When college and university students start their work in the field of Chemistry, they get interested in research and encounter various issues that require problem-solving skills. Let’s face it – problem-solving is something that nearly every person does when she gets her hands on Chemistry. Whether you’re focused on theory, compounds’ characterization, spectroscopy, or synthesis, you’re going to face problem-solving activities inevitably. Besides, it is clear that students who are successful in chemistry either develop excellent problem-solving skills – typically on their own – or bring these skills to their professional life later. After all, it is obvious that undergrads who succeed in chemistry problem solving can help less successful peers learn how to build the skills of the same level.
With some simple recommendations given below, you’ll get to know how to become a more successful Chemistry problem solver and handle the toughest issues on your own.
The first step to take on your way to problem-solving is that you have to understand its meaning. To cope with the task and get the desired results, you have to understand the vocabulary involved in the process, as well as the way it is being used. In most cases, two kinds of terms are involved in Chemistry problems. First of all, chemists use ordinary words. As a rule, college professors and tutors assume that you and your peers know these words and need no explanations. The second group of words includes more technical terms that are specific to this field of study. More often than not, they require additional clarification. And as it turns out, a lot of college and university undergrads don’t know the meaning of the terms, such as “negligible,” “displace,” “relevant,” “diversity,” and so on.
Just like in any other discipline, problem-solving in the field of chemistry is a multilayered process. It requires you to know and understand the language of the discipline and in which the problem is described. You have to know how to interpret terms and what is given in a particular problem, as well as understand and comprehend the basic Chemistry concepts that are involved in the solution. What is more, you have to know how to do various Math operations because usually, they are also part of the problems in the field of Chemistry.
Basic Chemistry vocabulary might include the following terms:
According to a range of research studies focused on the problem-solving in this field of study, the main reason why so many college and university students fail to cope with the problems is that they don’t get the basic concepts that this or that problem is associated with.
In order to understand what we do and why we do it in the field of Chemistry, some models have been developed. The chemists use these models to describe certain steps that they take in order to solve this or that problem. They use each to provide beginners with a better idea of how they struggle and what they do to go through these struggles.
Among the wide range of Chemistry problem-solving models, the following might be suitable for all needs:
To become better in Chemistry problem solving, you have to practice as often as you can. This field of study includes a fair share of calculations, which means you have to deal with problem-solving on a regular basis to be able to handle problems with ease. The more college students practice, the more familiar they become with the terms, the constants, and the numbers that the problems include. What is more, practicing on a regular basis will also help undergrads understand the meaning of the problem faster than those who skip this step. Besides, with every other Chemistry problem-solving session, you will get more familiar with the most typical traps that students tend to fall in. As a result, you will increase your chances of avoiding the same mistakes in the future. For that reason, practicing on a regular basis is the key to success in the niche of Chemistry.
When you’re in class, make sure to listen to your Chemistry professor and try to focus. This will provide you with an opportunity to not only record all important information but also make the process of learning easier. Your professor is there to explain and clarify what you might not understand. That is why, next time, when you encounter some Chemistry problem, you will be able to use your college notes and handle it successfully.
Do not take your college time for granted! Instead, make certain to concentrate on every point that your tutor makes in class. Plus, attending Chemistry classes is a must. As tempting as it can be, skipping classes means missing important explanations of new topics. It will be easier to keep up with Chemistry than to catch up.
As a rule, professors provide their students with a copy of the periodic table, but in case you don’t get one, it is important to have the latest version of it. It is a must-have. If you have a periodic table at hand, it will help you whenever you’re dealing with your Chemistry problems. Since the periodic table comprises loads of complex blocks of chemical information, you will be able to work through the most difficult problems once you learn to read it. Download your copy online in case you don’t have it – it’s available for free.
Just like in any other field of study, dealing with Chemistry problems requires doing revisions of your work. As you plan your problem-solving sessions, make sure to plan cumulative revisions as well. Without a doubt, it may take up more time to cope with the problem; however, you will thank yourself for it. One of the best ways to revise is to check and solve the papers that were written before or by your college peers. As a result, you will be able to notice the little details in any problem that you failed to see before and practice these issues to master this science.
Without a doubt, not every college student can study with a group of peers. Many find this method inappropriate due to the distractions that are associated with it. However, if you like the idea of sharing the load of Chemistry problems, make sure to check who is available to study together. Discuss the problems that you all have in the field of study and be attentive to what your partners say. After all, it is always better to learn from others’ mistakes than from the ones that you make.