Tips for getting an A in A level Chemistry

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username3497538
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Does anyone have any general tips/advice? I really struggle with chemistry, getting a C in my end of year 12 exam and need to get an A in order to stand a chance for medicine.
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yusyus
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(Original post by hopefulmedic101)
Does anyone have any general tips/advice? I really struggle with chemistry, getting a C in my end of year 12 exam and need to get an A in order to stand a chance for medicine.
read chemrevise notes before/after class. I find knowing content taught in class before it's taught helps me loads to understand it.
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Nininoo
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Chemguide is a great website for revision, also do as many past papers as you have time to do! Khan academy videos are also a great resource, you can get them on YouTube or download the app. Good luck!
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Mesopotamian.
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Do every single past paper possible - even legacy papers from 2006 and before. I assume you're doing the new specification like I did so I would recommend saving the specimen papers and 2017 papers for right before your exams for the most relevant revision. Doing all the exercises in the book is also a good idea and ask your teachers for help when your stuck so that you don't become overwhelmed.
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TheGreatPumpkin
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https://www.youtube.com/user/MaChemGuy/about
I wish I'd found him sooner
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username3497538
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(Original post by bruh2132)
read chemrevise notes before/after class. I find knowing content taught in class before it's taught helps me loads to understand it.
(Original post by Nininoo)
Chemguide is a great website for revision, also do as many past papers as you have time to do! Khan academy videos are also a great resource, you can get them on YouTube or download the app. Good luck!
(Original post by Mesopotamian.)
Do every single past paper possible - even legacy papers from 2006 and before. I assume you're doing the new specification like I did so I would recommend saving the specimen papers and 2017 papers for right before your exams for the most relevant revision. Doing all the exercises in the book is also a good idea and ask your teachers for help when your stuck so that you don't become overwhelmed.
(Original post by TheGreatPumpkin)
https://www.youtube.com/user/MaChemGuy/about
I wish I'd found him sooner
Thankyou!!
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Loyale
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I got an A in chem both at AS and A2. What i used to do was i used to condense the information given from handouts and info in the textbook. After i done that i used the summary and practice questions in the textbook (OCR textbook by richtie and gent). Before class tests and mocks I used the physics and maths tutor website to print off exam style questions.Around April/easter time i started to use past papers.Tbh, chem is about practicing.Make sure you understand the content. Ask, dont be scared to ask in lesson because what you're confused about others are probably confused too.If you need help with revision advice, pm me.
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Loyale
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Use machemguy on youtube too
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username3497538
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(Original post by Loyale)
I got an A in chem both at AS and A2. What i used to do was i used to condense the information given from handouts and info in the textbook. After i done that i used the summary and practice questions in the textbook (OCR textbook by richtie and gent). Before class tests and mocks I used the physics and maths tutor website to print off exam style questions.Around April/easter time i started to use past papers.Tbh, chem is about practicing.Make sure you understand the content. Ask, dont be scared to ask in lesson because what you're confused about others are probably confused too.If you need help with revision advice, pm me.
Thank you so much! I practiced a lot for my as mock and so was really disappointed when I got a C, using all the practice from the physics and maths tutor website. I'm not good at applying my knowledge which is what the new spec requires you to do. For example, if I see a mechanism with a skeletal formula and I've practiced with displayed, I'll get confused and wont know where to draw the arrows. Do you think this gets better with practice?
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ferrel
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In chemistry you tend to find things make more sense in the 2nd year (it did for me and a lot of my friends at least) cause things tend to tie up more.

Tip 1) If you dont understand something after going over it twice, say something. For me, I sat in the lesson and didnt understand a lot of inorganic stuff and thought to myself I would go home and understand it then. I didn't, and if you do this for more than a few weeks things back up quickly. Ask a friend to clarify it.

Tip 2) Go over the basics again. It sucks, it really does but going over it makes life 100000x easier when you get an application question.

Tip 3) CALCULATIONS! I hated them but they were the only reason I didn't fail. If you can make a step by step plan to learn how to do each type of question, and can do it forwards backwards, with all the memorized formulae you are golden. There's a lot more maths than ever so this is a must.

Tip 4) Speaking of memorizing things, the basic tests for identifying types of compounds are long and seem pointless because you think that they're only worth one mark are actually worth WAY more in the long run. Example, this year there was 6 marks in basic tests that I didn't get because I didnt want to waste time. Learn them.

Tip 5) The stuff you learn at the end of the year is the hardest stuff, just because you're getting close to study leave doesnt mean you can put it off. Honestly i wish i looked at stuff more.

Tip 6) Rule of thumb: 'Anything that You Hate, Will be on the Exam'

Tip 7) Your controlled assessment book with all of your practicals in is what you want to go over for paper 3. More specifically, the theory and method of each practical.

