Credit: Andrew D'Amico

Survival Guide: Honors chemistry

Midterms are upon us, and honors chemistry students may start to feel the pressure. With third quarter (otherwise known as the quarter of death) fast approaching, you have molecular structures, gas laws, and so many more fun times ahead. To help you prepare, here is a list of do’s and don’ts so you can ace the second semester of honors chem.


  • Work in groups
    • Bouncing your confusion off other people can sometimes lessen its harmful effects.
  • Collaborate as much as you can with your lab partner:
    • Because you guys work on labs together, you probably work well together and can help each other through confusion.
  • Aim for a 5 on every lab:
    • This is probably the only part of your grade that is based heavily on effort. Maximize your points here because this is where you have the most control.
  • A mistake on the lab = a longer and better error analysis:
    • Don’t stress if you make a mistake in class, if you account for it in your error analysis, it can work in your favor.
  • Pay attention:
    • Everything you learn in class is important, and yes, it will be on the quiz.
  • Be friends with Ms. Lowen
    • Ms. Lowen is super helpful and having her as an ally can really lessen the burden.
    • Go see her if you need help
  • Take neat notes
    • The worst thing you can do is class is to just sit there and “let it all absorb”


  • Underestimate quarter tests:
    • Even though they’re multiple choice, they can still be challenging, and they can really affect your overall grade.
  • Procrastinate doing your labs:
    • When you do the lab sooner rather than later, you have the info in your head. Plus, always avoid staying up till midnight or later the night before…it’s just not healthy.
  • Just because you get it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t study:
    • Even if you feel super confident in your knowledge of a unit, it can never hurt to review it a few times before taking the quiz.
  • Be afraid to ask questions in class:
    • Everyone else is just as confused as you are.
  • Drop two homeworks
    • Even though you technically can, homework is important for learning the material.
  • Ignore labs when you study
    • Labs can answer a lot of your question about how things work, especially if you are a hands-on learner.
  • Forget there is a such thing as stupid questions:
    • Any question that the teacher has already gone over is off limits. If you missed it because you weren’t paying attention, it’s your responsibility to learn it.
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