Your secondary school years are among the most important in your learning, and the final 2 years of grade 11 and 12 are perhaps some of the most critical. During these senior years of school, you must make the big decision of where to take your academic career next, and take courses that will determine whether or not you may even enter.

Success in these grades largely depends on learning skills and your ability to apply the communication skills you have acquired over years of school. What are learning skills? Learning skills are the abilities and habits we develop as students: how effectively we work independently, apply knowledge, complete homework, take initiative in our learning, solve problems, collaborate with others, and think critically. Your teachers have been observing your learning skills and helping you to develop them since your early years of school, and form the basis of your report cards. During parent teacher interviews, your teacher will likely spend a significant time praising your learning skills or suggesting how you might improve them.

When students have strong learning skills, they can get the most out of their learning. Not only will you get better grades, but you’ll likely acquire more knowledge that you can take with you to the next level of your learning, be it college, university, or the workforce. And you will also strengthen those same skills as you master new areas of content.

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Getting More from Your Chemistry Classes

Learning skills play a key role for chemistry students as they must use so many skills to do the work of reading, researching, experimenting, and presenting. Independent work skills are essential to being able to research a topic successfully using primary and secondary sources from the internet or your local library. You will spend time working in groups to solve problems and discuss solutions, so you will want to ensure that you understand what it means to collaborate meaningfully. You will need to focus on the details and problem solve effectively to run excellent labs, and be able to communicate your observations and hypotheses clearly in a report. To achieve beyond expectations and get high grades, you will need to take initiative to do beyond what your teacher is asking, ensuring your work stands out from the rest.

The list of learning skills that are useful in chemistry classes can go on and on, but you can see that it is simply not enough to show up for class and do the work. To maximize your academic achievement in science, you must take your daily work to the next level and be an active participant in your learning.

Choosing your high school courses can be tough with so many options to choose from. Learn how to make course selections that lead to the postsecondary pathways you want most.

chemistry study guide
In secondary school, chemistry classes are hands-on and engaging. Source: Unsplash.

What are Chemistry Lessons Like in Secondary School?

Another way to make the most of your chemistry classes is to know exactly what the learning expectations will be from the outset of the course. When you are aware of the big ideas and concepts you will be learning, you will find it much easier to listen with intention to your teacher and be prepared for the new concepts and content you will be learning.

Finding the specific expectations of your chemistry course is easy thanks to the internet. Every province will post their curriculum online from Kindergarten to Grade 12, so you can see exactly what your teachers do when they plan a course. Your teacher may even have a site that details exactly when certain topics will be covered, and what kinds of assessments you can expect.

You can certainly expect senior level chemistry courses to be rigorous and challenging, particularly if they are academic stream courses developed to prepare you for university study. As a chemistry student in grades 11 and 12, you will likely use the full complement of lab equipment to conduct experiments and research, and review safety procedures for handling different chemical substances. You will be expected to continue learning about substances and matter with reference to the periodic table of elements. Students at this level are expected to research topics using a variety of resources, and to synthesize and analyze qualitative and quantitative information about different chemical substances. Be ready to communicate different explanations for chemical reactions and processes, either in reports, presentations, or tests and exams.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the big ideas you can expect to learn in chemistry class.

Matter and chemical trends and bonding: this area deals with different substances, their structure, and physical and chemical properties. How do chemicals bond with one another? What can you do in the lab to ensure you are using chemical substances safely?

Chemical Reactions: what are the predictable ways chemicals react to one another? How does society apply the use of chemicals and what are the implications for the environment?

Quantities in Chemical Reactions: quantifying or measuring chemical reactions; determining the efficiency of different chemical reactions through specific metrics.

Solutions and Solubility: What are the properties of solutions, and how can they be described qualitatively and quantitatively? What are the unique, foundational properties of water and how can the earth’s water resources be protected?

Gases and Atmospheric Chemistry: What are the quantitative and qualitative properties of gases? How do human activities and technologies impact air quality? What is our responsibility as stewards of the earth’s atmosphere?

