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Offline oxidation

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need help studying
« on: June 17, 2015, 05:04:14 AM »
I'm self studying semester II of general chemistry. Starting a summer class next Thursday and would really appreciate some tips to push me on the right direction.

Right now what I do is read the chapter for a first time just to read it, then read it again a second time to take notes. When taking notes I'm not really sure what to write down. Vocab words? Also in regards to the math, I'm trying to steer away from memorization as I really want to nail the concept and the big idea down. I'm not just reading / studying to get an A for the class. I'll be going for a master's in chemistry and will also be taking the MCAT. Any study suggestions?

I feel my current method fails me as I do understand what I read but because I try to memorize as little as possible, when I attempt concept questions I often can't recall something. So what should I focus on?

Offline oxidation

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Re: need help studying
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2015, 09:42:25 PM »
well ok.... how about you share some of your personal methods and maybe I can pick up something from that...?

Offline Arkcon

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Re: need help studying
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2015, 06:58:20 AM »
There are a number of threads in this sub-forum regarding how to study.  Your question is so general, its hard to know what to say except ... you're doing fine, but let us know if you face a specific problem.

I understand you're looking for key words, but when you study a chemistry text, or worse still, a mathematics text, you'll discover that its all key words.  Back in the day, we used to use highlighters for bits of English literature texts we wanted to be able to find later.  Trying that with science texts soon became pointless -- you eventually highlighted everything.

A better choice is to practice the problems at the end of each chapter.  If those problems are simple definitions, be sure you can answer them -- no need to write down the answer, in those cases, its just a reading comprehension check.  If there's a calculation, then definitely do it on paper, your working is what  you'll study.
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Offline oxidation

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Re: need help studying
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2015, 11:05:22 AM »
 i have been skipping ALL the math entirely and just doing the reading trying to get the concepts down. then i answered all the reading comprehension questions at the end of the chapter and that's what im using to study. then i made a list of all the bolded vocab terms and im trying yo memorize that before going back a third time to work on the math problems. then I'll have a final re-read over the entire chapter

but i don't know why i feel my method is inadequate. i feel insecure about this procedure also because imagine i was doing a full course load, I would not be able to study w/ some a time consuming method.

so im sorry for a general question. i guess what i really wanted to ask was, what is an effective and less time consuming way to study chemistry? im working and doing a summer course, so is there an effective method for studying about 2 hrs/ day? my method would take me like a week for a chapter

Offline Arkcon

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Re: need help studying
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2015, 12:41:50 PM »
Your process is similar to something I did back in the day.  I would take notes in lecture, then go right home and recopy my notes, so I had something clear to study from, and to reinforce the knowledge.  There is one problem with this process ... it is complete bollucks.  That process of mine wastes time, and really doesn't teach anything.  Your process of reading, and re-reading seems very similar, and I wanted to warn you about it.  It makes more sense to attempt to use what you read to essentially write your own chemistry book, making some new connections of your own, to help you learn.  Likewise, without the calculation problems, you've so neutered the chemistry lesson, as to make it meaningless.

Unless you going on Jeopardy, and you're sure Undergrad Chemistry is going to be a topic.
Hey, I'm not judging.  I just like to shoot straight.  I'm a man of science.

Offline oxidation

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Re: need help studying
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2015, 11:15:53 PM »
i took your advice and tried the following:

started the equilibrium chapter:
as i read, i just write down points i feel are important & i don't know. i also write down the definitions of the bolded. for the math, i read up on how to solve and follow the practice problem w/ solutions that are provided (most books give a guided step-by-step walk through on one problem then give you one to try on your own). then i copy the problem also into my notes and stop to try the next problem on my own. after that, i move on and continue reading. once i get to the end of the chapter, i go back and reread my own notes and start trying to memorize the points and the bolded and then just practicing as many problems as possible. this process is still a bit time consuming though, but.... where there's a will??

i guess i should just stop trying to be a chem guru and stick to the basics

Offline orgo814

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Re: need help studying
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2015, 07:51:23 PM »
Advice: problems, problems, and more problems!

In chemistry, you need to be an excellent problem solver and most general chemistry exams are 90% problem-based. You do need to understand the concepts behind the problems but working as many problems as you can is the best way to learn general chemistry

Offline oxidation

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Re: need help studying
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2015, 10:35:54 PM »
Advice: problems, problems, and more problems!

In chemistry, you need to be an excellent problem solver and most general chemistry exams are 90% problem-based. You do need to understand the concepts behind the problems but working as many problems as you can is the best way to learn general chemistry

just finished a summer course (Chem II) and i wish I would have really taken this advice much more serious in the beginning!! equations and knowing the math well enough will get you a 75!!! and the theory will take you the rest of the way. I didn't get an A in the class which is unfortunate (I think I did well enough just to get into orgo) But for anyone reading this thread for future purposes, I want you to know:

equations, equations, and math!!! I can't stress that enough. I'm new at this chemistry thing still and I thought I could maneuver my way with just reading and re-reading the material for the purposes of understanding the concepts, but math is crucial! chem I & chem II learn the math!!!

(I'll update the original post w/ list of study tips as I move along) hopefully someone who finds themselves in my position some years from now can benefit!

edit: I can't update the original post, so maybe I'll just start a thread?

Offline Dan

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Re: need help studying
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2015, 01:52:32 AM »
edit: I can't update the original post, so maybe I'll just start a thread?

If you think a new thread makes more sense than posting in this one, by all means start a new one.

In general, you should not make major edits your posts after they have been replied to - it confuses the discussion (this is why there is a time limit for editing your posts).

Maths is very important. My first year of undergrad was 25% maths (75% chemistry), and if you failed the maths exam you got kicked out.
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Offline oxidation

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Re: need help studying
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2015, 11:36:05 PM »
failed the class; can't get into orgo... looks like I'll be doing another retake - again!!

I'm feeling too down to muster up the courage to even register for classes again... but I know this time to really focus on the mathematics!!

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