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I wanted to ask an online group of experts/community about how I could improve in chemistry. I study in 10th grade currently and don't get very good grades. Most of the time its a B or C.

I have to select science stream, in which physics, chemistry and maths are compulsory. I am good in physics and maths, but what should I do in chemistry?

I have a hard time grasping concepts like Ionisation Energy, structure of benzene etc. and these are only going to get 100 times tougher next year!

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Chemistry needs a devoting reader. You should try to love chemistry as much as you want! That'll be the ignition for lots of reading and stuff. My pointers:

  • Love chemistry.
  • Learn in an organized matter. (For example, do not jump from studying about covalent bonds' basics to reaction mechanism.
  • Take notes of the most important points of what you learn.
  • Look for open-source online tutorials and not only the books.
  • Some chemistry concepts are related to each other. Learn the first one's basics and then read the other one's. This will build up your understanding, literally. For example, first learn about electronegativity and then study the covalent bonds' basics. This is the exception for rule 2.
  • Try to differentiate between what's taught in schools to be true and what really is. For example, look for exceptions of the periodic trends that are taught in schools.
  • Be imaginatively practical. Don't just say enough for the lewis structure of water, but do it about $\ce{SF6}$.
  • Always try to go relatively higher than what your textbook has written. We have a proverb in my mother language meaning "If you have 100, you do have 90."
  • Ask what misunderstandings you have in here!
  • Never look to doing a research as a waste of time.
  • When approaching to solve a chemical problem, do it step by step.
  • When approaching to solve a problem, don't forget to write units of measurement.
  • When you reached an answer to the problem, ask yourself: "Is this possible?" If you've calculated 5 grams of water to be $\frac{18}{5}$ mol, and you know that a mole of water is 18 grams, shouldn't something be wrong here?
  • For any definitions, uses, notions, and practical experiments you encounter, ask yourself: "What is this for, either in real life, experimental sciences or theoretical chemistry?"
  • Look for online exercises, free of charge, but usually important.
  • Follow the latest news that are being discussed everywhere in the world of chemistry.
  • For specific concepts in chemistry, e.g.: Periodic table, doing a research about the history is very helpful.

This is as far as I can count. You can ask "why"s in comments.

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Get a chemistry set and do experiments and have fun.

When I was a kid, much younger than you, I asked my mom for 75 cents to buy a chemistry set at a yard sale in our neighborhood, but she wouldn't give it to me.

But a friend that was a couple years older bought it and we would use it at his house. Eventually I got my own chemistry set and would constantly be looking for ways to expand it.

So by the time I got to high school chemistry I had intuition about chemistry.

Once my high school teacher said, I think quoting some else, that students today ('today' being a long time ago now) know all about atomic orbitals but don't know what color permanganate is.

So given that you are good at math and physics, you could only be missing an intuitive aspect of chemistry that you get from practical experiments.

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Read a lot.

Do exercises.

Read stackexchangechemistry :P

Try this kind of website also maybe : Massive Online Open Courses

Alos you can find plenty of nice second hand chemistry book on this website : used books

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! I do read , but not that much .do abebooks ship in INDIA? $\endgroup$ – Princess Feb 6 '15 at 11:55
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    $\begingroup$ Of course they ship everywhere. Some sellers are also located in India as well. $\endgroup$ – Babounet Feb 6 '15 at 16:32
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I would actually start with a general rule of thumb for any topic: Don't strive to learn the content, strive to want to learn the content. The learning will often happen on its own.

Google and Wikipedia can give you all the Chemistry facts you could ever need. In fact, more than you could ever need. If all you do is learn facts, you'll eventually be outstripped by those who played on the playground, and then asked Google.

The true learning comes from being able to integrate those facts with real life, and that is a skill you develop for yourself. There's no textbook to teach it. Once you find uses for the chemistry facts you learn, you'll suddenly find they're a WHOLE lot easier to learn. Those who played on the playground will suddenly be awed by how easily you digest information and how quickly you turn it into application.

The path is different for every person. However, I want to give a shout out to Dave PhD's answer of "Get a chemistry set and have fun with it." If there is one "best path" to learn Chemistry, that's it. Chemistry is so much more interesting when you come across a problem in life such as "how do I get gum off my shoe," and find that not only do you know enough about the chemical properties of the latex in the gum to understand why it is so {bleepity-bleep} sticky, but you happen to have the chemicals on hand to break it down because you were using them in a cute color-changing experiment the other night!

In an ideal world, one day you'd realize you need a chemical to solve some cool problem, but you don't have it. In a flash of inspiration, you realize that you can do a chemical reaction with stuff you do have to make the chemical you don't. All you need is some starch to complete the reaction. Mom doesn't have starch on hand? Saltine crackers will do nicely, I just have to wash the salt off of it so that the salt doesn't interact. Once everything connects in your mind, you'll find memorizing ionization energies is a breeze because you know that, one day, you'll use that information!

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Start from bit to bit. When you don't understand what it means, stop for a while and then read the thing again

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I can only speak for mathematics, though I guess, it is similar: In fact I can only stress, what Babounet said and say, that you have to really work hard... really hard until your hands hurt from writing and read until you fall asleep.

You should also work on your mindset. It is not a bad thing to not know something, however one really has to want to understand something and if necessary take every help he/she can get. Thus I think Stackexchange is a good place for you.

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I guess you haven't started with organic....after that you will love it. Try to develop a logic behind everything you read. Think about the concepts. Make the reaction that you were cramming "obvious" for yourself. It might become your strong subject, perhaps more stronger than physics and maths!

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  • $\begingroup$ Speaking as a software engineer who took chemistry courses, I can tell you that I found organic chemistry more challenging than a lot of my other courses. In retrospect, I think this had to do with my style of learning/retention, which is primarily auditory. Organic chemistry involves a lot of spatial reasoning and structural diagrams, which are often much more difficult to describe in words than to draw. It's worth learning these skills, of course. Just something to consider when considering why a subject seems difficult or easy. $\endgroup$ – Dan Bryant Feb 6 '15 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I'm in class 12th and in my previous year I just sat in front of my book waiting for a miracle to happen. But when organic started, I started liking chemistry and also started liking inorganic a bit. Organic actually clarifies the behavior of elements with carbon and that is really very helpful even in inorganic, since now we have a rough idea as to how compounds react with each other. I even had a hard time at first, but now I don't hesitate to prove my teacher wrong :) $\endgroup$ – Rohinb97 Feb 6 '15 at 17:43
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I am really dismayed that none of the above answers even so much as mention laboratory work. Get thee into a laboratory and get as much hands on experience with chemistry as you can. It will give you reasons and motivations to learn the theory. Also, you may find that you have a special talent--a "green thumb" for making things work in the lab, even if book learning is not your strong suit. And--it is fun!

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  • $\begingroup$ True, but working in lab makes you wanting to learn the theory, and to learn the theory, you have to follow some of my advices. And I doubt he can actually work in a lab since he would asked directly his colleague or supervisors ... $\endgroup$ – Babounet Feb 6 '15 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Babounet OP says she is in 10th grade, so about 15 years old $\endgroup$ – DavePhD Feb 6 '15 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ So I was right assuming she can't actually perform lab work. $\endgroup$ – Babounet Feb 7 '15 at 10:51
  • $\begingroup$ 15 used to be the age when you took high school chemistry, and once upon a time that meant doing hands in experiments. Why are you saying she can't do lab work? $\endgroup$ – iad22agp Feb 7 '15 at 12:14
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You can watch videos related to chemistry as a starter. Later you will developed an interest in it naturally.

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