Summer Orientation

You will learn a lot at Summer O, or TAMS summer orientation. First, what is Summer O? Taking place on June 13th and 14th, Summer O is a busy weekend where you get to meet your future classmates and some seniors, get to actually spend the night at McConnell Hall (the dorm where we live), and learn even more about TAMS.

What to Bring

Before Summer Orientation, TAMS will send out a check list of things to bring for orientation.  While you may not need everything on the list, most of the items will come in handy during your stay.  Remember, Summer O is only 2 days, so pack light! Most importantly come with a good attitude, ready to make lots of new friends and have lots of fun!

This is the 2014 Summer O List (From https://tams.unt.edu/studentlife/2016)
  • Students – Pillow, bed linens or sleeping bag, towel, and alarm clock (On campus Parents – Legends will provide basic linens)
  • Casual summer attire (Think outdoor active wear — it will probably be hot outside & possibly cool inside! Flip Flops not recommended.
  • Sweater or Indoor cover-up (those who tend to chill easily may want to bring extra coverage for indoor sessions)
  • Comfortable walking shoes (Sessions will be in buildings all over campus.)
  • Shower shoes (for use in community bath.)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Umbrella and sunscreen (It’s TX, you never know!)
  • Pen and notebook
  • Students will need pencils for math and chemistry placement exams. Non-programmable calculators may be used on the CHEMISTRY portion only. No calculators may be used for the math exam. Find more info on the math exam here.
  • Cash &/or Checkbook (to pay for various things such as: letter jacket, TAMS Ring, etc., as well as opening a Denton area savings/checking account.)

The Schedule

You should receive a general itinerary of all the things that will happen from the TAMS staff, but just to clarify: you will arrive on Friday afternoon and it will probably be crowded and busy. Friday will be pretty chill and lots of fun. You will get your picture taken for general TAMS purposes (not the yearbook), so look pretty. You will be meeting a lot of people, so try to remember faces and names, but don’t worry if you can’t remember everyone; you still have two more years to learn them. Later, you get into pre-assigned small groups where you will endure all the crazy icebreakers, games, and activities your group leaders can come up with.  This is the time where you really get to know your peers, because up next is Roommate Rumble (see bellow).   After that, all of the students will gather in the PEB (physical education building – various gym courts and such), and then you can play sports (keep this in mind regarding clothing), play board games, or just chill and start getting to know your classmates. Finally, you head back to McConnell and call it quits for the day. TAMS staff really know how to fill a day during orientation (both summer and fall).

The next day will be just as long, but maybe not as fun. You start the day with 2 exams: math and chemistry placement tests. Don’t get too stressed over these; you already got accepted to TAMS, and that won’t be revoked here. They know you are academically qualified, so these exams are here to make sure that you are placed in the correct course.  (See below for more information!) After that, you will go to various seminars where TAMS staff will talk about student life, academic life, and other things. There will also be a “Semester in a day”, which will involve various activities to introduce you to TAMS life. After that, the administrators will go over the handbook (make sure you read it) and give you summer homework (don’t cry yet; it’s not as bad as it seems).

Roommate Rumble

You will be separated by gender (for obvious reasons), and your seniors will tell you their roommate experiences, good and bad, and discuss dorm life. If you already know a friend that you want to room with, there is an option for that on the form you get. Everyone else gets to ask people in a group environment all about them. I recommend asking about sleep schedule, cleanliness, noise (during studying, sleep, etc), and any other things that are important in your living. If you happen to find someone who you think you are compatible with, congratulations, you can request them on the roommate request form. If you don’t find anyone, don’t fret; there will be a questionnaire on the roommate request form which should hopefully match you up with someone compatible. There will be questions about sleeping, music, cleanliness, sharing, and a couple others, so make sure you have a basic idea of everything and answer the questions as truthfully as possible. As a side note, I’d like to say that, since you are now in college, some living habits might change. For example, when I was in high school, I would go to bed around 10pm and I stayed up past midnight (on a school night) only a couple times; after about a month at TAMS, my sleep habits changed to going to bed anywhere from midnight to 2am. On the other hand, my roommate, Sydney, didn’t change much. She rarely slept in high school and rarely sleeps here, often going to bed at 3 or 4.

