Focus On Your Work Not Your Grade
Learning chemistry requires total concentration. Continually focusing on your grade takes focus away from learning chemistry. If you will focus on learning chemistry, your grade will follow. There are no shortcuts. At the end of the day, what you learn is what’s important. And if you learn chemistry, you’ll get a good grade.
How To Study For Chemistry
Chemistry is one of those classes you either love or dread. At the high school level chemistry is usually not a required course it’s an elective. However, most reputable colleges require all undergraduate students to take at least one chemistry course as a prerequisite to graduation. If you plan on pursuing a career in medicine, engineering, or a field of natural science, then you’re likely going to be required to take at least one chemistry course before you graduate. Chemistry is a challenging subject for most people, but it doesn’t have to be. The number one reason people struggle with chemistry is that they don’t approach it the right way. Below we’ll explore proven strategies and techniques that will, if applied, improve your ability to study and learn chemistry.
What Is Chemistry Used For
It should come as no surprise, then, that chemistry is usedfor just about anything you can imagine. Life itself relies on chemistry, buthumans have been harnessing it for our own benefit for thousands of years,knowingly or not. From our first combustion reaction to thelatest cutting-edge medical technology, this science has changed our lives inways that are mind-blowing.
Long before we knew any scientific concepts that we take forgranted today, we were performing basic chemistry. Some of the most importantexamples from the ancient world are processes that we still use today, such metallurgyand extracting compounds from natural sources, e.g. plants.
Many people consider alchemy to be the forerunner of modern chemistry. This is debatable, but regardless, the discipline that tirelessly sought a way to turn lead into gold fell out of favor among intellectuals right about the time when something closer to modern chemistry was beginning to catch on. The earliest publications in chemistry as a proper science date to the 16th and early 17th centuries.
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Difficult Does Not Always Mean Important
Difficult does not always mean important. You have to know the difference between difficult and important material.
Yes There are a lot of topics in Chemistry that are difficult. Calculations and word problems too.
However, it is incredibly important to remember that not everything thats difficult is important.
Let me explain.
Back when I used to teach, I would always have a handful of students that would get hung up on ONE SINGLE PROBLEM. They would go find the hardest problem in their homework, and dissect it for hours.
Sometimes, they would bring me a problem and say, Ive spent hours on this problem and keep getting the wrong answer.
They would want me to solve the problem in front of them and other students.
I would tell them, Look, youve spent too much valuable time on this one problem. You need to move on and practice the other topics.
I would often have students get angry. But I wasnt going to spend 30 minutes of a study session working out the most complicated problems in front of all the students.
Because they wouldnt learn much. Yes, I can solve the problem. If I do it at my speed, nobody will learn anything. If I spend 30 minutes working out the most complicated problem, people tend to get frustrated and in some ways give up.
We dont need people to give up. Its just one problem.
Remember, difficult doesnt always mean important.
If you get hung up on one problem for too long. Just move on.
How To Self Learn Chemistry: The Complete Guide
Chemistry is important in our daily life because everything around us is composed of atoms and molecules. It has helped in producing products that have transformed our lifestyle. Without chemistry, our lives would be drab and uninteresting. The subject is easy when you learn the right way.
You can self learn chemistry by reading a variety of chemistry books. The best chemistry books will help you understand the periodic table, chemical reactions, and chemical formulas. Additionally, you can learn the basic and advanced concepts of chemistry by taking online courses.
If you want to know how to self learn chemistry and the online resources for learning chemistry, read on.
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How To Rationalize Explain And Extrapolate
To illustrate this, we will use a simple example:
First an observation: We observe that water freezes at a certain temperature .
Then, rationalization/explanation: Thanks to previous knowledge, we can explain this observation in simple terms saying that at lower temperatures, molecules vibrate less, and can pack in a more efficient manner. The way water molecules can pack below 0 ºC, gives it a solid state structure.
We can generalize this to any other substance: Depending on how strong are intermolecular interactions between each molecule of a given substance, they will be able to pack in a solid state form more easily .
Then we extrapolate to other systems/molecules: intermolecular forces between hexane molecules are much weaker than between water molecules . This will make it harder to pack them in a solid state structure, thus making its melting point much lower .
And this turns out to be true, as we can easily validate by determining the melting point of hexane.
And this can be made as simple as that or as complex as you would like your model to be.
