Chemistry TA Help Room
- Your teaching assistants are required to be available 1-2 hours per week in the Clough Commons 2nd floor tutoring room (278)
- You may see any teaching assistant, not just your own! A schedule of their availability can be found on the "Resources" page of your lecture T-Square site.
- This is a great place to get help with lab reports since it's the teaching assistants who grade them.
- The assistants can also help you with homework problems, etc.
- For a full schedule of office hours, please see the "Resources" folder of your lecture T-Square site.
Professor Office Hours
- Your professor should either have office hours posted (check your syllabus) or give instructions for scheduling appointments. The number of hours per week will vary, but if there is a posted schedule you do not need to make an appointment to go. Just drop by the designated location. Be sure to check T-Square regularly for any changes in the posted schedule.
- Center for Academic Success (Clough Commons)
- You may sign up for one hour per week FREE for any 1000 or 2000 level course!
- If you don't feel that you "click" with a certain tutor after a couple of sessions, definitely try another. Sometimes you just need to find someone who thinks the same way you do!
- This is the center's peer lead group learning program, and it's function is very different than tutoring. The leaders don't lecture; rather, they facilitate as you work with your peers to develop problem solving strategies and skills.
- PLUS is not offered for CHEM courses this year, but you can take advantage of it for some of your calculus courses!
Residence Life Learning Assistance Program (LAP)
- The learning assistance program is designed to provide first-year students with academic support through tutoring. Tutoring is provided in core courses outlined by the Georgia Institute of Technology core curriculum, Areas A-E. The learning assistance program provides tutoring in the following primary areas: math, physics, chemistry, and computer science.
- OMED: Educational Services
OMED: Educational Services is open to everyone and offers a variety of programs. They have a presence both in Clough Commons and their home base, the Chapin building.
- Study Sessions Study sessions represent an open study environment where any Georgia Tech student can come for academic support in any of the courses offered. Main sessions are held in 208 of the Chapin Building, but quiet rooms and group study areas are also available. OMED tutors and subject matter ‘experts’ (faculty, graduate students, former TAs, etc.) are ready to help Sunday through Thursday from 2:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. and Fridays 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.. After normal business hours (after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends) the building is accessed via the stairway located between Chapin and D M Smith.
- Study Groups
Study sessions are set up to ensure daily coverage for the larger Tech courses (calculus, chemistry, physics, etc.) resources are also available for the more specialized higher level classes. Study groups of five or more students in a particular course can set up periodic sessions with a subject matter expert (faculty, graduate student, former teaching assistant, etc.) for the duration of the semester. Further adding to the flexibility of the study group program, in situations where OMED doesn’t have a tutor for your particular class, but you know of someone who can help, they will pay that person to hold regular help sessions.
How do you decide which resource to use?
Each program outlined above offers something a little different, and you may find that using a combination of these resources is the best approach. A few questions before deciding where to start:
- Can you identify a specific topic or question that you need help with?
- Do you need help with a specific assignment?
- Do you feel you know the mechanics of working problems, but you have trouble determining where to start?
- Do you feel that you have trouble understanding the concepts?
Specific Assignments and Topics
This is probably the easiest! -If you're having trouble with a specific homework problem, then the TA Help Room of professor office hours are your best bet. Many other resources will also work (especially 1-on-1 tutoring or LAP drop-in tutoring), but these are the folks that will be most familiar with the specific assignments. Be sure to have the work you've already done on the problem clearly written out and be able to explain what you've tried. If you're really stuck and don't have any work, then you should at least think about and be able to articulate some potential starting points. If you need help with a lab report, then the TA Help Room is the best starting point. Your professors can certainly discuss the chemical concepts associated with lab, but they may not be as familiar with the specifics of what you did in lab. Further, the TAs grade the assignments, so the professors will not be comfortable answering questions about formatting, etc. If you're confused about a specific topic and need a little more detailed explanation, then the TA Help Room and professor office hours are still a good bet. However, you might also consider 1-on-1 tutoring or an OMED study session. Sometimes the TA Help Room gets busy and crowded (as can professor office hours), and you might feel you need a little bit more directed attention. 1-on-1 Tutoring can be a great solution. Again, be sure to prepare for the tutoring session. Try to work out and be able articulate up to what point you understood and where you began to get confused. This will be immensely helpful to the tutor and help you gain better understanding of the material!
You may need to use several resources to get up to speed on concepts (and keep in mind that all of the freshman chemistry courses are concept-driven). The key is to make sure that you focus on understanding, not on memorizing. The good news is that almost all of the resources listed above can help with this area. Be sure to make a conscious effort to incorporate conceptual understanding each time you solve problems. Stop to ask yourself why you did each step as you worked the problem to tie the skill and concept together.
If you feel that you understand the basic concepts, but just can't seem to put them together to solve problems, then you're not alone. This is one of the biggest challenges in chemistry. The best way to get better at solving problems is to work problems. Getting some pointers in professor office hours, with a TA or a 1-on-1 tutor is a great place to start. But, having someone walk you through each step isn't ultimately beneficial. You have to learn what to do when you get stuck. Group study sessions are often a great way to develop problem-solving skills. By helping others and listening to their ideas, you'll pick up new approaches to utilize. An OMED group study is a great approach for this problem.
How to get the most out of the resources
A great deal of this has to do with your attitude going into the situation. If you expect to just show up and then leave with full understanding, then you are very likely to leave disappointed. None of these resources are magic cures, and all of them require significant work on your part.
Prepare for the meeting
- Regardless of the resources, you need to put some effort into preparing to get help.
- Show up with a list of specific questions or topics to address, and try your best to be able to explain up to what point you do understand.
- Have your work written out for any problems that you need help with. Be able to explain what you tried.
Give it more than one chance
- Keep in mind that not everyone learns the same way you do. Though you certainly can learn from someone with a different learning style than you, ultimately, having material explained to you in a manner conducive to the way you learn is best. This means you may have to try more than one 1-on-1 or LAP tutor to find the best fit for you. The same applies to group study and any personal study groups you develop.
- Don't expect immediate results. You probably didn't get confused in only an hour, and it may take more than that to get back on track.
Don't put it off!
- Get help as soon as you realize you need it. The longer you put it off, the longer it will take to clear it up.
- You need time to process information, so waiting until the night before an exam to get help is unlikely to get the best results.