4 Tips for Making Sense of Chemistry by Julie Gilbert

Chemistry Study Tips

1. Learn to recognize the first 36 elements by symbol and name. The periodic table is overflowing with great information, but if you can’t find the element in question, you’ll have a much harder time accessing that information.

2. Master dimensional analysis. Put the unit you want to change “out of” on the bottom of your conversion factor. Put the unit you want to change “to” on the top of the conversion factor. Repeat as necessary until you reach the desired unit. Multiply across
the top and divide across the bottom.

3. Do your homework/ the exercises at the end of the chapter you’re assigned. I realize that’s the teacher equivalent of “eat your vegetables” and probably the last thing any student wants to hear. However, the truth is that many Chemistry skills come down to practice. There are a fair amount of formulas in the subject.

4. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. You can try finding your answers through Google or Yahoo, just be cautious. Not every answer you find on the internet is going to be correct. Understanding what you don’t understand is a useful skill that will allow you to formulate better questions.

Chemistry Quick Facts with Short Explanations:

- All atoms are electrically neutral. Relate positive charges to the idea of losing electrons and negative charges to the idea of gaining electrons. Electrons carry a negative charge, so if you have less of them compared to the number of protons you have, there will be an overall positive charge on the resulting ion.

- When balancing chemical equations by inspection, balance elements besides hydrogen and oxygen first. These two elements are in many chemical compounds and are therefore more difficult to balance via inspection.

Julie C. Gilbert is a Chemistry teacher who happens to spend summers writing YA, sci-fi, and Christian novels. She’s very excited to get to exhibit at this year’s Book Expo America and Book Con at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City (May 27-31).

Connect with Julie on FaceBook or Twitter.

Julie currently has two books free on Kindle:

Ashlynn’s Dreams is the first book in the Devya’s Children series. In Ashlynn’s Dreams, you’ll meet a young Dream Shaper named Jillian, her genetically altered siblings, and her babysitter.  

The Collins Case is a Christian mystery and the first book in the Heartfelt Cases series.

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