Oakland Community College
at Highland Lakes Campus

How To Pass Chemistry


“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire”
Reggie Leach

At the beginning of the semester, all chemistry students, regardless of which chemistry course they decided to enroll into, ponder this question: How to Pass Chemistry?

Ideally, students should ask this meaningful and important question at the beginning of the semester, and sooner rather than later.

Whether the students succeed or not, in passing the chemistry course, depends on many factors. Two of the most important are:

  1. Positive mental attitude.
  2. Strong personal discipline.

Chemistry Instructor will help as much as possible to achieve the students’ goals. The ultimate results depend on students themselves.

Students should realize that the final grade depends on their commitment, effort, and involvement in the overall learning process during the semester.

Suggestions for Positive Mental Attitude:

  1. Be prepared to work hard from the beginning of the semester. Invest time and patience. Learning chemistry is like learning a new language. It will not happen overnight, or even during the first couple of weeks of the semester.
  2. Put your mind to it. Building chemistry knowledge is like building a brick wall, one brick at the time.
  3. Enjoy learning chemistry material. Treat chemistry as a challenging and interesting subject. Discover chemistry around you in your everyday life.
  4. Be optimistic, enthusiastic, and think positively. Student Handbook. Reduce Test Anxiety, pg 49.
  5. Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed.
  6. Be active and alert in class. Ask questions. Be involved and participate in class discussion.
  7. Make friends with other students. Encourage each other to study chemistry, support each other in difficult moments through the semester.
  8. Respect your Instructor, College employees, and other students.
  9. Student Handbook. Successful Student Behaviors, pg 45.
  10. When going gets tough say: If other students did it before me, I can do it too.
  11. If you need help to understand chemistry material better, and to overcome the stress, see the Instructor during the office hours, and the Tutor at ASC.
  12. Do not give up. Do not rush your decisions. Ask Instructor and Counselor for advice.
  13. If you decide to retake this course at a later time, try to have a fresh start. Do not dwell on your previous bad experience.

Suggestions for Strong Personal Discipline:

  1. Attend all lectures regularly. Be punctual. If you missed a lecture ask other chemistry students to let you copy the missing lecture notes. Read the missing material from the textbook, and see Instructor for additional explanations.
  2. Organize your lecture notes, highlight all definitions, equations, and examples for upcoming quiz or exam. Student Handbook. Test Taking Tips, pg 48.
  3. Take all quizzes and exams during the semester. Student Handbook. Test Taking Strategies, pg 50-51.
  4. Take good lecture notes. Take them as detailed as possible.
    Student Handbook. Take Good Notes, pg 47.
  5. Before the lecture, read the material to be covered in class for better understanding.
  6. After the lecture, read the lecture notes you took in class that day. Read them as soon as possible after the lecture, while the concepts are still fresh in your memory. For additional benefit, read the chemistry textbook. Student Handbook. Good Learning Habits, pg 44.
  7. Organize Study Groups with other students. During the meetings, discuss chemistry material covered in class, check lecture notes, and solve chemistry problems. Student Handbook. Study Tips, pg 46.
  8. Pay attention to Instructor’s explanations during the lecture.
  9. Make the commitment to study chemistry regularly. Spend at least double the amount of time you are spending in class with the Instructor.
  10. Use all the help available (see chemistry Instructor during the office hours, and Tutors, on daily basis). Do all “extra point materials” suggested by Instructor. See Chemistry Syllabus for additional information. These bonus points will allow you to not only increase your chemistry knowledge, but may also help your get a better grade at the end of the semester.