This way of thinking fits perfectly with chemistry. Thats why I highly recommend it.
If you already took chemistry courses, you are probably familiar with this reasoning process, even if you didnt really notice.
Tips For The Sat Chemistry Subject Test
Many colleges and universities do not require SAT II exams,i.e. subject tests, but they can be useful to present yourself as a betterapplicant. Usually, students are advised to take one science SAT subject exam andone humanities, and the SAT Chemistry Exam is one of the most popular sciencetests.
It should come as no surprise that your first step tosuccess is to buy a chemistrySAT subject textbook. But its also important to realize that not allreview books are created equal. There is one specific type of question on theSAT Chemistry Exam that is quite different from what most students are used to.They are called relationship analysis, and they can be confusing at first, soyou need to make sure that your practice exams contain this type of problem.
When taking practice tests, always do it as close toreal-life testing conditions as possible. That means setting a timer and beingaware in advance of the things that are and arent allowed on exam day. Forexample, you are NOT permitted a calculator on the chemistry SAT II. If your algebraand basic math skills arent strong, its best to start working on them as farin advance of exam day as you can.
You will, however, be given a very basic periodic table of the elements. It wouldnt be a bad idea to review periodic trends, groups, series, etc. and make a brain dump of all this information as soon as you are allowed to begin the test.
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Lab Sections Really Do Matter
Sections are constructed to highlight and guide you through particularly important concepts and chemical phenomena. Make sure that you can apply the main concepts of each section before the next exam. A good way to see if you are applying concepts rather than memorizing them is by checking to see if you can explain WHY to every step youre doing in a problem. Also make sure to finish any extra practice problems offered in section and on the lab-write-ups.
How To Start Enjoying Chemistry
To sum up, read every day. Chemistry concepts are interrelated. Learn the first ones basics and then move on to the other one. Link every concept which can possibly be linked. Read explanations, and make sure you clarify your doubts with your teachers.
It is actually a very interesting subject and in some ways, easier than Physics and Biology. It is probably that unique branch of science that gives you an opportunity to try out the making of new substances and discovering their properties.
We hope you enjoy chemistry a bit more after reading this. Heres how to cope if you have a similar problem in physics!
All the best!
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Jump In With Both Feet
As with other challenging subjects, including biology, jumping in with both feet is key to your success studying and learning chemistry. Partial efforts don’t cut it. Decided now that you’re going to succeed in chemistry and that you’re going to give it your all.
The following are links to other study skills resources we recommend for chemistry students.
Ask Lots And Lots Of Questions
Scientists ask questions – all the time! Especially WHY! Instructors always appreciate when students ask questions because it shows they are listening and really thinking about the material.
- Ask what does that really mean? in each section while you read the chapter.
- Ask why of a problem as you decide what it is asking and how to solve it.
Ask questions about the lecture and section material. If you are reviewing material on your own write these questions down. If you can answer them on your own, great! If you are stuck, then take them along with you to office hours or a study group. Then you wont forget and youll make sure you get a more thorough understanding of everything.
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Websites To Learn Chemistry Lessons Online
Learn Chemistry Lessons Online
DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission.
Chemistry is one of the many branches of science. It has always played a big part in humanities history and it has also been vital in the sense that many of the advancements made so far would not be possible without it.
Its importance has been recognized by everyone for quite some time now, which is why it is also taught in most schools in the world. Without chemistry, we would not know anything about the human body and how different things are formed.
In short, it is a very important and everyone should at least know its basics. That being said, it is also a difficult subject, as it is difficult to understand all the many different types of chemistry.
There are many different branches of chemistry, such as organic, inorganic, biochemistry etc. and in order to develop a basic understanding for all of them, youll need to work hard. There are lessons online that can help you with this specific cause.
Many sites feature online crash courses that can help you get familiar with the basics of chemistry and help you learn further if youre interested.
Chemistry For Everyone: A Helpful Primer For High School Or College Chemistry
If you need help understanding the most difficult chemistry concepts that will be encountered in college or high school level chemistry, this book is for you. Some of the topics you will learn in this book are solubility, chemical reactions, bonding, unit conversions, and the mole.
Other than that, the book also includes tips for doing homework and advice on how to solve problems. The text of the book is easy to follow.
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Elements And How They Combine
- Atoms and Ions: Atoms are single units of an element. Ions can be made up of one or more types of elements and carry an electrical charge. Learn about the parts of an atom and how to identify the different types of ions.
