Course notes for First Year Chemistry.
There tends to be a large disparity from student to student in first-year Chemistry as to what material a student calls "new" (often quoted to me as "I've never seen that before") and material which is already known ("We took that in High-school"). You will find throughout the course that students will respond to the material in different ways, depending on their background. Many will find first-year Chemistry to be largely a repeat of high-school with just a bit of new stuff thrown in while others will find themselves drowning in a sea of new material.
No matter where you find yourselves in this range of experiences, your only way to get a good mark in this course is to keep up daily. Do the course work as it is assigned and never let yourself get behind by even a few days. The students who get top marks at the end of the year are not those who came into this course with an "A" since almost all of you did. The successes will be the ones who keep up for the duration; and by their practice, develop a deep and intimite knowledge of the material, not just the face-value aspects but all the layers of interconnectedness.
Think of learning Chemistry like learning a language. In language courses, some students will memorize vocabulary and grammar rules and will succeed to a middling grade. Others will take the language to heart, internalizing nuances and connections to the point that the memorized aspects are second nature and they will be able to go beyond what the prof has taught. These latter students will have the greatest success. The same holds in Chemistry. We want you to do more than just learn a few equations and how to use them. We want you to be able to answer questions in ways you've never seen before. We want you to be fluent in the language of chemistry.
You will find that topics are often strongly inter-related in this course. If you fail to learn a key concept early in the course, you will find it to be that much harder to grasp a dependent concept later on. Many students have done well in high school by cramming at the end of the year. In courses where you simply have to memorize relatively unrelated material. That method may work for you. In first-year university chemistry, you will face questions on your exams that force you to pull together concepts in ways you've never quite seen before in the course. Without a thorough understanding of why and how each concept works and how multiple concepts are connected, you'll never be able to pull together the necessary ideas on your exam and you will find yourself "drawing a blank" on your exams far more often than you think possible right now. In my experience, 'drawing a blank' is code for 'didn't practice this enough'.
So, It's important to remember a few ideas when considering your workload and homework scheduling this year
Here are a few suggestions as to how you can achieve the high results we expect from you as students.
These course notes will provide you with a good summary of the content that we will be covering in this course. All topics that are examinable will be covered in these course notes. Your text book* contains more detailed information on these topics. The text also contains some content that we do not cover at all. If the topics in your book are not at least briefly covered herein, then they are not included in this course. Use these notes as your guide through the material and use the text book to fill in the details where needed or to offer you an alternate explanation for the topics.
The best way to proceed through the course is to work on each module in turn. Each module will contain several key features:
Your brain is a multimedia device. To best organize and later locate information, it is best if you use as many of your senses as possible.
If you have any comments or concerns, please contact
Michael Mombourquette at firstname.lastname@example.org