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Today, I want to share with you and your child how to study for Chemistry effectively. Share this with your child!
Many of us understand the importance of studying hard. However, how to study SMART is often more important. Therefore, I have decided to put together this article to share our top tips for studying Chemistry effectively.
Tip #1: Don’t memorise, understand the concept!
A common mistake many students make is memorising instead of understanding. They then go on to “regurgitate” the answers in the exams without much actual thought. This technique may seem to work well. However, there is a flaw in studying this way: you will be unable to handle more difficult questions. Examples include questions that combine multiple topics together, or questions that introduce new concepts that require out-of-the-box thinking. These questions are usually set by examiners in order to separate the wheat from the chaff.
In other words, these are higher order questions that separate the ‘A’s from the ‘B’s. In these cases, memorising and “regurgitating” will not work. If you wish to truly stand out from the rest, you must understand the underlying concept. This way, you will be able to tackle HOT (Higher Order Thinking) questions without breaking a sweat!
Tip #2: Clarify your doubts as soon as possible!
Whenever you encounter any problems, clarify your doubts as soon as possible! Don’t be shy! Some students run into the problem of “not wanting to trouble your teacher”. Some may worry about “appearing stupid”. However, it is important to understand that there is no problem with asking your teacher or chemistry tutor extra questions if you don’t understand.
At the end of the day, you are the one who is going to sit for the exam. You are the one who will suffer if you do not clear your doubts, not your teachers or your classmates. Never be afraid of asking! There is no shame in doing so. It will only benefit you in the long run.
Additionally, one thing to note is you must know what you want to get out of asking. There is no point asking if you don’t know why you’re asking. Is it to grasp a concept? Is it to identify your mistake? It is important to be clear about what you are asking about. Once you have cleared your doubts, move on to the next question. In this way, we becoming efficient with your question-asking.
Tip #3: Familiarise yourself with important keywords
In chemistry, there will always be certain keywords that signal the topic that is being tested. Once we are familiar with these keywords, we will know instantly which topic is being tested. If you know which topic is being tested, you can immediately apply all the formulas and concepts related to that topic. There is no need to fumble around and wonder whether you have to use this formula or that one. In other words, once you know what concept is being tested (through identifying the keywords), you will be able to answer the question straight to the point. This saves effort, but more importantly, it saves time. We cannot afford to lose precious time in the examinations. Knowing the keywords lets you instantly identify and therefore solve questions!
Tip #4: Expose yourself to as many questions as possible
It is important to not lose ourselves in reading from the textbook, to the point that we forget to do practice papers. Why is that? That is because we need question exposure. To put it simply, there is no point in knowing all your textbook content if you cannot answer the question. And the best way to become good at answering questions is by practising exam papers. The advantages of doing so are twofold: firstly, we are checking whether we actually understand the concept or not. If we cannot answer questions, it is a sign that there is something fundamentally wrong with our understanding of the concept.
Secondly, and more importantly, we are improving our practical exam skills. The more questions you see, the more comfortable you will be in your examinations. No exam paper can scare you if you’ve done dozens of papers. In the end, you will stare at it and realise it’s just like all the other papers you’ve done in the past. That is the power of practice. Soon enough, you will become familiarised to the point that it is like breathing.
Congratulations, you are now an expert in the art of studying chemistry. We hope that this article will prove useful to you and your child. Thank you for reading our article and stay tuned for more!
About the Author
Mr. Joel has been a Chemistry Tutor in Singapore for more than 10 years.