Puzzling out ionic compounds

Posted by Nikki F. on 1/15/21 12:30 PM

Although there are lots of tricks that people use to write chemical formulas for ionic compounds, the best way to do it is to really understand what’s going on – that way, you’ll never use a shortcut that doesn’t work.

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Tags: chemistry, chemistry SAT subject test

A step-by-step approach to dimensional analysis

Posted by Nikki F. on 1/13/21 4:00 PM

Dimensional analysis is the best way to do math in chemistry. With dimensional analysis, you don’t need to memorize formulas, and you can easily check your work for every problem. Because this skill is so important, it’s crucial to have a step-by-step method that you follow every time you do it.

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Tags: chemistry, chemistry SAT subject test

Using pKa to predict protonation state

Posted by Nikki F. on 1/11/21 1:48 PM

When you’ve learned about pKa previously, you’ve probably used it in acid-base calculations. However, some exams may ask you to apply a conceptual knowledge of pKa to predict whether a chemical compound is charged or uncharged.

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Tags: chemistry, chemistry SAT subject test

S’more fun: simplifying limiting reactants using chocolate

Posted by Nikki F. on 11/2/20 9:54 AM

Stoichiometry: it’s the bane of many chemistry students’ studies. It’s so easy to get tangled up in a jumble of numbers without any idea of what’s actually going on.

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Tags: chemistry

Cell component spotlight - The ribosome!

Posted by Calvin R. on 8/12/20 9:59 AM

What is the ribosome?

I find the parts of the cell are easier to keep straight if you get to know each one of them a little better. Don’t be scared; they’re your friends! Let’s talk about the ribosome.

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Tags: chemistry

I just want to be a doctor, so does organic chemistry really matter?

Posted by George H. on 6/19/20 11:00 AM

Imagine. You’ve made it through your first semester or two of undergrad and weathered all the storms that come with this transition. And, now you find yourself facing a dreaded academic giant that has stricken fear in the hearts of scores of pre-medical students. A chemistry course unlike any other. If you are anything like most pre-medical students, you probably have or will find yourself asking: Do I really need to know any of this to be a doctor? What does learning about SN1 reactions, molecular orbitals, and Fischer projections have to do with me saving someone’s life!? For those still wondering, yes, the giant I speak of is none other than organic chemistry, otherwise known as orgo. In many respects, this course is considered the “gateway” to the medical profession. If you do well, you get into medical school; if you do poorly, you don’t. For many reason (to be explored in later blog posts) this sentiment is not true. But for a moment, let’s table that discussion.

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Tags: medical school admissions, chemistry

High school chemistry: What is it? Can I learn it? Can I be any good at it?

Posted by Niyi on 9/2/19 11:00 AM

The word “chemistry” inspires so many emotions. To some, it brings about the excitement of mixing together a few glowing liquids and crafting the perfect radioactive potion that, when consumed, will make you a green giant and about 9000 times stronger. Next thing you know, Captain America is looking to recruit you as the newest Avenger. To others, it’s discombobulated numbers and letters on a piece a paper in Ms. Jacobs’ class, a concatenation that strikes fear and anxiety into the bravest of students. I mean … it looks like a foreign language!

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Tags: chemistry, high school

So, what is chemical engineering for anyway?

Posted by Abhiram on 8/9/19 11:00 AM

Chemical engineering is a comprehensive and vast field of study with far-reaching impact. I have been a practicing chemical engineer in the biotechnology industry for the last 5 years, and prior to that, I earned my doctorate in chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Over the last 10 years, I have seen the evolution and importance of chemical engineering fundamentals in academia and industry.

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Tags: chemistry

How to begin preparing for the SAT subject test in chemistry

Posted by Marilyn on 7/22/19 3:47 PM

As a high school chemistry teacher myself, I receive an onslaught of questions regarding the SAT subject test.  It is difficult to gauge the best date to take it, how to prepare, and whether or not you're ready.  The first thing you should know: you're not alone!  Many students struggle with how to get started with this test.  The important thing is to make a plan that makes sense for you.  Today is great time to get started on it!

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Tags: chemistry, chemistry SAT subject test

Complex Solution Composition Problems: Knowing Where to Start

Posted by Viemma on 1/4/19 3:12 PM

Thanksgiving dinner conversations can be uncomfortable…

But solution composition problems don’t have to be. Recall that a solution is a homogenous mixture of two or more substances. Chemists have come up with many ways to describe the composition of a solution. Some ways are more appropriate than others depending on the situation. 

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Tags: chemistry