- Molecules, Compounds, & Moles: Atoms can be joined together to make molecules and compounds. A mole is a useful way of measuring an amount of atoms or larger components of matter. Define these terms and learn how to perform calculations to express quantities.
- Chemical Formulas: Atoms and ions don’t bond together randomly. Find out how to predict how many of one type of atom or ion will combine with others. Learn to name compounds.
- Chemical Reactions & Equations: Just as atoms and ions combine in very specific ways, molecules and compounds react with each other in definite quantities. Learn how to tell whether or not a reaction can occur and what the products of a reaction will be. Write balanced chemical equations to describe reactions.
- Chemical Bonds: The atoms in a molecule or compound are attracted and repelled with respect to each other in ways that determine the types of bonds they can form.
- Thermochemistry: Chemistry is the study of both matter and energy. Once you learn to balance the atoms and charge in a chemical reaction, you can examine the energy of the reaction as well.
Learn From Khan Academy Before Your Class
Khan Academy has great learning videos for General Chemistry. The topics cover exactly what you will cover in class and break down the topic to make it simple to understand.
Heres what you need to do
Stay ahead of your class lectures in the videos. Look at your syllabus and figure out the schedule of topics.
Learn the topic by watching a short Khan Academy video the night before your lecture on the same topic.
For example, if your class tomorrow is covering Dimensional Analysis, watch the General Chemistry video from Khan Academy about Dimensional Analysis tonight.
This is an amazing learning method. I call it Pre-Learning.
If you use it, when you go to class, you will always have a basic understanding of the topic before you cover it in lecture.
This type of repetition learning is great for increasing your understanding and retention of the topic. This method works miracles in General Chemistry.
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Elements: A Visual Exploration Of Every Known Atom In The Universe
This book contains interesting facts and beautiful pictures. The book teaches you about the chemical elements that form our universe. In fact, it presents a comprehensive representation of every atom in our universe. The book also includes interesting stories of the elements and more detailed information on the elements properties.
Study More Efficiently Not Just More
- One of the first steps in coming up with an efficient study strategy is to assess what – in all of the things you are doing to study – seems to help you the most? What gave you the most confidence? If there are some things that you are already comfortable with, perhaps spend less time reviewing those and more time on concepts that are still challenging.
- Take some time to assess where are you having difficulty on the exams. When you get an exam back, retry all of the problems you missed . Do you get farther then you did during the exam? Are you really able to finish them with more time or in a less stressful environment? Do you get stuck on concepts or definitions? on math? on starting the problem?
- Debriefing the exam helps you indentify the conceptual gaps that you need to relearn versus errors that may have resulted from test stress or a misreading of a question.
- If you can start to identify where/how you are struggling with the exam, then you can think about how to make better use of your study time as you prepare for the next one.
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If You Struggle On A Test Go Back And Learn The Material
In most subjects, if you do really bad on one test, you just study hard for the next one. Most people do this and it sounds like it makes sense.
Do NOT do this in General Chemistry!
If you miss ANYTHING on a test, go back and learn that exact material until you master it. Do this before moving on much further in the class.
See, you will probably need that exact knowledge or skill for future material.
For example, lets say you take your first General Chemistry exam and miss all of the Dimensional Analysis questions. You just dont understand it.
If you dont go back and master it, you will fail General Chemistry Guaranteed.
You will use Dimensional Analysis for most of your calculations in Gen Chem 1 and 2.
Tips For Mcat Pcat Etc
Pre-professional exams, like the MCAT and PCAT,are designed to measure your knowledge and aptitude in multiple subjects. Onthe MCAT, one section is called Chemical and Physical Foundations of BiologicalSystems, while the comparable section on the PCAT is Chemical Processes .
The names of these sections give you a clue as to what youare expected to know on each exam. Understandably, there is a greater focus onchemistry in this section for pharmacy students and more of a biology focus formed school.
The two exams have totally different structures and rules,so you need to get all that information as soon as you can so that you know howto study and prepare. For example, the PCAT is now given on the computer at atesting center with a calculator built into the exam in the chemistry sectionand others. However, calculators are not allowed on the MCAT chemistry section,so part of your test prep may include practicing doing calculations by hand.
As with other exams, youll greatly improve your chances of getting into med school or pharmacy school if you make use of a good review book with plenty of practice problems.
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