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Elements want to achieve the lowest energy electron configuration, otherwise known as the ground state. This can be done by either having a half full d^5 or full d^10 subshell. When chromium takes one electron from the 4s orbital and puts it into the 3d shell, the element can now complete 2 half full electron shells. It is much more stable than if both shells were not filled. Same goes for copper; with [Ar]3d^10 4s^1, the element now has 1 full shell and 1 half full shell. This goes for most of the elements in the same rows as copper and chromium, but we are only responsible for knowing the rules for these two elements.
For elements such as Chromium or Copper, they will have a filled or half filled d orbital. Electrons prefer to be in either a half filled or full d-orbital because it is more stable due to symmetry. For example, Copper will have an electron configuration of [Ar]3d10 4s1 because it is more stable with fully filled d-orbitals.
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