A-Level Chemistry can feel like the biggest hurdle in the way of medical school for many people. There’s a reason medical schools have it as a requirement – it is a very tough subject, and requires a lot of hard work and perseverance.
However, with patience and determination, you can definitely succeed. In this blog, I will give you three top tips for A-Level Chemistry revision.
1. Practice under timed conditions
Timed conditions can bring out the worst in people’s performance, even if they have all the knowledge in the world. Sometimes, the pressure can make simple things slip your mind, or cause you to rush your answers.
To try to eliminate this as much as possible, practice all your past papers under timed conditions. This will give you an idea of how long you have on the day. It will enable you to practice in case you need to learn to speed up a bit.
In your practice papers, you want to be able to finish a little bit before the intended time. This will give you time to check your work, and allow for any “brain fog” moments – this happened to me a lot!
Particularly when I first started any exam, it took my brain a while to be able to register the first question, and sometimes my mind would blank out for a few moments when trying to recall something.
This is completely normal and will cause no issues at all if you practice keeping to the time.
2. Check your work
It is not worth losing easy marks by making silly mistakes, and therefore checking your work is absolutely vital. This is true of any question, but for A-Level Chemistry in particular, it is important that you check your calculations and mechanisms. When you read through a question, don’t just glance at it – if you have time, use a new piece of paper and do the whole question again, in order to compare.
Once you’ve made a mistake, it’s easy to overlook it when checking. However, it’s unlikely that you will make the same accidental error twice. Ask the invigilator for a spare piece of paper – this is totally allowed and will really help you, especially if you’re prone to silly mistakes!
3. Don’t give up too easily
When you are trying to get your head around a new topic, or trying to understand something particularly tricky, it can be very easy to become frustrated and give up. Don’t!
Chemistry can take time to sink in to your mind – I remember feeling particularly upset about not understanding mechanisms, but I just kept practising (and badgering my teacher) until one day, it finally clicked. After that, it just came naturally.
This is something that happens often with chemistry, and it is important that you keep trying, because having a superficial knowledge of something may not be good enough for the exam. If the exam question is slightly different to what you’ve been practising, then those with solid knowledge will be able to apply it, whereas those who are shaky will not be able to. Good luck!
Words: Mariam Al-Attar
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