The transition metals are the group of metals in the middle section of the periodic table. They are divided into three groups - the first row transition metals, the second row transition metals and, guess what, the third row transition metals. The most commonly studied ones are the first row transition metals, listed in the table below.
|Symbol||Name||Atomic Number||Electronic Configuration|
|Sc||Scandium||21||1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6, 4s2, 3d1|
|Ti||Titanium||22||1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6, 4s2, 3d2|
|V||Vanadium||23||1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6, 4s2, 3d3|
|Cr||Chromium||24||1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6, 4s1, 3d5|
|Mn||Manganese||25||1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6, 4s2, 3d5|
|Fe||Iron||26||1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6, 4s2, 3d6|
|Co||Cobalt||27||1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6, 4s2, 3d7|
|Ni||Nickel||28||1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6, 4s2, 3d8|
|Cu||Copper||29||1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6, 4s1, 3d10|
|Zn||Zinc||30||1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6, 4s2, 3d10|
Note that in exams they are keen on asking questions on electronic configurations, if they were part of your course, and chromium and copper are particularly popular ones, as they do not fill the outer shell in the order you would expect. Also remember that when forming ions, they all start by losing the 4s electron first, then the 4d electrons.
Why are they called the transition metals? They are the metals which make the transition to using the d-orbitals for their bonding. Hence they are sometimes called the d-block elements. (The f-block elements are the ones which make the transition to using their f-orbitals for bonding.)
All the transition metals have certain properties in common, and exams often ask you to list or discuss some of these common properties.