basic assumed knowledge from highschool (bonding, gases, atomic theory, etc), electrons in atoms, periodic table trends, acids & bases, equilibrium, aqueous solutions and thermochemistry. This is a rather large first year class, so it's taught by 3 or 4 separate professors (Dr. Pippa Lock is usually one of them) who use the same "skeleton" notes for consistency. Essentially, the professors post incomplete notes on webCT and just supplement them during lectures. Full notes are posted at the end of the week once every section has gone over the original skeleton notes. Additionally, I don't know if they'll be continuing this, but in Fall/07 they introduced "Molecule of the week" to the class: every friday, we would take 10-15 minutes to discuss a molecule in modern chemistry that related to the material currently being taught. Molecule of the week was not in the textbook, but did show up on tests and the final exam.

Course Breakdown
First Midterm: 15%
Second Midterm: 20%
Labs: 15%
webCT quizzes: 10%
Final Exam: 40%

Midterms
First midterm
  • 25 Multiple choice questions, 100 minutes long
  • covers assumed knowledge from high school, electrons in atoms and periodic trends
  • The first 20 questions are worth two marks; the last 5 are worth 3 marks (for a total of 55)
  • It's possible to receive part marks: 1 mark for the two mark questions, and 1.5 marks for the three mark questions
The first midterm wasn't too bad. The professors post sample tests from previous years for practice, plus there are tons of practice problems in the textbook and from tutorials (which I'll talk about later on). Like any University science class however, it's not like you can just cram for this the night before: you'll need to put in a fair amount of work to do well.

Second midterm
  • 30 multiple choice questions, 120 minutes long
  • Cumulative, meaning it covers all of the material from the previous midterm including acids & bases, aqueous solutions and equilibrium (more heavily weighted on the latter however)
  • Questions 1-23 are worth 2 marks, 24-30 are worth three marks (for a total of 67)
  • Part marks apply for some questions in this midterm as well
The second midterm for 1A03 was rather challenging. University professors from all over Ontario agree that acids & bases/equilibrium are one of the most difficult topics for students in first year chemistry. Considering most of the test dealt with acids & bases/equilibrium, the average for this midterm was something like 61.9 (while the first midterm was 70.4) - and that was AFTER they adjusted the test and made it out of 61 instead of 67 because so many students struggled with it (sidenote: if anyone tells you that they bellcurved the test in Fall 2007, they're wrong! The denominator for the final mark was just adjusted ). The two mark questions weren't too bad; the three mark questions were the tricky ones. In hindsight however, I just have one piece of advice: do the textbook problems. You'll be tempted to feel satisfied since they post 3-4 previous midterms and 2-3 previous exams, but in all honesty, the textbook has very similar, equally challenging questions.

Labs and Tutorials
Labs are three hours a week, every other week for the entire term. There were no formal typed lab reports for this course: you hand in your report at the end of every lab section. The good thing about the lab reports is that the lab book contains a carbon copy which the lab TA (who marks your reports and performance) receives, while you get the original copy; this becomes useful when studying for the test, which DOES include questions from the labs.

Tutorials are biweekly (they alternate with your labs: one week you have a lab, the next you have a tutorial) and optional. The professors post tutorial questions on webCT and you basically go over the questions at the tutorials. They're still working out the quirks of the tutorials however, so this may change. At first, you were expected to attempt the tutorial questions on your own and only attend the sessions if you had a question. After hugely negative feedback, they changed it so that you weren't expected to do the questions at all, and the tutorial TA would go over every single question. Now, they have a more "cohesive" approach, where you still don't have to complete the questions before attending the tutorial, but instead of the TA just giving the solutions, you work in groups with other students who have the same question. I personally found the tutorials in 1A03 rather ineffective, since they kept changing the format and there was very little consistency.

webCT quizzes
There are six biweekly, multiple choice webCT quizzes in total, but they only count your top 5. The quizzes are open for a week with no strict time limit, so you CAN collaborate with other students to go over solutions (in fact, the health sciences students run a not-so-secret "chem madness" in MDCL every friday afternoon to do this). Not every quiz is the same, so you just can't copy your peer's answer key: they might mix up the options, change a little detail about the question etc, so that there are subtle differences in everyone's quizzes. The quizzes aren't that hard; the only challenging aspect of them are some of the molecule of the week questions, since there is no information in the textbook to supplement the notes. The key to working in groups for these quizzes is to read/understand/study the material BEFORE discussing the possible answer with the group; that way, you'll understand the answer much better, which will help you study for the midterms and the final exam in the long run.

