Chem 165/166 – General Chemistry Solid GEMS

What Is General Chemistry Special Sections (Solid GEMS)?

The General Chemistry Special Sections (165/166) course sequence, also called Solid GEMS Chemistry, is equivalent to General Chemistry (161/162). The General Chemistry Special Sections (165/166) is a 4-degree credit course, offering traditional classroom recitation sections. General Chemistry (161/162) is a 3-degree credit course, offering a 1-degree credit on-line recitation (160:101). Students enrolled in Solid GEMS Chemistry Special Sections (165/166) will learn the same material as students in Chemistry 161 and 162. The same textbook is used and all students will take the same final exam and are graded in the same manner.

Using innovative teaching methodology, Solid GEMS Chemistry (165/166) students are in class each day of the week for longer class periods: lectures on MWF(80 min each) and recitation on TTH(55 min each). The extended class time allows in-depth discussion of chemistry topics and promotes faculty interaction to enhance student learning.

Solid GEMS Chemistry uses a research-based approach to improve student abstract reasoning skills, teach chemistry-related mathematics, and offer hands-on experiential approaches to solving real world problems. The benefits of enrolling in the Solid GEMS General Chemistry Special Sections (165/166) are:

  • Smaller class size
  • Extended lectures – three 80-minute lectures per week
  • Two in-class recitation session (greater faculty-student interactions)
  • Four exams per semester
  • Eight quizzes per semester
  • Use of real world examples using chemistry principles
  • Lecture notes are provided to promote student attention to lecture topics and increase participation
  • Drills-to check students’ comprehension

Who should take Solid GEMS?

Students who are developing the necessary mathematics skills for General Chemistry and are registered to take Math 111 or Math 115 during the fall semester will be placed in the Solid GEMS 165 Chemistry course.

In addition to students who are placed in this course, the following individuals may elect to register for the course.

  • Students who wish to enhance their general chemistry knowledge to support more advanced coursework such as Organic Chemistry
  • Student who want to improve their problem solving skills
  • Students who have not had chemistry for some time and need enhanced instruction
  • Re-enrolled or returning students whose science background is limited
  • Upper-class students whose initial mathematics placement prevented enrollment in chemistry during the first year

For more than 28 years, Solid GEMS has served to enhance student performance in General Chemistry 161 and 162. The Solid GEMS model has been helping Rutgers students earn good grades and gain a deeper understanding of basic chemistry concepts. Many students who start with Solid GEMS continue their college years as science majors and several go on to successful careers in science-related industries. Despite the success of the Solid GEMS model, a few misconceptions and myths about the program have persisted over the years.

The Truth About Solid GEMS

Myth: Solid GEMS General Chemistry Special Sections (165/166) are not equivalent to General Chemistry 161/162 and does not meet the physical science requirements for science majors.
Fact: Solid GEMS General Chemistry Special Sections (165/166) ARE equivalent to General Chemistry 161/162. Solid GEMS fulfills the requirements for all science majors requiring General Chemistry and is acceptable for registration for Organic Chemistry.

Myth: Solid GEMS General Chemistry Special Sections (165/166) are remedial science courses. Students enrolled in Solid GEMS take a “watered down,” preparatory chemistry, not the “real” Chemistry. After taking Solid GEMS, students are still required to take Chemistry 161 and 162 to complete the science sequence.
Fact: Solid GEMS General Chemistry Special Sections (165/166) are given the same material as the General Chemistry (161/162) sections and the same textbook is used. The name and course number were changed to consider the extended class time and in-class recitation sessions. The “R” simply distinguishes the section; it stands for reinforcing!

Myth: Solid GEMS General Chemistry Special Sections (165/166) students get easier hourly exams, quizzes, and a different final exam because it is considered an introductory science course.
Fact: Solid GEMS General Chemistry Special Sections (165/166) cover the same material as the General Chemistry 161/162 sections. However, the extended lecture time with the in-class recitations increases faculty contact hours, reduces test anxiety, and the amount of material students must master for each testing opportunity. Furthermore, whether students are enrolled in Solid GEMS or non-Solid GEMS General Chemistry, they all take the same final exam.

If you have any questions regarding the Solid GEMS General Chemistry Special Sections (165/166) course, please contact Dean Jenice Sabb at (848) 932-3738.