6 Tips for Acing Chemistry Class

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Chemistry is a complex scientific field – after all, the molecules and reactions you are learning about make up our entire universe! Between memorizing the elements, learning about the structure of atoms, and performing challenging calculations, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. In this article, we have rounded up top tips from professors, teachers, scientists, and students to prepare you for success in chemistry class. 

Do Your Homework

Some days, sitting down with your chemistry textbook after a long day of school or during your precious free time is the last thing you want to do. That being said, completing your assigned reading, taking notes, and identifying challenging concepts is definitely the best way to stay on top of chemistry. If you love doing homework, then this will be no problem. If homework feels like a grind sometimes, brighten up your study routine with some of these helpful ideas:

  • Create a work space in your home that’s just for you – add some plants and fun decor to make it a place you want to be.

  • Break your homework time into manageable chunks.

  • Annotate or take notes while you’re reading.

  • Build in breaks (and take them).

  • Use a notebook, binder, pens, and pencils that bring you joy.

  • Put on your favorite study music.

  • Reward yourself for accomplishing homework goals.

Don’t Skip Practice Problems

If your homework mainly consists of reading, then annotating, writing notes, and jotting down questions will serve you well. However, most chemistry teachers will also assign textbook practice problems to help you apply challenging concepts in real world situations. The best way to improve at anything is to practice new skills routinely, so it may come as no surprise that practice problems play an important role in learning chemistry. 

Try each of the problems your teacher assigns, and make note of any solutions that you find difficult. Also, try the practice problems first before looking at the answer key to really test your understanding of each concept. 

Ask Questions

If you have questions about a chemistry concept during class or about your homework from the night before, don’t be afraid to ask your instructor. It can feel daunting to speak up in front of your entire class, but chances are that if you are confused about something, others in the room are too. If you don’t feel comfortable asking questions in class, you can also visit your teacher during a free period or office hours. This will allow you to ask follow-up questions and discuss anything that isn’t quite clicking. 

Optimize Study Time

Getting ready to study for a test? Grab your iced coffee, your highlighters, and your chemistry textbook, and make a note of these helpful study tips:

  • Commit to memorizing the periodic table as early as possible – this will help with everything.

  • Remove distractions like your phone or laptop.

  • Just like with your homework, schedule breaks (and take them!).

  • Find an organizational strategy that works for you – ideas include using a binder with tabs, writing in a notebook, outlining chapters, color coding your notes, and keeping all past tests and quizzes as study aids.

  • Use study tactics that help you succeed – annotation, flashcards, and Quizlet are all popular ways students can test their own knowledge of chemistry material.

Don’t Procrastinate

Chemistry takes a great deal of memorization, theoretical understanding, and practical applications. Our biggest piece of advice for any aspiring chemist is to eliminate procrastination! Here are some tips on how to stay ahead of schedule:

  • Spend 15 minutes every day reviewing your notes.

  • Give yourself ample time for reading assignments.

  • Study days or even weeks in advance for tests – don’t just cram the night before!

  • Work ahead on labs and projects whenever possible.

Study With Friends

While learning the basics of matter, measurements, and atoms can be done independently, chemistry gets a little spicy once difficult concepts like thermodynamics and oxidation-reduction reactions come into play. No need to suffer alone – gather a group of classmates and form your own study group. 

Not only will you be able to forge stronger relationships with your classmates, but you will also reap the benefits of their varied perspectives and skills – they will help you better understand your class’s material overall. Study groups can be especially helpful ahead of stressful assessments – just make sure you are still completing assignments and work independently as required.

Catalyst for success

If chemistry class both excites you and scares you a little, then you must be doing something right. Use these study tips as the catalyst to your success, and don’t forget to treat yourself after all of your hard work. Whether you need a little fashion-based pick-me-up or want something to celebrate your love of chemistry, check out our selection of STEM-inspired jewelry today!