Must Know Hacks of Electronic Configuration problems

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Do you wish to know how electrons are located around the nucleus of the atom?

Top Questions

“Protons give an atom its identity, electrons its personality.”


― Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything


Basic Concepts in Electronic Configuration:


Bohr’s model :

Niels Bohr suggested the atomic model on the basis Of various energy levels for electrons around the nucleus.  These energy levels are called shells. 

Electronic shell :

The energy levels around the nucleus are called electronic shells. They are designated and K, L, M and so on. Each energy level has a certain energy value and radius in which electrons revolve around the nucleus.

Subshells and orbitals:

Electronic shells further classified as subshells. They are represented as s, p, d and f-subshell. Each subshell has a certain number of orbitals and each orbital can accommodate a maximum of 2 electrons.

 The distribution of electrons in shell,  subshell and orbitals is shown as below:


The distribution of electrons in shell, subshell and orbitals


Electronic configuration:

It is the distribution of electrons in various orbitals on the basis of their energy. On the basis of various electronic rules, the sequence can be shown as given below:


Electronic configuration



Hund’s rule:

It states that every electron in a subshell will be single occupied until the empty orbitals are available in the same subshell.

Aufbau principle:

It states that electrons always occupy the lower energy level and then move to higher energy levels. 

Pauli’s exclusion principle:

It states that no two electrons in an atom can have the same quantum numbers.

Quantum numbers:

The set of numbers that is used to explain the energy and position of electrons in an atom is known as quantum number.

There are 4 quantum numbers:


Principle quantum number:

It is used to calculate the energy and shell number of electrons. It is represented as “n”.

Azimuthal quantum number:

It is used to calculate the position of an electron in a certain subshell and denoted by ‘????’.

Magnetic quantum number:

It represents the magnetic moment of an electron and denoted by ‘m’.

Spin quantum number:

It is related to the spin of an electron and denoted by ‘s’. The value of ‘s’ is always +½ or -½ .



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Let’s write down all probabilities where a given electron might be at any given point. 



Frequently Asked Questions



How do you find the electron configuration?

Every atom has a certain position on the periodic table based on its atomic number which is also the number of electrons in that particular atom. The number of electrons in a given atom is filled in a specific order from lower energy orbital to higher energy orbital (1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 4s, 3d, 4p, 5s, 4d). Every subshell can hold a limited number of electrons. The s-orbital can hold 2 electrons while orbital p,d and f can hold 6,10,14 electrons respectively. Following these rules electrons are filled in the orbitals and electronic configuration can be written. 


What is the electronic configuration of 14?

The element with atomic number 14 is silicon. Silicon has 14 electrons and its electronic configuration is- 
1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p2.


What is the electron configuration for helium?

The atomic number of helium is 2 which means it has two electrons which are filled in 1s orbital, the orbital with lowest energy. Thus, the electronic configuration of helium can be written as-


How is electronic configuration written?

In the periodic table, every atom has a certain position based on its atomic number which also is the number of electrons in that atom. Those electrons are filled in orbitals in a specific order from lower energy orbital to higher energy orbital (1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 4s, 3d, 4p, 5s, 4d). Every subshell can hold a limited number of electrons. s-orbitals can hold 2 electrons while p,d and f can hold 6,10,14 electrons respectively. Following these rules electrons can be filled in those orbitals and electronic configuration can be written.


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