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CHEM 1103 at The University of Arkansas is arguably one of the hardest freshman level classes on campus. Fortunately, it is also one of the largest classes, meaning there are lots of ways to get help on campus. In addition to going to office hours with your professor, or getting tutoring services from any one of the on-campus tutoring services, these 5 free tips will help you get through Chemistry 1103 with half the stress.

Be sure to also check out 10 of the Coolest Classes at the University of Arkansas.

1. Watch Matt Gerner’s Videos and Take Notes

When you sign up for Chem 1103 at the U of A, you are automatically added to the Chemistry 1 Master page in your Blackboard account. If you click on the Chemistry class, you will find a link to “videos to watch before class.” This is the holy grail of notes and understanding chemistry. In short videos, Professor Gerner goes over each of the topics in chemistry. Take notes on these videos and turn on the captions. Take as long as you need on each video until you feel like you understand the material (they’re usually 3-4 minute long videos – it won’t take that long). The videos even correspond to the homework assignments in Mastering Lab. A good study tip would be to watch the corresponding video for a homework assignment, take notes on it, and then attempt the homework as a “readiness check”.

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2. Read The Textbook

No – you don’t have to read the whole textbook. But if there’s something that you don’t understand or a homework question that you can’t solve, even after watching Gerner’s videos, read the textbook corresponding to that section. Gerner’s videos follow pretty closely to the text, but sometimes just reading the words over one more time is enough to make things click.

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3. Get a Study Group

Odds are, if you ask around, you’re likely to find at least one or two other people in your class. It’s one of the largest classes on campus. As soon as you can, create a group message with these people and schedule times to meet to study for tests or to go over homework. Often, people understand different parts. Your weaknesses could be another person’s strength – so ask for help on the parts you don’t understand. You can help others by explaining what you understand and at the same time, test your own knowledge!

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4. Sign up for an SI group and Ask Questions

At the University of Arkansas, you will most likely be required to sign up for an SI group. These “Supplemental Instruction” classes are small study groups led by a teaching assistant, facilitating as a smaller, shorter version of class. Ask questions in these groups. You’re not the only one who has questions, sometimes everybody else is just too afraid to ask.

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5. Memorize Your Polyatomic Ions

As soon as you can, as fast as you can, memorize those ions. This will come in so handy and the sooner you learn them the better.

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With these five tips you should be able to get through the class without too much trouble. Don’t be afraid to talk to your professor during office hours to get more help if you need it. All the professors at UofA are more than happy to help and if they’re not available, then teaching assistants are also a great resource. Don’t stress out if you’re struggling with the class, because you’re not alone. But that’s no reason to give up… Follow these tips and get studying. Good luck!!


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Mollie Bond


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