# Is there a general method for working out electron configurations?

For up to period 3, elements' electron configurations are relatively easy to work out until the transition metals begin. Then some elements may have $\ce{4s}$ orbitals which are preferred by electrons over $\ce{3d}$ orbitals. These small rules don't make sense all the time and only cover some elements. Is their any master method for working out the electron configurations of any given element?

• No, at least not by hand. The Aufbau Principle is only a guideline but in later elements many different effects are at play which are nearly impossible to consider without doing a thorough calculation. Maybe this question is of interest to you. – Philipp Sep 25 '14 at 17:16