How To Prepare O Level Chemistry (5070) Subject From Scratch To Get The Best Grade In CAIE Exams

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Studying routines can be quite stressful, especially when one is trying to get a good score on the exam. However, what can increase this stress is the excessive level of myths that exist about exam preparation. The main purpose to make this post series is to bust those myths about preparation of subjects for CAIE O Level / A Level and IGCSE. The post will be accompanied by 2 other posts: Examination Solving and Attempting Tips, and Schedules for each subject

How To Prepare: General

  • Chemistry of O Level requires you to attempt 3 exams: The MCQ paper, the theory paper and the Alternate to Practical Exam.
  • The following method is what I prefer for the preparation in most cases.

The method

  1. First, use these comprehensive notes to study the entire syllabus of Chemistry (available on Educate A Change ( Chemistry Notes by Sir Hunain Zia ).  Do go through the entire syllabus once with a quick read. Usually, this takes 1-1.5 weeks maximum. The syllabus of O Level Chemistry is a little tricky, and you need to understand what you are reading to make the most out of the learning experience.
  2. Once you are done with the reading
    1. Re-read each topic one by one.
    2. This time, you will not just read the topic. Instead, download all the past papers of O Level Chemistry PAPER 1 ONLY. Do download BOTH VARIANTS (i.e. 11 and 12 instead of just 12) and both series for at least the last 10 years.
    3. Solve the paper 1 Questions for the topic you just read. If you do it in one go, you can complete 1 topic in 2 days maximum. Smaller topics take 1 day
      1. Make sure you make notes on each topical past paper question of paper 1 side by side.
        1. Mention what you did right
        2. Mention where you did something wrong and why were you wrong in that question.
    4. Why this approach?
      1. Paper 1 focuses on pin-point key concepts.
      2. It helps you learn the pitfalls in your understanding of the topic.
      3. For example
        1. A paper 1 MCQ will try to confuse you between different aspects of the same topic.
          1. It will ask questions about ethanol or ethene in ways that will be confusing.
        2. Even if you make a mistake, you will learn the concept and that way the information will be retained in your mind for ever.
      4. Added Benefit: MANY QUESTIONS REPEAT IN PAPER 1.
      5. Another benefit is that by making the notes from the questions will help you immensely in paper 2.
  3. Once you are done doing the topical Paper 1, Start with topical Paper 2: the theory paper:
    1. Remember, you now know the pitfalls in each chapter from Paper. Doing Paper 2 will be a lot easier for you.
    2. Another important issue: DO NOT STOP READING THE CHAPTERS. A major issue students make is that they just get to past papers only and stop reading the theory. Remember, theory skips out of your mind quickly if not revised.
    3. Do the same – 10 years, both variants, both series topical past papers of Paper 2.
    4. For Paper 2
      1. Make sure you read the marking schemes side by side of the questions you attempt.
        1. Why?
          1. They tell you exactly the briefest way to solve any question.
          2. Also, they will guide you on the way of writing something.
            1. Most students mess up the way of writing equations etc.
  1. Even if you do not complete a single yearly complete paper
    1. Does NOT matter. Your speed of attempt and understanding will already be set from the topical papers.
    2. Still, if time remains, just do 5-10 yearly papers of paper 2. That is all.
      1. To check your timing and speed.
  2. Alternate to practical
    1. When you have done the topical papers of Paper 2, first read some good notes of Chemistry ATP Alternate to Practical (. You will find many on AYLOTI Study and Educate A Change (Chemistry ATP Notes By Sir Hunain Zia).
    2. Then, attempt 10 past papers.
    3. Remember, the pattern is much the same over the years.
    4. The common errors are the same
      1. Try to avoid those common errors mentioned in the paper.
    5. Try to learn the common tricks from these multiple attempts.
    6. Aim to score perfect in ATP exam.
    7. For Chemistry ATP in particular
      1. There are some common things to remember
        1. You need to memorize the complete table of Identification of Ions.
        2. Remember, there are a total of 3-4 types of titration questions only. Just values change, types stay the same.
        3. Other questions have a pattern as well.

Paper Wise Learning

Paper 1

  • Read a chapter, attempt topical past papers of the last 10 years at least
    • Do papers of both variants
    • Do papers of both series
  • Mark the questions or create a table of questions that are extremely tricky so that you can revise them later on.
  • Make sure you make notes on the solutions of the questions

Paper 2

  • Do topical past papers in the same way as paper 1
  • Make sure you mark the difficult questions for last 10 days revision
  • Also
    • Make notes from the marking scheme of the questions you attempt of anything you find particularly tricky.
  • You also need to read the marking schemes as well.

Paper ATP

  • Attempt the paper after reading some good notes (link given above)
  • Remember, the common mistakes have to be avoided. That is the key to success.
  • The pattern of titration questions and memorization of identification of ions.

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