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Topic: In what order should I study Chemistry topics?  (Read 7921 times)

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Offline (He)nry

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In what order should I study Chemistry topics?
« on: December 22, 2012, 06:11:36 AM »
Hello everyone, I'm new here.
Apologies if my first post isn't in the right spot.

I started self-teaching myself chemistry.
The book I'm following is General Chemistry - Petrucci (with Zumdahl's Chemistry on the side)

I am wondering in what order should I study the chapters/topics?

As of now, I am studying straight through, but from what I hear, some people disagree with this approach and I could see why, because the chapter for Electrons in Atoms is on page 294!
Thankfully I developed some foundation ahead of time.

However, I am looking for the most effective way to studying Chemistry, as I have grown great interest in the subject.

If someone would be willing to input on the topic order I should follow, please do so!
I have included the chapters that appear like so (rearrange if necessary):

1 Matter: Its Properties and Measurement
2 Atoms and the Atomic Theory
3 Chemical Compounds
4 Chemical Reactions
5 Introduction to Reactions in Aqueous Solutions
6 Gases
7 Thermochemistry
8 Electrons in Atoms
9 The Periodic Table and Some Atomic Properties
10 Chemical Bonding I: Basic Concepts
11 Chemical Bonding II: Additional Aspects
12 Intermolecular Forces: Liquids and Solids
13 Solutions and Their Physical Properties
14 Chemical Kinetics
15 Principles of Chemical Equilibrium
16 Acids and Bases
17 Additional Aspects of Acid Base Equilibria
18 Solubility and Complex-Ion Equilibria
19 Spontaneous Change: Entropy and Gibbs Energy
20 Electrochemistry
21 Chemistry of the Main-Group Elements I: Groups 1, 2, 13, and 14
22 Chemistry of the Main-Group Elements II: Groups 18, 17, 16, 15, and Hydrogen
23 The Transition Elements
24 Complex Ions and Coordination Compounds
25 Nuclear Chemistry
26 Structures of Organic Compounds
27 Reactions of Organic Compounds


Thank you and sorry for asking for help before even contributing! I promise to contribute to the forum when I get comfortable  :)

Offline curiouscat

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Re: In what order should I study Chemistry topics?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2012, 06:22:26 AM »
I don't think there's any one canonical order, but in any case the one you've listed doesn't seem too bad at all. A lot of that sort of opinion is a bit subjective; so take all opinions about preferred orders with a pinch of salt.

I've always been a fan of skimming ahead to get a taste of what's coming anyways.

Offline Borek

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Re: In what order should I study Chemistry topics?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2012, 07:43:05 AM »
If you are following a book, it is usually best to study in the order things are presented in the book, as often later chapters build on the knowledge presented earlier.
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Offline scruffy

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Re: In what order should I study Chemistry topics?
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2012, 11:16:54 PM »
I'm doing the exact same thing as you are and am using the Zumdahl text as well as 'Chemistry: A Molecular Approach (Nivaldo J. Tro)', as well as one additional book that contains only practice problems on general chemistry.

I myself have been jumping around in the book for the past 2 months. I'm just now getting comfortable with both of the textbooks and feel like I've built up a relatively solid basis for understanding a lot of what I come across throughout the chapters. I would definitely recommend you take in the first 3 Chapters of the Zumdahl text (units, mole concept, conversions, ratios, and the basics of reading simple chemical formulas). After that I personally chose to move on to the chapters on Lewis Theory, Periodic Trends, and the Quantum-Mechanical model of the atom (just the beginnings of it, haven't touched on VSEPR theory). I feel like those chapters have given me a better idea of the concepts contained in a lot of the other chapters such as those on bonding and on gases. Right now I'm plugging away at solution stoichiometry, and am next going to be starting on some basic thermochemistry. I was planning on taking everything one chapter at a time, in a neat organized fashion, but that is not at all how it has worked out. It's okay to jump around, just keep yourself organized.

Good luck to you, and be prepared for some seriously stressful study sessions. It's worth it though.

Offline orgo814

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Re: In what order should I study Chemistry topics?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2012, 02:01:25 PM »
The order I feel would be best is: nomenclature, chemical reactions & stoichiometry, solution chemistry, thermochemistry 1, gases, atomic structure and periodicity, molecular structure, intermolecular forces, properties of solutions and their colligative properties (basically solution chemistry 2), solid state chemistry, kinetics, thermodynamics 2 (free energy, spontaneity), equilibrium, equilibria in aqueous phase (acids and bases), electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry.

- This was the order it was taught at my university

Good luck to you.

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