A Complete Guide to A Level Chemistry (H1 & H2) in Singapore by Our Top JC Chemistry Tutors
The Complete Guide to A Level Chemistry in Singapore
A Level Chemistry is a commonly taken subject at H1 and H2 level and it is the most competitive A Level Science subject. A Level Chemistry is also touted as a subject with a steep bell curve, making it hard to clinch an A in the A Levels. Coupled with the rigorous A Level Chemistry syllabus involving multiple core and extension topics, A Level Chemistry has proven itself to be a tough subject requiring a lot of understanding and application. Hence, to clear any queries, MindFlex has put together this ultimate guide to the A Level Chemistry syllabus (H1/H2) in order to help any confused students. We’ve put together some basic information you need to know – such as the exam format, as well as free resources and tips that will definitely come in handy for your A Level Chemistry preparation. Additionally, if you’d like some extra information, check out our Essential Preparation Guide for JC Chemistry.
1. An Overview to A Level Chemistry
Chemistry, at A Level standard, is a popular and competitive subject both at H1 and H2 level. The A Level Chemistry syllabus is designed with application and understanding in mind, rather than forced memorisation and regurgitation of content. Through the syllabus, students will be able to develop skills that will be of long term value in an increasingly technological world, rather than focusing on factual material and concepts which might only have short term relevance.
At the A Level standard, Chemistry is seen as a challenge due to the large amount of application required, in addition to having a good grasp of the fundamentals. While there are various topics that build upon the O Level Chemistry/IP Chemistry syllabus, most of the A Level Chemistry syllabus is new and requires higher-order thinking in order to do well. Hence, with the increased amount of content required for the A Level Chemistry syllabus, together with the fast-paced learning environment, many students end up struggling to keep up during lectures and tutorials, and are unable to learn at the speed required. This results in lowered levels of motivation and increased anxieties, making it even harder for students to learn.
However, this stress can be avoided through engaging additional guidance and help early on in order to build a good foundation in A Level Chemistry. This can be done through engaging a A Level Chemistry Tutor in a tuition centre or a MindFlex A Level Chemistry Home Tutor!
2. Objectives of A Level Chemistry
The aim of the A Level Chemistry syllabus is to provide students with an experience to develop interest in Chemistry and build the relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to do well in further studies. It also aims to enable students to develop understanding, skills and ethics relevant to the Practices of Science.
For both the A Level H1/H2 Chemistry syllabus, students are expected to:
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding in relation to scientific phenomena, vocabulary, instruments, quantities and its applications and implications
- Be able to handle, apply and evaluate information
- (H2 only) Follow detailed instructions and use techniques and apparatus required to investigate and experiment, as well as to interpret and evaluate observations and data
3. A Level Chemistry Exam Format
At H1 Chemistry level, students are required to sit for 2 papers (Paper 1 & 2), whereas H2 Chemistry students are required to sit for 4 papers (Papers 1-4), inclusive of 1 practical.
3.1. H1 Chemistry
Paper 1 (MCQ)
30 marks, 1 hour
Paper 2 (Structured Questions)
80 marks, 2 hours
Section A: 60 marks
Section B: 20 marks
The H1 Chemistry syllabus consists of 2 papers, one solely with Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and the other with structured questions. Paper 1 consists of 30 compulsory MCQs, where 4-6 questions will include questions of multiple completion type.
Paper 2 consists of 2 sections. Section A consists of a variable number of compulsory structured questions inclusive of data-based questions. The data-based question(s) constitute(s) 15-20 marks for the paper, which aims to test higher order thinking skills such as handling, applying and evaluating information. In Section B, students are required to answer 1 out of the 2 questions, worth 20 marks. The questions in Section B will require students to integrate knowledge and understanding from different topics of the A Level Chemistry syllabus.
3.1.1 Challenges Faced in H1 Chemistry
At H1 Chemistry level, students largely struggle with the large amount of content required for mastery. Even though the H1 Chemistry syllabus is significantly more concise compared to the H2 Chemistry, the amount of topics and content is still a significant amount for a H1 Level subject. Hence, students struggle with getting a good grasp of all the topics, resulting in them being unable to synthesise quality answers, especially in Paper 2, where students might require in-depth knowledge of each topic in order to integrate them in the higher-order thinking questions.
3.1.2. How To Score in H1 Chemistry
To do well in H1 Chemistry, students are encouraged to be consistent in their learning and not leave queries or misconceptions till the last minute. In addition, since in-depth understanding of concepts is essential as opposed to just pure memorisation, students are advised to start revision early so as to fully be able to internalise the concepts. If students are having issues with keeping up with the syllabus and its demands, another option is engaging an A Level Chemistry Tutor! With a tutor, students will receive additional guidance at their own pace, allowing them ample time to process and internalise concepts that might have been difficult for them to do so in school due to the fast-paced lectures.
