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A Typical General Chemistry Work Week

Total Time: 9 hours

In the sciences a "three credit" course means that you should be spending three hours studying outside of lecture for every hour in lecture. We have three hours of lecture a week, so you should be spending nine hours on chemistry per week. The following is a suggested weekly schedule.

Monday

  • Before lecture, read the sections that will be covered. The sections for each lecture are listed on the syllabus and the course website. Don't worry if the material isn't perfectly clear; that's why we have lecture. Read through any worked examples from those sections. Jot down one or two questions you have from the reading or worked examples that weren't answered in the text. (These questions should be answered during lecture; if they're not, ask!) Playfully try one or two of the problems at the end of each section, but don't worry if you get stuck. Work time: 30 minutes.

  • After lecture, look through the lecture notes and make sure everything makes sense. Be honest with yourself! Do you really understand what was presented or not? Fill in any gaps in your notes while the information is still fresh in your mind. If a problem set was handed out, read the questions. 30 minutes.

Tuesday

  • Review your lecture notes from Monday and last Friday and Wednesday, again making sure that all the definitions and the logical flow of ideas makes sense to you. Without using your notes or the text, do the problems that were assigned at the beginning of lecture Monday. Don't just do the problems mechanically; think through them so they truly make sense to you. If you get one wrong, spend some time trying to figure out where the error crept in. If you can't figure out the problem in a reasonable amount of time, ask! For more specific study suggestions, see this page. 90 minutes.

  • If the material needed to begin working on the problem set was covered Monday, begin working on the problem set on scratch paper. If you're not sure what the question is asking, ask for clarification. If you get stuck, spend 15-20 minutes thinking about it, then ask for help. 30 minutes.

Wednesday

  • Complete the 'before lecture' routine... see Monday. 30 minutes.

  • Complete the 'after lecture' routine... see Monday. 30 minutes.

Thursday

  • Review your lecture notes from last Friday, Monday, and Wednesday. Do the assigned problems from Wednesday's lecture. 90 minutes.

  • Continue to work on the problem set, or start it if the relevant material was covered Wednesday. If you run into a hurdle, ask for assistance. 30 minutes.

Friday

  • Complete the 'before lecture' routine... see Monday. 30 minutes.

  • Complete the 'after lecture' routine... see Monday. 30 minutes.

Saturday

  • Review the lecture notes from the previous week, again making sure that the material is clear and reasonable. Do the assigned problems from Friday's lecture. Do some of the other study suggestions given here. Continue to work on the problem set, or start it if the material was covered Friday. Ask questions via email if necessary. 2 hours.

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