Chemistry, as a science, has fascinated humans for thousands of years. From as far back as 1700 BCE, people were studying known metals and had experience and knowledge of some of the chemical reactions we study today.
In ancient Greece, in 430 BCE, Democritus proclaimed atoms to be the smallest form of matter, and stated that all matter was comprised of atoms. This was followed by Aristotle's claim that all matter was made up of four elements (fire, air, water and earth) — and was much later disproved in The Skeptical Chemist by Robert Boyle.
Alchemy, a primitive form of chemistry concerned with chemical reactions and known in both fact and fiction for the obsession with turning metals into gold, reigned supreme until the end of the 17th century, after which chemistry as we know it today began to take centre stage, led by the likes of French chemist Antoine Lavoisier — otherwise known as the father of chemistry.
Everything we do and use — metal appliances, perfume, soap, beer or wine, or glass — can be explained through one science: chemistry.
The thing that has always drawn students to chemistry, once compulsory lessons are a thing of the past, is a passion for science and a desire for knowledge to help make sense of the world. Along with physics and biology, chemistry forms the trio of primary science fields, and completes the link between physical phenomena and the molecular structure and properties at the core of all flora and fauna.
With climate change, chemists and even chemistry lessons in high school and university are turning their focus to studying clean energy solutions and sustainable packaging — the key challenges faced by the chemical industry today.
Despite the evolving nature of chemistry, and science in general, students enrolling in chemistry courses at Year 11 and Year 12 level are continuing to steadily decline in Australia, with most recent averages showing less than 15 per cent of Year 12 students throughout Australia choose to study chemistry as one of their main HSC subjects.
Why? Quite simply, along with physics and maths, chemistry is perceived as difficult — which is true unless you are in a position to find early help, in the form of chemistry tutoring or private lessons with a tutoring agency. Whether you help from a tutor to unravel the periodic table or comprehend molecular properties, or you just want some regular private tuition (online or face-to-face) to help you keep on top of your chemistry lessons or other related subjects, such as maths, biology or physics, you have a number of options.
We must not forget that when radium was discovered no one knew that it would prove useful in hospitals. The work was one of pure science. And this is a proof that scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct usefulness of it. It must be done for itself, for the beauty of science, and then there is always the chance that a scientific discovery may become like the radium a benefit for humanity.
~ Marie Curie ~
Ten Benefits of Chemistry Lessons
If you think back to your chemistry lessons with your high school teachers, you may remember wondering how memorising the periodic table and learning about molecular properties was going to benefit you in the future.
Well, here are ten reasons we recommend you continue to study chemistry throughout Years 11 and 12, and into university:
- Atoms, chemical reactions, matter and molecular properties — understand what's going on in the world around you.
- Products and labels — make better choices in your day-to-day life
- Culinary skills — experiment while cooking with a new understanding of chemical reactions and the properties of matter (food)
- Medication — gain a deeper understanding of potential reactions and what is going in to your body
- Discuss current events with a greater depth of knowledge
- Make connections between maths, physics and biology
- Gain experience and learn from practical, hands-on methods
- Improve your job opportunities — follow a pathway that interests you
- Experience the satisfaction of being part of an improved future
- Have fun while learning
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Check our blog post for more inspiration about why you should start studying chemistry.
Every aspect of the world today – even politics and international relations – is affected by chemistry.
~ Linus Pauling ~
Where to Find a Chemistry Tutor
You can spend time scrolling through Google to find tutors to help you with chemistry lessons, or you can go straight to Superprof for chemistry tutoring with a private tutor to fit your specific learning needs.
Superprof's online platform makes it easy to choose the right tutor. Use filters to help narrow your choices according to your study level, location and preferring tutoring method (online, private, group or face-to-face) and in no time you'll be able to find the perfect tutor or teacher to help boost your chemistry grades.
You should also let your high school chemistry teacher or university tutor know that you need help with an aspect of your chemistry lessons. You certainly won't be the only student who's approached them and you may find that your teacher can recommend another student tutor or university student studying a year or two above you who offers tutoring for an affordable rate.
