Chemistry can be a challenging course for many of you. In some cases it is the first time you are truly asked to attend very closely to such a large amount of information in such great detail. This may require you to revise the way that you have studied in the past. Many of you are very passive students and will have more success if you study the material more actively.
It is very important that you actually study the material on a regular basis. Chemistry is so cumulative, material will pile up and you may quickly feel overwhelmed unless you absorb the information in small doses. Many of you have had success up until this point just by paying attention in class, just doing your homework, and maybe a little bit of studying the night before a test. This method of study is not likely to be as effective in this particular course.
Active study is likely to be far more effective for you. Many of you may be employing the “browse” method of study: read, maybe reread, and “look over” the material. This often is not enough in chemistry. Active study must include writing. You should choose from a variety of active study methods to find the tools that work best for you. Consider choosing from the following list of active methods:
  • Use “stickies” when working problems or reading to remind you what questions you wanted to ask in class the next day.
  • Email your teacher to let her know what you need help with.
  • Revise and rewrite class notes.
  • Make review outlines.
  • Discuss the information with classmates.
  • Ask questions in class as soon as they arise, do not wait until too many pile up - you may run out of time.
  • Participate in a study group that meets regularly, not just the day before a test.
  • Take notes from the text, do not just passively read it.
  • Make flash cards.
  • Teach other people at home.
  • Quiz yourself or ask family members to quiz you.
  • Write out answers to the text problems rather than just reading them. Always show how to do a problem on paper.
  • Re-do the homework problems.
  • Re-do LAD calculations.
  • Explain the LAD work that we are doing in school so that a family member can understand and enjoy.
  • Actively participate in class by really listening and discussing the material.
  • Restudy material in preparation for a quiz or test retake.
  • Review practice tests.
  • Use the Vocabulary List and Chapter Summary at the back of every chapter to make a study guide.
  • Seek extra help with specific questions well before a test arrives.
While some of you may need to increase the quantity and quality of time that they study, others of you may not need to increase the quantity of time but may need to change your methods and become more efficient in your study. Minimize your distractions and improve the efficiency of your studying by turning off the computer IM-ing, turning off the TV, listen only to music without words, stop texting, and get off the phone. Some of you are very distracted by the “stuff” in your bedroom, so perhaps a better study location would be at the kitchen or dining room table.