Any final exam is scary, but lab finals can be especially tricky if you don’t know how to approach them or what to expect. As with any other course, however, study hard and you shall succeed! Here are some tips to follow to make your studying easier and go more smoothly:
1. Do some studying before each lab
Each Chem 120L lab is prefaced with some background information and theories that is meant to help you understand the experiment you’re doing. Throughout the term, make sure you are understanding these concepts and asking questions if you don’t. This will help you greatly when it comes time for the final because you’ll have “studied” a bit for each experiment already! Also, make sure to study the procedures and concepts explained in the appendices that are associated with each lab. That way, you won’t have to anxiously cram all the proper lab procedures into your head at the end.
2. Make sure to study well for the lecture final
The lab and lecture for Chem 120 are very closely linked. If you do well on the Chem 120 lecture final, it is likely that you’ll already be good to go for the conceptual and background theory portion of the lab final. Also, some of the calculations that are done for lab procedures are also questions on the lecture final, so making sure you’re able to do those is a step to success as well.
3. Actively participate throughout the term
Making sure you are actively understanding the concepts and procedures throughout the term is great. However, actually applying them in the lab really reinforces them in your mind. You’ll be able to look back and remember your actions instead of just trying to remember words written on a page.
4. Do practice questions
Sometimes the professor will post practice questions, and sometimes they won’t. Regardless, there is usually a plethora of questions available online on different websites that you can find just by doing a quick Google search. Also, make sure to redo any questions on the post-lab reports as they are likely to appear on the final.
5. Ask your TA what to expect
Asking your TA to help you with concepts you don’t understand is always an option. Go to their office hours and try to talk things through. Also, you can ask them what concepts to really focus on and what kind of questions you can expect and they should be happy to help!
Studying for a final for a lab might be less information but it’s no less scary. Just follow these tips and make sure to stay on top of things and everything should go smoothly!