How to revise for A-level Chemistry exams: AQA explains what to do

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Exam and revision advice to help you get your target grades in A-level Chemistry

When you're revising for your A-level exams, you want to make the most of your study time.

So, we invited the experts at the AQA exam board to share their tips and advice on preparing for A-level Chemistry exams.

The article that follows has been written by an AQA curriculum expert, based on their years of experience in the assessment of their subject.  

You can find more articles in this series, covering a range of subjects at both GCSE and A-level, over on our revision section.

Also on The Student Room, you can find student discussion of 2024 A-level exams.

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  1. Read the question carefully and respond specifically to the command word(s) and the context given in each question. Try to make sure you’re answering the question being asked, rather than the question you’d like to be asked.
  2. Be prepared to apply your knowledge of practical work to new contexts. The practical questions will often ask you to apply the skills you’ve learnt during the 12 required practical activities to situations you won’t necessarily have come across before - as opposed to reciting the practical you did in class.
  3. Before tackling an extended response question worth 6 or 8 marks, you should take care to read the question thoroughly - perhaps twice - to make sure you answer all parts of the question.
  4. Show all your working and make sure your intermediate numerical values are clearly set out. Examiners can’t award credit for intermediate steps that aren’t visible. In multi-step calculations, a consistent flow down the answer space is ideal – and, when necessary, divide the space vertically. Answers that are difficult to interpret or unclear can lead to examiners being unable to award credit. 
  5. Practise the maths skills listed at the end of the specification – make sure you understand them all.
  6. High-scoring answers generally use appropriate scientific terminology in the right context. Lower scoring answers tend to be vague and/or don’t use the appropriate scientific language.
  7. Be aware that answers that contain contradictions, even on additional pages, can lose you marks. Make sure you cross out anything that you don’t want to be marked, particularly if you’re using an additional page.
  8. Examiners deliberately count the numbers of answer lines they provide for each question to make sure there’s more than enough space. You should only need extra pages if you need to cross out incorrect work.
  9. Don’t rush. You can avoid common errors if you take a little more time to understand the nature of data given in a question before attempting an answer.
  10. Take care with your handwriting in exams. It’s tough to keep handwriting clear after two hours of answering questions, but examiners cannot award marks to an answer if they cannot read it. State symbols are sometimes difficult to read so take care.
  11. Keep going. If you don’t understand the question, move on to the next one and come back to it later. There are multiple choice questions at the end of papers, and you’ll find some harder than others – so, if you’re running out of time, make sure you write an answer down for every multiple-choice question.

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