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Chemistry Study Tips

  • Keep up with reading assignments and all problems corresponding with the reading.  If you wait until the day (or even week) before the exam, you will be forced to cram too much information into one time period. 
  • Work ahead.  If lecture topics are printed in the syllabus, read the lecture topic in your textbook the day before it is covered in class.  Even if you don’t understand everything that you just read, you will have a preview of it—when your instructor presents it in class, you will have seen it once before, and will be over the initial shock of new information.  You may also be able to answer questions in class, making it more interesting for you and your fellow classmates.
  • Go to ever lecture.  If lectures weren’t important, the college wouldn’t hold them.
  • Go over previous notes.  After each class, set aside some time on the same day to go over your class notes.  Fill in any areas you may have missed, and make sure you have any questions answered before the next class period. 
  • Formulas.  Know the meanings of all terms and the purpose of formulas.  Understand what different terms mean in formulas.  It isn’t enough to simply memorize equations—if you don’t know how to apply them, they can’t do you any good.  Learn them far before your exam; this will also help you in doing problems. 
  • Vocabulary.  If you encounter any bold face terms or any terms you do not understand, look up their meanings.  You should be able to find them in either the back of your book, or a chemistry dictionary (located in Sonderegger 408).
  • Sample Problems.  Work the sample problems before working those in the end of the chapter.  These will give you practice when step-by-step instructions are available. 
  • Problems.  Work all problems that you can!  If you have completed and understand all problems offered in the text, try to find a study guide that corresponds to your book.  These often offer more opportunities to work on related problems.  If you cannot find a study guide, ask your instructor for more practice. 
  • Blackboard.  Does your instructor use “Blackboard?”  If so, check it often.  She may have placed power point slides from lecture there so you can see them again.  She also may publish supplemental information or problems.  See your instructor for details.
  • Charts, Diagrams, and Figures.  When reading your textbook, don’t ignore the pictures!  Often, charts, diagrams, or figures in the book are the author’s way of condensing material.  Make an effort to understand each of these, and be able to reproduce them on your own if necessary during an exam.