The A thru E Approach
to Problem Solving in Chemistry.

An Introduction

Dave Woodcock ©1996,2000
Okanagan University College

OUC Home Page Chem Home Page

Step 1 : Analysis of a problem.

Step 1.1a. Knowledge of terms, concepts, definitions.

A thru E Index

Step 1 : Analysis of a problem.


Step 1.1a. Knowledge of terms, concepts, definitions.

  • From the very beginning you must know and understand the meanings of words and of the concepts involved in a subject area.

    • - sometimes definitions are included in the problem, but most times this is not so and you must call on your memory for them.

    • - if you don't know the meaning of a word or understand a concept, then you are attempting to solve a problem that you don't completely understand. As a general rule problems you don't understand you cannot solve.

    • - from a homework point of view, assigned problems can only be completed satisfactorily if you understand the problem completely.

    • - doing problems requires that you have most of the knowledge before you start the problem; doing problems is an exercise in using knowledge; if you do not have the knowledge in the first place, you cannot use it.

  • Recommendation : You should thoroughly understand and know the concepts met in class before tackling any problems and use the problems to :

    • check whether you do in fact know and understand the material.

    • help reorganize the knowledge and reinforce the understandings that you already have.

Next page : Step 1.1b. An understanding of the nature of the problem.

A thru E Index


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This page last modified on: Wednesday, 28 November, 2001