HOW TO STUDY CHEMISTRY
by Ronald Ragsdale, University of Utah
- Read assigned material before coming to
class. You will be sufficiently familiar with the material so you
will more readily understand the lecture
- Try to capture the ideas and concepts of a
- Don't recopy your notes. You don't learn
while copying material.
- Don't use a tape recorder. It takes too
long to review the material.
- Take notes and review them immediately
after class. In some research, a group that reviewed material
immediately after a class recalled more than a group that
- Remembering what you have heard is usually
more difficult than remembering what you have read. Therefore,
take class notes so that you will have something to
- Don't do your remembering by memorizing. We
need to be selective in what we memorize. William James said, "The
essence of genius is to know what to overlook."
- Memorization should only be done with
material that is understood. It should not be used as a means of
escaping the effort to understand. Do not learn by memorizing what
can be learned by reasoning. Use the five R's of note taking (the
- Record: The meaningful ideas and
- Reduce: After class, summarize the main
ideas and concepts
- Recite: Say out loud in your own words
the main ideas of the class.
- Reflect: Take a few minutes to ponder
over the main ideas of the class
- Review: Once a week, review the ideas of
all the semester's lectures.
- During class, ask questions of yourself. It
helps to keep you mentally alert. It helps you to look for answers
- Always have at least two questions that you
would like to ask each time you go to your class.
- Schedules are crucial to student success.
They are a means of gaining extra time by making you more
efficient and by helping you use small blocks of time that usually
are wasted without a schedule.
- Schedules also hep you prevent avoiding
- Use daylight hours. Research shows that
each hour used for study during the day is equal to one and a half
hours at night.
- Study before each class. The material will
be fresh in your mind.
- Study each subject in a one-hour block of
time. It makes you more efficient. You don't become bored. Longer
blocks of time lead to a waste of time.
- Allow time for sleep.
- Set realistic goals for yourself. You can
reward yourself for being successful. If you waste all afternoon
and then set a goal of studying chemistry from 6:00 p.m. to
midnight, you may not be realistic. The chances are that you won't
be successful; you will become frustrated.
- Study at a desk.
- Recite why studying. If you will recite
while writing, you will be learning while using your eyes and
- If you can't say it, you don't know it.