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How To Score Well For 'O' Level Chemistry

Chemistry is made a compulsory 'O' level subject in almost all Secondary Schools in Singapore.

This brings up the question for all of you:

Do you know the importance of Chemistry?

How to study for Chemistry?

What should you do to score that A1 for your chemistry examinations and ‘O’ Levels?

1. Knowing The Importance of Chemistry

Do you know that Chemistry is a compulsory pre-requisite instead of the other sciences to enter Medicine course in University?

To enter many science-related courses in Singapore, Chemistry is a common pre-requisite. In order to widen the choices of university courses available to you, taking up Chemistry and doing well in it is extremely useful and important.

Tip: It is important to be aware of the potential courses you would like to undertake in University. To ensure that you are on the right path towards your goals, find out the pre-requisites of your desired course and make the right choices with your subject combination. Make sure you take suitable subjects that will enable you to enter the course of your choice in future. Of course, working hard towards your goal is important, and Miss Liu will be there to guide you along this path towards achieving your goals!

2. Know The Syllabus

Knowing your syllabus well is the key to ensuring that your learning will be effective. Molding your studying and answering techniques towards answering examination-type questions will give you an edge during examinations.

The table below shows the type of paper and their weightings for ‘O’ Pure Chemistry.

Note that SPA has been replaced with Paper 3 Practical from Year 2018 onward.

Paper 3 is a formal practical assessment designed to assess student’s competency in the following practical skill areas:

  • Planning (P)

  • Manipulation, measurement and observation (MMO)

  • Presentation of data and observations (PDO)

  • Analysis, conclusions and evaluation (ACE)

It is important to take every practical lesson seriously as if it is the real practical examination! Why?

Unlike other theory lessons, practical sessions are only available in school and it is practically impossible to be able to practice your practical skills anywhere else. Hence, it is important to take every single practical session seriously to ensure that you have acquired the necessary skills required to ace your practical. As practical has a substantial weighting of 20%, it is key to secure this 20% to work towards the A during your ‘O’ Levels.

Check that you have all the concepts in the syllabus covered!

Studying hard may not produce the desired results. Studying smart allows you to maximize the limited time you have and produce the same results concurrently.

What do you actually need to know? That is simple. Simply refer to the official O’ Level Syllabus .

BONUS: You can also find some useful definitions in the content of the syllabus. These definitions can help you get “free marks” during examinations.

After studying a topic, check that you have covered every concept you need to know from the topic using the syllabus! You can do this by giving yourself a mini test after revising each chapter to ensure that you have fully understood each concept.

3. How To Prepare For Chemistry Examination?

Start by preparing for exams in advance to avoid cramming information in, which many students try to do the night before. Your brain does not work like that. Your brain is programmed to absorb information piece by piece.

  1. After every lesson, look at the notes and begin to learn from there; review all the concepts and make sure you understand.

  2. Make your own notes of the topic which allow you to remember the information easily. Why is it important to make your own summary notes?

  3. Attempt basic questions from school’s worksheet, assessment book or Miss Liu's worksheet.

  4. Practise examination-type questions in Topical Ten Year Series to ensure that you fully understand the topic.

  5. Take practice exams that diversifies all of the possible problems or get copies of old tests without looking at the answer. In the process, time yourself to see how fast you can get through each question.

10 Useful Tips For Studying

  1. Find ways to stay motivated to study. Reward yourself when you feel like you have done well and deserve a treat.

  2. Find a realistic goal that you want to achieve and use it as your motivation to keep going. It is important to pace yourself throughout this mentally stressful period.

  3. Take a break if you need to for relaxing. Do something you enjoy, like reading a book, going for a run or simply listen to music. Simple actions like this can subconsciously relax and recharge your mind to face the books with more energy.

  4. The road towards the ‘O’ Levels is not a sprint, but a marathon. It is unwise to “Chiong” all the way as you will definitely feel the burn out and be tempted to give up halfway. Instead, pacing yourself to finish this “race” in good shape is the goal.

  5. It is recommended to study a subject for at least an hour a day every day at minimum, five days a week. This is to ensure that the information stays fresh in your mind.

  6. Keep away from your phone even when you are taking breaks in between studying. Did you know that the average teenager only has an attention span of 8.25 seconds? Once you get distracted by social media, it will be difficult to get back the momentum of studying.

  7. If possible, get a tutor to help out because they can find ways to get you to learn the harder chapters in the subject.

  8. Find someone from class or a group of other people so everyone learns together. This also includes maintaining brain and body stamina to keep the mind alert and have a happy, positive attitude.

  9. It is important to have a regular sleeping schedule for your body to be at its prime. This will help your brain be more awake and absorb information easily. Depriving your brain of enough rest will cause it to perform at substandard levels.

  10. Having a good diet is also important as your diet provides energy for you to think clearly and remember information well. Remain calm, confident, and positive.

And so, remember that the road towards 'O' Levels is a marathon. With consistent effort and determination, you will be able to achieve A in your 'O' level!

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