Labs at UWaterloo are usually SO much fun. They’re wonderfully designed to line up with what you’re learning in the lectures and you get to do them with a partner so it’s basically only half the work! It may sound easy, but a lot of people don’t know these quick tips that can help you do amazingly in the labs and boost your GPA!
1. Actively participate in the procedure
Even if you don’t like chemistry, actively participate in the steps of the procedure. Don’t let your lab partner do all the work (even if they insist they don’t mind – they do). This is going to help you understand what’s going on and how you got the results you did better. It’s also going to help your TA have a better impression of you and give you better participation marks.
2. Take time to understand the theories and background
When writing your pre-lab summary, make sure you understand the steps, as well as why you’re doing them. Read over the introduction and background information given before each lab and try to understand the concepts and applications of the experiment. This is going to help later on, when you’re actually writing the lab report and it may in crease your interest in the experiment.
3. Ask your TA questions about formatting and marking
In theory, all TA’s for a course are supposed to mark the same way, but that isn’t always the case. It’s true that at the end of the semester, your class’s results will be standardized but it doesn’t hurt to know what your TA expects. Obviously, knowing what they’re looking for in a good lab report will help you hit all those points and get maximum marks. It’ll also help you in upper year courses, when lab reports have to be more precisely formatted.
4. Try to make links between the lab and the lectures
The CHEM 120 lecture and lab are generally very well linked. Look for these connections and see how what you’re learning in the lecture is being applied in the lab. This will, again, help increase your interest and help you understand why you’re doing each step and what the results mean.
5. Be enthusiastic about your results
Even if you don’t like chemistry at all, pretend to care about your results Try to look at them from different views and decipher why the results are important. Who knows, if you pretend to care enough, maybe you’ll actually end up loving it!
Basically, whether you’re for real excited or just fake excited, be enthusiastic and put effort into the labs and there’s no way you won’t do well!