While it might not be many people’s idea of fun, revision is sadly almost a necessity for students the world over when exams are on the horizon.
Regardless of how you like to revise – whether you’re a last-minute panic-and-cram person or you prefer to take your time and revise slowly over a period of months – revision is often crucial if you want to do well in exams.
This is because revising:
- Helps prepare you for exam-standard questions;
- Consolidates your knowledge of the subject’s syllabus; and
- Gives you an opportunity to revisit any areas or topics that you may previously have been unsure of.
What’s more, having an effective revision plan in place just might mean the difference between going up a grade, or even two, when you do finally sit your exam.
Getting the best results possible is really important, particularly when it comes to subjects such as chemistry, as often future employers and even future universities like you to have at least passing grades when it comes to English, mathematics, and sometimes even the sciences, depending on the role or degree you're applying for.
Although the importance of revision is true for any subject you sit exams for – whether that’s GCSE biology, history, maths, or even A-Level and university exams – it doesn’t mean that having good revision technique isn’t also important when it comes to revising for your GCSE chemistry exams.
Each examining body has its own GCSE chemistry curriculum. As with any subject, there are certain chemistry topics within that curriculum that many students can struggle with. In turn, there are areas that students usually find a little bit easier to learn.
One of the topics that should be a part of your revision plan for GCSE chemistry is bonding, structure, and the properties of matter, particularly if you follow curriculums set by bodies such as AQA and Eduqas, among others.
GCSE Chemistry 101: What You Need To Know
When coming up with a revision plan for your GCSE chemistry exam, one of the first steps that it worthwhile taking is deciding which areas of the syllabus you absolutely have to know in order to pass your GCSE, and which topics you should really know about if you’re looking to achieve higher grades.
As the topic of bonding, structure and the properties of matter is an entire topic area for some exam boards, such as AQA, it’s very possible that you will face at least one question on the exam related to the topic.
As a result, it’s worthwhile taking the time as part of your revision to look through the areas that form this topic, which could include, but are not limited to:
- Ionic compounds;
- Metals and alloys; and
- Covalent substances.
Why Are Topics Like Bonding Important In GCSE Chemistry?
There are numerous reasons why the topic of bonding, structure and the properties of matter is taught as part of a GCSE chemistry syllabus. For one, this topic area provides students with a greater understanding of atoms, ions, and molecules – an understanding that is crucial to have if you wish to do well within chemistry as a subject.
Additionally, learning about this topic is important for anyone looking to study chemistry further down the line, whether at A-level or perhaps even at university or beyond. This is because the topics that you cover at higher levels of education often build upon the laws and theories that you’ve studied at GCSE level.
Below are just some of the things that you might learn about when studying or revising the topic of bonding, structure and the properties of matter.
The States Of Matter
Very simply, there are three different states of matter, which you will more than likely be familiar with prior to commencing any chemistry-specific studies. These states are known as solid, liquid, and gas.
In each of these states, particles are arranged in different ways. For instance, solids feature particles that are very close together, while in a gas state particles are the furthest apart.
Additionally, it is possible for a substance to change state and move from a solid into a liquid, or even a gas. Evaporation and condensation are great examples of how a substance can change state.
When studying about the states of matter, remember that you may also have to learn about melting and boiling points.
In essence, a covalent bond occurs when two atoms share a pair of electrons. A covalent bond can result in the formation of molecules, or they can form a giant covalent structure. Good examples of giant covalent structures are graphite and diamond, which are both formed from carbon.
The melting and boiling points for molecular substances and giant covalent structures also tend to differ. Usually, molecular substances have relatively low boiling and melting points, whereas giant covalent structures usually have much higher boiling and melting points.
When learning about metals in your GCSE chemistry classes, you’ll likely have learnt a variety of things, including the facts that:
- Metals often have high melting and boiling points;
- Metals are often good conductors for both electricity and heat; and
- You can combine a metal with one or more elements, thereby creating an alloy.
Although the above areas are just some of the facts you should look to revise as you prepare for your GCSE chemistry exam, they aren’t the only ones. Equally, to do well in any exam you need to make sure you have a solid revision plan and good exam technique.
How To Get Ahead In Your GCSE Chemistry Revision
Whether you’re struggling to learn about bonding, structure and the properties of matter, or there’s another area within the chemistry syllabus that has you scratching your head, such as:
- Chemical atomic changes;
- Chemical and structural analysis; or
- Atomic structure and the periodic table,
You can take some comfort in the fact that you should have enough time to revisit these areas if you plan your revision effectively and make the most of whatever time you have left to revise - whether that's a matter of days, weeks, or even months.
Make Use Of Revision Resources
Although a crucial part of any revision plan is to make sure that you have enough time before the exam to actually revise all of the areas within the GCSE chemistry syllabus that you’d like to, it’s also worth being aware that there are lots of materials out there that are designed to help you as you progress with your GCSE chemistry revision.
For instance, there are lots of books and revision guides out there, whether in paperback, hardback, or online, that are dedicated to helping students with their revision work. What's more, you can use websites such as the BBC to help you revise. The BBC, for example, offers “bitesize” overviews of chemistry topics, which are also broken down according to the examination body you are sitting your exam with.
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Past Papers Are Your Friend
Another invaluable resource for anyone revising for a GCSE chemistry exam is past papers. Past papers are a wonderful revision tool because:
- They can give you an idea of the kinds of questions you may be asked in the exam;
- If you mark your answers, you can see whether you are on track for your predicted grade; and
- You may become familiar with the types of topics that are often examined during a GCSE chemistry exam.
Initially, you might want to work through a past exam paper at your own pace and see how you fare with the questions.
However, when it comes closer to the date of the exam, you should ideally complete any past papers in exam conditions, meaning that you should also complete the exam within the time limit that you’ll be given on the day of the exam.
Completing, and hopefully passing, a past paper under exam conditions should give you the confidence you need when going into your GCSE chemistry exam, and should hopefully make the whole examination process a lot less daunting.
Make Revision Work For You
Ultimately, if you do find yourself struggling when it comes to chemistry revision, then you can also reach out to your chemistry teacher or even a tutor for more help.
Superprof has a wide network of tutors with experience working with students preparing for their GCSE exams across a range of subjects, including chemistry, biology, physics, and maths, among others.
Many Superprof tutors offer group as well as individual tuition, so it’s a case of deciding whether you would prefer to revise alone or with friends, and then finding a chemistry tutor that has the experience to help you succeed in your GCSE chemistry exam. Happy revising!
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