How to Study for a College Chemistry Exam

Studying for a college chemistry exam can be difficult and overwhelming. You are given so much information that it is hard to know where to start. Chemistry has its own language and challenges you to think about things in new ways, and although that is tough at first, it can be really exciting when it clicks. With these ten tips, you’ll be ready to tackle your chemistry exams with clarity and confidence!

Start early

    Getting started early with your studying is one of the best ways to make sure you are totally prepared for an exam. If you learn the concepts well as you go, when it comes time to study for the exam, you will only have to review, instead of cramming or trying to learn the topics from scratch. You can keep up with all the topics in class by watching chapter videos that break down and explain every topic in each chapter for you. With these chemistry videos, you will be sure to learn it well the first time and make studying a breeze in the future!

    Break it down into chunks

    Each chapter in your textbook covers lots of topics and concepts, so it can be tough to know where to start and how to keep it all straight. Breaking each larger chapter or section down will help you categorize the information better in your mind. Study small chunks at a time, so that knowledge can really soak in before you move on to another concept. If you’re stumped on how to start breaking down a chapter, don’t worry–Clutch has already done it for you! Each chapter is separated into the main sections, with several videos in each section. 

    Make equation sheets

    Chemistry has tons of equations to know! Most times you are expected to memorize the equations, what the variables mean, and when to use them. That gets overwhelming fast! Making equation sheets for each chapter helps you to organize the equations all in one place and keep track of what each of the variables stand for. If you are a visual person, it can be extra helpful to color coat the equations based on what they are used for.

    For example, here is a guide that takes you through all of the Gas Laws: 


    Become friends with the periodic table

    The periodic table might look overwhelming or random at first glance, but it turns out that it is actually organized in a way that is full of information and trends. You will use the periodic table for everything from atoms, subatomic particles, and molar mass to ions, bonding, electron configuration, and more. 

    periodic table animation

    Learn to interpret a word problem

    Chemistry exams can have a lot of word problems, and after reading a question you might still be wondering “what is this even asking me?” In every word problem, you have to identify what you need to do or find, and what information you are being given. Underlining the question and making a list of the given information is a great starting point to a word problem. Once you pull out the important information, you will have a lot more clarity on how to start a problem. Interpreting word problems takes a lot of practice, but thankfully Clutch has tons of chemistry practice problem videos that break down problems for you step by step. You will be a word problem wizard in no time!

    Do lots of practice problems

    The classic saying “practice makes perfect” may not sound too original, but when it comes to chemistry, it is true! The best way to get good at chemistry is to practice. A lot. There are so many different ways your professor might test you on a topic, so you need to know how to approach it from different angles. With all this practice, you’ll be on your way to perfect!

    chemistry practice problems animation

    Talk it out

    Try to explain a concept to your mom, your dog, your roommate… The act of talking through a concept makes new connections in your brain and helps it stick better. It can even help you figure out where you are getting confused. Your dog (and maybe even your mom for that matter…) won’t be able to tell you if you are right or not, but that doesn’t mean it won’t help you. When you can explain it, you’ve really mastered it!

    Take practice tests

    Speaking of practice, a crucial component of exam preparation is to take a practice test. This will help you get in the mindset of the exam, see how questions are asked, and figure out what you know well and what you still need to work on. Clutch makes exam reviews for every one of your exams including lots of practice problems from old exams and detailed video solutions that explain how to work through the problems. When you study with a Clutch practice test, you will be ready to crush the real exam!

    chemistry practice test animation

    Reach out for help

    When you are studying, there are some concepts that will click for you right away, while some other problems may totally stump you. When you are feeling stuck, instead of wasting your time and energy being frustrated, ask around; the way that someone else explains a concept might give you a lightbulb moment that helps the whole problem make sense to you. Studying with friends is great for this! Also, Clutch Homework Help can give you a detailed solution to any chemistry problem that you are feeling unsure about. Just type or copy and paste the question here and in a few hours, a Clutch tutor will give you a step-by-step solution explaining the problem. When you reach out for help, you can go from “I don’t know” to “I got this!”

    Stay positive

    You put a lot of time and energy into studying, so believe that you can and will do well on your exam! When you are feeling overwhelmed, staying positive can be difficult, but trust in yourself, your abilities, and your hard work. Studies show that having a positive attitude in your studies impacts your memory, so not only can a smile and an “I got this!” attitude make you feel a little lighter, it may even help you remember the things you’ve been working so hard to study. 

    Categories: College

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