Tips For Succeeding In High School Chemistry

Published: 12th June 2009
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High school chemistry and high school physics are two of the toughest courses students encounter in high school. Fortunately, there is more help than ever for students struggling with high school chemistry class. There's no denying that high school chemistry is a hard class, but there are several reasons students do poorly in chemistry, and many of these reasons can be conquered.

One of the top reasons students struggle with high school chemistry is procrastination. Keeping up with the reading, vocabulary, and problems is half the battle when it comes to high school chemistry. Putting off work or reading causes students to fall behind, and it is difficult to come from behind and do well in high school chemistry.

High school chemistry students also experience difficulty if they do not have a good grounding in mathematics. Algebra and geometry help tremendously with understanding high school chemistry. Unit conversions, chemistry problems, and calculating molarity, pressure, temperature, and other properties will be covered in high school chemistry, and students with a better math background will have an advantage.

While practice and preparation are essential for mastering high school chemistry, there is danger in becoming over-reliant on study guides and help books. Reading these books can supplement the main chemistry text used in the class, but there is no substitute for reading and understanding the high school chemistry textbook first.

Another essential study practice for high school chemistry students is working practice problems. Again, using the main textbook from class is important. Sometimes when a particular type of chemistry problem is troublesome, extra practice from similar problems in study guides can help. But mastering the techniques and problems presented in the high school chemistry class is necessary first.

Part of high school chemistry comes down to plain memorization. When students balance chemical equations - particularly on a test - there is not time to look up items like molecular weight for common elements like oxygen and hydrogen. These things require memorization. Techniques used by high school chemistry students to aid in memorization include flash cards, having a friend or parent ask questions for practice, or using computer software and games to test memorization skills.

While memorization is important to learning high school chemistry, it is not the same as understanding the reasoning and fundamentals of chemistry. There is simply too much material, even in high school chemistry, to memorize. Knowing what to memorize in high school chemistry is as important as the memorization itself.

The beginning of memorization and understanding in high school chemistry starts in note taking. Taking notes in class and paying attention can be a difficult balance at times, but practice improves this. Class notes, including notes written on homework papers, are excellent memory prompts and should be a regular part of participation in a high school chemistry class.

Listening to the teacher seems so obvious as to not require mentioning, but it is vital in the hard sciences to listen to the teacher. If for no other reason, listening to the teacher in high school chemistry will often let students know exactly what concepts will appear on tests, and in which forms, such as fill-in-the-blank, equations, multiple choice, or essay questions.

Succeeding at high school chemistry requires a multi-step approach: practice, memorization, reading, paying attention in class and good note taking.Need help with high school chemistry get your chemistry questions answered for free at

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