Several strategies can lead to success. The first is that general chemistry courses require a considerable amount of effort evenly spread across the entire semester. Work on assignments over several days and not just before the deadline. Most college instructors (especially those in challenging courses) recommend 2 to 3 hours per hour of class time per week. A second strategy is to understand the ideas that the homework or quizzes are based on. Organize all of the questions from the clicker questions in class, the homework, and the solved problems in the lecture videos and text. They are all related to the 5 to 8 big ideas in each chapter. Recognize the idea, what the questions ask, and how they are all related. Memorizing the approach to a question is rarely useful; doing a prescribed set of steps (i.e., algorithm) every time you see certain words or a concept does not help when the next question is even slightly different. Practice the skills of recognizing the ideas with a new set of problems; the end of chapter problems are ideal for this activity. Remember that this process takes time but develops your problem-solving skills that will be useful beyond these courses.
Department of Chemistry