Chemistry is a class that many students dread. Many find it to be taxing and pointless, but everyone has to take it — no matter how much the student hates the subject. So if the students never have to use this particular subject for most things in life then what’s the point in taking it?
“I think it gives them an opportunity to learn how to critically think and to solve problems,” Timber Creek chemistry teacher Ms. Dawson said. “It’s not just memorizing a vocabulary term. It’s taking the information that we learn and then applying it.”
This is a good practice to have, but for many students currently in the class, grades are what matter the most. So how does one pass this class and do it well?
“Study. All the time,” said Tristan Phelps, a senior who has already taken — and passed –the class.
Ms. Dawson agrees. “One of the most important things that I think students can do is study their chemistry a little bit everyday even if they don’t have it that day, just to go back and review their notes, tell their friends what they learned about it, tell their parents, tell a sibling. Just to keep it fresh in their minds.”
Dawson goes on to say that practicing is a big part of being successful in chemistry. Do the homework that is assigned, do the practice problems that they put online and never be afraid to ask questions.
“A lot of the teachers make you do the work on your own, but a lot of the chemistry teachers will help you out with whatever you need,” Phelps said.
Asking questions clears up the issue and makes the student more successful. Taking good notes and listening in class is key, and when working out the problems, never overthink it. If you have the notes and questions answered, it should be a piece of cake. And never underestimate the power of tutoring. If the class work and the in-class lesson did absolutely nothing — tutoring is the next best thing.
Not only this, but the periodic table will be your very best friend in this class. “Make sure you know the periodic table for sure,” Phelps comments. Once those element names and symbols have been studied and qualities of elements are defined, it’s much easier to use.
Freshman are not exempt from these tips — sophomore year might seem far away, but preparing now will help big time. Dawson’s advice is to make sure that everyone is comfortable in math.
“Knowing how to solve a word problem in math, knowing how to manipulate an equation to solve for X. I think, knowing that will help them in chemistry,” Dawson said.
Even after all of this, it might not be enough. But Dawson has another suggestion to get help.
“You guys have the world at your fingertips and there’s so much on the internet; you know there’s online tutorials, like little games, there’s videos that you can watch on YouTube. There’s just all sorts of resources out there that are available to you all,” Dawson says.
Study Hall is a series of stories on how to improve your academic performance in selected subjects based on interviews with teachers and students who’ve taken that class. Click here to read more stories in this series.