1. Draw the Lewis structure for the molecule or ion.

  2. Count the total number of regions of high electron density (bonding and unshared electron pairs) around the central atom.


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  3. Identify the most stable arrangement of the regions of high electron density as ONE of the following:


  4. Determine the positions of the atoms based on the types of electron pairs present (i.e., bonding pairs vs. unshared pairs). For trigonal bipyramidal and octahedral arrangements, there can sometimes be more than one possible arrangement of the bonding and unshared pairs:


  5. Identify the molecular structure based on the positions of the ATOMS (NOT on the regions of high electron density).