3.2. H2 Chemistry
Paper 1 (MCQ)
30 marks, 1 hour
Paper 2 (Structured Questions)
75 marks, 2 hours
Paper 3 (Free Response Questions)
80 marks, 2 hours
Section A (3-4 questions): 60 marks
Section B (1 question): 20 marks
Paper 4 (Practical)
55 marks, 2 hours 30 mins
Involves planning (P), manipulation, measurement and observation (MMO), presentation of data and observations (PDO) and analysis, conclusions and evaluation (ACE)
All H2 Chemistry students are required to sit for 4 papers. Paper 1 consists of 30 compulsory MCQs, where 5-8 questions will include questions of multiple completion type. Paper 2 consists of a variable number of compulsory structured questions including data-based questions, with the data-based question marks constituting 20-25 marks for the entire Paper 2. Within this paper, the data-based question aims to test higher order thinking skills such as handling, applying and evaluating information.
Paper 3 consists of 2 sections, Section A and B. Section A comprises 3-4 compulsory free response questions, with each question constituting 15-25 marks. In Section B, students are required to answer 1 out of the 2 questions, worth 20 marks. The questions in Section B will require students to integrate knowledge and understanding from different topics of the A Level Chemistry syllabus.
Lastly, in Paper 4, the paper will assess various practical skills such as:
- Planning (P)
- Manipulation, measurement and observation (MMO)
- Presentation of data and observations (PDO)
- Analysis, conclusions and evaluation (ACE)
3.2.1 Challenges Faced in H2 Chemistry
At H2 Chemistry level, the sheer amount of content students are required to master is a lot, hence students usually have a hard time trying to master the entire H2 Chemistry syllabus. Within the syllabus, students also have to master extension topics such as Organic Chemistry and Electrochemistry, which have proven to be the most tedious topics. In addition, another issue faced by H2 Chemistry students includes the practical aspect of the syllabus. While students are exposed to Chemistry Practical during their practical lessons, it remains something that students are unable to get the hang of due to insufficient exposure to the various methods.
3.2.2. How To Score in H2 Chemistry
Practice and exposure is extremely crucial to ensure that students are well-versed with the H2 Chemistry content as well as the various question types. Hence, students should aim to get as much exposure through attempting past year papers or practice questions. In addition, if students are struggling with Chemistry Practical, they can consider engaging additional help from tuition centres such as Achievers Dream – who have their own in-house, NEA-approved Chemistry lab. Else, if students would like personalised guidance, they can consider engaging in a 1-to-1 Home Tuition – which will provide 100% personalised help and attention to students.
Here at MindFlex, we have a large database of over 6,000 experienced A Level Chemistry Tutors who have their own stash of Chemistry resources ranging from H2 Chemistry notes, Chemistry summary sheets and H2 Chemistry exam papers.
4. A Level Chemistry Tips and Resources
With the amount of content required by the A Level Chemistry syllabus, students will have to dedicate a lot of time and effort into studying and practising. This might be extremely difficult due to the student’s packed schedules, resulting in them lagging behind during lectures and tutorials. Here, MindFlex has compiled a list of useful study tips and A Level Chemistry resources for both H1 and H2 Chemistry students – perfect for giving you a little boost to help improve your Chemistry grades.
4.1. A Level Chemistry Tips
4.1.1. Plan Your Schedule
Given the hectic schedules of A Level students, juggling so many subjects, all with so much content, definitely isn’t easy. Furthermore, with such a short period of time (1.5 years) to master so much content, burning out is something commonly experienced by students. What students can do, however, is to plan out their time and dedicate enough time for work and rest. Through this, students should aim for enough rest (at least 8 hours of sleep per night) and a balanced work and play ratio.
4.1.2. Be Consistent & Focused
The A Level Chemistry syllabus has over 10 topics, each with an immense amount of concepts and formulas required. Similar to every other A Level subject, students need to stay focused and consistent throughout the year, as it definitely won’t be easy rushing the whole syllabus just months before the A Level exams. Hence, students should aim to stay on task and pay attention to all lectures and tutorials right from the start, as well as to dedicate revision time either after each lecture, or at least once a week. This way, through consistent practice and reinforcing of the concepts, students will have a much easier time consolidating their learning before the A Level Chemistry examination.
4.1.3. Study With Friends
There’s no secret that studying in groups is beneficial. Having company while studying serves as a motivation and driving force for students – knowing that they are not alone while studying can help to boost morale and promote a more conducive and healthy learning space. In addition, with a group of friends, students can bounce off ideas and clear up misconceptions easily, without having the need to set aside another pocket of time to clarify doubts with teachers/tutors. After study sessions, students can also go for meals, play sports together, promoting a healthy work-life balance.
4.1.4. Practise Past Year Questions
With every A Level subject, even though content mastery is crucial, the syllabus focuses a lot on application of the syllabus content into real-life, novel situations. Hence, it can definitely be helpful if students expose themselves to more question types and situations from past year papers or other schools’ papers. This way, with increased practice, students can familiarise themselves with different contexts and question types.
