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Week 3 – Module 7 insights & goals for this week

Hey everyone and welcome back to another HSC Chemistry blog!

This blog will focus on the best ways to understand and learn the different types of organic reactions and polymers which is covered in module 7. I will also give you guys tips on what you should be aiming to do this week!

So, let’s start get started!

Organic Reactions:

Questions on organic reactions have become very common in the new syllabus. They have appeared across both multiple choice and short/long response. This means it is really important to understand and be able to identify all the different types of organic reactions.

This includes:

  • Addition reactions (unsaturated hydrocarbons – alkenes and alkynes): Hydrogenation, Halogenation, Hydrohalogenation and Hydration

  • Substitution reactions with alkanes (saturated hydrocarbons)

  • Alcohol reactions: combustion, dehydration, substitution with HX and oxidation.

  • Production of alcohols: substitution reactions of halogenated organic compound and fermentation

  • Production of esters.

For each reaction it is important that you are able to identify the reactants and products involved, determine whether a catalyst is required, be able to to draw the structural formulas and write the balanced chemical equations.

Wow! Now that’s a lot of organic reactions, right? But creating a flow chart will make it way easier to learn all the different organic reactions. I used this method and I definitely found it useful as it helped me identify the organic compounds which are involved in each reaction.

Here is an example of a flowchart I made!


Another important part of module 7 are polymers!

If we look back at the syllabus dot points, you are required to describe the structure, properties and uses for:

  • Addition polymers: polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, and polytetrafluoroethylene.

  • Condensation polymers: nylon and polyester.

Now that can get quite confusing since there are quite a few polymers! The best way to easily understand and learn the structure, properties and uses for each polymer is by tabulating the content. It is also important that you are able to relate your properties to the structure of the polymer and the uses to the properties of the polymer.

For example, this is how I would tabulate the structure, properties and uses for polyester. As you can see, this table makes the content that you need to memorise much clearer. I would highly recommend doing this for each polymer!

A polymer question can come in various forms including as a multiple choice or a short/long response question.

Some possible polymer questions include:

1. Draw a specific polymer (1-2 marks).

2. Name a polymer given (1 mark)

3. Describe a specific addition or condensation polymer (Approx. 3 marks) – this means you will be required to write the structure, properties and uses for a particular polymer.

4. Compare one addition polymer with one condensation polymer (Approx. 5-6 marks). In this case markers will be looking for the differences and similarities in terms of structure, properties and uses for one addition polymer (such as polyethylene) and one condensation polymer (such as polyester).

What should you do this week?

  • Start the week by creating an hourly timetable for each day in the week. I did this and it helped me have a clear layout for the week. This helped to reduce my stress as it made me more organised and time efficient.

  • If you guys like having a digital timetable on your laptop or phone, I would highly recommend using google calendar as this platform allows you to slot what you are going to do each hour. Another online software which is great for creating timetables and to do lists is ‘Notion.’ You can create a free account here:

  • Create your own organic reaction flowchart (you can use the one I have provided as inspiration for your one!). Attempt questions on organic reactions from past HSC and trial papers.

  • If you are finding it a bit difficult to memorise the content for polymers, create tables for each polymer (like the one I provided previously in the blog). Remember to include the structure, properties and uses for each polymer! Attempt questions on polymers from past HSC and trial papers. There are heaps of questions on polymers since it was also present in the old syllabus. This means you can find questions on polymers prior to 2019!

  • Complete at least 3 full chemistry papers in timed conditions. Mark your responses and write your mistakes into a ‘mistakes book’ (look back at my week one blog which has more information on the ‘mistakes book’ and why it is so useful!).

Quote of the week:

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there” - Theodore Roosevelt

That’s a wrap to my third HSC Chemistry blog!

Next week’s blog will provide insights into module 8 including the analysis of organic compounds.

Good luck and have a great week!

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