These are things I wish I had known (as the first through the new system) and lemme tell you, its HARD. Props to you for taking it. Good luck!
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Loyale
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(Original post by hopefulmedic101)
Thank you so much! I practiced a lot for my as mock and so was really disappointed when I got a C, using all the practice from the physics and maths tutor website. I'm not good at applying my knowledge which is what the new spec requires you to do. For example, if I see a mechanism with a skeletal formula and I've practiced with displayed, I'll get confused and wont know where to draw the arrows. Do you think this gets better with practice?
Dont worry! I used to do that and still did that for some more complicates skeletal formula.

The first step is recognising any weak areas so thats a good first step. Practice drawing stuff in skeletal formula and when your confident do the mechanisms.if youre ever confused with anything basic always go back to basics and build up your core skills. Theres nothing wrong with that.In A2 alot of the content builds up from first yr so just make sure youre confident with basic ish
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username3497538
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(Original post by Loyale)
Dont worry! I used to do that and still did that for some more complicates skeletal formula.

The first step is recognising any weak areas so thats a good first step. Practice drawing stuff in skeletal formula and when your confident do the mechanisms.if youre ever confused with anything basic always go back to basics and build up your core skills. Theres nothing wrong with that.In A2 alot of the content builds up from first yr so just make sure youre confident with basic ish
Thankyou,I definitely have weak areas from as so I'm going to focus on them for now. I'm not good at moles which obviously I need to change since it's such an important part of chemistry
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SpidgetFinner
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just learn the markschemes tbh. all I did and I got an A in A level chemistry this summer.
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username3497538
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(Original post by ferrel)
In chemistry you tend to find things make more sense in the 2nd year (it did for me and a lot of my friends at least) cause things tend to tie up more.

Tip 1) If you dont understand something after going over it twice, say something. For me, I sat in the lesson and didnt understand a lot of inorganic stuff and thought to myself I would go home and understand it then. I didn't, and if you do this for more than a few weeks things back up quickly. Ask a friend to clarify it.

Tip 2) Go over the basics again. It sucks, it really does but going over it makes life 100000x easier when you get an application question.

Tip 3) CALCULATIONS! I hated them but they were the only reason I didn't fail. If you can make a step by step plan to learn how to do each type of question, and can do it forwards backwards, with all the memorized formulae you are golden. There's a lot more maths than ever so this is a must.

Tip 4) Speaking of memorizing things, the basic tests for identifying types of compounds are long and seem pointless because you think that they're only worth one mark are actually worth WAY more in the long run. Example, this year there was 6 marks in basic tests that I didn't get because I didnt want to waste time. Learn them.

Tip 5) The stuff you learn at the end of the year is the hardest stuff, just because you're getting close to study leave doesnt mean you can put it off. Honestly i wish i looked at stuff more.

Tip 6) Rule of thumb: 'Anything that You Hate, Will be on the Exam'

Tip 7) Your controlled assessment book with all of your practicals in is what you want to go over for paper 3. More specifically, the theory and method of each practical.

These are things I wish I had known (as the first through the new system) and lemme tell you, its HARD. Props to you for taking it. Good luck!
That sucks for me as I pretty much hate all of the calculations in chemistry which are in everything and they do always come up!! Thank you so much! Ive realised that I have a lot of holes in my knowledge from AS year, I can barely do moles or calculate kc so the first thing I'm going to do is get my foundations sorted. I really hope that it will get easier next year for me as I'm willing to put in all my time and effort into getting an A so I never have to do it again xD. I got some really bad grades last year in amongst a few A's and B's and really felt helpless in chemistry as I didn't understand why I was never getting better despite doing so much practice. Getting calculations sorted is going to be my priority as they always screw me over in the exam
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ferrel
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(Original post by hopefulmedic101)
That sucks for me as I pretty much hate all of the calculations in chemistry which are in everything and they do always come up!! Thank you so much! Ive realised that I have a lot of holes in my knowledge from AS year, I can barely do moles or calculate kc so the first thing I'm going to do is get my foundations sorted. I really hope that it will get easier next year for me as I'm willing to put in all my time and effort into getting an A so I never have to do it again xD. I got some really bad grades last year in amongst a few A's and B's and really felt helpless in chemistry as I didn't understand why I was never getting better despite doing so much practice. Getting calculations sorted is going to be my priority as they always screw me over in the exam
Oh I can definitely relate to that! Chemistry was my worst subject and the new system really isn't designed to make it any easier. 2nd year really does pull everything together, even if its 2 months before the exam (what happened to me ). I spent a lot of time on chemistry in my first year and saw little improvement, which made me feel so frustrated because I put more time in than anything else with the least understanding.
In the end, i just went back to basics to find the hole in my knowledge and that really helped! Chemistry is one of the hardest (like top 3) A levels out there and comparing my performance from an a level i found easier really did me no favours. I'd advice doing a little bit of chemistry (5mins) at lunch, a few sentences that you can understand, not a whole topic or anything. That stopped me from giving up more than once!
Chemistry really is a slog, and frustration (and calcs) was my worst nightmare, you've just got to persevere really until one day something clicks in your brain. Getting to the point until it clicks is the hardest part. By the sounds of it you're trying really hard! I wish you all the best of luck, and I'm sure you'll do great!
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Petrifiedcat
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Do every exam paper for A level chemistry that exists.
More importantly, pick apart the questions and find out the kind of questions that tend to come up often, and how they ask them- this can give you insight onto what they are asking as they sometimes word questions in a tricky manner.
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username2669399
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Hey, don't worry about it at all. I applied for dentistry last year and I ended up with a C at AS just like you. I managed to get an A at A2 this year though. I'll be starting my dentistry course this September, so you can do it too.

