HOW TO STUDY ORGANIC CHEMISTRY

Educational psychologist recognize several stages of learning:

Try to judge where you fall in this hierarchy, and think about how you can progress to the next level. That is, think about how you think! Our goal is to get you to at least the third level in this class (and the fourth next semester).

You need to advance through these stages in organic chemistry so that you can:

You will need a well-organized approach and the commitment to stick to a fairly rigorous and time-demanding study schedule. Here are some suggestions.

1. Allocate your time and set study goals in advance. You will require no less than 10 hours of study time each week, beginning in the first week of the semester.

Your plan for each new topic should include the following activities:

2. Practice daily! Just as in studying a foreign language, multiple daily sessions yield better results than one marathon session each week (or even worse, the night before an exam).

3. Study actively, with pencil or pen in hand. Outline textual material rather than highlighting it. Highlighting is too passive.

4. Schedule short breaks at regular intervals during study. Ten minutes out of every hour is a good proportion. Use the break to stretch and walk around, get yourself a cold drink, make a short telephone call, or anything else that takes your mind off chemistry for a few minutes. Consider the break a reward for working hard during the preceeding 50 minutes.

5. Make sure your study plan includes reviewing for exams, but does not include "all-nighters" or frantic scrambling right up to the minute of the exam. These self-defeating measures only lead to panic.

These suggestions and the other learning and problem-solving methods taught during the course [see for example the Web Page on flash cards] are based on long-term observations of (and by) many students, and on proven psychological principles. The approach works best if you support it in these ways:

Galina Miklosic has translated this page into Ukranian. To read it, click here.

This page last modified 12:51 PM on Wednesday August 13th, 2014.
Webmaster, Department of Chemistry, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469