Students of Organic Chemistry, or any science for that matter, generally seem to have a tough time making the transition from the 'spit-back' model of learning so often employed in high schools to the more engaging and cognition-based demands of college.
What do I mean by that?
I mean simply that memorization, recitation of facts and what I commonly call the 'broad net' approach of espousing every detail one knows on a topic in the hopes of saying or writing the keywords from the grading rubric all have their place in grade school teaching. At the college level, however, these skills and strategies are only the foundation of the much more complex academic tool kit needed to succeed.
In this video I get a gentle start to a series that I want to produce giving students advice on how to change their study habits and expectations regarding college science courses. In short, this video addresses study habits and test-taking strategies - two of the simpler areas in which I feel most college students have room to grow.
In short, they are:
1. Use your professor's office hours
The exam author is waiting for you to come and ask questions. Take advantage of that!
2. Review graded work
Learn from you mistakes as fast as possible. Review your graded work within 48 hours of return.
3. Move on
Once you have reviewed your work, turn your attention to excelling at the next assignment, instead of lobbying for points on the old ones.
4. Arrive Prepared
Don't just show up for office hours, lectures an labs. Show up with intelligent questions about content that you have already read. Not only to professors appreciate it, your sessions will be far more productive!
5. Get some sleep
There comes a time when sleep is more important than that one last exposure to the course content. Remember that having your wits about you when taking an exam is a huge benefit and shouldn't be traded for the chance to read a few extra pages.
6. Commit to a calculator
Trying to decipher how to use an unfamiliar calculator should never happen during an exam when time is so valuable. Do your homework and practice exams with the calculator that you intend to use on the test!
7. Commit to a model kit
Same reason as rule 6. Choose a model kit which makes sense to you, fits well into your bag... whatever makes you most comfortable, then practice using THAT kit to quickly and accurately predict reactions.
8. Test with the R.I.S.E.R. method
My short mnemonic for approaching a test question systematically:
Read the entire question.
Identify the concept being tested.
Select the equation or tool(s) needed to solve it.
Execute the equation or logic to get the solution.
Review your answer. Does it make sense?
I hope that anyone reading this and viewing the video below will find the time to check out my YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/chemsurvival and consider subscribing.