"A winning effort begins with preparation." -Joe Gibbs

To ensure a successful education and make sure that you pass all your exams throughout secondary school, it's essential to prepare yourself. It doesn't matter the subject you are studying for, easy or difficult, preparation is critical during the A-Levels.

Therefore, after getting through the GCSE topic of chemistry, your knowledge of the subject will be pretty advanced. Yet, there is still a lot to learn and hone during the A-Level chemistry at any UK-based secondary school. Thus, at an A-Level, you will continue to further your knowledge of concepts you already know as well as learning new ones.

So, without further ado, in today's article, we'll take a look at the subtopics covered in A-Level chemistry, as well as some practical studying suggestions, helpful online resources, and additional relevant information to make sure that the entire studying process is a smashing success!

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Subtopics and Subdisciplines of A-Level Chemistry

Before even starting studying for A-Level chemistry, it's worth mentioning that knowing what you will review is extremely helpful since it will set you up for success right from the beginning. The following are some of essential subtopics, subdisciplines, and aspects of A-Level chemistry that pupils will analyse:

  • More extensive knowledge of atoms and their overall structure,
  • Acids and bases, 
  • The fundamentals of energetics and kinetics, 
  • The basics of bonding, 
  • A lot of testing and experiments are held in the lab to provide a visual of experiments, 
  • The DNA structure and topics associated with genes,
  • Chemical theory,
  • Testing hypothesis' of experiments.

To know even more about A-Level chemistry, you might want to try to get your hands on the chemistry syllabus, which might be accessible by asking for it at school or simply downloading it off the examination board's website that corresponds to you.

The academic discipline of A-Level chemistry is advanced. It takes a lot of work to do well; nonetheless, knowing that the previously mentioned aspects will be covered ensures that you are staying on top of your revision throughout the year.

An image of students' papers with a pen on top of them on a wooden table next to a cup of black coffee in a white cup. There is also a chair behind the table with a black suitcase on it. Revising effectively is important if you'd like to do well in GCSE chemistry exams.
Having helpful suggestions for revision techniques is part of what it takes to do well in A-Level chemistry. (Source: pixabay)

Top Tips for A-Level Revision

You can start studying after you know what topics and aspects of the A-Level chemistry syllabus to prepare for. However, it's worth stating that the entire process is made more accessible with a few helpful revision suggestions. So, which tricks are worthy of following? Let's take a look at five studying tips for A-Level chemistry.

Take Notes

Taking notes in class and copying them down into your textbook is crucial. Not only do you remember important concepts more effectively when you take notes, but you are also recording essential information such as the following:

  • Topics that need refreshing, 
  • Definitions of topics
  • Diagrams of visual principles. 

Beware of not taking notes of every little thing the teacher says, and try to condense your recordings to include only fundamental principles. Make your notes fun so that they don't remind you of a boring old textbook.

One of the most extraordinary things you can do is highlight or give extra importance to the chemistry topics you don't understand so that you can run through a few practice questions either online or in your textbooks, if available.

Take a Look at Past Papers

Past papers are an essential revision tool since they are a great way to find gaps in your knowledge. In addition, past chemistry papers give current students an idea of what needs to be studied in preparation for upcoming examinations.

Past papers give students confidence in their skills and are the closest thing a student will get to a practice run of the exam itself and will help you get to grips with the exam technique of the examination board.

Going through past papers is an excellent revision technique that many A-Level online chemistry tutors suggest.

Planning how you will revise your examinations is an excellent thing for secondary school chemistry students. (Source: pexels)

Don’t Ignore the Marking System

Marking schemes provided by examination boards will help you work out where you’ve gained and lost marks and how well you’re answering the questions on the past papers you have at your disposal.

It's important to state that marking schemes are particular, and there are certain aspects of chemistry that you have to mention to get the full marks on a question.

Even if you know the topic well, it's wise to know what the examiner is looking for and how they will grade your exam questions.

The bottom line is that you have to answer the way the examiners want you to, so be succinct in your answers and don't use overly expressive words and definitions. If you follow the marking system, you'll be prepared to succeed on exams.

