Get Better Grades With These Chemistry Study Tips
Learn material the first time around
Learn the material the first time it is presented. If you run into something you don’t understand while reading or during class, write down questions or make a note of what you don’t understand. Then commit yourself to learning that concept as soon as you can, preferably in the same day. Re-read the book, attend office hours, search online, ask a tutor, but learn it no matter what. The concepts in chemistry build upon each other. If you fail to grasp one concept, then you’re going to fail to understand all the subsequent concepts that build upon that concept, creating a snowball effect of “I don’t know’s.” Don’t let your “don’t know’s” pile up and try to learn everything the week before exams. Learn the material the first time around and save yourself time and headaches later.
Always keep the big picture in mind
All the topics in chemistry are interconnected although it can seem very unrelated at times. When you are studying for an exam, keep the big topic in mind. For example, when you’re studying for the thermodynamics midterm, ask yourself how all the information is related to each other. Also build connections between concepts. This way, you’re not just memorizing a bunch of random facts. Almost everything you learn can be supported / explained by something you’ve learned before.
Dedicate a specific amount of time to chemistry outside of class
This is another tip that can skyrocket your productivity and prevent hours of wasted time, especially if combined with 50-10-50-30 rule. Dedicate a specific time period to studying chemistry outside of class.
Tell yourself, “I’m going to spend X amount of hours on chem everyday.” Unless something unexpected comes up, spend no more and no less than the determined time period on chem. There are two benefits. First, it’ll speed up your work. If you know you only have X amount of time to study, you’re going to study faster so you can get your work done in time. Second, it’ll keep you on track and prevent you from falling behind.
Most of the time, your specified time period will allow you to finish right in time. Other times, you might finish that day’s homework a bit earlier. Remember, you still have to spend the determined time period on chem. So in the latter scenario, review your notes for past lectures, work on something that isn’t due for a week, do some practice problems. Be proactive with your time.
Warning: This tip only works if you actually spend the entire dedicated time period working. Don’t say you’re going to spend two hours of chem, then spend 45 of those 120 minutes on Facebook. Also, dedicate a reasonable time period. I don’t think anyone can get everything done in fifty or thirty minutes.