Firstly, don't listen to anyone telling you to just memorise things, it doesn't work like that. Especially because it's a reformed A level. Ask for your AS papers back and go through every question you got wrong. Revisit all your AS topics, spend extra time on the topics you don't like until you start liking them (because you'll know them so well) go back and fill all those gaps in your knowledge so that this year you can focus on A2.

Also, make sure you UNDERSTAND everything. Don't just memorise it all. Your exam is going to be full of application questions so instead of spending hours memorising and then getting half the questions wrong, understand why everything works the way it does so you can tackle any question that gets thrown at you. Then around April time, start doing past papers published by your exam board. Do every single paper you can find that they've published and the questions you get wrong, ask yourself why, and try them again until you get the right answer and until you're ending up with 80%+ in each past paper you do. If you do all of that, you'll definitely end up with an A if not an A* at the end of A2. I know it can be worrying to do badly at AS but use your grade to motivate you this year. I'm sure you'll do great!
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username3497538
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(Original post by ferrel)
Oh I can definitely relate to that! Chemistry was my worst subject and the new system really isn't designed to make it any easier. 2nd year really does pull everything together, even if its 2 months before the exam (what happened to me ). I spent a lot of time on chemistry in my first year and saw little improvement, which made me feel so frustrated because I put more time in than anything else with the least understanding.
In the end, i just went back to basics to find the hole in my knowledge and that really helped! Chemistry is one of the hardest (like top 3) A levels out there and comparing my performance from an a level i found easier really did me no favours. I'd advice doing a little bit of chemistry (5mins) at lunch, a few sentences that you can understand, not a whole topic or anything. That stopped me from giving up more than once!
Chemistry really is a slog, and frustration (and calcs) was my worst nightmare, you've just got to persevere really until one day something clicks in your brain. Getting to the point until it clicks is the hardest part. By the sounds of it you're trying really hard! I wish you all the best of luck, and I'm sure you'll do great!
Aww thank you again! You summarised exactly how I feel. I am planning on doing a little chem at lunch as well as devoting all my frees to studying so 1/3 of that will be chemistry. Congrats on getting an A in the end!
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(Original post by _crimson)
Hey, don't worry about it at all. I applied for dentistry last year and I ended up with a C at AS just like you. I managed to get an A at A2 this year though. I'll be starting my dentistry course this September, so you can do it too.

Firstly, don't listen to anyone telling you to just memorise things, it doesn't work like that. Especially because it's a reformed A level. Ask for your AS papers back and go through every question you got wrong. Revisit all your AS topics, spend extra time on the topics you don't like until you start liking them (because you'll know them so well) go back and fill all those gaps in your knowledge so that this year you can focus on A2.

Also, make sure you UNDERSTAND everything. Don't just memorise it all. Your exam is going to be full of application questions so instead of spending hours memorising and then getting half the questions wrong, understand why everything works the way it does so you can tackle any question that gets thrown at you. Then around April time, start doing past papers published by your exam board. Do every single paper you can find that they've published and the questions you get wrong, ask yourself why, and try them again until you get the right answer and until you're ending up with 80%+ in each past paper you do. If you do all of that, you'll definitely end up with an A if not an A* at the end of A2. I know it can be worrying to do badly at AS but use your grade to motivate you this year. I'm sure you'll do great!
Thank you so much! That makes me feel so much more confident hearing your experience . We didn't do AS at my college this year but we did do end of year and March mocks which I'm going to learn from like you said. I'll definitely follow your advice with understanding the topics as that's where i went wrong last year. Attempting to memorise the content without fully knowing it only got me a C at best. Honestly this summer has been so stressful what with the UKCAT (which i also performed really badly on, surprise surprise ) so I'm not expecting a medicine offer this year, despite that I'm still going to try for an A in chemistry. I refuse to give up yet, congrats on getting into dentistry!
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Adithya Patnam
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(Original post by hopefulmedic101)
Thank you so much! That makes me feel so much more confident hearing your experience . We didn't do AS at my college this year but we did do end of year and March mocks which I'm going to learn from like you said. I'll definitely follow your advice with understanding the topics as that's where i went wrong last year. Attempting to memorise the content without fully knowing it only got me a C at best. Honestly this summer has been so stressful what with the UKCAT (which i also performed really badly on, surprise surprise ) so I'm not expecting a medicine offer this year, despite that I'm still going to try for an A in chemistry. I refuse to give up yet, congrats on getting into dentistry!
re you thinking on taking a gap year and then re-applying or are you going to do biomedical sciences and try getting a 2:1 in them?
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