As human beings with limited time, energy, and resources, we naturally desire to get the most done with the least amount of work possible. From reading books and experimenting throughout the years, I have accumulated a collection of techniques that maximizes efficiency and has allowed me to achieve a 3.93 GPA while studying less than three hours a day. Below are some of these techniques. Although I have separated it in general and chemistry study tips sections, these study tips can be applied to every class you will ever take in high school & college. Furthermore, some of these tips, especially the blocking technique, will skyrocket your ability to get more done in less time not only in school, but in life in general. I hope these tips will benefit you as much as they have and continue to help me. General Study Tips 1. Study in purely focused block periods Our body functions in cycles. For example, our circadian rhythm dictates when we sleep... read more
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It is natural that as tutors we get called in to the help kids that are struggling. It is no surprise that almost 100% of my students have attention problems. I love to see the beauty in these kids' minds. They can be so talented. But the drawback is when you have to tutor them in a subject they don't enjoy or shine at. I find myself constantly trying to keep things exciting and they usually respond. But what do you do when the kid who has been doing his best just gives you the cold shoulder, falls asleep in your one-on-one lesson, or is just staring into space? I know from experience that not everything is going into a black hole when I am explaining something to a "zoned-out" student. But what do you do on days when you know everything you are saying IS going in a black hole? Please share your tips!
I am studying stoichiometry with a student right now. It can be confusing sometimes to think about the two or three steps required to reach your final answer. We ran into a problem that required converting weight to moles of reactants, converting moles of reactants to moles of product using mole ratio, converting moles of product back to weight, and then finally calculating the percent yield. Anybody can get lost in this soup. Take the time to write down the units at each and every step. If your units don't add up, then you know that you didn't do the problem right. When you're down and they're counting When your secrets all found out When your troubles take to mounting When the map you have leads you to doubt When there's no information And the compass turns to nowhere that you know well Let your units be your pilot Let your units guide you They will guide you well
Now that finals have passed for most of the college students on the semester schedule, I'd like to reflect on the panic that arises when students in required introductory physical science classes come to the end of a course and realize that they haven't retained anything! What is the correct approach to triaging such situations? Of course, the best way to engage with material is by answering questions that are similar to those that will be on the examination, and most professors will be kind enough to tell you what the format and types of questions will be. Generally, there are two types of questions you will find: qualitative and quantitative. I'll deal with the best way to study for each type of question in turn. Qualitative Questions The tendency here is to think that cramming and memorizing facts is the best way to go to answer such multiple choice, free response, or essay questions on qualitative subjects. However, this is not often the case. There... read more
A lot of my students always wonder. Why is Chemistry so hard? Why is Chemistry important? A teacher that I look up to once told me there is no higher road to learning. There is no way around learning science other than practice, practice, practice. Make sure that you are employing problem solving skills. When you approach a problem, one technique that I always use is to write down all the information that I can gather from the text body of the problem. And then write down what the question is asking for. This will always give you a hint as to which formula to use. This works with Chemistry, Physics, Math and a innumerous other scientific subjects. Is Chemistry really hard? Yes it is. It is a narrow road that Medical Schools and the like use to "weed out" their students. Why Chemistry, you say? The problem-solving technique that you use to approach Chemistry problems is the same problem-solving technique you use to make prognoses. You gather all the information... read more
10g ?g 1. Na2CO3 + Ca Cl2 = CaCO3 + 2NaCL In the equation above 10 g of Na2CO3 react with unlimited amount of CaCl2. How many grams of CaCO3 is produced? In the given reaction one mole of Na2CO3 produces one mole of CaCO3. Mole is MW(Molecular mass) in grams. For Na2CO3 MW is 23 *2 + 12 + 48 = 106 g. = 1 mole For CaCO3 MW is 40 + 12 + 48 = 100g. = 1 mole. 106 g of Na2CO3 produce 100g of CaCO3 10 g of Na2CO3 produce X g of CaCO3 X= 10 * 100 / 106 = 9.4 g CaCO3 is produced.
