olliehackland
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I am an undergraduate, just about to start university in September, I have looked everywhere but I just wanted to know some information about exams...

How long are they?
What's a typical question, are they essay based mostly?
How many marks would one be?
and... How are they split? - like Organic & Inorganic Separated?

The course I am taking is 60% exam and 40% coursework.

Sorry if you think it's a dumb question, just being curious. I am from the UK.
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mnot
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(Original post by olliehackland)
I am an undergraduate, just about to start university in September, I have looked everywhere but I just wanted to know some information about exams...

How long are they?
What's a typical question, are they essay based mostly?
How many marks would one be?
and... How are they split? - like Organic & Inorganic Separated?

The course I am taking is 60% exam and 40% coursework.

Sorry if you think it's a dumb question, just being curious. I am from the UK.
Every uni is different,
but you will most likely sit roughly 6-8 modules a year.
Some modules will have coursework & labs some will be 100% exam.
Uni exams tend to normally be 2-3 hrs in length in my experience.
Im guessing Chemistry probably averages at about 5-6 exams a year some will be like 60% of a module some 100%.

But its very hard to say, and can often change depending on optional modules and credits/module.

Perhaps ask this question in the forum for the specific uni your interested in.
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Claisen
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MChem undergraduate here.

My first year consisted of two exams in the first semester and four in the second semester. There were 'class tests' throughout the semester. You can expect to have 20% coursework and 80% examination weighting in the majority of chemistry modules. This is obviously not the case for modules which are 100% lab based. Lab based modules at my university are normally 60% experimental (e.g. quality of results (purity, yield etc) and write up), 40% theoretical (e.g. online tests, workshops, and class tests to show you have a good understanding).

My first year modules were:

Introductory Physical Chemistry (2hr exam)
Introductory Inorganic Chemistry (2hr exam)
Introductory Organic Chemistry (3hr exam)
Introductory Spectroscopy (2hr exam)
Key Skills for Chemists (no formal exam, 2 maths class tests and the rest was coursework such as presentations/academic writing).
Innovative Chemistry for Energy (optional - 2 hr exam)
Foundations of Medicinal Chemistry (optional - 2hr exam)

The style of exam questions depends on the module. There is very rarely going to be a long winded essay question in a chemistry degree. You are tested on your ability to apply your theoretical knowledge to real situations.
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olliehackland
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(Original post by Claisen)
MChem undergraduate here.

My first year consisted of two exams in the first semester and four in the second semester. There were 'class tests' throughout the semester. You can expect to have 20% coursework and 80% examination weighting in the majority of chemistry modules. This is obviously not the case for modules which are 100% lab based. Lab based modules at my university are normally 60% experimental (e.g. quality of results (purity, yield etc) and write up), 40% theoretical (e.g. online tests, workshops, and class tests to show you have a good understanding).

My first year modules were:

Introductory Physical Chemistry (2hr exam)
Introductory Inorganic Chemistry (2hr exam)
Introductory Organic Chemistry (3hr exam)
Introductory Spectroscopy (2hr exam)
Key Skills for Chemists (no formal exam, 2 maths class tests and the rest was coursework such as presentations/academic writing).
Innovative Chemistry for Energy (optional - 2 hr exam)
Foundations of Medicinal Chemistry (optional - 2hr exam)

The style of exam questions depends on the module. There is very rarely going to be a long winded essay question in a chemistry degree. You are tested on your ability to apply your theoretical knowledge to real situations.
Thanks! I’m going to an applicant day this week. What was yours like? Did you have to answer any questions about the subject. Obviously relative to whichever uni you apply to. Reading says that I’m going to have an informal chat about my personal statement!
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Claisen
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(Original post by olliehackland)
Thanks! I’m going to an applicant day this week. What was yours like? Did you have to answer any questions about the subject. Obviously relative to whichever uni you apply to. Reading says that I’m going to have an informal chat about my personal statement!
All good mate. I go to Liverpool University so it will be quite different.