Final Exam
  • Cumulative, but weighted more towards thermochemistry since there was no midterm on that
  • 35 multiple choice questions, 3 hours long
  • 24 two mark questions, 11 three mark questions
  • Part marks apply
Overall, the exam was fair: the previous chapter questions were relatively easy, while the thermochemistry questions required some deeper thought (most of the three mark questions were from thermochemistry). The thing with chemistry tests/exams (since they're all multiple choice), is that you need to be able to master the art of elimination. That is, eliminating the options that are wrong. For instance, you might get a question like this
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sample multiple choice question
Which of the following statements about ascorbic acid (Ka = 5.0 10−5) are
FALSE?
(i) calcium ascorbate is a strong base
(ii) ingestion of calcium ascorbate supplements is preferred over ascorbic
acid since ascorbate increases stomach acidity
(iii) ascorbic acid is a weak acid
(iv) ascorbic acid is an anti-oxidant because it functions as an oxidizing
agent when it converts hydroxyl radicals into water

(A) ii, iii
(B) iii, iv
(C) i, iii
(D) ii, iv
(E) i, ii, iv
If you don't know the answer, you can probably deduce it by eliminating some options. Let's say you know that statement iii is wrong: right away, you can eliminate options A, B, and C and you're left debating between D and E. Since the only difference between D and E is statement i, you only need the test the validity of that to see which option is correct. Basically, even if there are four statements to consider, you really only have to think about one of them in the end since you eliminated three options.

Overall, Chemistry 1A03 was a pretty decent course. I think that the chemistry department was the best teaching depth in the faculty of science, so even if you don't get Dr. Pippa Lock as an instructor (who's the teaching favourite), you'll still get a pretty decent lecturer. The labs aren't too bad (except for the last one - you watch ice melt.....) and the quizzes are good mark boosters if the midterms don't go that well for you. I've probably said this in every other first year science course review, but DO THE TEXTBOOK PROBLEMS. They're very similar to the midterm questions and they'll expose you to the type of questions you'll see on the final exam. You'll need to put in a fair amount of work to do well in chemistry, but it's very possible to get a double digit grade (10,11,12) in this class.


Deleted Post
Edit/Delete Message
Click here to add your own review for Chemistry 1A03!

Old 07-07-2008 at 06:19 PM   #2
micadjems
Awesome Member
micadjems's Avatar
Real name: Jackie
Program: Materials Engineering & Society
Year: Alumni
Residence: Brandon Hall (06-07)
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,091

Thanked: 145 Times
Liked: 382 Times
Super annoying course - but we gotta do it :(

Sometimes the in class demos are interesting... thats about it unfortunately
  Reply With Quote Deleted Post Deleted Post
Old 08-02-2008 at 06:22 PM   #3
Quester
Senior Member
Real name: A
Faculty: None
Year: Other
Residence: SOCS!
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 160

Thanked: 9 Times
Liked: 6 Times
hey, if it's in a m/c format, how do profs give part marks?
  Reply With Quote Deleted Post Deleted Post
Old 08-02-2008 at 07:47 PM   #4
kenneth526
Elite Member
kenneth526's Avatar
Real name: K
Year: Third
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 425

Thanked: 141 Times
Liked: 41 Times
For choosing an option that's partly correct. There are questions out of 2 and 3. Part marks are worth 1 and 1.5 marks, respectively. For instance, if option 'A' is the correct choice for a two mark question, you'll get two marks for choosing A. If option 'B' is partly correct, you'll get 1 mark.
__________________

  Reply With Quote Deleted Post Deleted Post


Old 08-02-2008 at 09:46 PM   #5
Quester
Senior Member
Real name: A
Faculty: None
Year: Other
Residence: SOCS!
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 160

Thanked: 9 Times
Liked: 6 Times
i see i see...
thanks.
  Reply With Quote Deleted Post Deleted Post
Old 09-07-2008 at 10:31 AM   #6
mitch
Elite Member
Real name: Mike
Faculty: Health Sciences
Year: Second
Residence: SOCS
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 569

Thanked: 240 Times
Liked: 75 Times
Hardest course I took in my four years....haha. I'm just not that good with acids and bases and that sort of thing. The part marks saved me and everyone else. I like organic chemistry better.

Wow Kenneth, you're like a human course outline!
  Reply With Quote Deleted Post Deleted Post
Old 09-10-2008 at 11:29 PM   #7
basithe
Member
Real name: Emaad
Faculty: Arts & Science
Year: First
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 3

Thanked: 0 Times
Liked: 0 Times
Hey, u mention that we should do all the text book questions, and that the full skeleton notes are posted at the end of every week. well i was wondering if i should rewrite the sections we are assigned to ( which is like the whole chapter btw ) for part of our studyin,

or do u think thats a waste of time becausae the profs give us the full notes neways?
  Reply With Quote Deleted Post Deleted Post
Old 09-10-2008 at 11:32 PM   #8
mitch
Elite Member
Real name: Mike
Faculty: Health Sciences
Year: Second
Residence: SOCS
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 569

Thanked: 240 Times
Liked: 75 Times
They won't ask you anything on the test that isn't covered in the notes that are provided on WebCT. Focus on those notes, and use the textbook as supplementary material for understanding concepts you don't quite understand in class. But you should practice by doing the questions in the textbook.

