Orbitals are one of the most complicated, important, and useful subjects that the General Chemistry course that University of Michigan tackles. Even though they’re discussed at the beginning of the class, they’re the basis for almost everything that comes after. Because of that, it’s good to learn and understand them well, so that you don’t fall behind afterward. They can be a little hard to understand and grasp, but using the resources provided on this list, you’ll be able to know them in no time.
1. Practice them
There’s a reason that the saying “practice makes perfect” is so popular; it’s because it’s true. Practice does make perfect, so practice them as much as you can. Whether it’s with problem roulette, the OWL homework, the extra problems from the book, random problem online or with your study group (if you apply to be in one), just practice.
2. Read about them
Even though a lot of students decide to skip the recommended readings before class, they’re very helpful in furthering your understanding of the material that will be given in lecture. Even if you just skim over it or read the highlighted texts, the action will make a difference in your grade and knowledge. Furthermore, the book is a great resource to use if you want to expand your knowledge of the subject. It’s easy to read and it provides great examples that help visualize the material (especially orbitals).
3. Answer your questions
Don’t understand what molecular orbitals are? Why that element has that bond order? Formal Charge? What? Don’t leave your doubts unanswered. Go to your professors or GSI, go to office hours, google it. It doesn’t matter. Just be sure to completely understand the material before taking the exam; that means that you should have all of your questions answered.
4. Watch videos
There are great explanatory videos posted in the syllabus of the course. They’re extremely helpful if you’re having trouble grasping orbitals, so don’t be afraid of wasting your time by checking them out. YouTube also has an immense array of tutorials about orbitals that might be worth a glance too.
5. Talk to your professors or GSI
Do you want extra practice but don’t know where to find it? Having trouble understanding it? Talk to your professors or GSI. They’re there to help you, no matter what. No question or topic of talking is too “stupid”, so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. It might leave you feeling more comfortable with orbitals and more confident in your ability to kill that midterm.
Even though they’re one of the toughest subjects to beat in Chem 130, by taking advantage of the study resources in this list, you’ll be able to overcome orbitals in no time.