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8 Results Proven Tips to Score An A1 for O Level Chemistry

According to Cambridge, O Level Chemistry aims to help students understand the technological world we live in and provide them with an informed interest in science and scientific developments. O Level Chemistry is probably one of the subjects that students have a love-hate relationship with. It is fundamental in our world and plays a vital role in everyone’s lives and existence. Despite it being a fascinating field of study, students who cannot appreciate the idea of Chemistry will most likely experience the struggles in studying it. With the amount of challenges posed in studying Chemistry, most struggling students often attempt to boost their understanding of Chemistry through engaging in O Level Chemistry Tuition or Chemistry Tuition in Singapore.

However, before we begin, you must be wondering, should I choose Combined OR Pure Chemistry? And what is the difference between them? At the end of Secondary 2, all students must decide their subject combination for Upper Secondary. Often, students would face the dilemma of choosing between either of the Science Combinations Combined Chemistry and Pure Chemistry. The differences between Combined and Pure Chemistry are as follows:

1) Content Coverage: Pure Science typically covers an estimate of 20% more content compared to Combined Chemistry. For example, in Pure Chemistry, there is a total of 11 topics that will be covered and tested in the O Level Examination. As for Combined Chemistry, there is a total of 10 topics to be covered and tested instead. However, the amount of content that the students will learn for either Pure or Combined Chemistry will be different in each topic. For instance, in the topic ‘The Particulate Nature of Matter’, ‘Metallic Bonding’ will not be covered for students taking Combined Chemistry.

2) Nature of Questions Tested In Pure Chemistry: There is a higher percentage of questions that involve students handling information or data and solving problems (HISP) compared to Combined Chemistry. HISP refers to “using principles and concepts learnt in the syllabus and applying them in a logical, reasoned and deductive manner”. 

3) Weightage: In Combined Chemistry and Pure Chemistry, the weightage for both theory and practical papers is different. According to the SEAB O Level Chemistry Syllabus, the assessment weightage are as follows:

Topics Covered

Combined Chemistry
Pure Chemistry

1) Experimental Chemistry

2) The Particulate Nature of Matter

3) Formulae Stoichiometry and the Mole Concept

4) Energy Changes

5) Chemical Reactions

6) Acids, Bases and Salts

7) The Periodic Table

8) Metals

9) Air

10) Organic Chemistry

1) Experimental Chemistry

2) The Particulate Nature of Matter

3) Formulae Stoichiometry and the Mole Concept

4) *Electrolysis*

5) Energy from Chemicals

6) Chemical Reactions

7) Acids, Bases and Salts

8) The Periodic Table

9) Metals

10) Air

11) Organic Chemistry

 

Weightage (Combined Science – If students take Combined Physics/Chemistry, they will not be attempting Paper 4 Biology Paper)

Papers 

Duration 

Marks 

Weightage 

Paper 1 – 40 MCQ 

1 Hr 

40 marks

20%

Paper 2 – Structured and Free Response  (Physics)

1 Hr 15 min

65 marks 

32.5%

Paper 3 – Structured and Free Response  (Chemistry)

1 Hr 15 min

65 marks 

32.5%

Paper 4 – Structured and Free Response  (Biology)

1 Hr 15 min

65 marks 

32.5%

Paper 5 – Practical Test 

1 Hr 30 min

30 marks 

15%

 

Weightage (Pure Chemistry)

Papers 

Duration 

Marks 

Weightage 

Paper 1 – 40 MCQ 

1 Hr 

40 marks

30%

Paper 2 – Structured and Free Response  (Chemistry)

1 Hr 45 min

80 marks

50%

Paper 3 – Practical Test 

1 Hr 40 min

40 marks 

20%

 

After understanding the differences between Pure and Combined Chemistry, we hope that you can have a better idea of which direction you would like to take and which form of Chemistry, Pure or Combined, is best suited to your learning needs. Regardless of which combination you choose, this article will provide you with eight result proven tips from our Top Chemistry Tutors to help you score A1 in the O Level Chemistry Examination.

1. The Chemistry Periodic Table Is Your BFF

The Periodic Table is every chemistry student’s BFF. Understanding the period table well and familiarising it can help students gain several marks during the O Level Chemistry Examination. Why and How, you ask? The Periodic Table contains a wealth of information that can help students answer the questions, especially in Paper 2. Some questions require students to refer back to the periodic table to gather and deduce certain scientific information based on the data points. For example, finding out the number of protons/electrons/neutrons, electronic configuration or number of electron shells, etc. The ability to answer such questions because the students can read the periodic table can help them secure a good amount of marks for their papers.

