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Any tips for regularly revising Chemistry from now until next May?

I learnt the hard way how much revision A level needed, especially for Organic chem. I've looked online but making notes doesn't help me remember, reading them doesn't do anything either, plus I don't know where to start? What is a good method to revise over the span of a year? Is there any tips for A level chem topics please? I'm currently scoring around 55-65% (So a B), but I want at least an A for my conditional offer next year (yes, I am revising in the summer holidays)
(edited 1 month ago)
What's your exam board? If you're doing OCR then I really recommend watching MaChemGuy's videos, he explains everything so well and gives you example questions.

Other than that, just practice papers and past papers. Don't hold back from doing example questions if you think you still need to know more content (unless you actually haven't been taught the content yet haha) because the best way to learn really is just practice.

Also, make sure you take a break over summer though - you have so much time you'll do great !!
Reply 2
for recall anki rlly helps as they do spaced repetition to memorise specific reagents and mechanisms
Reply 3
Original post by TheBurn
I learnt the hard way how much revision A level needed, especially for Organic chem. I've looked online but making notes doesn't help me remember, reading them doesn't do anything either, plus I don't know where to start? What is a good method to revise over the span of a year? Is there any tips for A level chem topics please? I'm currently scoring around 55-65% (So a B), but I want at least an A for my conditional offer next year (yes, I am revising in the summer holidays)

For context, I managed to go from a D at the start of year 12 to achieving consistent A* at the end of year 12 and through year 13!
For organic, the best place to start is to rote learn the synthesis maps. You should aim to be able to write them all out from memory! Ocr have some blank templates that can be used for practice.

Its imperative to understand the functions of mechanisms. Knowing what the curly arrows actually represent (and linking that to mechanisms you already know) can help you with the more inaccessible questions where you have to apply your understanding. I agree that for OCR, MaChem guy is superb for learning. I managed to learn all of electrode potentials by simply watching his exam walkthroughs. Questions are very repetitive and it helps to try and refine exam technique. Organic chem is very specific about key words and language, so making spec specific flashcards and reading examiners reports can be helpful.

The best place to start is to identify your areas of weakness. I always recommend doing a 'diagnostic' mock set. I sat down and forced myself to do the 2 AS papers with no prep whatsoever,and it very clearly identified my areas of weakness but also served as a good wakeup call.

Prioritise your topics by sorting them into:
I had no idea how to answer this
I kind of knew what I was doing but not enough to score the marks
I know the content but lack exam technique and my wording let me down (this is the key identifier for the A*)
I knew this confidently

Then just go through your topics, regularly revisiting the concern ones, whilst not neglecting the ones you know. It gives you an idea of how you can space your revision. From there, once you've got the content down on lock, do the PMT ppq. They've got a set they created which contains all the questions that came up in exams from 2016 on specific topics, which is good to get some exam practice in. Their own questions are a bit more tricky and good for a slight challenge.

I would advise not doing the most recent papers yet, as you want to save those for the A-level period. There are plenty of past papers from the old spec, and good predicted papers too. Physical chem is like maths, so just practice those questions till you're performing them without thinking. Its worth noting to make sure you've got topics 1 and 2 down, as there's almost always a long question on bonding, and most questions require you to use your foundational knowledge.

Year 13 can seem daunting, as the jump is arguably harder than GCSE to AS. As long as you regularly consolidate, you'll be fine. Acids/Bases and transition metals are two of the (arguably) hardest topics. I learnt them by sitting down one day and covering all the content till it was engraved in my mind. The more exam practice you do, the more you begin to realise the questions are super repetitive and you need to follow the same routine all the time. Year 13 organic chem is definitely quite hard, but if you're confident with the content and feel like you're performing well, it could be good to read ahead. I did this and it helped me greatly, because by learning the content ahead of class, I could identify areas I found hard and really go over those in class, making sure I had a super strong understanding.

Towards the end of year 13, try focus on 'linked' extended answer. These are the questions (usually analysis) that require you to draw together techniques from different topics to identify/form compounds. They usually come at the end of the test and are worth 6 marks, but can be great at moving your revision from 'regurgitating' to 'application and understanding'

Lastly, don't doubt yourself! I was performing much worse through year 13, and received a D on my mocks and a predicted C. I had 1 month to prepare for resits and really buckled down in that time, and managed to pull it up to an A*. Chemistry can be a tricky subject, but its 100% doable and with the right tricks, can become easy (and even enjoyable!). Ultimately you have to figure out how you work best, I very quickly realised I'm a visual learner (eg I couldn't do back titrations for the life of me until someone explained it visually), and realised I didn't understand topics if I was trying to make notes at the same time in class. I began to only listen and not make notes in class, and then try recall everything into notes in the evening. Not only was it active recall, but it meant that I wasn't wasting time. You have plenty of time till exams, you'll definitely smash it!!!!
Reply 4
Original post by TheBurn
I learnt the hard way how much revision A level needed, especially for Organic chem. I've looked online but making notes doesn't help me remember, reading them doesn't do anything either, plus I don't know where to start? What is a good method to revise over the span of a year? Is there any tips for A level chem topics please? I'm currently scoring around 55-65% (So a B), but I want at least an A for my conditional offer next year (yes, I am revising in the summer holidays)

Organic chemistry is difficult because you can't do it with just memory. Understanding is the key and understanding helps memory of facts. Writing a correct mechanism must stem from understanding and not by memory. Practice makes perfect for doing organic synthesis. To learn organic chemistry well is not by reading alone, you must use pen and paper to write out the structures, reaction conditions, reaction mechanism....etc. Always ask yourself many whys, e.g. why phenol is more acidic than cyclohexanol? why a tertiary carbocation is more stable than a secondary carbocation; why esterification requires a strong mineral acid as a catalyst? You can get most answers from Google search. You need to have constant exposure to organic chemistry in order to excel in the subject. I suggest you review your org. chem. for at least 1 hour every day and I mean every day.

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