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

Some Questions of Yourself.

A thru E Index

Questions to ask Yourself

  • How do you solve a problem now ?

    • Most students will solve an academic problem, say in chemistry, by trying to remember another example of the same problem or by trying to find or remember a similar problem.

    • This method is very limited, since the only problems you can solve are those that you have already met, or that you have exemplified in your notes or text.

  • What type of problem are you expected to meet in a course such as this one ?

    • In chemistry classes and laboratory sessions you will meet various types of problem. Your text also illustrates many types of problem. However on a test or examination, you may meet a problem of a type you have never encountered.

    • Consequently it is imperative that you learn how you can deal with problems that you have never met.

  • What can you do to face this problem ?

    • This handout attempts to present to you the outline of a method for solving numeric problems.

    • One word of caution. Do not expect to be able to successfully solve problems just by reading these notes. As with everything, problem solving requires hours of practice and application. There is one advantage to this topic: it is not content oriented. That is, you can practice the techniques of problem solving no matter what else you are doing.

  • Is this method given the only acceptable way ?

    • As with anything that you do now, any successful method of solving a problem is acceptable. The method given here is just a start and as you progress in your problem solving skills you will be able to adapt and alter, reject and improve the method until you have one that is uniquely suited to you.

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