Chemistry Word Problem Strategy

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Many problems in chemistry and other sciences are presented as word problems. Word problems are as easy to solve as numerical problems once you understand how to approach them.

How to Solve Chemistry Word Problems

  1. Before you break out your calculator, read the problem all the way through. Make sure you understand what the question is asking.
  2. Write down all of the information you have been given. Keep in mind, you may be given more facts than you need to use in order to perform the calculation.
  3. Write down the equation or equations you need to use in order to solve the problem.
  4. Before you plug the numbers into the equations, check the units required for the equations. You may need to perform unit conversions before you can apply the equations.
  5. Once you are certain your units are in agreement, plug the numbers into the equation and get your answer.
  6. Ask yourself whether the answer seems reasonable. For example, if you are calculating the mass of a beaker and you end up with an answer in kilograms, you can be pretty certain you made an error in a conversion or calculation.
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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Chemistry Word Problem Strategy." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 27). Chemistry Word Problem Strategy. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Chemistry Word Problem Strategy." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 29, 2023).