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I've dedicated my entire life to chem HL but I'm still on a 5

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I study so hard for chemistry. I literally lose sleep over it. I review every new topic we learn on the same night.

I use the Pearson's baccalaureate text book (the school gave us the John Green and Sadru Damji, which is pretty useless) and I literally memorize it. Yet whenever we have a test or exam im lucky if I get a 5. Our teacher is horrible. She rushes through the syllabus without stopping for people. She just doesn't care if we do badly. I know we should be the ones helping ourselves but thats what im trying to do.

The IB always uses unfamiliar wording and new situations not explored the textbook and I panic in the test when I see some of them.

my question is for the people who get 7s in HL chem: how on earth do you manage it? Do you do the same things I do when revising?

I really hope to get a 7 but im feeling really demotivated now...

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Guest Sunshine123

Please don't give up and continue to believe in yourself! :) My suggestion is to practice, practice and practice using chemistry past papers

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Chemistry is my true love in the IB...and my highest 7 so I'll try to motivate you!!

  • I love the Damji and the Pearson one is good too (but the Damji is wayyyy more helpful in my opinion) It might be wordy but all that extension is exactly what you need to fully understand the content. Also, the questions are quite challenging.
  • Check out these videos: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnKyCBclmK1dqPj9r3iw5gA Before studying/ revising any topic, I check out the corresponding video for the specific dot point. They are well made and entertaining - sure to give you a boost with the simplicity of the guy's approach to the subject.
  • Stop caring about the teacher! If the teacher's bad, live with it (I have many sucky teachers) and try to self study. If you find that some parts of the course you truly need teacher assistance, go and talk to them individually (during a free or lunch) about your difficulties...I would surprised if they refuse to help you.
  • Try past questions or download the question bank...familiarize yourself with the wording and look at the mark scheme to pinpoint how the IB markers expect you to answer.
  • DO NOT MEMORISE!! I cannot stress this enough. Chemistry is unlike biology in which by memorising a text chapter, you'll end up doing well. I actually think that it's more like maths - you have to understand the concepts so well that you're able to apply them in any condition. Instead of memorising, I read a certain chapter again and again and check out more resources (like the videos) to be sure that I get it. Then I do the worked examples in the textbook to ensure that I totally know it. Normally, once I do that, the concept stays stuck in my head for a very long time. - It's like maths, once you learn differentiating, you can use it anytime...that's how for example the gas laws should be.

Just sharing my own method of chemistry learning...I have a notebook where I write each dot point (in red pen) then I have a reasonable summary for it. In fact, I wouldn't say summary, looking at different textbooks, I write down all the information I need to know for it under it. I've been doing this for every topic and I find that this is really helpful during revision. For more calculation based syllabus points, I do practise questions on paper and attach it to my notes.

Hope my rambling helps :D
Keep calm and <3 chemistry!!

Simran, a true chemistry nerd :P

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From one chemistry nerd to another, you should probably change your strategy or approach to learning if what you're doing now isn't working. Memorizing isn't going to get you very far in chemistry. Yes, you've got to memorize some things, such as which are the strong acids and the organic functional groups and stuff like that, but the majority of the course is based on concepts. If you memorize your book, you'll be able to write down that particular example on the exam, but 9 times out of 10 that specific example isn't going to be on your exam in the same way, and you'll get stuck. If you learn the concepts of the material, and learn how and why things work, you'll do a lot better.

Also, doing past papers is a great way to get familiar with the style of questions the IB asks, their (relative) difficulty (because sometimes some years are harder than others, and some years are easier), and what kinds of things the IB likes to ask. Get your hands on as many past papers as you can, and work through them. What I did close to my exam time was get a copy of the syllabus (I had the Pearson book, which has the syllabus in it) and go through every single point on it. I literally wrote out the answers to every point and kept it in a notebook (which I still have a year and a half later, lol).

I didn't score a 7 but still scored decently, and if you try really hard, you can get a 7. :)

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