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Tips to Survive Grade 11 Chemistry!

By Rahul Gigi

Grade 11 chemistry invites an experience familiar to that of the previous year, while also introducing new concepts of study. This course can be daunting at times due to the workload; it is important to establish strong habits that will allow you to succeed. From organizational tips to advice for understanding difficult concepts, the following guide was curated with the course of chemistry in mind. These 5 tips are aimed to eliminate stress, in turn, allowing you to enjoy chemistry and all that it brings.

Tip #1: Master the Fundamentals

The Grade 11 chemistry course will require you to be already equipped with fundamental skills such as the ability to draw Lewis Dot structures, Bohr Rutherford diagrams, name compounds as well as balance chemical equations. These aspects of chemistry are essential building blocks that will be the basis for many new concepts you will learn. For example, Lewis Dot diagrams were taught to you in Grade 9 to represent the bonding structures of the elements. In Grade 11 chemistry, they will be used for a concept known as VSEPR, in order to illustrate the 3-D molecule structure. Balancing equations is a concept of equal importance to Lewis Dot Diagrams as it can be paired with nearly any problem that involves a reaction. This skill is a requirement to completing mole calculations and net ionic equations. To improve your ability on these concepts ask questions, watch videos and do extra practice questions in your spare time!

Tip #2: Organize Your Information

Organization is essential to success. Similar to other courses, it is important to ensure that you have access to materials within your binder that you may need throughout the semester. Specific to chemistry, there are a number of important reference sheets that you will need. These include a periodic table, solubility chart, activity series and others that may be subject to change depending on the unit of study. Keeping these in a well-organized binder will remove any frustration or worry that may come from not being able to find this set of vital information.

Ex. The solubility table can be used to determine the state of a compound, identifying whether it is aqueous (aq) or solid (s).

Photo from https://www.flinnsci.com/solubility-rules-chart/ap6901/

Tip #3: Complete Your Homework

The amount of homework assigned for chemistry can be overwhelming at times. Regardless of this, it is important to complete the majority of it. I used the word majority since there is a relatively significant amount of homework and you need to consider the amount of time needed to cover your other courses as well. A great way to manage your chemistry homework is by attempting questions that differ in terms of what topic they cover. If you feel comfortable and confident in a topic, instead of doing multiple questions that pertain to that specific subject matter, attempt a few and invest more time practicing concepts that you feel are more difficult.

Tip #4: Read and Watch Videos

There are going to be concepts that are easy to grasp with the lesson and supplementary questions that will help reinforce your understanding. On the other hand, homework questions may not be sufficient enough to provide enough clarity on the topic. This is where the role of articles and videos online come into play. These resources can provide visual cues that not only help you grasp the content, but also help further your ability to retain information and improve your recall for assignments and tests. Some websites, as well as channels that I recommend, include Khan Academy, The Organic Chemistry Tutor, and Professor Dave Explains.

Ex. This picture from Khan Academy is an excellent way to explain the difference be intermolecular and intramolecular attraction using molecules of Hydrochloric Acid


Tip #5: Apply Your Knowledge in Labs

Experiments are one of the many rewards associated with the study of chemistry. They are excellent ways to test your knowledge and provide an enjoyable, interactive way to explore the subject. Some of the major labs that you will partake in this year include the paper chromatography lab, as well as the titrations experiment. The purpose and materials of the lab will be either discussed in class or researched individually on your own time. During the discussion or research period, it is imperative to be well informed on the task at hand. This includes the purpose, materials that are to be used, the procedure and the type of observations that will be made. In order to be confident in your ability to perform the lab, take time the night before to familiarize yourself with various important aspects of the experiment.

The tips discussed above serve the purpose of creating a comprehensive learning experience in the study of chemistry. Although this course can be stressful at times, the knowledge you will obtain and goals you will achieve make it well worth it. Good luck in your studies and I hope this guide proves to be useful for your semester!

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