Studying for the written qualifiers – a guide to first year students
BioCheGS, UMBC, 2009
- Start preparing early. Study hard and take the exams extremely seriously.
- Make a good plan; spend a few hours to make a detailed plan of what to study and when. Make sure you have enough time to cover all chapters and all topics.
- The exams test basic chemical engineering knowledge. Therefore, make sure you understand the basic concepts. The exams are based on undergraduate Chemical Engineering material.
- Consider unsteady state, non-isothermal processes. Do not assume that something will not come up just because it is not broadly covered in your textbook.
- Work in groups and teach each other. A person retains ~10% of what he/she reads and ~90% of what he/she teaches.
- Request texts (from professors or senior students) you can study from. Approach the professors with questions.
- It is useful to know the styles of the professors who are writing the exams. It will be very helpful if you seat in the undergraduate classes (thermodynamics, kinetics, heat and mass transfer, fluid mechanics) and if possible, to solve the homework problems or at least collect them and practice on those later.
- Ask to get permission to the Blackboard site of the classes of the exam topics.
- If possible, approach the faculty and ask them frankly about their teaching styles and their reference materials as it should give you a sense of the type of questions you should expect.
- It is up to you to be proactive. If you have doubts/questions do not hesitate to approach your peers/TAs/faculty. Everybody wants you to succeed so they will help you when needed.
- Whenever possible, try to get acquainted with the teaching materials and style applicable here at UMBC – this is the school you have picked; style and expectation changes will have to be done from your part.
- Realize that it is very often a test on your critical thinking and reasoning aptitudes, not a test on how fast you can solve problems you have seen previously.
- Be confident you can do it and just try to do the best you can to look smart on paper; show that you can think; right down your thought process not just the final answer. Writing down the steps and all the operations can sometimes be more helpful than actually putting down numbers.
- If it is REALLY overwhelming for you, study only for 2 qualifiers at a time. It is better to fail only 1 exam than all 3.