CHEMISTRY STUDY HACKS
Studying chemistry requires a deep understanding of content, often incorporating knowledge from maths, physics, biology and other subjects, as well as the ability to apply that understanding and logic to solve multi-step problems.
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH STUDYING CHEMISTRY?
The answer may be mixed. Even some of the best students had some difficulty at some point of time. A chemistry student has to wrestle with their study materials before mastering it. But once you start mastering it, it becomes a real pleasure.
So “Plan early and start early” and you don’t have to be afraid of any exigencies.
REMEMBER: The study patterns work differently for different people. The key is to find and optimize the tips that maximize your learning and studying patterns.
TIP #1: Prepare a Time Table
As you have time table in your school, you should have a time table for personal studies also.
- Make a personal assessment with the help of your parents and find out the approximate time you can spend for studies which excludes your travel time, quality family time and time for other personal chores. Let us fix this as four hours.
- Learn the topics on the same day it is taught. So your personal time table has to be prepared based on the school time table. Divide the four hours into two. The first two hours are for the subjects taught on that day. Learn and complete all assignments, so that last minute rushing can be avoided.
- Re-arm for the next day’s schooling. Take your school time table for the next day and refresh everything in the next two hours.
REMEMBER: Four hours is an approximate time, your time can change. You can fix the time table with the same idea.
TIP #2: Learn in Small Chunks
Knowledge comes in small pieces. We cannot learn everything in a day.
- Break down the information into smaller parts.
- Get one part into your mind by memorizing any definitions, equations and methods then move on to the next part.
Initially, it may seem like there is so much to know about Chemistry, but if you take everything in small steps, you will find that you will begin to grasp knowledge and information quickly.
TIP #3: Try not to understand everything you hear, the first time you hear
It is a common studying mistake to try and understand everything at once and right when you hear it the first time.
- Learn to write everything down.
- Put a mark on the information that you do not understand, for later reference.
“Learning pace is not the same for all. So try to catch up.”
TIP #4: Concept mapping and problem solving
Learn the concepts and assess yourself. If you do that you will never forget anything. This is called mindful learning.
TIP #5: Take Notes
Write conversion tables, equations, rearrange the equations so that different quantities can be calculated.
For example, consider the Raoult’s law equation in dilute solution.
- Write the equation for Kf.
- Rearrange it and write equations for ΔT, molecular mass, molarity etc.
How it helps?
This will help you in working out problems and also remembering the equations.
TIP #6: Special Strategy:
Each branch of Chemistry; organic, inorganic and physical requires a special strategy.
- Physical chemistry is easy. Learn the concepts, work out problems and master it.
- For organic chemistry, it is better to use models, because organic chemistry is three dimensional. You can use a personal model kit and learn most of the reactions.
- Look at the periodic table first, before you learn inorganic chemistry.
TIP #7: Ask, why I am using this? Is there any other way?
This will be useful when you study organic chemistry reactions.
TIP #8: Do not panic when tests come.
The key to pass a test is to make sure you have taken enough time to understand the portion.
- For preparing, divide your study time into several sections.
- Have an objective for each section and set a time limit for it.
For example, if you are studying the importance of atoms, ask yourself the hard questions first.
“What are atoms?”, “What do they do?”
Define and redefine until you are confident that the information has entered your mind. Then either have someone to ask you questions or test yourself.
Remember not to panic. This will destroy your metabolism.
On the day of the test, get up early and take several deep breaths before you start writing the test.
Do your best and leave the results alone.
- Study chemistry when you are awake.
- Find time when you are alert.
- You should create a proper ambience for your studies. This is quite personal as it also depends on your family background. But if you plan properly, everybody can optimize their learning environment.
- After your studies, make a retrospection- When did I study the best? What gave me confidence? This will help you in planning for further studies.
- Take some time to review. Stop in between. Work out problems in your text.
- It is always better to have a study group.
- When you are in class, really be there.
- When you are studying on your own, be in the books.
- Avoid any distractions like TV, by switching it off or study in a different room. The same goes for mobile phones and the internet.
If you find yourself struggling, don’t be too quick to assume that you’re not cut out for chemistry.
The initial requirements to study Chemistry may look difficult, once you begin to learn it, you will find it to be a stimulating subject. These Chemistry study tips and methods are applicable to any other subject as well.