Chemistry OCR A advice!

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Dar-Diddly-Arn
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Hi there, I'm an ex-Chemistry A-Level student who went from a C at GCSE to an A at A-Level in Chemistry. I worked really hard through the A-Level, but I didn't work smart - that's the key difference. This thread is to hopefully share some advice from my experiences to hopefully prepare you guys well for the exam and give you some practical ways to revise effectively.

I know some of the bulletpoints are long, but reading them may just be the thing you need to push up your grade or get those marks you need!


- Only use what works for you, try several different ways to revise, find your most effective and stick to it! Think of it as an investment if you have to - even if this means putting the phone down in another room for an hour, you invest that time then to pick up more marks in the exam.

-Use the syllabus as a checklist, make marks on it on things you do and don't know (I used green, yellow, and red pen - green for what I did know, yellow if I needed to go over it soon, red if I needed to go over it urgently) this keeps revision logical and straightforward, allowing you to plan ahead if needed.

-Learning one subject one day, then leaving it for a while before revisiting it is pointless. When you revise something break it down into small notes that you can carry around with you, then look at these notes over the next few days - on the bus home, when walking home, during dinner - just make sure to refresh yourself.

-Chemistry with OCR involves putting you in familiar situations, but still keeping them alien to you - you know what you need to put for the questions, just don't understand or have never seen the question before. Keep things simple and try to challenge yourself when revising with this, instead of doing the acid hydrolysis of ethyl ethanoate for the sixth time, change the molecule, add whatever you want, but keep yourself on your toes because you will be in the exam.

-Past papers are your best friends, try to do each one as much as possible before the exam trying to do atleast one a day in the two weeks beforehand. Our exams, the 2015 ones, were really hard, do those several times until you feel confident, then try to make the questions even harder.

-The best method of revising - for me - is to condense a whole unit's worth of information onto a single side of A4 paper - sounds crazy, right? This helps me decide early on what information is most important and what I feel I'd need to write down to help me remember. It also made me more comfortable listing things and using diagrams to illustrate points clearly. This was also super handy close to the exam as I had a whole folder of incredibly condensed notes that only gave me the information I needed.

The reality is that chemistry is, by nature, a hard subject. It's one of, if not, the most difficult A-Levels there are, but fundamentally they can only ask you so much and only ask you things from a limited supply of information. Honestly, the best advice I can give is the take things at face value, the exam and information is all do-able, it's just a case of application and being able to systematically work through the difficulties you face throughout.

If you read all the way through, then thanks, I just hope it's helped somewhat, quite a few people see it, and it's stays in circulation long enough to help a handful of people.

And, of course, good luck!
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spiritless98
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Thank you!! That's amazing well done on your grades!!!
Do you recommend any other particular resources?


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Dar-Diddly-Arn
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(Original post by spiritless98)
Thank you!! That's amazing well done on your grades!!!
Do you recommend any other particular resources?


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There's some really good resources out there that helped me, like I mentioned printing off past exam papers and the syllabus were huge helps - but this was combined with the OCR revision guide, too. It gave me all the information I could be tested on, so in some way if I learnt most of the content of the book from back to front I would be pretty well-set for the exams.

I also found Crash Course Chemistry to be helpful, it's a part of the Crash Course series on YouTube hosted by Hank Green (link to the playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSyA...6fYEaX9mQQ8oGr ) I listened to it when walking to and from places by downloading episodes and often listened to it in leisure time whilst doing something else. The episodes are short but provide concise information at a quick rate, if you can keep up it's definitely a powerful resource.

Other than that there's loads of videos out there you can watch based entirely on the same spec you're using, so it's worth trying to find them. But try to keep it serious, it's not a 'cheap' cop-out way of revising, if it's used properly then it can be a very efficient tool.

Hope that helps!
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Pikki1234
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Hi, how did you prep for the controlled assessment?
(Thanks for the tips above!)


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Dar-Diddly-Arn
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(Original post by Pikki1234)
Hi, how did you prep for the controlled assessment?
(Thanks for the tips above!)


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The controlled assessment usually comes with some notes and worksheets already prepared by OCR, your teacher will have given these to you as well as prepared lessons for you to practice experiments and get used to the types of questions you'll be asked (at least this is how it was for me, so I'm assuming it's similar for you).

This is more that sufficient preparation, it's best to just review the information you got given the day before and the day of your assessment - the practicals and write up questions are very straightforward and self-contained. As long as you don't overthink and panic you'll be fine, they're usually very kind with the controlled assessments I've found.

Hope this helps!
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