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Offline derrickla1

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Chemistry from scratch.
« on: March 24, 2017, 12:06:59 PM »
Warm greetings,

Foremost, I would like to present my introduction to the forums. I am a fifteen year old from a South Asian country in the tenth standard; having finished my finals just today. I had been inattentive and thoughtless regarding studies up until the final month of my tenth standard. Undoubtedly, my knowledge on topics, including chemistry, was severely impacted.

Therefore, I ask for your help by proposing a question. How can I teach myself rudimentary chemistry at home (equivalent to the curricula of chemistry covered in high schools in the United States) best? I had tried studying chemistry myself before, yes. However, I forgot the covered topics immediately after neglecting revising it for the next few days/weeks (including the basics, unfortunately).

Secondly, is there a possibility of simply understanding a topic and not having to revise it day in and day out? Or must everyone revise frequently? I am not sure how this works so please forgive me for this may appear to you as me just being lazy. Nevertheless, the general question I am proposing is how do I study effectively in order to remember well in the future? I end up forgetting the covered topics within a few weeks!

I realize I've lost a great deal of time by procrastinating and inattentiveness in school but I am willing to improve myself. I have an entrance exam coming up in which chemistry is included. A spot in the school is very competitive therefore I cannot decide to half-a** any subject at all.

Thank you for your time. I wish you a great day.

Yours truly,
Derrick.

Offline Corribus

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Re: Chemistry from scratch.
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2017, 10:57:22 PM »
You didn't really ask a specific question, which is probably why you have no responses. "How do I study" is not a question that is likely to get a lot of feedback, since everybody studies in different ways.
What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?  - Richard P. Feynman

Offline billnotgatez

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Re: Chemistry from scratch.
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2017, 11:05:36 PM »
2 days, 69 reads and yet no response? Please, I beg of you, I need help urgently! I have an entrance examination coming very soon, which I definitely cannot afford to fail.

see
http://www.chemicalforums.com/index.php?topic=65859.0

Offline Dan

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Re: Chemistry from scratch.
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2017, 05:56:26 AM »
For me the key was lots and lots of practice questions. Repetition makes you more aware of patterns and improves your problem solving strategies. You'll realise that there are not that many different questions being asked, rather lots of different ways of asking the same questions, so you will learn to quickly identify which problem-solving tool to use for any particular question.

You can read a chapter in a chemistry book over and over as long as you like, but if you never practice applying that knowledge in a problem-solving context, you will fail every chemistry exam you take.
My research: Google Scholar and Researchgate

Offline derrickla1

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Re: Chemistry from scratch.
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2017, 02:49:38 AM »
How can I teach myself rudimentary chemistry at home (equivalent to the curricula of chemistry covered in high schools in the United States) best? I had tried studying chemistry myself before, yes. However, I forgot the covered topics immediately after neglecting revising it for the next few days/weeks (including the basics, unfortunately).

Secondly, is there a possibility of simply understanding a topic and not having to revise it day in and day out? Or must everyone revise frequently? I am not sure how this works so please forgive me for this may appear to you as me just being lazy. Nevertheless, the general question I am proposing is how do I study effectively in order to remember well in the future? I end up forgetting the covered topics within a few weeks!

Here you go, put the specific questions in bold.

I end up forgetting the content of what I've studied in less than a week. Is there a way you can study and remember it all immediately or am I under an illusion? Phrased the second question differently for you.

And yes, I know that everyone has their own studying methods and what might work for you might not work for me so just post your methods so I can implement the best ones.

Thanks for the response, guys, really helpful.

Offline Irlanur

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Re: Chemistry from scratch.
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2017, 04:24:00 AM »
You want a quick-fix for your way of learning? you won't get any, simply because there is none.
This is not a question of technique, it is a question of character, of the way your mind works.

Quote
I end up forgetting the content of what I've studied in less than a week. Is there a way you can study and remember it all immediately or am I under an illusion?

Don't study. Learn. Understand.

How can you check whether you understood something? Explain it to somebody else. Without looking at notes or anything. (It helps to explain it to somebody who's familiar with the topic, that way you can easier detect misunderstandings, but it is not absolutely necessary).


Offline derrickla1

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Re: Chemistry from scratch.
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2017, 12:46:39 PM »
It may seem weird to you folk that I'm asking questions on how to study but it is because all my life my teachers have focused solely on rote memorization and merely passing the examinations.

I haven't tried alternative methods. I don't know which methods exist.

I saw people able to retain most of the information they study and I wondered, "Is there something that I'm missing? A better study method perhaps." which is why I asked this question.

Thank you, very much, for your replies. Looking forward to what other posters have to share.

Offline derrickla1

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Re: Chemistry from scratch.
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2017, 03:49:21 PM »
You want a quick-fix for your way of learning? you won't get any, simply because there is none.
This is not a question of technique, it is a question of character, of the way your mind works.

Quote
I end up forgetting the content of what I've studied in less than a week. Is there a way you can study and remember it all immediately or am I under an illusion?

Don't study. Learn. Understand.

How can you check whether you understood something? Explain it to somebody else. Without looking at notes or anything. (It helps to explain it to somebody who's familiar with the topic, that way you can easier detect misunderstandings, but it is not absolutely necessary).

Tried your method and while I can end up clearly explaining the concept/topic, I cannot put the concept into formal writing for some reason. Any help regarding this?