Learn the Structure of the Upcoming Exams

Structures of exams usually stay pretty much the same year to year, so past papers are the closest you’ll get to see what your actual exam will look like.

Even if you don’t know what topics will be on your upcoming A-Level chemistry examination, you can still familiarise yourself with the style of wording the papers use and the format, so you don’t lose marks due to the specific language used by examiners.

If you ask yourself the following questions, you'll get a more precise vision in your head of the structure of your upcoming exam:

  1. Is the paper divided into sections?
  2. Are the questions single or multiple choice?
  3. How much time should you spend on each section?

Knowing what to expect will mean there are no surprises on exam day, there is no time wasted on unnecessary questions, and overall confidence is strengthened!

Hire a Chemistry Tutor

The fifth and probably most universally adored tip to succeeding in the chemistry A-Level subject's studying process is hiring a personal tutor. Why's that? The following are a few of the most no-brainer reasons to hire a private chemistry instructor:

  • Personalised instruction, 
  • One-to-one classes, 
  • Fantastic experience,
  • Helpful tips and tricks to make studying chemistry easier. 

Search for a good chemistry A-Level tutor here.

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Where to Find Past Papers

Although you might have heard that past papers are an excellent resource for A-Level students reviewing chemistry, you might know where to find past chemistry papers from previous years.

It's important to mention that you can find past papers and chief examiner reports on your exam board's website. The following are popular exam boards across the UK:

  • AQA, 
  • CCEA, 
  • OCR, 
  • Pearson/Edexcel, 
  • WJEC. 

On the websites of the previously mentioned exam boards, you'll find past papers from previous years and documents from summer exams and resit periods; plenty of revision information!

Your chemistry teachers will most likely give you past papers to practice in class or for homework. They will read through the question structures with you so you’re adequately prepared.

You can successfully find past papers in A-Level chemistry on sites such as Student Room and BBC Bitesize.

surfing the web
The best A-Level Chemistry review resources can easily be found on the internet. Consider reputable sites such as BBC Bitesize and Student Room. (Source: Unsplash)

Suppose you’re struggling with only reviewing chemistry using past papers and are eagerly searching for another method that doesn't include your boring textbook. Why not take a look at some online resources?

The following are a few of the best online resources to review the information that is part of the A-Level Chemistry Syllabus:

  • S-Cool: a great resource that will test your revision skills, S-Cool will get you into the practice of learning, testing and remembering all types of academic disciplines. Each topic is broken down into sections that you first learn, experiment with a quiz, and reflect with revision notes. On S-Cool, you can even create your personal question banks and revision guides so you have a tailored plan for you that can be referred to at any time.
  • Compound Interest: known by many as a chemistry blog that explores the everyday relevance of chemical compounds, the Compound Interest website features high-quality graphics that stimulate interest in chemistry and are a great way to think about chemistry in a different way than just following a syllabus. An excellent resource for A-Level students who desperately need to renew their love of chemistry!
  • BBC Bitesize: now available as an app too, BBC Bitesize is beneficial because you can choose your exam board on the home page. So, whatever curriculum you’re following, you’ll be able to access relevant revision resources. Bitesize keeps revision interesting with quizzes, activities, and games to choose from. Games might seem silly when you’re learning complicated concepts, but they can still be helpful!

If you decide to look at any of the previously mentioned online resources, you are setting yourself up for success during the A-Levels!

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Final Comments and Words of Encouragement

As a way of concluding, it's important to mention that positive reinforcement is possibly the most significant element of successful revision. Revision isn’t just about your knowledge; you need to get yourself in a positive mindset to tackle your exams.

Therefore, we highly recommend that you make a list of all the topics to cover during A-Level chemistry. Then, whenever you have successfully understood one, tick it off your list; you’ll feel much more productive and self-confident by doing this.

Also, remember that on exam day, you have put the work in and do your best. So, stay calm and get as much sleep as possible the night before to avoid anxiety. A lot of the most helpful advice can be provided through the private chemistry tuition available on Superprof.

Use all the resources you can find and pay attention to the suggestions in today's article to give yourself the best chance of succeeding during the A-Level Chemistry exams and revision. Happy studying!

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Brentyn

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