2. Aim To Score Well In The O Level Chemistry Practical Exam

O Level Chemistry Practical

Focus on what is learnt during your Chemistry practical classes to better prepare yourself for the O Level Exam

Students should aim to score well in their practical exam. By doing so, they can secure 15%-20% of their final O Level Chemistry Grade. The O Level Practical Test aims to test students’ understanding of the topics and concepts and their ability to apply the theories learnt in real-life situations. Some tips from our O Level Chemistry Tutors in doing well for the Practical Test are:

1) Revise and recap on the previous practical practices attempted during classes. These practicals are essential as there is a high chance that the school has covered all possible practical questions that might appear in the actual examination.

2) Take note of what you are studying for the practical exam. When revising for the Chemistry Practical Examination, there is no point memorising the results of the experiments as they always differ from paper to paper. In your past practical practices, look out for the kinds of questions and keywords that appeared in your answers and the mistakes made when you conducted the experiments to prevent similar occurrences from happening in the actual examination.

3) The third helpful tip is to memorise the format in answering the practical questions. For example, in the practical paper, they might require students to plan the experiment procedure. To avoid leaving out important points and concepts in your answer, it is advised for you to memorise the format to answer the planning question so that in the actual practical examination, it will be easier for you to craft your answer. 

Students’ number of practices for Chemistry Practical are a lot lesser than they have for written exams. As such, students are recommended to take their practical practices in school seriously to better prepare themselves for the actual O Level Chemistry Practical Examination. Good luck!

3. The Importance of Key Words

If you are determined to score an A1 for your O Level Chemistry, you might want to find out the proper keywords to use in your answers. Firstly, before attempting the questions, regardless of which Papers (Paper 1, 2,3 etc.) you are doing, ALWAYS read the question very carefully. Make sure you understand what the question wants from you. Underline, circle or even scribble on your paper if you have to, but make sure that you are very clear on how you will approach the question and reflect it in your answers. For Free and Structure Response Questions, Chemistry O Level markers would mark the students’ answers according to the appropriate keywords or terms used.

To make sure that students do not stray away from the questions, these are the three steps that our O Level Chemistry Tutors recommend students pick up before attempting any questions. 1) Take note of the directive word in the questions – Define, Explain, Describe, Compare, State, etc. Depending on the directive words used, the requirement for each question would vary. For example, questions with the word “describe” usually require students to include data or observations in their answers. Whereas questions that students are required to “define” or “state” usually test their level of understanding and knowledge in the topic or concept. In another instance would the comparison questions. If students come across a question that wants them to “Compare” subject A with subject B, always make sure you know what they are looking for – Is it the Differences or the Similarities? 2) Identify what topic the question is testing you. Again, the ability to look out for keywords plays a role in achieving the A1. Looking out for keywords helps you to have a clear understanding of what topic the question is referring to. For example, the question mentions ‘rate of reaction’; in this case, you need to ask yourself what are some of the related terms or phrases you should use in your answers? 

O Level Chemistry is all about knowing your content, concepts, and topics well. It is about having a solid foundation in the basics, application skills, and clear usage of the keywords. By doing so, you will be able to quickly grasp what the question requires of you and provide a completed answer that includes the appropriate keywords, terms, and phrases to help you score. So practice hard, take the habit to annotate or scribble on your paper if it allows you to understand the question better, and constantly remind yourself to include keys words in your answers! 

4. Clarify Your O Level Chemistry Doubts

Asking for help and clarifying your doubts, either with a friend or teacher, is an important step in achieving good O Level Chemistry grades. Many students skip the idea of asking for help when needed because they are either shy or scared of their teachers. However, by not asking for help or clarifying your doubts on a particular topic, the accumulation of questions you have on the topic gradually increases, which may cause misconceptions over the concepts you have learnt. When you realised that you are stuck on a specific question or find yourself not understanding a topic, it is good to find a friend or teacher to confide in as they might offer you a way to look at the topic from another angle. Students need to have a strong foundation on the basics of Chemistry before moving on to the next topic. This is because in O Level Chemistry come topics are built on one another. As such, prevent yourself from putting any questions on a topic or concept to ‘another day.’ This would only prolong your doubts and build unnecessary misconceptions for Chemistry. Some ways that our O Level Chemistry Tutors recommend are:

  1. Study with your friends.
  2. Stay after class for consultations.
  3. Get yourself a Chemistry Tutor.

One of the bad habits that students usually is that they wait a week or a few days before the exams or O Level Examination to clarify their doubts and questions. This is highly not recommended as it will create unnecessary pain and stress in students, which may undermine their performance during the actual O Level Examinations. When in doubt, ask, remember students, do not wait till the very last minute the have your questions cleared! 

