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I would say to try to balance the most difficult molecules first. Some molecules like O2 that are just one element can be easily adjusted without effecting other things you have previously balanced. If you leave these towards the end, then you will have to do less adjusting overall.
Balance metals, then non-metals, and finally oxygen.
I would first count the number of atoms for each element on both sides. Then, you would want to balance an elements once at a time. I would typically recommend to do Hydrogen and Oxygen last. Lastly, check to make sure each element has the same number of atoms in the reactants and in the products.
A good trick is to write down a mini chart under the equation where you write down the elements and the number of moles for the reactant side and product side. Ie Reactants --> C 3, O 1, H4 Products --> C 1, O 2, H 2. This might help you keep track of your numbers without making your work too messy.
It's always best to start with the more rare elements first when balancing, then steadily make your way to the more common ones like Oxygen or Hydrogen! It's also very handy to keep a registrar of sorts to keep track of the different element you have!
The best tip Dr. Lavelle gave in class that's been helping me is to balance the element that occurs in the most molecules in the equation first then work down to the ones that don't show up as much. This way you don't have to go back and make as many changes if balancing one atom affects another.
I would say to balance the element that occurs the least and work your way up to the one that occurs the most. And always remember to double check that you successfully balanced the equation without any mistakes because it is easy to accidentally ignore an element.
I would say a good way to balance an equation is to begin with the least occurring element first and then to work your way up from there. I would go back and forth and write down each step of the way one by one and then in the end double check to make sure it is the same on the left and right of the equation.
Generally, when balancing equations, the general rule is that the number of elements on one side should be exact to the number of elements on the other side, so if one element has even one more than the other side, that means you have to rethink the question. Hope this helps!
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