Learning general chemistry in 2-3 weeks.
December 30, 2009 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Help me pass general chemistry the quick-and-dirty way.

In about three weeks, I'm going to take one exam to pass first year (university) general chemistry. It's a subject I've always struggled with, though I've passed organic chem and three biochem courses.

If I don't pass it now, I can retake the course in summer. But I want to see if I can get it over with. I am on the brink of graduating.

I'm not looking to do perfectly; I'm not looking to delve deeply into the wonders of chemistry; I'm just looking to pass an exam that covers the basics of first-year general chem.

What tutorials or study guides do you recommend?
posted by Ouisch to Science & Nature (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I took General Chem last semester and having taken AP Chemistry in high school, it was a breeze. I think the Barron's AP Chemistry review book would help you out a lot.
posted by rancidchickn at 2:16 PM on December 30, 2009

I can't recommend a specific tutorial or study guide (I took Zumdahl's course and used his books and really got a lot out of them, but have no means for comparison), but for me, the three most important concepts of general chemistry, on which you should budget most of your time, were:

Weak acid/base equilibria. This was the least intuitive for me and required the most practice. I had to do a lot of problems. I don't remember my algorithm anymore, but I definitely had one by the end. I remember interesting links to solubility equations here, also.

These two are simple concepts that light up so much:

Valence electrons and their connection to the periodic table.

Le Chatelier equilibria.

I did every practice problem I could get a hold of in my 6 chemistry courses, and it really paid off for me.
posted by Jorus at 3:17 PM on December 30, 2009

If you have only three weeks and really are only interested in the quick-and-dirty, let-me-pass approach, I second the Barron's review book for AP Chem.
posted by SuzB at 3:30 PM on December 30, 2009

The best all-purpose tip I can think of for gen chem is: keep track of the units and the numbers will take care of themselves. If you have good math chops you can get through most of the problems this way, easy.
posted by Sublimity at 4:04 PM on December 30, 2009

There are lots of example problems and solutions in the Schaum's Outline of College Chemistry if the content's appropriate for your curriculum. See also Three Thousand Solved Problems in Chemistry. My institution's library has both in their catalogue (and their bookstore).
posted by Cody's Keeper at 5:39 PM on December 30, 2009

Yeah, doing a ton of practice problems is definitely the key. If your professor has old exams available (or if you can get a hold of them from past students) that should be very helpful. Make sure you actually DO the problems, though, and not just look at how they're done!
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 9:24 PM on December 30, 2009

check out this guys videos. some of it might help!

posted by santogold at 9:19 AM on January 1, 2010

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