Student asking questions

Always ask questions when you are in doubt

5. Use Acronyms

O Level Chemistry can be a heavy subject that might sometimes take a toll on the students’ minds with the amount of reading, understanding, and memorising they have to do. However, to make studying more manageable and fun, our O Level Chemistry Tutors recommend students to come up with their own acronyms (Click here to learn how to form your own acronym). An example of an acronym would be Roy G. Biv (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). An acronym is considered to be a powerful and effective tool used to help in recalling information. It can help to serve as a memory aid for students during their revision. For example, students can come up with an acronym to help them remember the reactivity series:

Acronym:

Please Stop Calling Me A Zebra Instead Tell Laura How Copper Strengthens Gold

Chemistry Term:

Potassium, Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, Aluminium, Zinc, Iron, Tin, Lead, Hydrogen, Copper, Silver, Gold

6. Time Management

Tik Tok Tik Tok…Time management is a key success for every student regardless of the subjects. In the O Level Chemistry Examination, time management is crucial if students aim to score an A1. Mastering the key concepts of Chemistry is the first step to achieving A1. However, the inability to complete the papers during the examination will cause unnecessary marks to be lost, which will bring students a step further from achieving their goal grade. Students can attempt a complete set of examination papers such as the Ten-Year Series, under timed conditions, to train themselves by stimulating the actual O Level Examination. By going through practice timed exercises allows students to understand the importance of time management during examination.

Having time management during the examination is equally important during revision. Many students tend to leave revision till the very last minute, which would cause unnecessary stress and frustration. The first way students can improve their time management skills when revising for the O Level Chemistry Examination is to create and stick with a revision plan. Having a well-establish plan will help students break down their workload effectively, ensuring that all the topics and contents are well covered and revised. It also encourages students to adopt a good studying habit which prevents procrastination and last-minute revision. So remember, always bring yourself out of your comfort zone when revising so that you are better prepared for the actual examination!

7. Make Notes To Prepare for O Level Chemistry Examination

Writing down notes in preparation for the O Level Chemistry may seem like a simple task, however, do not underestimate the power and effectiveness it brings compared to just reading from a textbook. Jotting down your own personalised notes is one of the most effective ways to absorb the content you have learned in class. By simply just listening to the teacher talk does little in helping you understand what you are learning. O Level Chemistry is very content-heavy, and the number of topics tested during the examination might pose a challenge to most students. As such, creating your notes for each topic allows you to recap the concepts and helps you stay active and engaged in your revision. You can get creative and organise your notes in a preferred format, making it easier for you to review. However, do not spend too much time making it neat. Having your notes messy and full of scribbles is fine, it just shows how much effort you have put in preparing for the examination! 

making O Level Chemistry Notes

Make your own Chemistry notes as a form of revision!

Another way is to make cheat sheets for the topics that you are unsure of. Take a piece of paper (A4) and fill it up with all the information such as the definitions of come Chemistry terms, formulas for Chemical Reactions, or other important information that you think is necessary for you to take note. Once done, it will make it easier for you to revise the O Level Chemistry concepts and topics and repeatedly look at it before starting the exam. When the exam begins, you can take the chance to quickly regurgitate all the information that you can remember written on your cheat sheet onto the exam question paper. To some students, making their personalised notes brings them a sense of calm and reduces their anxiety before the O Level Examination. So do yourself a favour and start creating your own Chemistry notes. You’ll never know, it might suddenly make revision a whole lot easier for you.

8. Practice the Ten-Year Series Questions

I am sure everyone who is reading this article right now should know what a Ten-Year Series is. It refers to a book compilation of all the O Level Chemistry Exam papers in the past years. One handy way students can improve their Chemistry and thoroughly prepare themselves for the O Level Chemistry Examination is to attempt and complete all the Ten-Year series questions. By working on the Ten-Year Series, students can take the opportunity to test their understanding of each topic as it will provide them a gauge on their level ion understanding of the key concepts and application skills when answering the questions. This form of practice allows students to gradually build their confidence and find areas that they are weak in to improve before the actual O Level Examination approaches. To score well in the O Level Chemistry, students need to have a strong foundation in their concepts. According to our O Level Chemistry Tutors, by practicing on the Ten-Year Series will help build student’s foundation topic-by-topic as detailed step-by-step solutions are provided that students can refer to as model answers. With constant practice, students can get exposed to the different types of O Level Chemistry questions that they might come across again during the actual examination.

Conclusion

Students should know the fundamental rule in achieving A1 in the O Level Chemistry Examination is self-discipline. Studying hard and going out of the way to clarify your understanding of specific Chemistry topics either from your friends, teachers, or your O Level Chemistry Tutors will positively affect your learning progress. In MindFlex, the one thing we value most is ensuring that the students can receive proper academic help that brings out the best in their learning. The O Level Chemistry Tutors at MindFlex are very experienced in preparing students for their O Level Chemistry Examination. They can provide students with all the personalised tips and pieces of advice they need in scoring an A1 in their O Level Chemistry. If you or your child feels that they require struggling with Chemistry, it is best to seek a Chemistry Tutor, so that are able to receive the help that they need before it is too late!

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