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Online classes, even in the sciences, can be a great way to learn. Source: Unsplash.
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Sany
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Joy
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$30
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Alaa
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$50
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Academic or Applied Courses?

It’s important to take note that the course content will also vary based on whether or not you choose an academic or applied stream of chemistry. Academic chemistry courses are typically designed for university bound students, are a prerequisite for certain chemistry related university programs in areas like the life sciences, engineering, medicine, or health. These courses will prepare you for the rigours of university, and perhaps take a more theoretical or abstract approach.

Applied courses in chemistry are more geared toward college or workplace preparation. They will still be rigorous, but more focused on practical applications of chemistry. You may or may not require this course to apply to different programs.

Wondering what to expect in your grade 11 and 12 chemistry courses? Find out what topics you can expect to study in your senior years of secondary school.

Is it Worth it to take Chemistry Class Online?

Online courses have increased in popularity for students, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Online learning is safe, effective, and easy to engage in from the comfort of your own home. Students that work full or part time may find online learning a welcome alternative to in-person classes that require lengthy commutes and time commitments, and like the flexibility of learning from anywhere.

Online chemistry classes may be synchronous or asynchronous, meaning that they will either require you to attend live virtual streamed classes or follow the course at your own pace. In either case, students must typically have a lot of initiative and strong organizational skills to be successful.

Because lab work is so important to chemistry, it is not always ideal for students that want to work in a hands-on atmosphere and collaborate with other students. You may find yourself doing some experiments in your kitchen during an online chemistry course, or watching different videos of labs so you can see different chemical reactions.

So to answer our framing question, yes, in some cases it can be worth it to take a chemistry class online, especially if you need the flexibility of an online class. However, take note that you may find an in-person chemistry class much more impactful as you will be able to participate fully in the lab.

You might be surprised to learn how many topics you will cover in grade 12 or AP Chemistry courses - make sure you show up for class prepared!

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A chemistry tutor, onlne or in-person, can. help you make the most of your chemistry classes. Source: Unsplash.

What is the Top Chemistry Study Guide?

Finding a chemistry study guide to accompany your course can be tough with so much information out there. In most cases, the best study guide for you will align with your province’s curriculum and learning expectations. A good study guide will also review the concepts of the course clearly, with the right amount of detail so you can easily understand the fundamental ideas of the course.

You can find great virtual study guides for chemistry at sites like Khan Academy, where summaries of scientific ideas are posted through text and video formats. You will also find good written guides at your local bookstore or sites like Amazon.

Students may also find chemistry tutoring a much more effective option for reviewing and understanding chemistry concepts they are learning in class. Chemistry tutors are knowledgeable in the subject, having taken science and chemistry degrees themselves. They can help you master complex concepts, prepare you for big tests and exams, provide feedback on labs, or help you plan a large research project. A tutor can be an indispensable tool for learning, especially if you need specific grades or skills to get into your top choices for university or college programs.

Will a Chemistry Tutor Online be Helpful?

Online tutoring, like online classes, are a super convenient way to get tutoring services. Online tutoring is safe and enable you to connect with a tutor without a bus ride or commute. Thanks to virtual streaming platforms like Zoom and Google Meet, online tutoring can be just as effective as in person, as you can see and hear your tutor clearly with the use of virtual white boards or screen sharing.

Chemistry majors and students have some of the most exciting career options waiting for them after postsecondary learning. Read more to learn what your options will be after university.

Is it Easy to Find a Chemistry Tutor?

Finding an in person or online tutor couldn’t be easier thanks to sites like Superprof. Superprof is a site that brings together Canadian students and tutors on a single easy to use platform. Students can browse hundreds of profiles for different science tutors and learn their backgrounds, credentials, and the rates of pay they will charge. You can compare and rank tutors easily for your own learning needs, and contact them easily through the site. It’s easy and safe to pay your tutors, thanks to the site’s payment features.

If you are looking to be successful in chemistry, start finding the right tutor for you on Superprof today!

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Colleen

Colleen is a Toronto-based educator, mom and freelance writer who believes in lifelong learning and strong coffee.