Offline Arkcon

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Re: Chemistry from scratch.
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2017, 08:26:11 PM »
Tried your method and while I can end up clearly explaining the concept/topic, I cannot put the concept into formal writing for some reason. Any help regarding this?

I'm sorry.  I don't understand what you wrote here:

1) When did you try the method of learning, instead of memorizing?  In just the past six days?

2) Who do you have to explain the "concept/topic" to?  This process was for your benefit, if I understand correctly.

3) Why do you have to put it into formal writing?  Your original post was over formal, even flowery, yet was basically an apology to all of us, for something that doesn't effect any of us.

Seriously, at this point, this conversation seems like a very sophisticated spam-bot.  As Queen Gertrude said to Polonius -- "More matter, less art."
Hey, I'm not judging.  I just like to shoot straight.  I'm a man of science.

Offline Babcock_Hall

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Re: Chemistry from scratch.
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2017, 05:51:34 PM »
For me, doing many homework problems was an integral part of learning.

Offline derrickla1

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Re: Chemistry from scratch.
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2017, 09:57:39 PM »
Tried your method and while I can end up clearly explaining the concept/topic, I cannot put the concept into formal writing for some reason. Any help regarding this?

I'm sorry.  I don't understand what you wrote here:

1) When did you try the method of learning, instead of memorizing?  In just the past six days?

2) Who do you have to explain the "concept/topic" to?  This process was for your benefit, if I understand correctly.

3) Why do you have to put it into formal writing?  Your original post was over formal, even flowery, yet was basically an apology to all of us, for something that doesn't effect any of us.

Seriously, at this point, this conversation seems like a very sophisticated spam-bot.  As Queen Gertrude said to Polonius -- "More matter, less art."

There is not much content to cover at the standard I am studying in.

Furthermore, when I try practice questions related to the content I have studied, though I have understood the concept clearly and can explain the topic informally (in my own words), I have a hard time writing a formal explanation.

Let me briefly explain my method of studying. I use the school textbook to note the topics covered by the subject and then use online resources with the textbook to learn the content. Once the content makes sense to me and I can explain it in my own words, I try to answer the practice questions from a separate question book I've purchased but can't seem to put my own words in a more formal manner. The problem with this is my answers are not always what you would expect of in a formal answers but what you would usually see when two friends, for example, are talking about the last game. I understand the topic, yes, but believe it would be a problem, specially since the examinations here do not have MCQs and rather have questions where the student has to write the answers form the questions provided.

Offline Arkcon

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Re: Chemistry from scratch.
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2017, 10:09:00 AM »
The problem with this is my answers are not always what you would expect of in a formal answers but what you would usually see when two friends, for example, are talking about the last game. I understand the topic, yes, but believe it would be a problem, specially since the examinations here do not have MCQs and rather have questions where the student has to write the answers form the questions provided.

Now we're getting somewhere.  This is a very important question, and I'm glad to give you an object lesson from my time in high school.

Let's talk about Le Chatelier's principle.  It can be stated as:

Any change in status quo prompts an opposing reaction in the responding system.  reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Chatelier%27s_principle

I used a definition similar to that one, because that's what I found.  However, the instructor was expecting a definition more like:

When any system at equilibrium is subjected to change in concentration, temperature, volume, or pressure, then the system readjusts itself to (partially) counteract the effect of the applied change and a new equilibrium is established.  reference: ibid.

Now, my instructor didn't want to take points off, but didn't want to give me credit, ... but eventually did ... however ...

Well, secondary school was a long time ago for me.  However, I understand the dilemma you face, and I recognize that curricula are different world-wide:  your instructs may be less generous with your new summary of the topic, and want to instead test your memorization skills.

Here's the problem many of us may have.  The formula:  works no matter which definition you use.  And this is the sort of thing we can interactively help you with.  Not so much, how to study.
Hey, I'm not judging.  I just like to shoot straight.  I'm a man of science.

Offline derrickla1

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Re: Chemistry from scratch.
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2017, 02:58:08 AM »
So I guess your answer is that I just have to suck it up and find a way to answer questions according to the curricula?
« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 06:22:24 AM by Arkcon »

Offline Arkcon

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Re: Chemistry from scratch.
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2017, 06:23:25 AM »
Top start with, yes.  Also, post actual problems you've had that we can give help with.
Hey, I'm not judging.  I just like to shoot straight.  I'm a man of science.

Offline XeLa.

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Re: Chemistry from scratch.
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2017, 10:13:09 PM »
Just in advance, this is my personal opinion from my observations; the best way to study really depends on the person, but I just find that this works well in general.

I'm currently in my final year of school and I've been studying chemistry for a couple of years now, and, personally, I find that doing lots of questions really helps me to grasp the entirety of the topic. You see there are subjects like Biology where memorising a set of revision notes is often imperative to succeeding; if you know the concepts then you can more often then not do quite well. However, this is not often the best way to succeed in Chemistry. Chemistry is like a language, a language that you need to understand the ins and outs of in order to do well. One of the very best ways to do this is completing problem after problem, and not just the set problems but going above and beyond. I find that understanding the theory often comes after attempting the questions, so I like to spend 10% of my time reading the theory, and the other 90% attempting questions and coming back to the theory. Like Dan said, eventually you'll do enough question that most questions that you will come across are either only a slight variation of ones that you've already done or a combination of several together.

Chemistry needs to be studied regularly; you can't leave it last minute. Also, if you have any questions feel free to pose them to the forums.

All the best.

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