"Hey Google, wanna sit next to me during the exams?" -Unknown

It's no surprise that when confronted with the word exam, most students shudder and become instantly nervous. Exams are tough, and they require pupils to use all of the knowledge they have learned in the past few months. Assessments are even more nerve-wracking when they count for the majority of your marks of the subject in question.

Nonetheless, it's worth stating that examination anxiety can be drastically reduced by learning everything you can about your upcoming examination. Regardless of the stage and academic discipline, you can uncover helpful info about the structure, grading system, and details that examiners are looking for through a bit of investigation work.

So, without further ado, let's look at how A-Level Chemistry examinations are organised and graded in the United Kingdom.

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A Basic Understanding of A-Level Examinations

As we touched on in the introduction, knowing what to expect from your A-Level chemistry exam and how the grading system works will help you excel.

To better comprehend the A-Level Chemistry examination, it's important to state that some changes in recent years have altered how the course is set up.

For instance, the old grading system saw teens study AS levels in Year 12, with exams taken in either May or June worth 50% of the student's overall A-Level qualification. However, in 2015 this changed and with the new government reforms, AS levels would no longer count towards the final A-Level grade; instead, there would be more exams at the end of Year 13.

The AS level completed by students can stand as a separate qualification but not if you choose to complete an A-Level in that subject.

To understand how A-Levels are assessed a little bit more clearly, the GOV.UK website sets out the main features of the new qualifications:

  • Assessment will be mainly by exam with other types of assessment used only where they are needed to test essential skills,
  • AS and A-Levels will be assessed at the end of the course. AS assessments will typically take place after one year’s study and A levels after two. The classes will no longer be divided into modules, and there will be no exams in January,
  • AS and A-Levels will be decoupled, which means that meaning AS results will no longer count towards an A-Level subject,
  • AS levels can be designed by exam boards to be taught alongside the first year of A-Levels.

A-Level examinations are typically held once a year in late spring for students at the end of secondary school and ready to apply and attend a university programme. Students are required to take a minimum of three A-Levels subjects, and they are taken over two years of academic study. Pupils who take part in GCE Advanced Level learning are between the ages of 16-18.

The final examination covers many of the fundamentals of the topic in question over the past two years. Chemistry students are wise to learn more about how A-Levels are graded and implement tips to improve examination time.

How is the A level chemistry exam graded?
Checking out what you need to know for A Level can be confusing and leave students with many question marks. (Source: Pexels)

How are A-Levels Graded?

One way of preparing yourself for your upcoming A-Level Chemistry examination is by knowing how all A-Levels are graded by examiners. For example, all A-Levels, regardless of the topic at hand, are graded similarly to GCSEs: from A*-E. Thus, a* is the highest, and E is the lowest. In addition, students are given a letter score based on the marking scheme that is provided to examiners.

Remember to always aim for the highest mark possible!

When applying to university, AS Level results for subjects that were just taken for one year and final A-Level grades are converted into UCAS points – with the higher grades scoring higher points.

Each University course requires a certain amount of UCAS points for entry. Depending on the popularity of the system and the prestigious name of the university, the points required can vary from year to year.

It's important to state that getting good grades in chemistry is more than ever based on exams, so chemistry revision and preparation is critical. Practising regularly throughout the course will mean you are better prepared. So please don't leave it until the last minute!

Tips and Tricks to Successfully Ace Your A-Level Chemistry Exam

Of course, we all learn things in different ways; it's worth mentioning that there are a few tips and trick that have helped plenty of students successfully pass their A-Level Chemistry exams. Such as? Let's take a look at seven suggestions that make acing your chemistry examination a more crystal apparent reality.

Write Everything Out

As your teacher has probably told you a thousand times, it is indispensable to show all your work and write everything out when you are taking an exam. Writing everything out is even more true when it comes to chemistry since you solve complex problems through written details, diagrams, and drawings.

Before developing the habit on exam day, we powerfully suggest that you learn to write out all your work many months, if not years beforehand; this will prove to be a lifesaver!

Check for A-Level Chemistry tutors online.

How to study for A level chemistry
Write down all the work you can when completing a question on the chemistry exam since examiners are constantly checking your work. (Source: Pexels)

Practice Daily

Practising or revising chemistry daily is an excellent way to learn your topic in manageable chunks and prepare for the ever-important final exam. Several shorter practice sessions spread out over a while are more efficient than a marathon session where you'll be tired and unable to concentrate.

Tackle the chemistry concepts that you are struggling with daily to ensure victory come examination time. To guarantee successful practice sessions each day, find a place where you can work without being interrupted.

Look for private chemistry tuition now in the UK.

Do Your Best Work Even When Revising

Build good working habits when studying chemistry is necessary from the beginning because how you revise should be how you approach the exam; organised and systematic.

To avoid a sloppy performance on exam day, you must stay organised during revision sessions and treat every one of them like they are part of your upcoming exam.

To get out of the bad habit of writing things down sloppily, neatly and clearly, write out your answer when working out a problem. Be sure your drawings and figures are clear and labelled to show your working process. Use past chemistry papers to help you tidily revise the correct information.

Create a Study Group

Being a part of a study group is a brilliant idea throughout the year to fully grasp A-Level Chemistry topics; however, it's even wiser briefly before your exam. Why's that?

Examining chemistry topics that are most likely to appear on the test with other peers going through the same experience greats positive moments before the exam and helps reduce stressful moments and anxiety. Revision sessions with like-minded classmates before the exam should be taken very seriously.

Prepare For Class

One of the most significant ways you can prepare for your upcoming A-Level chemistry exam is by preparing for every chemistry class you have in the two years before the final examination.

It's always helpful to quickly scan the chapter to get an overview and an idea of what you’ll cover in class; this will prepare you in advance for any questions you may have for your teacher.

Make sure to do the assigned readings in your textbook, actively anticipate labs, and get as much practice of the concepts you struggle to understand. Remember that doing the extra work from the beginning will prepare you better when the real exam comes along.

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Be Your Critic

To succeed and not solely rely on your academic abilities, you need to learn to be critical of your work. How's that? When working out the problems on your test, take a minute and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this answer make sense?
  • Have I included the correct terms to ensure maximum marks?
  • Is my work complete?

During an important exam, always take the time to double-check your answers and make sure they are understandable to the examiner. Being critical of your work isn't a negative thing since it often means better marks!

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

providing assistance
When you're preparing for the A-Level Chemistry exam, you shouldn't be afraid to ask for help. (Source: Unsplash)

If you are having trouble understanding how to prepare for your chemistry exam, you might consider looking for resources in your textbook or online. However, the most excellent tool at your disposal is assistance from either your teacher or a private chemistry tutor.

Take the initiative to ask for help or hire a private tutor because getting the best grade you can get depends solely on you and how much you want it!

The Bottom Line

Knowing how the A-Level chemistry exams are structured and graded will significantly help you from the beginning of your learning journey; it will reduce your anxiety and boost your confidence come exam day.

We powerfully suggest looking at the past papers from your examination board to see how the exams for chemistry students were made. Also, don't hesitate to look at any information from the UK Education System to build your knowledge of your upcoming examination.

In conclusion, if you stay on top of things, you are guaranteed to succeed on your A-Level Chemistry exam; you got this!

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Brentyn

Avid movie-goer, reader, skier and language learner. Passionate about life, food and travelling.