Students who have recently graduated and postgraduate students often offer private tutoring in the subjects they have experience with.
Whatever you decide, finding a tutor and getting help with your course through targeted chemistry tutoring is a positive step forward.
How To Choose The Right Chemistry Tutor?
If the reactions and interactions of atoms and molecules elude you, or you missed the basics in the study of chemical properties and principles and nothing is making any sense, we recommend you get help before studying becomes an exercise-wheel of catching up.
It can be a fraught experience when you have to choose a tutor, whether you're searching online or responding to advertisements from your university pinboard. How do you know if the tutor you choose will be the best fit for you and has the experience to help you move forward? How do you know if you're getting value for money from your tutor?
Follow these tips to help ensure your experience of searching for the perfect tutor will be seamless and successful.
- Be clear about your goals: being honest with yourself about the amount of help you need and what you are aiming to achieve will also help your tutor work to meet your needs.
- Explore different options: some students find studying and learning easier in a group setting; others prefer private tuition and more students are looking at online tutoring. Be clear on your personal learning style.
- Stick to your budget: tutoring is rarely a one-off lesson; more often it is needed for a full term or even a year.
Remember to regularly reassess your needs and goals, preferably together with your tutor. Your tutor may recommend focusing on different concepts, or you may decide you're ready to continue on your own.
Nothing can be more incorrect than the assumption one sometimes meets with, that physics has one method, chemistry another, and biology a third.
~ Thomas Huxley ~
Is Chemistry Tuition Expensive?
In 2017, the private tutoring industry in Australia was worth $1.25 billion and growing at approximately 4.1% per year. If anything, the current situation with Covid has increased the number of people seeking private, online tuition, either for themselves or for their children.
Over a quarter of the students in Australia engage private tutors at some stage during their primary, high school or university years. In the past, this demand has allowed tutors to raise their prices and there is now a huge range in terms of tutoring rates — anywhere from $10 an hour to $150 an hour or more.
The hourly rate charged by tutors is dependent on a number of factors:
- city you live in
- your school level
- help needed
- qualifications of the tutor.
The other factor that determines price is the type of tutoring.
If you are after private tutoring, in-person lessons will be the most expensive as tutors need to take travel time into account. However, this very traditional form of tutoring is still considered to be the most effective as, particularly with hands-on subjects like chemistry, being in the same room with your tutor is more conducive to practical work. The more demand there is for a tutor, or the further they have to travel, the higher the price will be.
For students who still want the benefits of private tuition but need a cheaper option, online chemistry tutoring can be just as effective. With a stable internet connection and some good quality hardware, the only difference between online tutoring and private face-to-face tuition is the cost.
Another online option is a tuition website. While you don't get the personal attention of a tutor, you do have access to a range of resources like graded lessons, practice exercises, quizzes, flashcards and other activities. There are often tutors or teachers there who can answer any of your questions.
Chemistry is necessarily an experimental science: its conclusions are drawn from data, and its principles supported by evidence from facts.
~ Michael Faraday ~
What Career Options are Available with a Chemistry Degree?
A degree in chemical science opens up a wide range of career opportunities — some of which may be ones you haven't thought of.
Chemistry is one of the most progressive and innovative fields to work in and chemists are in demand worldwide in a range of industries, from agrochemical to pharmaceutical.
The biggest need in current times is in the environmental and sustainability sector where chemists are working to research and develop alternative fuel sources and biodegradable, eco-friendly plastics and packaging solutions. In addition, consultancy is also a viable career path where we are seeing environmental consultants with chemistry backgrounds taking a leading role in addressing global environmental change.
If the environment is not your main area of interest, the demand for qualified chemists is also high in medical research, forensic science and nanotechnology. Everything a chemist does — from finding a cure to disease to helping solve a crime — is contributing to improvement for the future.
In a nutshell, if you study chemistry and graduate from university with a degree in chemical science, your future opportunities are almost limitless.
Check out the range of online chemistry courses available.
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