Chemistry Woes: How to Ace the Dreaded Subject and Score Well in Tests

Oh, chemistry! A subject that many loves and many dread with so much passion that they have nightmares about it. When you’re in high school, the subject is not mandatory but just an elective. However, as you move to higher rungs of the education path, most colleges require students to take at least one chemistry course during graduation.

In case you have not opted for chemistry during high school, chances are high that the subject is going to intimidate you out of your wits. According to a report, chemistry remains a course with high failure and withdrawal rates in California State University.

Especially if you’re considering a career in fields like medicine, natural science, or engineering. In such a case, chemistry will be a constant throughout your graduation journey. See, chemistry is a challenging subject that requires impeccable comprehension skills. However, only you can decide whether to make your friend or foe. Goes without saying, you’ll have a good time and grasp the subject better if you consider it your friend.

The most important reason why students find chemistry challenging is because they don’t approach the subject in the right way. With a massive syllabus, challenging symbols, complex equations, and more, chemistry indeed is intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. Below we will explore tips and tricks that will help students learn and study chemistry better.

Review the Study Material


The best way to grasp and understand what’s being taught in a chemistry class is to prepare for the class. Let us explain. In a traditional model, students come to class, get material taught, and hand over assignments as well as follow-up reading. They are then expected to diligently follow the routine of reviewing what was taught, completing assignments, and doing follow-up readings. However, let’s admit, that doesn’t always happen.

Instead, students are advised to attend classrooms after already studying the material to be taught that day. This method is called Flipped Classroom and is increasingly getting popular. This way they are already familiar with what’s being taught and it becomes easier for them to understand and follow along as the class progresses.

In case a student has some doubts or questions, they can ask during the lecture and get their queries solved. This is why when it comes to chemistry, it’s one of the most effective strategies to study and read the material beforehand.

Understand, Don’t Memorize


One of the most common mistakes that students make when tackling chemistry is trying to mug everything. Considering the huge syllabus with complex tables, equations, formulas, and elements, it’s natural to forget most of it. Moreover, memorizing the syllabus will only help pass the test or exam, but not grasp and understand the subject. This is not ideal if you’re considering a career in a relevant field.

To make it easier to learn chemistry, focus on understanding the fundamental concepts first. Once you have gained an understanding of the basics, you’ll find it much easier to memorize details since you understand the concepts now.

This will also help you finish your homework and assignments on time. In case you’re stuck on a topic, you can seek help on websites like from qualified tutors and study materials. Such online homework resources have a wide database of all possible questions. This will not only help you understand the topic but also finish your assignments on time.

Students often feel that taking help from online resources might be construed as cheating. On the contrary, taking help from online tutors not only enhances one’s grasp of the subject, it also helps rectify plagiarism. Tutors can check the assignments for the students and see if the assignment looks plagiarized. They would also help in rectifying the problems if there are any.

Stay On Top of Note Taking


While attending classes is important, paying attention is even more important but what’s the most important part of it? You should always have reference material close at hand in case you run into some confusion later on. The best reference material will always be the copious notes taken during the classroom.

Writing down the concepts and formulas being taught will help students remember and understand them better. Furthermore, when they review their notes after the class, they’ll be able to figure out what they didn’t understand during the class and follow up with the teacher. However, don’t just blindly write down everything that the teacher is writing or sharing on the screen.

It’s more important to note down the verbal points, concepts, tips from the teacher, and other such information. After each class, take a moment to go through your notes and make sure that you understand everything that was taught.

Practice, Practice, and More Practice


As the age-old adage goes, practice maketh the man and it applies to chemistry most of all. The key to learning and understanding chemistry topics is to solve as many practice problems, equations, and working formulas as possible. It’s best if students make studying chemistry a small part of their daily routine. Spend at least an hour every day solving sample chemistry tests, practice problems, and reviewing previous test questions.

Another golden rule is to never look at the answer key. If you’re stumped by a question, try to understand how to work the problem by understanding the logic behind it. Take help from a study companion, teacher’s aid, or tutor. Keep solving the problem until you get it right, then solve another of the same kind to ensure that you understood the concept behind it. Practicing like this will help you ace the dreaded subject of chemistry.

Lastly, understand that a subject as intimidating as chemistry requires a level of commitment and dedication. Slapdash efforts will only lead you to frustration and failure. It’s best to decide beforehand that chemistry is something you want to learn and is important for the career you’re seeking to make that kind of commitment it needs.

Bogdan Radicanin
Bogdan Radicanin

My name is Bogdan Radicanin, but everyone calls me Boba. I also work as a full-time musician. I approach both jobs with a lot of passion, and I believe that's what makes me successful.