An important part of learning chemistry (or almost any other subject) involves the need to memorize various pieces of information. When I was in third grade, I memorized the multiplication table because the teacher showed us printed flashcards such as 6 x 7 = ? that we needed to quickly answer out loud. Now computers automate and refine this process by using electronic flashcards.
By doing some online research, I located a company, www.flashcardmachine.com, that made it possible for me to prepare my own custom chemistry electronic flashcards (with subscripts, superscripts, image files, etc.) for use in my chemistry classes at NYIT (for free). Students do not need to open a Flashcard Machine account (or pay any money) in order to use the flashcards.
However, if you choose to open such a free Flashcard Machine account (highly recommended), you will be able to ask the Flashcard Machine computers to show you only those flashcards that you have not memorized yet (using the "4D" feature). You may also ask their computers to send you email reminders on a regular basis informing you that you need to study your flashcards again! To sign up for a free Flashcard Machine account, simply click on the following link: Flashcard Machine Accounts and also read the material dealing with these accounts at the bottom of this web page (just scroll down).
[Important note: never confuse Flashcard Machine (software that is free and that I highly recommend) with Flashcard Manager (software made by a totally different company that I do not like at all and that you must pay for.) Use only Flashcard Machine.
I will prepare at least three groups of these flashcards for use by my students at NYIT. The first two groups are available now (and are described below). YouTube videos relating to each topic will help you review the course material before you begin using the flashcards. A third group of flashcards will soon be added covering three related topics: (1) types of electrolytes, (2) solubility tables, and (3) molecular [formula unit], total ionic, and net ionic equations. Students have told me that they find these flashcards to be very useful, and I hope that you will feel the same way when you begin using them.
I: Significant Figure, Scientific (Exponential) Notation, Math, and Calculator Flashcards (relate to CHEM 110 lecture handout #2 and pages 3 and 4 of the CHEM 110L Lab Manual
Begin studying now for the lab quiz that you will take next week by using this group of flashcards that I have prepared especially for you. These three sets of flashcards are available if you click on the following hyperlink:
These basic topics are covered in your textbook [Appendix A-1 and Appendix A-4] and on pages 3 and 4 of my CHEM 110L lab manual. You may download, view, and/or print these two lab manual pages (labeled "Basic Significant Figure Rules.pdf) by clicking on the down arrow symbol near the right margin at the very bottom of this web page).
Many excellent YouTube videos deal with these topics, and it is very hard for me to choose a single video that I consider to be the "best." For a very clear and concise explanation, please watch this "Significant Figures and Calculations" video:
Significant Figures and Calculations
For a slower and much more detailed explanation that includes some videos that deal with scientific (exponential) notation, I recommend that you watch one or more videos made by Tyler DeWitt. They may be accessed by clicking on the hyperlink immediately below:
Because there are ten different videos in Tyler's series, you may not have the time or the interest to watch all of them. However, he does a good job explaining concepts slowly, one step at a time. I could similarly recommend many additional videos that you will easily find (if you want to) by doing a YouTube search.
II: Chemical Nomenclature Flashcards (relate to CHEM 110L Lab Manual, exp't 8(a) - Chemical Nomenclature)
Chemical nomenclature has been called "the language of chemistry." Before you are able to learn the Greek language, you must first learn the Greek alphabet. Only then will you will be able to put these letters together to form actual Greek words. Chemical formulas are similar: you first need to learn our "letters" - the symbols of the chemical elements - before you will be able to put the symbols together and write the correct formulas of chemical compounds.
I recommend that you first reread and try to understand the nomenclature items covered in experiment 8(a) of the CHEM 110L lab manual (or the same handout that I give out in other courses), and that you also review the lecture notes that you have taken when I was discussing chemical nomenclature in class. Then test your nomenclature skills by using the six sets of electronic flashcards that I have prepared. These flashcards sets have been customized to include only those chemical nomenclature items that you need to learn for my chemistry courses at NYIT. For example, I have deliberately omitted more difficult ions such as dichromate ions, Cr2O72-, that I do not require you to memorize.
You may use either a computer or a mobile device such as a smartphone, iPad, etc. to look at these flashcards. Although Flashcard Machine has apps available for iPhones and Android phones, you need not purchase these smartphone apps at all if you simply want to use my flashcard sets (instead of creating new sets). To use my flashcard sets, simply click on the hyperlink below to access my Flashcard Machine page:
After this Flashcard Machine page loads in a separate window, you may select one or more of the following six sets of chemical nomenclature flashcards:
Set 1 - Elements - symbols of common chemical elements (and formulas of their naturally-occurring molecules such as O2 for oxygen)
Set 2 - Ions - formulas of common ions (charged particles) such as NH4+ (ammonium ion), SO42- (sulfate ion), etc. Both monoatomic ions (only one atom in them) and polyatomic ions (two or more atoms in them) are included in this set. Remember that if the word "ion" is shown, the particle always has a charge (either positive or negative). You must always include the actual charge of the ion if you are writing the formula of that ion.
Set 3 - Ionic Compounds - formulas of many ionic compounds that may be formed using the ions listed in set #2 above. In general, metals react with non-metals to form ionic compounds. Electrons are transferred from the metal atom(s) to the non-metal atom(s) causing positive and negative ions to be formed in a predetermined ratio. The total charges of the positive and negative ions cancel each other out, causing the entire compound to be electrically neutral.
Set 4 - Covalent Compounds - formulas of some covalent compounds that exist in the form of neutral molecules such as CO2, carbon dioxide. Please note that you will need to memorize all ten Greek prefixes (mono-, di-, tri-, etc. up to deca-) in order to name these compounds correctly. These prefixes are listed in my nomenclature sheets under "Covalent Binary Compounds." Because atoms in covalent compounds share one, two, or three pairs of ions (resulting in the formation of single, double, or triple covalent bonds), covalent compounds consist only of neutral molecules.
Set 5 - Acids - formulas of common inorganic and organic acids
Set 6 - Miscellaneous - formulas of some additional chemicals such as hydrates
Flashcard Manager Accounts
If you voluntarily choose to open a Flashcard Manager account (for free), you will be able to study these flashcards in a more effective way, by marking certain flashcards to indicate that you know this material and do not want the Flashcard Manager computer to show the card to you again in a given study session. (If you want to use this feature, you will need to check "4D" for the "Type" on the "Configure Study Session" screen that you will see before you actually begin looking at any flashcards). Moreover, if you open a free Flashcard Manager account, you will also have the ability to view hundreds of thousands of other flashcards in a large variety of subjects (prepared by other people) that are available for your use online. You will also then have the ability to create your own flashcard sets that you may either use by yourself or share with other students. Opening a free Flashcard Manager account is something that I strongly encourage everyone to do.
Here is one video (made by a high school teacher) in which he explains to students how to prepare and use these flashcards: