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Chemistry HL- How to do well?

Hey I'm just curious as to see what you people do to do well in Chemistry. Do you use any resources or do you just follow the classes and rely on that soly? I'm wondering what I should be doing and giving priority to in terms of hard topics or other things. Did you use any revision guides, did you use any question banks. What do you think is necessary in order to do well in Chemistry and also enjoy the subject.

Thanks in advance.

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Syllabus and extra reading.

Despite the fact that I got a 4.. I do believe that extra reading helps.

I used to ask my teacher about the smallest things i dont understand, in most cases I never took chem as something you have to memorize but rather understand, which is why i found the exam not so hard, AGAIN despite the fact that I got a 4 which I still dont know the reason of.

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Question bank, question bank, question bank. That is all. Literally! IB questions for chemistry are by default (except for paper 3) going to end up being slightly different angles on the same question - different chemicals but the same theory, for instance. Memorise everything which needs memorising and then kick in with the practice, especially for calculations. Do it really ahead of time as well as Chemistry is one of the worst exams to stress about. I did my papers on a zillion cups of tea and like 4 hours sleep sandwiched between two other exams and had to spend so long learning the night before that I fell asleep for ten minutes in Paper 2! Be prepared @___@

Honestly, Chemistry is evil :blink:

Oh and also, they are VERY harsh with chemistry coursework. I had mine severely downgraded from what my teacher had given me (3 grades down from 7 --> 4!!) so really make sure you're on target as it can really drag your overall grade down.

All in all: if I could go back in time I would've done more past paper questions and tried way harder with my coursework.

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Well I'm not really that sure since I'm just kicking off with IB,

But I think practising is the key of success for scientific subjects like Math and Chem (Physics maybe ? I didn't take Physics :/).

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In my school, the Chemistry teacher has a different philosophy of teaching compared to what we're used to. He talks, we take notes. In the past, students have said that if they hadn't read the textbooks and learned pretty much all of the material themselves, they would have definitely failed. So get a textbook with IB Chem SL/HL and do extra reading on your own and ask questions if you don't understand.

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Hey I'm just curious as to see what you people do to do well in Chemistry. Do you use any resources or do you just follow the classes and rely on that soly? I'm wondering what I should be doing and giving priority to in terms of hard topics or other things. Did you use any revision guides, did you use any question banks. What do you think is necessary in order to do well in Chemistry and also enjoy the subject.

Thanks in advance.

well, most of the senior in my college got 7 in their chemistry, the secret? Just understand and don't memorize anything that you don't. We usually makes our own note, and for the exercises it just applies for the stoichiometry q's.. and do understand the periodic table, chapter 4 which is the periodicity, very important and the key to master chemistry.. By the way, I just got a 7 on the latest test.. (after a few 5's.. fuhh) I attach with this the 1/6 which my chem teacher gave me for quick revision for chapter 4.

LECTURE 1 (Periodicity).ppt

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I must agree with some of the posts above and disagree with others. First, know your material, open the syllabus, and read through them see WHAT IS IT THAT IB is asking for!! After you read through it, check your notes read through them, if there is a point that you arent "comfortable" with then read your book. After all that, read through your book anyways (alot of Oxfords major points are in the captions of the pictures in oxford.. Example: Hetrogenous Catalyst provide a surface of Adsoprtion (not Absorption) that point was NOT discussed in class even though it should have)

After reading your notes and the book (ofcourse not the whole subject at one time) start past papers (not digitial) print them, the more you are physical with it the better. Chemistry is one of the easiest subjects in terms of the material really is limited and the past papers repeat themself to DEATH (especially in section b.)

Recently, I started studying for Mocks (in Decemeber) I finished Kinetics,Equilibrium,Energetics and just now Redox.. the questions are so repeatative I swear I felt that i was answering the same question after 5 questions.

BASICALLY, try to take chemistry at your pace, dont leave it all the day before, but dont study it months ahead beaucse believe it or not but some of the material is somewhat in need of memorizing or technique (Example: the Energetics, questions always give you the Delta S in Joules, when you wnat to find the G, you must convert it. this is a "trick" so always be fresh)

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Do they ask you definitions in Chemistry? Do they sometimes ask you to just describe a process?

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From all the past paper questions I have done, there are questions where you are asked for definitions, i've seen ones like dynamic equilibrium, isotope, atomic number etc.

I think they also ask questions on processes, like describing the stages in mass spectroscopy and stuff like that.

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The ask you to define specific words? YES, but only those in the syllabus (In Energetics the Lattice Enthalpy, or the Electron affinity)

Therefore, be sure that the IB only asks you to define a term that in the syllabus, it says "define"

Your other point, prcoesses? YES, for example they may ask you to describe SN1 or SN2 (Organic Chemistry) Again, read the syllabus, in the end it should be your refrence.

P.S At times they ask you the conditons of the process, or to annote the process (using lewis structure.) Read the question underline what they are asking for, beacuse mark scheme is based on that.

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well, most of the senior in my college got 7 in their chemistry, the secret? Just understand and don't memorize anything that you don't. We usually makes our own note, and for the exercises it just applies for the stoichiometry q's.. and do understand the periodic table, chapter 4 which is the periodicity, very important and the key to master chemistry.. By the way, I just got a 7 on the latest test.. (after a few 5's.. fuhh) I attach with this the 1/6 which my chem teacher gave me for quick revision for chapter 4.

I had a look at your attachment and I'd be worried about using this. The groups in the periodic table are numbered 1-18. This is not the convention that is used in the IB. The format the IB uses is given in the current data booklet and uses the 'normal' 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,0 numbering system in which the transition metals are not given a number. There have been questions in which you are asked to give the element from its period and group number. These would give you the wrong aswer using the table you have used.

Mr G.

Chemistry Teacher (UK)

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Okay. chemistry is a difficult subject because you have to what I would call, break through into the paradigm of things. For someone who has taken the class, or broken through the obvious and simplistic barrier of Stochiometry, this information will appear obvious. But to a new comer its not.

It is getting the central idea of it all. Once you dive into Organic chemistry, you learn quickly that all they are trying to do is find a simple way or naming things and to differentiate compounds. Once you get that, you will get as good as some of my classmates that visualize the molecule upon reading the name (in correct geometric planes also :) ).

You must do all and every practice problem. So get a support book. I have several. One that is super super cheap and so useful would be one of those "3,000 solved problems in chemistry". Then you just search by topic you are studying and find problems. This is especially useful in situations where your teacher wants you to "apply" knowledge and gives you problems you have never seen before that would be covered in the study guide.

It is very true. You should explore past exams and papers as early as possible. Some of the things I was doing in the classroom as far as Thermodynamics would earn me very few marks on the exam. But learning what it is they want, like writing equation here or using that kind of way of solving the problem, maximizes your marks.

You should always read the chapter before the work has started. Then dive into problems. I once did problems for 12 hours for thermodynamics because it was the hardest test I took in my life. My teacher specialized in chemical engineering, and heavily attacked the topic to the point where she was drawing upon materials from her college notes (same thing happened with Organic Chemistry). I am actually grateful she murdered us. I fully understand every problem I am faced with, and hence, SAT II Chemistry was nothing short of a perfect score (well actually was short :). 780)

But keep working on it and use my advice to your advantage. I am not naturally smart, just a really hard worker. So you should be fine if you take the great advice written on this forum. :D

Edited by biochem
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Biochem what did you get in the IB and in chemistry and Biology?

Do you guys get set homework in Chemistry because I don't really. The way I go about is to go through notes and exercises and review my knowledge. Chemistry is a bit harder to tackle in this manner than Biology but doable. How do you guys go about working for Chemistry?

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I revised the lesson given day by day most of the times and made sure I had a question for my teacher the day after. My teacher was a good one that he often gave me an additional fact AND the IB's view on this part of the syllabus, like how often they get it, the kind of questions they would ask...etc. I depended a lot on my teacher and he gave me very good advice on almost everything. Your teacher is your guide, I never set homework for my self as long as I made sure I understand every single point of the syllabus.

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I agree. I'd say the key to doing well in chemistry is to learn AND understand the syllabus first, making sure you understand the theory of everything and definitions etc. This will create a strong base, and you should be able to do well in paper 1.

Then, to do well in paper 2 and 3 you need to practice practice practice! That's the key with chemistry, find as many practice questions as you can from past papers, text books etc and make sure you can answer most of them. In IB chemistry they like to give you questions from different angles so you can use your original knowledge as a base to solve the problem.

I just got a 5 in May 09 (though my IA was moderated down along with everyone elses), but i'm resitting in may this year to try and get up to a 6.

The osc revision guides are quite good to revise from: OSC IB Revision Guides but are only useful if you have some sort of base to work from.

A new text book has come out this year which i've just ordered, and is meant to be really good (better than the course companion by Geoffrey Neuss, which I pretty much never use). I'll let you know how good it is when I get it but here's the link: Pearson Baccalaureate: Higher Level Chemistry

I'd also recommend you put a lot of effort into your IAs as its 24% of the grade, and every little helps!

If you have any questions on this or HL Biology or Philosophy (i got a 6 in them), then feel free to ask.

Best of luck! :P

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Hey I've have already got that texbook the Pearson Baccalaureate, it's great. I'm so happy I got it. Our chemistry teachers makes us do our IAs in year 13 in class, apparently everybody get's 6s and 7s, the idea sounds daunting but I hope he's right. It's a shame we don't do IAs in Chemistry like we do for Biology because our Bio teacher is so organised.

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Ah well that's good to hear then because it weren't cheap lol. Yeh my bio teacher was a lot better than my chemistry teacher, i think theres a lack of good chem teachers out there.

Just wondering what your predicted, and if your applying to uni next year?

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