Frequently Asked Questions

Q: If I know that I am going out of town, can I get my assignments ahead of time?
A: Yes. Everything that I can give you should be on-line. However, I can’t post copyrighted material; I can only post assignments and notes that were written by me.

Q: Is there any extra credit that I can do to bring up my grade?
A: No. Turn in your missing work, if possible. If I see improvement as the semester progresses, in some cases I can help students who have borderline grades.

Q: If I flunk a test, can I take a re-test?
A: No. Reason: If I let you take a re-test, I have to let everyone have a re-test.

Q: If I miss a lab, can I make it up?
A: No. The missed lab will not count against your grade, but it can’t be made up. Reason: even if I designate one day per week for making up labs, inevitably not every person can come in on that day due to the nature of our students’ busy schedules.

Q: How do I calculate my grade?
1. Average all of your quizzes. Now multiply the average by (0.4). Write that number down.
2. Average all of your tests. Now multiply the average by (0.4). Write that number down.
3. Average all of your labs. Now multiply the average by (0.2). Write that number down.
4. Add up the numbers from steps 1 through 3.

Q: How is the General Chemistry course different from the Honors Chemistry course?
1) More topics are covered in the Honors Course. The same objectives are covered in both General and Honors Chemistry. However, the objectives will be covered in more detail in the Honors course than in the General course. The State of North Carolina has published detailed descriptions of these objectives. These standards can be viewed on my website or by visiting


There will be optional topics which will be taught in the Honors course, but not in the General course. Priority is given to the topics that are currently part of the AP Chemistry curriculum.

  1. Calculating average atomic mass of atoms from natural abundance (%) and actual isotopic mass.
  2. Names and formulas for other acids [besides HCl, HNO3, H2SO4, HC2H3O2]
  3. Calculation of [gas molecule] speeds as a function of temperature.
  4. Differentiate between ideal gas and real gas (conceptually, no calculations)
  5. Coulomb’s Law (F=kq1q2/r2)
  6. Lattice Energies
  7. Expanded Octets
  8. Valence bond theory: hybrid orbitals, sigma bonds, and pi bonds
  9. Formal charge calculations
  10. Calculations with Raoult’s Law
  11. Examine shapes of orbitals [d and f, in addition to s and p]
  12. Molality [including freezing point depression and boiling point calculations]
  13. Limiting reactant problems
  14. Percent yield
  15. Calculations with A=A0e-kt
  16. Complex calculations with half-life
  17. Balancing redox reactions by half-reaction method or electron transfer method
  18. Acid-base equilibria; Ka, Kb, Kw
  19. Lewis acid-base theory
  20. Weak acids and weak bases in titrations
  21. Buffer systems and Henderson-Hasselbalch equation

2) More – and more challenging – laboratory exercises are performed in the Honors Course. Refer to the list of Honors lab exercises in the Honors syllabus.

Q: Would you write me a recommendation letter?
A: Generally, yes. I would prefer that you let me know at least a week in advance, if possible.

Q: How many quizzes can I drop?
A: The two most damaging quizzes will be dropped each nine weeks.

Q: Does that mean I can just skip a quiz if I want to?
A: Yes, but I suppose you could do that in any class, no matter the grading policy. It would be better to take the quiz. If you think you’re going to do poorly, it can’t hurt to take the quiz anyway — what have you got to lose?

Q: Can I drop a lab or a test instead of the two quizzes? Can I just drop any two grades that I want?
A: No.

Q: I’ve had two lousy quiz grades, but they both showed up on my progress report. When are you going to drop them?
A: I’ll drop the lowest two quizzes after nine weeks; I’ll drop two more in the second nine weeks for a total of four dropped quizzes.

Q: Will you collect the homework?
A: Usually, no. The quizzes are mostly identical to the HW, so I’ll know if you understood the HW from your quiz grade. I will go over the HW in class, but when I do not do so the HW is usually written out and posted in the “Handouts & HW” section of this site.

Q: Does anyone read FAQs on a teacher’s website?
A: Usually, no. I can’t say that I blame them. Suggestion: stop reading this and go to the beach.