It will also be useful if students are able to practise the papers under timed conditions to simulate exam settings. In doing so, students will be exposed to the level of speed and accuracy required to do well in the actual examinations.
4.1.5. Get Personalised Guidance
In some cases, even despite hours of hard work and effort put in, students might still find themselves lagging behind and unable to grasp the complicated content. This might be due to the student’s inability to diagnose the root cause of their problem. With additional personalised guidance in the form of a qualified Chemistry Tutor, who will help assess the student’s weakness, students will be able to get targeted help in the areas they are weak at. For example, if a student is unable to understand calculations involved in Stoichiometry, a Chemistry Tutor can help by breaking down the calculations into bite-sized chunks, allowing students to understand it at a slower pace. Hence, MindFlex strongly recommends seeking guidance in the form of a 1-to-1 Home Tutor. With a Home Tutor, students will receive 100% of the tutor’s attention and dedication. The tutor will also dedicate time and effort into crafting a lesson plan that is 100% targeted towards helping the student.
4.2. A Level Chemistry Resources
A Level Chemistry can be a hard subject if students do not have the correct resources to aid them in their revision. Hence, in this section, we have compiled our top 7 Chemistry resources, including free Chemistry test papers and A Level Chemistry notes!
4.2.1. A-Level H2 Chemistry Practical Guide
The practical component of H2 Chemistry, more often than not, is overlooked by students. However, this should not be the case! The A Level Chemistry Practical takes up 20% of your entire grade – so it is definitely quite an important paper. This guidebook provides comprehensive notes on experimental and planning techniques, together with summaries of organic qualitative analysis and distinguishing tests for your Organic Chemistry practical. Together with samples of possible questions and its answers/procedures, this guidebook is definitely a must-have for all H2 Chemistry students!
4.2.2. Strategies for Effective Revision – A Level Physical Chemistry
Published by the same publisher as the aforementioned guidebook, Strategies for Effective Revision contains effective, proven strategies to help students understand their mistakes and improve their H2 Chemistry grades. With this, students will receive guided strategies that can help to boost their A Level Chemistry grades.
4.2.3. A Level Organic Chemistry Concept Maps
Put together by a well-known Chemistry Tuition Centre in Singapore, these concept maps illustrate all the common organic reactions that appear in the A Level Chemistry examination. Separated by its different functional groups, these concept maps serves as a basic introduction as well as a handy overview for students studying for their Organic Chemistry. The site also provides exercises for students to test their knowledge and understanding of the reactions.
4.2.4. Free A Level Chemistry Notes
SGExams is a community site containing a plethora of A Level study notes, put together by students. Here, students are able to download notes from various students, sorted by topics, concepts etc. With a useful ‘upvote’ function, users can also vote for their recommended notes – allowing others to find the more useful notes/resources quickly.
4.2.5. Free A Level Chemistry Exam Papers
As mentioned in our tips above, getting enough Chemistry practice is essential in order to be exposed to as many question types and application questions as possible. However, we understand that it might be difficult to get hold of these papers if students do not have access to help from a tuition teacher. Hence, we’ve collated a list of A Level Chemistry papers that are absolutely free!
4.2.6. A Level Chemistry Tuition Centres
If you find that you need additional guidance outside of school, an extremely useful resource are tuition centres! With affordable tuition centres with fees as low as $200/month, these avenues can provide additional guidance for students who find themselves struggling with the subject even despite a lot of time and effort spent on it. While it might be hard to settle on the perfect tuition centre due to budget, quality and convenience, there are many other A Level Tuition Options for H1 & H2. Some of MindFlex recommendations are Quintessential Education, School of Thought, Achevas and many more.
4.2.7. MindFlex Chemistry Tutors
Given the hectic schedule of A Level students, it might be inconvenient for students to travel to tuition centres weekly as it might take up a lot of time, leaving students exhausted and too tired to study. Another option that might suit these students is Home Tuition! With 1-to-1 home tutoring, students will be able to enjoy high-quality guidance at the comforts of their own homes, making it more convenient and more conducive for students.
Here at MindFlex, we have a large database of over 6,000 A Level Chemistry Home Tutors with varying qualifications, experience and rates. Enjoy high-quality guidance and education at the comforts of your own home and pace with MindFlex’s A Level Chemistry Tutors.
Studying for the A Level Chemistry examination is a tough journey, but MindFlex believes that with the correct studying methods and with enough guidance, studying can be much easier and fulfilling. Here at MindFlex, our qualified A Level Chemistry Tutors are able to mitigate any anxieties and worries surrounding the subject by providing light-hearted, holistic education through a variety of lesson plans catered towards the student’s learning style and weaknesses.
Discover how you can improve your Chemistry grades with MindFlex today!