Four Tips for Acing Chemistry in College


The first year of college can be a challenging one.Not only are students pursuing the first few classes within their major, but they must take other electives too.

Many colleges require certain courses, such as introductory mathematics and chemistry.Some students struggle with the early chemistry classes, especially if they are not interested in going into medicine.

Here are four tips that will help every new college student pass chemistry.

  1. Be Prepared

There are certain skills that a student should possess before they take their first chemistry class in college. For instance, you should understand and know how to use algebraic equations.

Students should understand scientific notation, negative numbers and fractions. If a student does not have all these skills, maybe they should take other classes and put off the chemistry requirement for another semester.

  1. Take a Proactive Stance

Students who take a “back seat” approach to learning will struggle in chemistry. It is not the type of subject that someone can just pick up on the fly. It requires disciplined and proactive learning.

When there is a topic or equation in class that is confusing, ask the professor. If the class is too big to ask such questions, request a time for their office hours later in the week. College professors are always happy to help students who want to improve.

  1. Work the Problem Sets

Want to get a top grade in a chemistry course? Focus on the problem sets. Most professors will give one problem set a week, with some giving one every two weeks. These problem sets are the key to most chemistry courses.

The problem set is the practical way of assessing whether students know what is going on in class. And many of the problem sets involve complex, multi-part questions that are designed to see whether a student is paying attention.

Focus on these problem sets, work on them alone and only get help as a last resort. Those students who do need help should seek to understand problems and their solutions, not just get the answers from a buddy the night before it is due.

  1. Do Not Fall Behind

Chemistry is not a course that a student can ace if they only begin learning the material two weeks before the final exam. While such an approach can work in other subjects, it is not possible for chemistry.

There is too much material and it all builds on top of each other. If a student is not paying attention from September to the end of November, they have no hope of catching up before the final in mid-December.

Commit to the class from the beginning, get help when stuck on a question or topic, work the problem sets, ask the professor for assistance if necessary and always stay on target.

These are the keys to acing chemistry in college. While it is a daunting course, it is also very rewarding. Both organic and inorganic chemistry can teach students so much about the work. Chemistry also prepares students for the rigors of the higher level courses they will take in the future!