Tests (Don’t be too scared)

At Summer Orientation, you will take two tests, a math test and a chemistry test.  Don’t be scared if you don’t know much on the exam or if you have trouble.  These tests are very different from the one that you took on interview day to get into TAMS.  Instead of being entrance exams, these are placement tests.  This means that although they are important, they are NOT life altering! So don’t freak out!

Math

The math test will determine if you belong in Precalculus or Calculus I. If you haven’t taken Precalculus yet, don’t worry.  Some students who come to TAMS are accelerated in Math, but the majority of students take Precal.  Even if you have taken the course, TAMS may still want you to retake it. (Depending on how you do on the placement test)  Once again, don’t feel bad if this happens to you, the TAMS Precalculus class is a college level course. This means that it is more rigorous and more in-depth than most high school classes.

The math test is multiple choice and pretty long.  It consists of Algebra, Trigonometry, and a conceptualization section.  If you want to prepare, the most effective thing you can do is study your trigonometric identities.  Other than that, there isn’t much to do.  Just try your best, and TAMS will try to put you in the class that is right for you!

Chemistry

The other placement exam, chemistry, determines if you will be in Honors or General Chemistry.  The differences between the two classes are minor, but we’ll talk about classes and schedules in a later post.

The exam itself is a modified college chemistry final exam.  It contains questions from all aspects of Chemistry, many of which are not covered in high school courses.  You aren’t expected to get most of the questions right, or know everything, so don’t freak out. Just do your best on the test and whether or not you are placed into honors or not, you will have an amazing teacher and an amazing experience in chemistry!

That pretty much sums up Summer O, but before you leave, especially if you found a roommate, get numbers and keep in touch with all your new friends.

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6 Comments

  • Matthew Kuo says:

    For the trig identities is it just the basic ones like sin^2 x + cos^2 x = 1 and its derivatives, double angles like sin(2x), and addition and subtraction like sin(x+y)/sin(x-y) or do we have to know some power reducing ones and half angle stuff too?

    • Hey Matthew! First of all, don’t stress about the mathematics test. The very fact that you know what these formulas are is looking good for you! If I remember correctly, the trigonometric formulas on the exam were pretty basic, although I think there were a few tricky ones. As the article mentions, there are pretty much three sections to the test, an algebra review, a precal section, and a “visualization” section (very much like an IQ style test if you know what that is). All of them count about the same. I am personally pretty sure I bombed part of the test, and I was still offered placement in higher math. So don’t fret! Just review the properties and identities before the test and you will be absolutely fine. Enjoy your summer and see you next year!

      Dino Occhialini

  • Lucy Hao says:

    Hi Matthew,

    For the math, you’ll only need to know basic pre-calc. So, you’ll need basic trig identity like the ones that equal to 0, double angles, and half angles. You probably won’t need derivatives, though TAMS has surprised us before.
    Don’t worry too much about the placement tests! Do the best you can; your math class will definitely be challenging no matter what level you’re put in.

    Best of luck!,
    Lucy

  • Daniel Jabari says:

    Do we have a chance to take the math placement test in August if we don’t do as well as expected on the first run? I feel that I would be better prepared if I had some more time to study. Also, the students who don’t attend Summer O take the exam before August 1st, so is it possible for those who attend Summer O to take a different version of the exam at a later date?

    • Hi Daniel! Did you have a chance to read this document?

      https://tams.unt.edu/static/studentlife/forms/2012-13/MathematicsFAQ.pdf

      It has a lot of info on the math placement exams. I definitely felt like I would have done better if I had more time to study too, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. 🙂 Some students get offered a “second chance” in the fall if they don’t do as well on the test at summer o. As for taking a different version of the test at a later date, I’m not too sure about that but you could email an administrator and I’m sure they could let you know. But other than that, I’m sure you will do great on the placement exams and don’t forget to have fun at summer o!

      If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me! 🙂

  • Bill Hwang says:

    If you didn’t even take pre-cal yet is there any point in taking this math placement exam? I would like to refrain from suffering humiliation and additional trouble

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