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In a concentration vs time graph of a reaction, the slope or derivative at a certain time is the rate of the reaction (how fast or slow a reaction proceeds), and kinetics is the study of the rates of chemical reactions. Initial rates of reactions can be calculated but it becomes more difficult the farther along you are in a reaction because some product formed returns to reactant and the reverse reaction must be taken into account. That is why we study the initial rate of a reaction, before much product is formed.
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