My ADD was meeting with academics for a Q&A session and then a tour of all the facilities. This was finished off with a laboratory session, we standardized acetic acid with sodium hydroxide. Nothing fancy! I'm happy to answer any more questions.
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olliehackland
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(Original post by Claisen)
All good mate. I go to Liverpool University so it will be quite different.

My ADD was meeting with academics for a Q&A session and then a tour of all the facilities. This was finished off with a laboratory session, we standardized acetic acid with sodium hydroxide. Nothing fancy! I'm happy to answer any more questions.
Interesting day then! Did Liverpool Uni tell you about the Q&A? Was it about Chemistry? Or yourself?

Apparently it’s only a 20 minute conversation that I’m having. Which year are you in your degree?
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Claisen
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(Original post by olliehackland)
Interesting day then! Did Liverpool Uni tell you about the Q&A? Was it about Chemistry? Or yourself?

Apparently it’s only a 20 minute conversation that I’m having. Which year are you in your degree?
It was just about the course in general and any questions I had. I wouldn't worry about it at all. This is most likely to try and make you feel more comfortable and to explore your interests. It is highly unlikely to be an interrogation of your aptitude in chemistry and to see if you deserve an offer etc.

I'm in 2nd year!
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olliehackland
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(Original post by Claisen)
It was just about the course in general and any questions I had. I wouldn't worry about it at all. This is most likely to try and make you feel more comfortable and to explore your interests. It is highly unlikely to be an interrogation of your aptitude in chemistry and to see if you deserve an offer etc.

I'm in 2nd year!
Ah, ok thanks. It’s just they haven’t offered me a place yet. 😊
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University of Bath
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(Original post by olliehackland)
I am an undergraduate, just about to start university in September, I have looked everywhere but I just wanted to know some information about exams...

How long are they?
What's a typical question, are they essay based mostly?
How many marks would one be?
and... How are they split? - like Organic & Inorganic Separated?

The course I am taking is 60% exam and 40% coursework.

Sorry if you think it's a dumb question, just being curious. I am from the UK.
Hi there,

I am a Natural Sciences student and I took inorganic and organic chemistry as part of my degree (the exact same modules/exams as straight chemistry students take), and I have several friends on the chemistry course here at Bath, so hopefully I can help

At Bath, you study chemistry split into separate modules as:
- Organic chemistry
- Inorganic chemistry
- Physical chemistry

You will also have separate labs for each of these modules, computational labs, and also maybe optional module(s). In short, you will have an exam for each module, so an exam for organic, and exam for inorganic, and an exam for physical.

Each of these chemistry exams are typically about 2 hours. At Bath, it's usually an exam where theres a certain number of questions, and you are only obliged to answer a certain number of them. For example, the paper can contain 6 questions, but you only need to answer 4. Or, there may be 2 sections, each with 3 questions, and you need to answer 2/3 questions in each section.

These are not, at least not in any of my chemistry exams over the past 3 years at Bath, essay questions. The questions are typically problem-solving ones, where you evidence your chemistry knowledge. Some examples could be:
- You are given a reaction mechanism with a reagent missing, and you have to say what it could be.
- Asked to draw a curly arrow reaction mechanism
- Asked why a reaction may or may not occur under certain circumstances, or what conditions favour a reaction
- Interpret an NMR spectrum

These are just a few from many potential examples, but hopefully you get the gist. The questions are factual, problem-solving questions, were you will have 1 question with several parts, i.e. question 1 with parts a-e. So they won't be essay questions - the most you'd have to write is a few sentences for a part of a question. The number of marks given for each part of the question will just depend on the difficultly of that part, i.e. you might get 2 marks for naming a missing reagent in a mechanism, but you'd get 10 marks for drawing out a full curly arrow mechanism.

This is just based on my experience at the University of Bath, so it may vary at other universities.

I hope this has helped,
Jessica, a third year Natural Sciences student
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