How to Survive Chemistry

Hello all! Today I will be sharing my tips on passing chemistry. This past semester, I took a chemistry course called the Chemistry of Living Things. The topics covered were like the basic chemistry topics and then the last half of the semester we had our Organic Chemistry chapters. Today I will be giving tips on both lecture and lab. I managed to pass the class with a B, but I worked myself ragged for that B. I did not have the best professor experience, but I passed! So I thought, I would share some advice for you students out there!



What did you bring to lecture with you?

  • My class binder
  • Multicolored pen
  • Black pen
  • Calculator

How did you prepare for lecture?

In order to prepare for lecture, I would simply read the assigned readings for the next lecture. I would also complete the book’s practice problems (as recommended by my professor).

How did you take notes during lecture?

My professor wrote down notes on the board and told us to copy those and of course I would add in anything he would say in the margins, etc. My professor wrote notes on the whiteboard in different colors, so when he switched colors I did too. I found chemistry hard to grasp when just looking at a page full of black ink notes. I recommend investing in a multicolored pen if you can.

How did you prepare for exams?

I prepared for my exams like I normally do you can see a little bit of that method here. My #1 piece of advice when it comes to studying for chemistry is just like math, practice problems. Complete all of the ones in your book that the book provides solutions to, complete your study guide if given one. My professor provided us with study guides and those were helpful because they were very different compared to our book problems.


Our lab lasted three hours. The first hour was called recitation. In recitation, the instructor would lecture us about our upcoming lab we were going to perform. We also turned in our lab reports from the previous weeks lab.

What did you bring to lab with you?

  • Lab binder
  • Pen & pencil
  • Calculator

How did you prepare for lab?

I would read the lab for the upcoming week, complete that pre-lab and make sure I completed the previous week’s lab report. The night before lab I would also skim over the instructions for the next day’s lab just to review.

How did you take notes during lab?

I could not really take much notes during lab, but recitation is where I took notes, I wrote down every problem we worked out as a class. I also printed the PowerPoint my instructor uploaded to Blackboard, and just made sure to study that because my instructor was TERRIBLE.

How did you prepare for exams?

I studied for exams the same way as I study for the rest. The only difference was I relied heavily on my graded lab reports and pre-labs because our two exams (that’s right, just two), were pretty much all of these placed together with different values.

That is all I have for you all. Feel free to leave any thoughts, advice or questions. Best wishes!


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