That’s all I NEED to succeed in Chemistry?

You have registered for CHEM 101 and class starts next week….what do you need to pass the Chemistry course?  What supplies are going to help you ace this class?  Words of advice, “Don’t get caught up in technology.  Don’t overthink.  More isn’t always better!”  When taking a General Chemistry course, just stick to the basics.

1.)  Textbook and Solutions Manual

If you have read my other posts, I put a lot of emphasis on note-taking and practice problems.  Therefore, it’s logical that the two most important supplies for any Chemistry course is a textbook and the supporting solutions manual.  Most, if not all, of your course study will be contained within these two supplies.  Oh, and while you’re at it, invest in a few highlighters.  For those of you who own your CHEM 101 textbook and solutions manual, feel free to highlight key aspects of each chapter during lecture.  You bought it, use it!  If you don’t own the book and manual, highlight important chapter components on your notes.  The hidden gem that most students forget about is the textbook solutions manual.  It’s vital for passing any Chemistry course.  The manual doesn’t just contain answers; it contains the logical progression of any given problem in its entirety.  This step-by-step presentation enables the student to see the method for the solution.

2.)  Periodic Chart

Yes, yes, yes….I know a periodic chart is located in either the front or back of your textbook!  But, honestly, who wants to flip back and forth while trying to read and understand the chapter or complete assigned practice problems?  And, who wants to open your textbook every time the periodic chart is referenced?  No one.  Invest in a simple and inexpensive periodic chart.  Laminate and take it with you to every Chemistry class for easy reference.  This small hassle is definitely worth it!

3.)  A Simple Calculator

Remember when I said, “Don’t get caught up in technology.  More isn’t always better!”?  This advice is extremely evident when choosing the proper calculator for General Chemistry.  When deciding the make and model of your calculator, simple is better.  Choose a device that can perform all simple mathematical operations, including logarithms and exponentials.  Technological advances have enabled calculators to perform extremely complicated tasks.  However, for General Chemistry, opt for a calculator that is simple, inexpensive, and easy to use.  Chemistry can be an intense subject.  Focus on learning the subject, not the calculator!  Oh, and please do not depend on your smartphone for a calculator.  Many teachers and professors do not allow the use of cell phones in class.  I’m speaking from experience!

4.)  Notebook and Pencil

Really….notebook and pencil?  Yes, really.  Having observed a broad range of students in my Chemistry lectures and labs, I was always in awe of how unorganized and unprepared students were during class.  A notebook and pencil seemed obvious as supplies needed for any given Chemistry course.  But, to my surprise, students would show up to lecture or lab with a permanent marker and a sticky-note pad!  Invest in a good five-subject notebook.  Dedicate that notebook to General Chemistry.  Use a pencil instead of pens and markers.  Mistakes can be erased and your notes will not consist of white-out and scribbles.  Chemistry makes a lot more sense when you have legible notes!

Stock up on these basic supplies and you will be on your way to passing that General Chemistry course.  Don’t over-complicate the subject and the supplies needed to succeed.  I hope you found this post helpful.  Leave me a comment and let me know how you’re doing in those Chemistry courses.  If you have a minute, view my other posts covering study habits and exam preparation for General Chemistry.  Happy studying!  Thank you and take care!



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I'm just your average thirty-something woman, living in Small Town, USA. I graduated college with a B.S. Degree in Chemistry in 2008. While pursuing my passion for Chemistry, my life took an unexpected turn and I became my grandmother's 24-hour caregiver....for 11 years. During this time, I married and became a very independent woman. The Piney Chemist combines my love of Chemistry with eventful life experiences. It's Chemistry, caregiving, and me!

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