Students’ Misconceptions in Chemical Equilibria and Suggestions for Improved Instruction

Shane Lo Fan Hin, Henry Riddle


An investigation was conducted into the common misconceptions in chemical equilibria, adopted by a sample of UK secondary school students. These included the characteristics of a dynamic equilibrium, the nature of the reactants and products at equilibrium, as well as the effect of conditions and catalyst on equilibrium. Suggestions for improved teaching were obtained from the students. These included ensuring a clear and comprehensive delivery of basic principles, more or better use of practical demonstrations where appropriate, and use of practice questions. Further research around these suggestions could investigate the value of consulting students’ views and ideas in addressing their misconceptions, to ultimately improve overall conceptual understanding in instruction.


High School; Introductory Chemistry; First-Year Undergraduate; General chemistry; Physical Chemistry; Chemical Education Research; Misconceptions / Discrepant Events; Testing / Assessment; Equilibrium; Thermodynamics

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