1. NaNO3 = NaNO2 + O2 Let us write half reaction of the oxidation and reduction. Initially nitrogen has charge +5 And at the end of reaction it has charge +3. How do we calculate that? In NaNO3 oxygen has charge -2. Sodium has charge +1. The molecule of NaNO3 is neutral. It means that negative charges inside NaNO3 molecule must be equal to positive charges. Na (+1) + O3 (-2 x 3) = 1 - 6 = - 5. Then nitrogen has to be + 5 to make the molecule neutral. In NaNO2, nitrogen has charge +3. Nitrogen must receive 2 negative electrons to change its charge from +5 to +3. 5 + ( - 2) = 3 So we can write N5+ + 2e = N3+ | 2 Oxygen initially has charge -2. At the end of reaction it becomes neutral and has charge 0. So, we can write 2O2- - 4e = O2 | 4 Combine two half reactions and get: N5+ + 2e = N3+ | 2 2O2- - 4e = O2 | 4 Since 2 and 4 can be divided by 2 and reduced to 1 and 2 N5+ + 2e = N3+ |... read more
Every student that I have tutored in organic chemistry asks me how I became adept at this rather challenging subject. I tell them all the same thing: use your resources. A teaching professor that I worked with taught me from his many years of teaching experience, when a student utilizes at least seven resources, their mastery of the subject of organic chemistry increases (linearly), i.e., the average improvement was one to two letter grades over the course of a semester. These resources include, but are not limited to, going to class, reading the text, taking and reading over notes from class, attending study groups, outside tutoring, supplemental instruction (SI), reading a concise supplemental text, working problems, etc. Organic chemistry is a difficult subject to understand when you are taking it for the first time (and after!). To become successful at, and to truly master organic chemistry at the level required for graduate school or medical school admission,... read more
Many introduction to chemistry courses teach what is called the "plug and chug" methodology. It's a shame but the truth. This method is a shortcut to get to an answer but limits the students ability to understand core concepts in chemistry. I encourage my students and tutees to throw off this method and learn the basics. By working from the ground up students can attack a problem they've never encountered in chemistry and feel confident. It takes more work to get to this point but once you're there all the tension that constantly surrounds chemistry student seems to melt away!! Take the time to master the basics. Once you do chemistry seems not to be the momental task it once was. Chemistry is work and takes time, but it does not need to be a source of frustration!!
Students are often shocked when I bring in physiology, general biology, physics, and other topics into a chemistry lesson. Perhaps the problem is generated from the fact that we think of disciplines as separate silos. If you're a chemist, you can't be a physicist or a biologist. Rubbish! Chemistry is the basis of so many technologies that we enjoy in life. A solid grasp of the subject will make a student better in a different field. Enjoy the journey, and see where the connections take you. In the end, you'll be glad that you removed the boundaries to see chemistry in all its glory. ~Dr. D
I was tutoring a student the other day in physics and, in trying to explain the usefulness of writing the fundamental equation before solving a problem, the strangeness of spontaneous analogy struck again. Looking at my teenage protege, I told him, "Physics is like a soap opera. Unless you define the relationship, you won't have any idea of what's going on." After a stunned moment of silence, we both laughed then went back to the problem. But oddly, after thinking about it, this analogy works better than any I have ever come across or invented when describing the math-intensive sciences. There are so many equations and variables out there for chemistry and physics that keeping them straight is like trying to work out a relationship tree for "All Our Children" or "The Young and the Restless". That's where practice comes in. Like watching a soap or any tv show weekly, daily practice with equations is so useful in understanding what everything is... read more
I graduated with a BS degree in Chemistry from East Carolina University, Greenville NC. Since then, I worked in pharmaceuticals as a chemist/lab analyst for 1.5 years performing drug analyzes with High Performance Liquid Chromatography, Ultra-Violet Spectrometry, FT-NMR IR, and moisture testing. Also I tutored General Chemistry I and II /Math(pre-algebra, algebra I & II, calculus, geometry at a community college. Also I was a General Chemistry II Lab Instructor at the college and have taken Human Gross Anatomy. If anyone of you need help with Anatomy, let me know! I am a more a visual learner and use concept mapping frequently. I thoroughly enjoy helping students achieve their learning and for them to be able to reach their potential. I look forward in working with you. XX
As used in my old school, dimensional analysis is a clever way of multiplying by 1 to convert known information into the units the final answer is requesting. Use identities such as unit conversions, mass to mole conversions, and ratio conversions (of the ratio of different elements for a reaction).
Hi! Welcome to my blog :) I am new to WyzAnt and can't wait to help demystify General Chemistry and Biochemistry for you! Being a student myself and having helped out my sixteen year old sister with her Chemistry classes in high school, I understand the challenges you face while learning Chemistry. In my experience, I found that generally learning challenges can be categorized into three broad categories- reading and understanding complex material, retaining and recalling that information precisely, and lastly, of accurately expressing themselves in their responses on tests. As a fourth year Neuroscience and pre-med major at UC Riverside, my own strategies to master the rigors of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Cell Biology rewarded me with straight A’s, and landed me on the Dean’s Honor’s List. I want to share my creative learning tricks and tips with you and help you enjoy your subject while improving your scores!
