Restructuring and Reimagining General Chemistry – Insights from UCLA’s Study

Hey there budding chemists! 👩‍🔬👨‍🔬 As your friendly neighborhood chemistry tutor, I’ve stumbled upon some curious insights from Jennifer Casey at UCLA (J. Chem. Educ. 2023, 100, 8, 2860–2872) about the challenges and success factors in general chemistry courses. So, grab a cup of tea (or maybe a flask of H₂O if you’re feeling extra sciencey) …

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The Role of Memorization in Chemistry Classes

Demystifying the Misconception The perception that science, and particularly chemistry, is predominantly about memorizing vast amounts of data is a misrepresentation of the subject. Science is about understanding, questioning, and forming a coherent picture from fragmented pieces of information. It’s about recognizing patterns and deciphering the mysteries of nature. Embracing the Scientific Method Chemistry, like …

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Writing Effective Chemistry Tests: Tips from a 20-Year Veteran Tutor

Ah, the life of a chemistry instructor. From the outside, it may seem like it’s all about bubbling test tubes and magical reactions. However, any seasoned chemistry instructor knows the reality: a relentless balancing act between teaching, mentoring, university and community service, and, of course, research. One of the most daunting tasks for chemistry instructors …

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Studying Chemistry at a Coffee Shop: Yay or Nay?

Studying chemistry at a coffee shop can offer numerous benefits that can enhance your learning experience. Here are some compelling arguments for why studying chemistry at a coffee shop can be beneficial: Atmosphere Coffee shops are designed to be cozy and welcoming, making them the perfect environment to concentrate and focus on your studies. The …

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The Pomodoro Technique for Chemistry Students

The Pomodoro Technique is an excellent time management tool for chemistry students. It uses a timer to help divide study time into work sessions, called Pomodoro’s 🍅. Each pomodoro consists of 25 minutes of focused study, followed by a 5-minute break. It’s a simple formula, but it really does get results. Most chemistry students don’t …

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retaking organic chemistry

Retaking Organic Chemistry: Part 2, Engage With the Material

Most traditional lectures are a one-sided dialog. The professor actively lectures, the student passively listens. Afterward, the professor tests the class on how well they memorized the lecture. In organic chemistry, however, students are tested on their ability to solve different types of chemistry “puzzles.” Thus, in organic chemistry you are tested on how well you …

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Retaking Organic Chemistry

Retaking Organic Chemistry: Part 1, Managing Your Circumstances

How To Manage Your Class If You Are Retaking Organic Chemistry Organic chemistry has a reputation as being the most challenging science course. On average, 40% of students don’t pass on the first attempt. For most of those students, their final grade has very little to do with their ability to learn the material. Instead, …

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Caffeine: How it works and myths surrounding it

Caffeine naturally occurs in more than thirty tropical plants around the globe. Notable examples include coffee in Ethiopia and West Africa, cocoa in Mesoamerica, and tea in China. Wherever these plants grew, local cultures consumed and celebrated them. Often, leaves or seeds of caffeine-containing plants would be brewed into hot beverages which would increase drinker’s …

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