Don’t fall behind! Check your syllabus for important exam and homework dates and write them down in your planner/iPhone. If you miss a class, borrow notes from a friend and go over the chapter in your textbook. If you have any questions or feel that you are still behind the class, talk to your professor to figure out a solution.
If possible, take a look at the lecture material in the textbook before class. Not only will this help you to understand the material covered in class better, but you will be better able to answer some of the questions asked during class. Don’t have time? Skim over the chapter after class and take note of the examples. Reviewing the chapter will also help you to remember the topics covered.
Leave plenty of time to work on problem sets! Don’t wait till the last moment and hand in a poorly done assignment—you will want to use your homework to study from later on. Also, make sure your homework is neat! If you cannot read it, how do you expect your grader to?
Working in groups can be helpful, but don’t trick yourself into thinking that you understand something that your friend did for you. Take the time to confirm that you understand all of your answers.
Find out your professor’s office hours and go to them whenever possible. Your professor is your best source for extra help. If you cannot stop in then (eg. class conflict), ask your professor if you can arrange a meeting or check out the QSR Center. Still having trouble? Think about working with a peer tutor through the Peer Tutoring Program.
When studying for your exam, work out lots of practice problems. Practice makes perfect, and it’s the only way to be sure that you know the material. Also, go over your past problem sets and redo some of the questions that you had difficulty with. Exam questions are often very similar to the problem sets.
Don’t get discouraged. Chemistry may seem complicated, but if you put in the time and hard work, you will be rewarded!
Director of the Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning Center