EDIT: They will also ask questions on tests from lab topics so study the labs as well.

sinthusized says thanks to mitch for this post.
  Reply With Quote Deleted Post Deleted Post
Old 09-10-2008 at 11:41 PM   #9
basithe
Member
Real name: Emaad
Faculty: Arts & Science
Year: First
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 3

Thanked: 0 Times
Liked: 0 Times
Thnks, u jus saved me like 10 hours a week on pointless studyin, now i can do something more productive like watch tv

jks..ill go study math or somethin
  Reply With Quote Deleted Post Deleted Post
Old 09-12-2008 at 10:10 PM   #10
basithe
Member
Real name: Emaad
Faculty: Arts & Science
Year: First
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 3

Thanked: 0 Times
Liked: 0 Times
Hey, i was also wondering, in chem 1a03, we start off at ch.8, and then go onto like chapter 5, then 15 and so on, but we dont cover ch. 1,2,3,4,and 6.
should i study those chapters as well, or do i not have to worry bout them, cause i mean, chem isnt my strongest subject - actually far from it - its my worse.
so should i read those chapters too?
  Reply With Quote Deleted Post Deleted Post
Old 09-13-2008 at 07:11 AM   #11
thedog123123
Crazy Physicist
thedog123123's Avatar
Real name: bob
Program: Physics & Astronomy
Year: Alumni
Residence: SOCS
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 556

Thanked: 61 Times
Liked: 313 Times
the 1st quiz is 50% worth of ch1-4 +6 stuff or at least thats what the prof said.
  Reply With Quote Deleted Post Deleted Post
Old 09-14-2008 at 03:26 AM   #12
sycoman
Senior Member
Real name: Mo
Year: Third
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 197

Thanked: 31 Times
Liked: 9 Times
im wondering the same thing, should i worry too much about the assumed knowledge material? I forgot most of the stuff from grade 12 chemistry, should i read chapters 1-4 +6 again and do those questions at the end of the chapter or will reading a quick summary do?

Im getting worried about this assumed knowlege stuff becuase i dont want to spend too much time reviewing it as it takes time away from doing home work from current chapters plus pre reading text before going to class.

any help would be greatly appreciated..

thanks
  Reply With Quote Deleted Post Deleted Post
Old 09-17-2008 at 10:47 PM   #13
kenneth526
Elite Member
kenneth526's Avatar
Real name: K
Year: Third
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 425

Thanked: 141 Times
Liked: 41 Times
basithe and sycoman,

Chapters 1-4 + 6 is high school review, but there are some questions from those chapters on the first midterm. My suggestion isn't to necessarily study it in depth, but read through it relatively casually, as you'll recall most (if not all) of the content from grade school.

Good luck!
__________________

  Reply With Quote Deleted Post Deleted Post
Old 12-30-2008 at 02:15 AM   #14
sinthusized
Elite Member
Real name: A
Program: Anthropology
Year: Other
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,034

Thanked: 143 Times
Liked: 98 Times
First midterm was easy, second was a slayer, exam was okay.

This year, if your exam was better than your worst midterm it would replace it.

I had dr Britz-Mckibbon, he very pretty funny! but I've sat through dr Lock's lecture and things were at a slower, more comfortable pace.
  Reply With Quote Deleted Post Deleted Post
Old 04-11-2009 at 04:27 PM   #15
batman
Member
Real name: Bruce
Program: BioPsych
Year: Third
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 52

Thanked: 12 Times
Liked: 6 Times
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinthusized View Post
First midterm was easy, second was a slayer, exam was okay.

This year, if your exam was better than your worst midterm it would replace it.

I had dr Britz-Mckibbon, he very pretty funny! but I've sat through dr Lock's lecture and things were at a slower, more comfortable pace.
I remember that second midterm. Looked around the room and 90% of people looked like they wanted to cry.
  Reply With Quote Deleted Post Deleted Post



Review Tools Search this Review
Search this Review:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new reviews
You may not post comments
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



McMaster University News and Information, Student-run Community, with topics ranging from Student Life, Advice, News, Events, and General Help.
Notice: The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the student(s) who authored the content. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by McMaster University or the MSU (McMaster Students Union). Being a student-run community, all articles and discussion posts on MacInsiders are unofficial and it is therefore always recommended that you visit the official McMaster website for the most accurate up-to-date information.

Copyright MacInsiders.com All Rights Reserved. No content can be re-used or re-published without permission. MacInsiders is a service of Fullerton Media Inc. | Created by Chad
Originally Powered by vBulletin, Copyright 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba vBulletin. All rights reserved. | Privacy | Terms