Excelling in Doing Chemistry Homework: Things to Know


How often do you find yourself finally finishing a book or passage in your homework assignment, only to realize you remember little to no information from the text? Few things can be more frustrating, especially when it is a complex or involved subject such as chemistry. There fortunately is good news! You can help yourself retain the information you read quickly and easy with a simple method that you can implement starting right now and use on any and all homework reading assignments.

  • Have sticky notes. Keep some notes and a pen or pencil with you while you are reading through the text book chapters or assigned reading passages. This is what is known as a active reading technique and it works best when you have these two simple tools on hand any time you are reading.

  • Watch for important or key pieces of information. Watch for things such as terms and definitions, concepts, formulas, and processes that seem to be important. Things that are bolded or in italics are usually printed that way to tell you that it is something that should be remembers and looked at closely. Any other parts of the reading that seem important also need to be noted.

  • Mark each of these key areas. Stick note flags work best because they can be used to point out multiple passages on one page without the need for underlining or marking up the book.

  • Continue marking any important things you read. It is ok if you end up with a lot of stick note flags in your book- that is the object of this active learning exercise and it will help you with the last few steps of this exercise.

  • After reading everything look back at the flags. Re-read everything you have marked. Try to do this a few minutes after you have finished reading everything so the general concepts and ideas are still fresh in your mind. If you wait too long to go back and review you may forget things you did not mark because you have not reinforced it into your long term memory fast enough.

  • Make notes and create flash cards. Flash cared and note cards are great way to review key parts of your reading and can help reinforce those terms and ideas into your long term memory. The cards also make valuable study tools at test time.

  • Keep the flags in place if possible. It's O.K. to keep the notes and the flag markers in your book. You may need them when finals roll around and you can just keep adding to your notes as you read more and more chapters.