"Revision is a good impulse to have." -Rigoberto Gonzalez 

Review sessions must be included in the process, whether you are writing a short story, going through the fundamentals of algebra, or preparing for a vital geography exam. Why's that? Well, not only is revision a great impulse to develop that helps you cement essential concepts into your mind more clearly that can be used in the future, reviewing makes sure that you succeed in all you do.

Since most educators and students recognise the importance of revision, plenty of review resources may be used regardless of the academic discipline you are studying. Nonetheless, with so many options available, some might feel overwhelmed and be tempted to ask themselves, 'which revision tools should use?'

While the answer to that question greatly depends on the type of learner you are, it goes without saying that past papers are one of the most frequently utilised and appreciated review resources available. So, without further delay, in today's article, we will focus on the tremendous power of chemistry past papers at an A-Level stage.

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What are the Advantages of Using Past Papers for A-Level Chemistry?

Suppose you haven't yet been introduced by your educator to past papers. In that case, you might be sceptical about their widespread use and whether they make review sessions more successful when studying a complex topic such as chemistry. However, it's worth mentioning that past papers are an essential chemistry revision tool.

The following are a few of the most commonly observed benefits of using past papers for A-Level chemistry review sessions:

  • They are a great way to find gaps in your overall knowledge of a specific subject,
  • They allow you to prepare for upcoming examinations,
  • They give you a boost of confidence before examinations start since you are practising and answering questions,
  • They allow you to visualise your future tests and get familiar with the potential language and questions used,
  • They help you see the structure of A-Level chemistry exams and get an idea of how much time should be spent on each question.

Whether you’ve just started your course or your exams are fast approaching, past papers are helpful to everyone studying A level chemistry.

Try to get your hands on every past paper you can, and it doesn't matter if you practice the same one again and again since practice makes perfect! While simply going through past papers and answering the questions is helpful, you can get so much more out of them to improve your chemistry grades. Such as? Let's take a look at the following subheading with valuable tips and tricks.

Some Tips and Tricks to Using Past Papers at an A-Level Stage

While most intelligent students are likely to get the gist of fully utilising past papers on their own, with just a few tips from the experts, you'll be able to improve your overall experience of using past papers when studying chemistry and nail your exams!

We shall consider some of the most helpful suggestions that students should implement when utilising all aspects of past papers.

Strongly Consider the Marking Scheme of Past Papers

Established by examiners working for exam boards, marking schemes are very specific and serve the following purposes:

  • To help you work out where you've lost marks, 
  • To determine how you gained marks, 
  • To develop an overall idea of how well you're answering questions. 

Even if you've been studying chemistry religiously throughout the GCSEs and now the A-Levels, and you have a mastery over the topic, it doesn’t mean you will get a perfect result on every examination and know precisely how the assessor will grade your exam.

To ace A-Level chemistry, it's powerfully suggested to look at the marking schemes of past papers from previous years to get a gist of what the examiner is looking for and how you can improve your abilities to get the best marks.

Self-marking your past papers against the marking scheme from past papers will help you spot areas where you have gaps in your knowledge, and this can help you focus your chemistry revision efforts on what matters.

Hire a Private Chemistry Tutor for Assistance

A-Level chemistry coaches
The professional chemistry tutors available to A-Level students greatly supplement the learning process. (Source: Unsplash)

While your A-Level chemistry teacher has the best intentions and sincerely wants to see you succeed, they might not have spare time on their schedule to answer all of your specific questions about how to use past papers when reviewing. Does that mean that all hope is lost and there is no solution? Not!

To remedy the woes of overworked teachers who don't have any room on their schedules, students of A-Level chemistry are highly encouraged to seek the assistance of private chemistry tutors. A-Level chemistry instructors with experience know exactly how to guide pupils to utilise past papers effectively.

Whether online or in-person, private chemistry tuition is much more affordable than it used to be, primarily due to brilliant sites such as Superprof. Therefore, prepare for your exams with the help of good chemistry tutors here.

Pay Attention to the Structure of the Exam Paper

As we briefly touched on at the start of this article, past papers help you get an idea of the structure and wording of the upcoming exam. While it is true that past papers are from previous years, the structure of papers usually stays the same year after year. Therefore, past papers are the closest idea you'll get to an actual A-Level chemistry examination.

Even if you don’t know what topics will be on your paper, you can still familiarise yourself with the style of wording that the documents use and the format. Moreover, understanding the structure saves you time once examination day comes around and gives you the needed confidence to complete your test efficiently.

Work With Other Peers

chatting with others
Peer study sessions are a great way to enhance review experiences when preparing for A-Level Chemistry exams. (Source: Unsplash)

One of the most extraordinary things that can be done to unleash the power of past papers is by going through them with other peers who are at the same level as you. Creating a study group that goes through A-Level Chemistry past papers is a brilliant way to get the most out of them. You are going through the same questions together simultaneously, and each person can bring a unique perspective to the information at hand.

You might be able to help others with a specific chemistry-based subject while, on the other hand, you might receive some insight from a fellow peer that will aid you on future exams.

Learning from other peers is a brilliant idea since you might not always understand the angle of instruction your teacher is using. A chemistry study group is refreshing and upbuilding since everyone is encouraging the other to do their best.

We also suggest taking part in peer-marking past exam papers since it will give you an idea of what you should look for from an examiner's perspective; this will help you acquire a critical eye.

Another great activity that can be introduced during study group sessions relates to selecting a topic from A-Level Chemistry and explaining it to your classmates with the correct definitions, vocabulary, and, of course, logical reasoning. These presentations hone skills and cement important concepts in your mind in a relaxed setting with like-minded peers.

There is so much good that can be experienced through study groups when bouncing your ideas off of your peers. It's worth mentioning that creating a study group with like-minded peers who are also taken an active interest in their education is of prime importance since you don't want to be stuck carrying the dead weight of others who don't care!

Check here for an online Chemistry tutor now.

How should you prepare for chemistry exams?
Do some of your past papers in a quiet and peaceful environment such as the library. (Source: Pexels)

Test Yourself

An additional tip to get the most out of past papers is to complete them in exam-like conditions as if they were your final test. Practising a past paper with limited time, in complete silence, without the distractions of technology, and without any revision notes is vital. Why's that? It helps you get an idea of the feeling of a genuine exam which reduces stress since you'll know what to expect.

Additionally, testing yourself through past papers is an excellent way to test your overall progress. For instance, if you fail and have many mistakes, you can use that as motivation to do better on the following "practice test." The more exam simulations you try, the better you will become and the higher score you will get.

Where Can a Chemistry Student Find Past Papers?

Now that we've considered some of the most no-brainer tips to fully utilise past papers for chemistry in all their potential if you're unfamiliar with where to find them, you might be asking yourself, 'where can I take a look at past papers that are relevant for A-Level Chemistry students?

Well, it's important to mention that you can find past papers on your exam board's website. There is no need to fret since all exam boards, whether you're under the jurisdiction of AQA or Edexcel, offer past papers from previous years. Also, exam boards often provide papers from summer exams and resit periods.

However, if you struggle to find past chemistry papers for A-Level students on your exam board website, take a look at other resources such as Student Room and BBC Bitesize.

In conclusion, we are confident that the information in today's article is enough to convince you to use past papers during your next revision session!

Find A level chemistry tutor here on Superprof.

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Brentyn

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