How do I do well in Chemistry?I don't think it is just practice practice and practice.

6 Answers

stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

How do you learn best, in any subject? Think about the ways that work best for you when you are trying to understand or remember information in other subjects, then find ways to adapt that learning style to the material you need to know for chemistry.

If you are a visual learner, draw yourself diagrams of chemical bonds you need to know and post them somewhere very visible. Use color to identify important compounds and the elements that are in them. Make yourself a set of flashcards and drill yourself or ask someone else to work with you as you practice recognizing the material on the cards.

If you learn more efficiently by hearing information, find out if your chemistry textbook has an audio version available online - many textbooks do have this option available. If you can't listen to the information you need to know through that source, you may have to read it aloud and record yourself so you can listen again later, or find another auditory learner and read to each other. Use review questions or exercises as starting points for telling someone else what you're learning and why it is important to understand this information - the key would be doing it orally.

If you learn best with hands-on activities, use toothpicks and marshmallows to build models of chemical compounds and figure out a way to label the different parts. Construct your own version of the periodic table.

The key is to identify the style of learning that works best for you, then use that method to help you review.

User Comments

chrisyhsun's profile pic

chrisyhsun | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

For me I think an important aspect to studying chemistry is understanding the deeper concepts behind solving the problems. As a way to enforce this, I would suggest first reading through the material - whether that be a textbook your teacher has assigned (yes, maybe actually do the reading!) or some online website that covers the topic in question. After you finished reading through the material, try looking at a problem and solving it on your own. This means that you shouldn't just be going through the actions of solving the problem that your teacher has already walked you through. That is more like mirroring the actions of he teachers. Instead, think through and understand why each action is being made and the concept behind every calculation.  Once you understand, then it does become a matter of practice because then you are enforcing the actions and the ideas each time. 

I think this will help your performance in chemistry because you are not only well-versed in solving the questions after the practice, but you also understand the concepts that link the actions to one another so that you will not confuse the different solving methods together.

eli468's profile pic

eli468 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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With chemistry for me, practice only worked once I fully understood the topic. My best advice to do well in chemistry is to get help from a teacher. I practiced different formulas for labs all the time, but until I knew ALL the steps to go through I couldn't get a correct answer. Besides practicing, getting help from an actual chemistry teacher or tutor is the best idea because they can more thoroughly go through everything with you to help you figure out an effective way for you to remember and learn. The one-on-one interaction can be very helpful.

Wiggin42's profile pic

Wiggin42 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Valedictorian

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In math heavy courses like chemistry and physics, practice really is the best way to learn. For example, lets say you have trouble with balancing chemical equations. This could be because you have trouble figuring out what the product is supposed to be. Through practice you will eventually come to recognize the patterns. (For instance in a complete combustion reaction the reactants are always a hydrocarbon and oxygen; the products are always carbon dioxide and water.) 

taangerine's profile pic

taangerine | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Based on my experience, studying chemistry was hard for me because I couldn't retain the information well. It wasn't all just practice for me too. I made flashcards to study throughout the day. I had copied down my notes 2x everyday to help myself retain the information given to me. I also wrote down the definition of the vocabulary terms in my own words to help me understand the lesson plan more.

zumba96's profile pic

zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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If you are a visual learner you could probably draw the bonds to memorize them, or if you are a hands on, get those chemistry kits with the different colored balls that symbolize the different elements. You could also simply review the Periodic table and try to understand why the elements form that way and react that way as well.