Strategy For Learning Chemistry


In order to be most succesful in your study of chemistry, you should have some sort of learning strategy or plan. Consider the following steps as a model for developing your own strategy.

Be Positive

1. Approach the study of chemistry in a positive way. If you think chemistry is impossible, and that you are going to fail-you will ! Instead, try to regard chemistry as an important , central subject that will not only assist you in obtaining your educational goals but will give you a deeper understanding of yourself and your environment.

Read and Stay Ahead

2. Begin your study of each new chemistry topic by quickly reading the material in the textbook before attending the lecture or teacher. It is not important to memorize new terms or solve problems at this time. Read the study guidelines as a guide to identify the most significant topics in the chapter.


3. After attending the lecture or your teacher and obtaining a good set of lecture notes-the highlights of what your professor thinks is important , reread the chapter , paying careful attention to those topics that were discussed in the lecture. During the second reading, answer all review questions and problems that are in each chapter section. Strive to understand as much as possible from one section of the textbook before going on to the next section . Before procceding you might want to answer appropriate questions at the end of the chapter.

Solve all problems . Answer all Questions

4. After you have reread the chapter and answered the review problems, you must complete all assigned questions and the problems at the end of each chapter. The only way to learn chemistry is to do chemistry by solving problems. If you can solve the problems at the end of the chapter, then, and only then will you have an adequate knowledge of the material in the chapter. Some helpful hints to consider when working problems are :

a. Read each problems carefully and determine if you understand what the problem is asking. If not, reread the appropriate section in the chapter or refer to your lecture notes.

b. Determine what is to be found , and write it on paper.

c.Extract from the problem all relevant information , and write it below what is to be found.

d. Use the factor label method , when appropriate, to solve the problems. Never forget units. Knowing the correct unit associated with a number is ussualy moe important than knowing the number itself.

e. Check to see if you answer corresponds to the correct answer given in the appendix.

f. If the answer is incorrect, check for arithmetic errors ; if none are found, compare the numbers used with those given, and carefully examine the units for possible errors.

g. Instead of wasting a lot of time on a problems that you are unable to solve at the moment , leave  the problems and try others . Come back to the unsolved problem later - in a few days perhaps. After returning to the problem, you may find that you can solve it with ease ( brains work in mysterious ways ).

h. Seek help any time that you are unable to solve a problem. Do not be afraid to ask questions , that is an effective way to learn chemistry.

The important thing is to not stop Questioning

5. To determine how well you understand the material presented in the chapter , carefully go over the study guidelines listed at the beginning of the chapter to see if you have mastered them completely. Alternatively, find the practice test located in the study guide that accompanies the textbook. After grading the test, try to resolve any problems that you were unable to complete under the test conditions, return to the chapter section and review those topic that you have not mastered.

Listening is important

The above list is only a suggested learning strategy . Although it is not necessary to follow each step exactly, it is necessary to develop a successful strategy for learning chemistry, whatever that strategy may be. If you do not have a better method, use the one presented until you have developed your own plan.

A few words concerning your lecture notes are in order . Lecture notes are vey important because they give an added perspective to the textbook. But, in your zeal to obtain a complete set of notes, do not forget to listen to what the professor is saying ! Shortly after each lecture, rewrite your lecture notes. Rewriting your notes will allow you to rethink what was said, correct errors, clear up undecipherable passages, and add any extra thoughts.

Repetition is another key to learning chemistry efficiently. The amount of study time necessary for learning chemistry is normally greater than that needed to learn many other subjects. A large proportion of your study time should be spent working and reworking problems , and transfering thoughts from your brain to paper. Correctly solving a problem once does not guarantee that you have totally learned how to solve problems of this type. Work many similiar problems before proceeding to new problems . When learning new ideas, definitions, concepts, or rules, write them on paper over and over again. Chemistry is best learned through repetition !

Finally, to maximize your achievement in chemistry, plan to spend time each day studying chemistry. Cramming at the last minute rarely works in chemistry. Shorter, less intense periods of study spread out over a longer time interval are most effective. Using this technique you will not to be frustrated by trying to accomplish too much at the last moment. Thanks for reading guys !

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