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One mistake that I see time and time again is the use of degrees Celsius when performing calculations in chemistry class. The problem with this is that there are no properties are directly proportional to the Celsius temperature. Let's look at gas volume as an example. Charles' Law states that the volume of a gas is directly proportional to the temperature of that gas. If you could use the Celsius temperature here, then what would happen in the winter, when water starts to freeze? We would have nothing to breathe, since gases would have zero volume at the freezing point of water (0 °C was arbitrarily chosen to correspond to the freezing point of water). Worse yet, consider what would happen at temperatures below zero. If the temperature is negative, the volume must be negative. I hope you can understand that a gas can't have a negative volume. Contrary to what your professor may tell you, Kelvin is not the ONLY temperature scale that can be used. ANY absolute scale can be used... read more

I've started a couple of blogs before, so I thought I would start one here that relates to tutoring. I'll be posting tips on how to succeed in chemistry (and related subjects, such as physics). Topics that I plan on covering include, in no particular order: - Unit Analysis - Units of Temperature - Heat Capacity - How to figure out if an energy difference should be positive or negative through common sense - Multiple choice test-taking strategies - Estimation/Approximation as a means of double-checking your work I have worksheets related to several of these topics (and others) that I am more than happy to share.

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