Why to Study for Advanced Placement Chemistry

Your teacher has already given you some information about how to use your study time to your best advantage in the interest of helping you to be successful. AP Chemistry is a very challenging course. Time in class is limited and is focused on things that cannot be done at home. Most of the learning (the ideas, the problem-solving methods, the math) is done by the student at home. The time you spend may extend into many hours of sometimes frustrating labor. What makes all the studying worthwhile?

It’s worthwhile if you decide for yourself that it is. The only person who can decide what is meaningful to you is you. But maybe you find that to be an unsatisfactory answer. Why would you consider it worth all the time and effort? One reason to value this course is for the independence it will give you as a learner. By doing so much of the learning on your own, alone with a textbook or together with friends, you will learn the skills necessary to make you successful no matter how challenging future courses are. If you don’t have those skills yet and you earn a low grade on a quiz then you may find this rather discouraging. Be patient with yourself. No one was born knowing chemistry and no one was born knowing how to study effectively. It takes time to gain these skills. Study with friends and share your skills with one another. Carefully read and consider the advice of your teacher about the skills you need to apply. Over time your skills will improve and though things will not be easier, you will have the stamina and the resources to handle it anyway.

A student once said, “Success in fields like Chemistry has less to do with how many facts you can just rote memorize and more with a willingness to study, think about, and eventually understand fundamental systems.” This is in fact true not just of chemistry but of all subjects. By learning how to study chemistry effectively, you will learn how to successfully gain knowledge in any field. Keep your focus on understanding the big picture, even as you work on the details of a particular problem. There is a central contradiction in learning new material, especially when it is complex. On the one hand, the big picture understanding is not just the memorization of all the important details but on the other hand, without those details there is nothing to understand. By studying chemistry you will learn to slowly build a deeper understanding of a subject, one in which you can see how things relate to one another, how they are all connected. This slow building of knowledge is essential to all areas of human understanding, from science to history to art. Studying chemistry is worthwhile as much as studying anything is worthwhile because deep study in any subject can improve your ability to learn new things in other subjects. The virtue of this course is that you are being asked, perhaps for the first time in your life, to engage in a truly deep and serious study. Dig in and relish the challenge because it will help you to grow and to become the person you are capable of being.

Last updated: Oct 03, 2017        Home