Chemistry is one strange subject. It begins with a simple substance and goes above complex polymers – and, down to subatomic particles. I have been writing a lot recently on how to read, revise and make notes etc., to help you become a better student. Class notes aren’t always the best solution and if you are aspiring to become a chemistry scholar one day – you must rise above the classroom notes and write your own for the change. This blog post will cover the main details on how to write better chemistry notes and how to revise those.
What do you need?
First things first. You will need a notebook and with chemistry you will have to be extremely selective.
Chemistry is, like math, not completely textual and may or may-not contain equations, diagrams and graphs. So it is wise to have an unruled notebook with clear plain papers. Physical & general chemistry topics can be handled over ruled notebooks as these contain lesser number of equations and more tables & data. Ruled notebooks are easier to be tabled and are more data-friendly. But for overall nature, I can recommend plain-unruled notebooks even for the physical and general chemistry topics.
Black, Red and Blue Pens
I used blue pens to write the texts/articles, red to highlight stuffs and black to draw diagrams and chemical equations. I suggest using three such colors to differentiate blocks and to keep your notes more colorful yet tidy. You may use colored pencils for diagrams, especially those which need to be in 3D – like the three-dimensional shapes of compounds etc.
This is optional, totally optional. But if you can arrange some prints and stick them to your notebook – you’ll be so much better in revision. Using printers you can take printouts of diagrams/shapes that you’ll never be able to draw by hand (and neither the exams will require you to). Such can help you clear your concept about a topic, like how a compound looks, how a molecule is really structured etc.
Reference books are very important as inputs from these can make your class notes into world class notes. Buy or rent reference books that are well appreciated by scholars and give those a light read. Reference books aren’t just helpful around the note-making process, but these also help you dig deeper about a topic.
…and some inspiration
Additionally keep the periodic table, your class notes and a pencil with you.
What do you not need or what you should avoid?
First of all – consider this article as a suggestion but not an opinion. But you will find people telling you how to revise this and that etcetera. Basically, it’s very important to understand that everyone has their own way of studying. Try to stick around with that. Avoid opinions and don’t change your roots. Your notebook should be written in a monotonic way. You will be needing opinions and all in your chemistry projects but never in the note-making process.
Too many books
Don’t go for too many books. It’s recommended to buy only a single book for a subject – generally the one recommended by your class teacher. Too many books can mess up your memorizing process and violate the instructions provided by your teacher. If you want to add another one to your bag, lookout for some good reference books.
When I say, “Your notebook should be written in a monotonic way.” – I mean not only the style it’s being written – but also considered the flow of writing. If you give too much of time gaps between pages – your writing will worsen and instead of creating a perfect notebook, you may end up with a load of crap. Continuity is important and you should try to complete your notes on time – as much as possible.