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Tackling Learning Blocks in Chemistry: Get the Basics Right with these Five Strategies

Urvashi Tarane

Chemistry as a subject is an amalgamation of theory and experiments. Although it is not widely feared as a subject, students do find it difficult to master certain areas in it. Learning as a process is much more fun and less stressful when we adopt strategies that improve comprehension and critical thinking. Gone are the days of mugging up in which memory is short-lived.

If you are a student who particularly does not find Chemistry a challenging subject, yet can’t score well in examinations, this blog is for you. Read on to know how you can perform better in chemistry and build a strong foundation in this subject, which is mandatory to pursue a career in medicine, engineering or any field of natural science.

Explicit Exploration of Prerequisite Knowledge 

Learning is easier and more continuous when one has an excellent command of the concepts covered earlier in the lower grades. Acquiring new knowledge is a process that requires prior information, as it involves connecting new information with the existing ones. A major challenge in education is students lacking a command of the topics covered in the previous grades, which limits their potential when they enter more advanced courses in their curriculum. For instance, in order to understand and solve the problems of some crucial concepts of chemistry, like molarity and molality, a student must have a clear understanding of the mole concept.

Breaking Complex Chemical Equations into Smaller Segments

Complex chemical equations are much easier to understand when they are broken down into smaller segments. Breaking down equations will shed light on various details which might otherwise go unnoticed when presented in a single final equation. This gives students a detailed view and valuable insights into the reaction in each split step. This also ensures better chances of getting the reaction right in contrast to memorising scenarios.

Understanding Reaction Mechanisms in Organic Chemistry

When it comes to organic chemistry, paying close attention to the reaction mechanisms gives a clearer idea of what happens to the reaction at each point. Reaction mechanisms offer detailed step-by-step exploration of reactions and successfully correlate information on the original reactants, the role of catalysts in the reaction to the products formed. Another important advantage of learning reaction mechanisms is that it accounts for any intermediate products formed in a reaction that may not be stated in the final equation.

Stepwise Progression for Solving Numerical Problems in Chemistry 

Any numerical problems should be solved in steps. Moreover, in order to understand and solve the numerical problems in chemistry, you should be able to interrelate its different concepts. Another crucial aspect of mastering numerical problems in chemistry involves having a solid understanding of the theoretical part of the subject. Despite knowing important formulas, students mostly struggle in physical chemistry as they usually lack in-depth theoretical understanding.  One has to be very thorough with the theory to figure out how to proceed in solving a numerical problem.

Practice Makes You Perfect 

Chemistry, like other science subjects, is a fact-heavy subject, where students are required to remember detailed and particular information on various topics. Starting late and memorising facts without comprehension will prevent long-term retention. Students will benefit immensely if studying or practising throughout the week becomes a norm against cramming a whole textbook the night before the exam. This will also ensure they feel confident in their own preparation for the exam. Revision is thus a crucial aspect in preparing for chemistry to maintain a long-term memory of detailed information.

In addition to reasonable efforts on your part in learning chemistry, a few points must be kept in mind for examinations. Using the first 15 minutes effectively to read the question paper thoroughly can help you in prioritising your attempts. Be mindful of the time you are allotting for different sets of questions and assure you are at a good pace. Moreover, it is important to keep in mind to be more specific than elaborate while framing a response. Support your well-framed answers with diagrams, formulas and graphs, if necessary. Finally, recheck for all logic and calculations and quickly scan through the responses before leaving the exam hall. It is never too late to develop new study habits.

Urvashi Tarane
Urvashi Tarane

A Masters holder in science with a specialization in Organic Chemistry. Urvashi likes to facilitate the real essence of chemistry through her work. Music is her all-time favourite drug that can make her high and also keep her calm.

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