Self assessment

Introduction

This document has been designed to allow you to test whether you are ready for the M.Sc. courses Environmental Sciences and Ecotoxicology. Given the huge diversity of B.Sc. courses nationally and internationally, and consequently very different backgrounds of students, the self assessment will give you an indication of your strengths and weaknesses in subjects that are known to be demanding for first semester M.Sc. students. In case the test recommends to improve your knowledge in some areas, learning resources are suggested. We urge you to follow the recommendations provided by the test as otherwise you may struggle and potentially fail courses in the first semester, which will impact study duration.

Each section should not take you more than 10-15 minutes and you can make a break whenever you want. You should answer the questions without using external help (i.e. textbooks, websites) - cheating renders the results of the self-assessment useless! Of course, you can also revisit the page whenever you want and you do not need to go through the whole test at once.

Good luck - and looking forward to meet you in Landau soon!

Chemistry

The first part deals with questions related to laboratory practice, the second part with general questions related to environmental chemistry. All questions are multiple choice and one or multiple answers are correct.

Laboratory practice

Quiz

Calibration Soil near former explosives or fabric factories may be contaminated with poisonous nitrophenols. To assess this contamination, a calibration series with various predefined levels of p-nitrophenol needs to be prepared. Calculate the volume of the stock solution and solvent needed. Use the following information:

M(p-nitrophenol) = 139.11 g/mol

Concentration of the stock solution: 0.1 g/L

Final volume: 5 mL

Calculate the results for the two empty columns in the table below:

Standard level Conc. (mg/L) Vol. stock solution (mL) Volume solvent (mL)
1 2.5
2 5
3 10
4 20

You need the results of the calculation for the quiz below.

Quiz

Evaluation and recommendations for laboratory practice

Number of errors Recommendation
0-1 You are well prepared for this module!
2-3 You have a good basic knowledge. However, we strongly recommend to refresh your basics in the area where you struggled using previous course material or the resources below.
≥4 You lack some requirements for this module and we strongly recommend to prepare yourself for this module using the resources below. Note that otherwise it is likely that you fail the module which means a prolongation of your study time.

Suggested learning resources

Environmental chemistry

Functional groups

Cypermethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid used as an insecticide in large-scale agricultural applications. Due to its toxicity towards non-target insects and mammals, it is important to understand its fate in the environment. The environmental fate of an organic compound is largely governed by its functional groups (see figure below).

Figure 1: Cypermethrin with functional groups for identification

Figure 1: Cypermethrin with functional groups for identification

Quiz

Reactions While chromium(III) oxide can be used safely to color porcelain, sharpen knives, or passivate iron, hexavalent sodium chromate is highly toxic and teratogenic.

Quiz

Coefficients The octanol–water partitioning coefficient (KOW or POW) of a compound is an important measure in environmental chemistry.

Quiz

Evaluation and recommendations for environmental chemistry

Number of errors Recommendation
0 You are well prepared for this module!
1 You have a good basic knowledge. However, we strongly recommend to refresh your basics in the area where you struggled using previous course material or the resources below.
≥2 You lack some requirements for this module and we strongly recommend to prepare yourself for this module using the resources below. Note that otherwise it is likely that you fail the module which means a prolongation of your study time.

Suggested learning resources

If you answered only the question related to Functional groups incorrectly:

If you answered only the question related to Reactions incorrectly:

If you answered only the question related to Coefficients incorrectly:

If you answered multiple questions incorrectly, consider the following resources:

Physics

Let's see how you can handle the questions below. All questions are multiple choice and one or multiple answers are correct.

Quiz

Figure 2: Concentration (C) as a function of time (t) with logarithmic scaling applied to both axes

Figure 2: Concentration (C) as a function of time (t) with logarithmic scaling applied to both axes

Quiz

Evaluation and recommendations

Number of errors Recommendation
0-1 You are well prepared for this module!
2-3 You have a good basic knowledge. We strongly suggest to refresh your skills and knowledge in basic mathematics and physics using previous course material or the resources below.
≥4 You lack some requirements for this module and we strongly recommend to prepare yourself for this module using the resources below. Note that otherwise it is likely that you fail the module which means a prolongation of your study time.

Suggested learning resources:

Statistics

Check your skills and knowledge in statistics using the questions below. All questions are multiple choice and one or multiple answers are correct.

Quiz

Figure 3: Plant growth as a function of nutrients (simplification without units)

Figure 3: Plant growth as a function of nutrients (simplification without units)

Quiz

Evaluation and recommendations

Number of errors Recommendation
0-1 You are well prepared for this module!
2-3 You have a good basic knowledge. We strongly suggest to read this document for course preparation and consult further references where needed.
≥4 You lack some requirements for this module and we strongly recommend to prepare yourself for this module using the resources below. Note that otherwise it is likely that you fail the module which means a prolongation of your study time.

Suggested learning resources:

We suggest to consult one of the following two textbooks Statistics: An Introduction using R by Crawley, Chapters 1 to 9, or Discovering statistics using R by Field, Miles and Field, Chapters 1 to 7, 9 and 10.

Alternatively, you may use one or two of the free online courses or textbooks to acquire basic skills and knowledge in statistics and probability:

Ralf B. Schäfer

2020-09-15