a. inorganic chemistry studies the structure & chemical reactions of substances composed of any of the known elements, except carbon containing substances.
b. organic chemistry studies of the compounds of carbon.
c. physical chemistry or theoretical chemistry applies the application of theories and mathematical methods to the solution of chemical problems.
d. analytical chemistry deals with two areas: qualitative analysis (qual), "what is there?" and quantitative analysis (quant), "how much is there?"
e. biochemistry (or physiological chemistry) studies the chemical structure of living material and the chemical reactions occurring in living cells. For example, general chemistry (Chem 151 & 152) gives you an overview of each of the above five branches of chemistry.
Chem 130 and 140 focusses on inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry.
Know How Your Instructor Structures the Course. Every instructor is different. Find out if he or she uses the text heavily. If not, what does he or she depend on? Library usage? Lecture notes? Additional materials? It is timesaving for you to understand how the instructor is organizing his or her thoughts.
a. topics on the course syllabus
b. table of contents in your textbook
c. read the preface of your textbook for ideas on how the book is arranged
d. Thumb through your book note the learning objectives, tables, graphs, marginal notes, word lists, terminology, summary statements, problems, etc.
As in any subject, look for the most obvious basic concepts that allow understanding of the material. For example, most of the more complex topics in chemistry revolve around the topics of chemical bonding, nomenclature, and atomic structure. It is difficult to picture what is happening with Nitric Acid if you don't know it is HNO3. It is difficult to picture how ions are formed if you don't know the basic atomic structure. Spend a lot of time on these topics to make the rest of your chemistry go smoother.
a) Write out all the definitions in your own words and give an example or two when appropriate. Recite the definitions. Do the same with the symbols of chemistry. Put them on 3" by 5" flash cards. Review them often. Study them before you go to sleep and again twice upon awakening. Test yourself under all sorts of conditions. Let them become second nature to you.
b) At every opportunity as you study chapter after chapter in your text learn to name chemical substances when given the symbols or chemical formulas. Also learn to write the symbols or the formula of a substance when given its chemical name.
a. Create sample tests for yourself and test yourself often.
b. Give yourself timed tests similar to those you expect in class. Time yourself with a kitchen timer or an alarm. Practice, practice, practice.