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Top Reasons Why Students Fail Chemistry

Avoiding Failure in Chemistry

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Are you taking a chemistry class? Are you worried you might not pass? Chemistry is a subject many students prefer to avoid, even if they have an interest in science, because of its reputation for lowering grade point averages. However, it isn't as bad as it seems, especially if you avoid these common mistakes.

1. Procrastinating

You can pass chemistry if you pace yourself studying.
Arne Pastoor, Getty Images
Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow, right? Wrong! The first few days in a chemistry class may be very easy and could lull you into a false sense of security. Don't put off doing homework or studying until halfway through the class. Mastering chemistry requires you to build concept upon concept. If you miss the basics, you'll get yourself into trouble. Pace yourself. Set aside a small segment of time each day for chemistry. It will help you to gain long-term mastery. Don't cram.

2. Insufficient Math Preparation

Don't go into chemistry until you understand the basics of algebra. Geometry helps, too. You will need to be able to perform unit conversions. Expect to work chemistry problems on a daily basis. Don't rely too much on a calculator. Chemistry and physics use math as an essential tool.

3. Not Getting or Reading the Text

Yes, there are classes in which the text is optional or completely useless. This isn't one of those classes. Get the text. Read it! Ditto for any required lab manuals. Even if the lectures are fantastic, you'll need the book for the homework assignments. A study guide may be of limited use, but the basic text is a must-have.

4. Psyching Yourself Out

I think I can, I think I can... you have to have a positive attitude toward chemistry. If you truly believe you will fail you may be setting yourself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you have prepared yourself for the class, you have to believe that you can be successful. Also, it's easier to study a topic you like than one you hate. Don't hate chemistry. Make your peace with it and master it.

5. Not Doing Your Own Work

Study guides and books with worked answers in the back are great, right? Yes, but only if you use them for help and not as an easy way to get your homework done. Don't let a book or classmates do your work for you. They won't be available during the tests, which will count for a big portion of your grade.
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