The most helpful courses will be those that hone problem solving and
critical thinking skills. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is also important.
If your high school offers a technical writing course, take it.
Most chemistry courses assume that you've encountered the following material in high school,
and they devote little time to explaining it anew:
- High School Algebra. A working knowledge of algebra is necessary. You
should be able to do the following.
- Understand ratios, direct proportions, and inverse proportion.
- Solve both linear and simple nonlinear equations.
- Set up algebraic equations from verbal descriptions (word problems).
- Know what a dependent variable and an independent variable are.
- Know what a slope and intercept are.
- Graph sets of (x, y) data points.
- Understand and manipulate exponentials.
- High School Geometry and Trigonometry. Some knowledge of geometry is
helpful in following certain derivations of equations you will encounter
in chemistry. Skills from basic geometry and trigonometry are very helpful
in working with crystal and molecular models.
- High School Physics. Physics and chemistry are inseparable and the physical
concepts of linear momentum, force, work, kinetic energy, and potential
energy are recurrent in general chemistry.
- High School Chemistry. You should be familiar with the following items,
since you will find that they are often mentioned in general chemistry before they
have been formally introduced.
- Know what atoms, molecules, elements, and compounds are.
- Know what the periodic table is, and recognize some common element
symbols.
- Know what a chemical formula such as "H_{2}O" means.
- Know what a "mole" is.
Author: Fred Senese senese@antoine.frostburg.edu