What is VSEPR?

VSEPR (valence shell electron pair repulsion) is a theory for modeling 3-dimensional molecular structures based on the placement of a central atom, ligands (atoms that attach to the central atom), and lone electron pairs.

First Steps

When identifying a VSEPR model, start with a Lewis Dot structure of the molecule. To learn more about this step, click the button below. Next, identify the formula for the shape of the molecule. The central atom is represented by an "A," the ligands are represented by an "X," and lone electron pairs are represented by an "E." More than one ligand or electron pair is represented by a subscript number after the "X" or "E," respectively.

Finding the Final Structure

Match the formula you wrote with a structure in the following image. You may need to memorize this information. Then, follow the matched formula to obtain all of the information that goes with a structure.

Lewis Dot Structures

What is a Lewis Dot Structure?


A Lewis Dot Structure is a way of depicting the valence shell electrons  present in a molecule.

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