Proofreading and editing one's own paper for a high school or college English course can be challenging. Sometimes one just needs a second pair of eyes. A tutor will often see the weaknesses in a writing assignment and point them out to a student. Like any teacher, making red marks on a student's paper doesn't necessarily help a student improve his or her writing skills. Working side by side, one-on-one with an English tutor will encourage you to take what you already know and apply it to your assignments. Writing is a skill that is necessary in all disciplines, not just the humanities. Science majors must write well to explain laboratory experiments and correctly compose reports. Biology, Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, and Chemistry courses in college will require one to write either lab reports or essays, and possibly both. Pre-med students need writing skills just as much as pre-law students. Whatever the discipline, being able to properly convey your ideas, thoughts,... read more
As the school year ramps up again, I wanted to put out a modified version of a Memo of Understanding http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memo_of_understanding for parents and students. It seems each year in the rush to get through the first weeks of school parents and students forget the basic first good steps and then the spiral downwards occurs and then the need for obtaining a tutor and then the ‘wish for promises’ from a tutor. Pay attention to your child’s folder or agenda book. A student is generally not able to self regulate until well into high school. Some people never quite figure it out. Be the best person you can be by helping your child check for due dates, completeness, work turned in on time. Not only will this help your child learn to create and regulate a schedule, it prevents the following types of conversations I always disliked as a teacher ("Can you just give my child one big assignment to make up for the D/F so they can pass"; "I am going to talk to the principal... read more
The most obvious answer is cost. If a tutor charges the same rate for one or four students, it becomes cheaper per hour as you increase students and share the costs with other families. It is often believed a tutor is best when working 1:1 with a student. In some instances it is well worth the time and money to have 1:1 tutoring and sometimes it is appropriate for students to study and do school work in small groups. What is not obvious is the dynamics of small group tutoring. In a variety of circumstances it is invaluable for students to learn how to study “what needs to be studied”. The acts of independence and self regulating behavior have far reaching benefits. Groups need to learn to share and take turns. This seems simple and yet there is the underlying tendency to allow the ‘smart one’ in the group to carry the burden of work. Assuming each student is in the class and has a different point of view/observation about what is happening in class, they should share... read more
I was a fairly typical young person and, like my peers, counted down the days until summer. My mother was a math professor, so I never stopped doing math during the summer, but felt like other parts of my brain became a little mushy in the summer. Come September, it was difficult to get back into the swing of writing papers and studying history and memorizing diagrams. I was out of practice and lost my routine. As an adult, I have almost continually taken classes, because I enjoy learning and find that from class to class, I need to maintain a routine, i.e. a study area and a time of day that I complete my assignments. I have also found that reviewing material a week or two before the course begins helps me to start the class with more confidence and competence. I am a big believer in confidence fueling success and I wonder if younger students practiced assignments in the week or two prior to return to school, if that confidence would help the transition to the school year... read more
Humans have a tremendous capacity to learn and adapt. However, we consistently build barriers that hinder our natural ability to change and grow. Many people, regardless of age, perceive themselves as not being talented enough to excel at math and science. They view math and science as the realms in which only scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and geniuses truly soar. Nothing could be further than the truth. Sure, possessing a natural affinity towards these subjects helps. Yet, a supposed lack of talent does not prevent you from learning. The path may be more arduous. The journey may be longer. Nevertheless, you possess within you the fire to endure. Willpower, dedication, self belief, and an open mind can compensate for any lack of ability. Bruce Lee was a legendary martial artist, actor, and philosopher who continues to inspire millions with the sheer intensity which he pursued his endeavors. Frail, sickly, and small as a child, Bruce Lee overcame many physical... read more
One of the most difficult early chemistry concepts for many people is the idea of moles and converting moles to other quantities. Unfortunately, this is a fundamental part of chemistry. Fortunately, there are a few ways to break it down easily. One of the methods that seemed to work is the "Mole City" diagram. It was how my chemistry teacher taught it and it's stuck with me every since. The mole is a unit for measuring the quantity of an element. It "carries" us between different units of measurement. So in our diagram, the "mole" is our train station. We can use this train to get between units. If we want to get to "grams," we use molar mass as the conversion factor. The molar mass conversion factor is the "train" that takes us from "moles" to "grams." If we want to get to "particles," we use Avogadro's number. Avogadro's number is the train that takes us between "moles" and "particles. Sometimes, chemistry problems will give a quantity in grams and ask... read more