How Do I Improve My Chemistry Vocabulary?

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  • Written By: C.H. Seman
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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There are several ways in which a person can improve his or her chemistry vocabulary. Formal classes, Internet resources, library resources and work experience are all excellent means for expanding one's knowledge of chemical terms and concepts. With these methods, a person can learn new concepts and cover chemistry topics ranging from basic high school chemistry to advanced theoretical concepts.

Perhaps the most effective way to improve chemistry vocabulary is to attend formal classes in chemistry in a university setting. Most universities, colleges and junior colleges offer chemistry courses and chemistry laboratory courses, although the overall curriculum will depend on the school. Online courses also may be available. When considering university courses, one must keep in mind that these courses may carry high tuition costs. This option is best suited for people who require a highly developed vocabulary for their careers.

Using the Internet is a much cheaper way of improving vocabulary than a formal university class is. Some universities provide course material free online. Specialized chemistry websites, informational websites and websites specializing in user-generated content also may be used to improve chemistry vocabulary. When using an Internet source, it is important for the student to check the credibility of the website.


Public libraries are excellent information sources and also can be used to improve chemistry vocabulary at no charge. Chemistry textbooks, medical books and ecology books can all be used to gain exposure to new concepts in chemistry. Specialized study books for students often contain glossaries and word lists specifically for expanding chemistry vocabulary. For advanced concepts in chemistry, many libraries may offer access to peer-reviewed scientific journals.

In addition to the reputation of Internet sources and library sources, one must consider whether a source is current. Changes in chemical theories can turn well-understood and accepted chemical terms into archaic historical footnotes. This is especially important in rapidly expanding scientific fields that incorporate chemistry, such as evolutionary biology.

Work experience is another way in which a person can develop communication skills relevant to chemistry. An internship or research position under a university professor can offer a chemistry student several new opportunities to develop his or her vocabulary. Work experience may require chemistry vocabulary for competency in the work itself and also in the communication of results to managers and colleagues. Depending on the work environment and the company, opportunities also may exist for employees to attend training classes or conferences to expand their knowledge of current chemistry techniques.


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Post 2

@jennythelib - Flashcards are amazing! I always encourage my students to make them.

For adults who have smart phones or tablets that go with them everywhere, virtual flashcards are another nice tree-saving option. You can create these for free at various websites like Quizlet (there are probably also apps, but I haven't researched these) and then test yourself whenever you have a moment.

There's a website I like called Free World U which aims to put an entire education online primarily in flashcard format. The impetus was that the guy behind it, a medical doctor, spent half his time in school transferring his organic chemistry and whatnot onto flashcards. He wondered why he had to bother with the books at all - why wasn't the info on flashcards to begin with?

Post 1

The article seems like a great way of being exposed to new terms, and I love that it mentions the public library! If we don't have the book you need, we can often get it from interlibrary loan. College and university libraries are also usually open to the public even though you will not be able to check out books unless you are a student. These libraries may also have access to special, paid-for online resources, so make sure to check at the reference desk and ask a librarian what they have to offer!

But once you have read the term, remember that *repetition* can be the best way to make sure that you remember it. For me, the

old-fashioned flash card was always the best way. For whatever vocabulary I was trying to learn, I would just make a big ol' stack of them and carry it around with me everywhere. Then if I had five minutes before class started, or before the bus came, of if I was watching TV and commercials came on, I would pick up my stack. You learn really quickly that way!

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