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Study techniques for intro to Chem?

  1. Sep 21, 2012 #1
    I took AP Chemistry in high school and loved it and I made an A. I am taking an introduction to chemistry at my Uni, and we just got back the results of our first exam. I made a 63% on the exam and I am not happy with my performance. The class average was a 30% but that doesn't affect my disappointment in myself)

    Obviously i didn't study either hard enough or in a way to best learn the material, and i just thought i would ask you guys how to go about solving complex problems in a short period of time. It's safe to say i will be practicing problems daily now so that I will be able to do them better, but outside of doing lots of practice problems is there something else i should be doing?

    Thanks for any help,
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2012 #2
    When practicing problems, the most important is knowing how to set up the problem. Understand the concepts being used to do such. As far as chemistry goes, I'm not sure if you got tested on nomenclature, but for that, you'll just have to memorize.

    Focus on the basics first such as stoichiometry. That will be the basis of everything you do in introductory chemistry. Other than that, you'll need to do practice problems if you feel your understanding is inadequate.
  4. Sep 24, 2012 #3
    I just submitted my homework assignment fully expecting a B or an A on it and i got a 30%. I am very worried an intro to chem course could ruin my GPA, is there a place i could go for more help without having to pay for a tutor? (isn't there a website often listed on this form for helping people with math or science?)
  5. Sep 24, 2012 #4
    Do your best to review your exam and homework assignment. Put a lot of effort into trying to understand where you went wrong (re-work the problems on separate paper). Once you've done this, take a visit your professor's office during the designated office hours for your course. Ask your professor if he has time to review your work with you; explain that you've spent extra time trying to determine where you went wrong. Tell him you're less concerned with your grade and more so with understanding the material. You don't want to come off as if you're whining about your grade. Use this one-on-one time with your prof to better understand the material and how to approach it. You might also gain insight into how the professor thinks about the material and the way he/she frames problems, which will help you in future test situations. Beyond that, study more.
  6. Sep 25, 2012 #5
    First of all, don't freak out! I failed at least one test and often didn't do very well on quizzes, but I ended up with a B+ in first semester and am expecting an A in second semester. It was really rough for me at first, but I noticed as time went on that things "clicked" eventually. A lot of the problems didn't really make sense at first, but then by the time it came to study for the final, my brain was in a "chemistry zone", so to speak.

    And that was only because I did all the problems assigned, plus more, got Shaum's 3000 Solved Problems in Chemistry, and used the internet as a source for things I just wasn't really understanding. Often, my textbook would explain something a certain (bad) way, but another university's website would explain it much more clearly, or show shortcuts to finding certain values. Even wikipedia saved me once for an exam. (I was lucky it was asked, because when I saw the question it was like, "Yes! I got this!!!")

    So basically, I think the trick is to bombard yourself with what you're learning from multiple angles. Even Shaum's helped simply because the questions were worded differently, so you learn how to figure out what the questions are asking for in more complicated situations.
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