How to ace a chemistry exam
After doing the “How to ace a math exam” post I got a lot of request to do something regular but with chemistry. Now my story with the subject chemistry is the same as with math (well all of the subjects I had in highschool) which was the fact that I for the first two years almost failed, during some tests actually failed, and I had such a hard time figuring it out, but in my third and last year of highschool I actually managed to raise my grades to an A and actually just like the math exam, percieve the chemistry exam as somewhat easy - although many did not. So here are my tips for how you can ace a chemistry exam.
First and foremost, make sure that you do your work based off the text book that you have been given, and try as much as possible to understand that and the way they do chemistry - yes methods actually differ - because if this is the assigned book, then the exam will most likely be made with the book in mind.
But how can you understand the book? Lets be honest, sometimes chemistry can seem odd, and it can seem so foreign, especially when you are sometimes given a piece of information and the reasoning is - “it have not been discovered yet why” - its confusing, but for the optimal “learning experience” here are my tips:
- Be aware of your study goals - unlike math, chemistry is something that is based on actual existing material and stuff, which means that it is such a large subject being researched to this day still. So it is important that you are aware of the study goals - which teachers often present - this will make it easier for you to pin point what you should focus on. If your teacher has not presented a “study guide” to you then ask them for one - because they usually have one so that they also can know what they should teach you. And if the teacher for some odd reason refuses to give you one, then listen to what the teacher focuses on during lectures and classes, they make it pretty obvious.
- Don’t skip examples - when I used to study chemistry in highschool, I used to skip examples and think “all I need to know is simply the theory” - you could not be more wrong. Examples are one of the greatest ways to fully understand. They put the theory into perspective - which is a ability you only learn by looking at examples.
- Write out examples - However to benefit from the examples, then I would recommend writing them out. This way by illustrating your understanding will be better. Also because when I read examples and a lot of equations are involved, I tend to skip those and simply read the text part of it. But writing it out actually helps alot, also because there are so many examples in chemistry books that by keeping on doing them, you will get used to it, and you will actually be able to identify the type of question and the way it should be answered!
- Hand written notes - But don’t only write out examples, write out your notes in hand, this is again a better way for you to remember all the different structures and the different names, it is just better than copy pasting an image from google images into your word document.
- Do old examsets - This is one of the best ways to actually get ready for an exam. This beats any form of revision method. You can read and read theories all day long, but if you don’t put that theory into perspective and use it to solve problems - which is the main focus of exams - then there is no use for that reading. Doing old exam sets also helps you be able to get an idea on what type of “questions” will appear in the exam.
- Do ALL the work in the book - This tip is just for extra understanding of the subject. Yes your teacher might have assigned you to do only 5 of those 10 questions in the book, but the question in the book are made so that you can understand the subject. So if you have extra time then for sure do make all of them, or most of them at least. Many of them are almost the same thing but with different numbers, which just gives your mind a form of “routine” that will be useful during exams.
And last but not least, study smart. Don’t sit infront of your book whilst playing on your phone and then be in awe that you failed the exam. Put effort into it, and try to understand it. Don’t give up. It is not impossible and you can do it, I promise!
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