Week starting 12 October

Hey everyone! Welcome back to another week of the Chemistry blog! I hope that you are enjoying your time back at school and having lots of fun catching up with friends face-to-face. I am guessing that most of you have just about finished your SACs and are now looking directly towards the exam period that is fast approaching. I want to say straight off the cuff, please make sure that you are taking plenty of breaks and actively making an effort to improve your health and wellbeing. This will differ for everyone, but I think coming into such a stressful time of the year, establishing and maintaining good habits are essential to not only your health but to your performance in your exams!

Speaking of exams, a lot of you may have completed trial exams at school or transitioned into completing practice exams in your own time, so let’s take a look at how we can make the most out of the questions you are completing for revision!

How do I get the most out of chemistry questions?

We have spoken a lot about the benefits of completing questions as a part of chemistry revision and we have even talked about processes we can implement whilst completing the questions. In saying this, you may be wondering whether or not you are getting a lot out of the questions you are doing for chemistry and this is a common feeling amongst students at this time of the year. Grinding question after question can get pretty repetitive and when I was revising chemistry, I really did not want to be doing questions for the sake of doing questions. As such, I implemented a few habits into my study to ensure that I was getting the most out of the questions I was doing. What were these habits? Well let’s find out!

Question blocks:

After getting through a fair amount of questions and realising my areas of weakness, I found that completing chemistry questions by topic was becoming less effective. I would get in the groove of doing the same type of questions, and despite me getting a lot of the questions correct, I knew that this revision was not simulating the exam. Therefore, I decided to group together questions from a few topics that I was least comfortable with. I typically picked six questions, with three questions from unit 3 and three questions from unit 4. I made this divide to ensure that I was actively targeting different areas of the course, and this worked particularly well for chemistry, as the topics in the two units are quite different. I still made sure that I was prioritising questions from topics that I was less comfortable with; however, I included a question or two from other areas as well. I recommend you do this too because despite being confident with the subject matter, it is always good to keep revising all areas of the course.

Scheduled practice exam:

Around this time of the year, I started doing “scheduled practice exams”. Scheduled practice exams were basically exams that I had pre-planned on doing within a time block. For example, I completed a chemistry exam every Wednesday starting from 6pm (after school). How was this practice exam different to others? Well, for my scheduled practice exams, I made sure to have a hard copy of the exam ready to go. I completed this exam under timed conditions and made sure that no one was going to interrupt me whilst I was completing the exam. Basically, I designed this exam to be replicative of the actual exam and once school finished, I lined up my time for the chemistry exam with the actual time that I would be doing it. Why this worked for me was that firstly, it forced me to sit down and do an exam every week. Secondly, I was actively making sure that I was simulating the exam and practising my exams technique. Lastly, it gave me an indication of how I would go if the actual exam was the next day. I used these exams to frame my revision for the coming week. Practice exams have content from all topics; thus, it gave me a chance to reflect on what areas I needed to focus on in the week; my levels of comfort with topics changed as I went along. I would really encourage you to have a go at this, as I found it to be one of the best aspects of my revision. It led to me being able to complete less questions but get more out of my revision and with topics being separated distinctly in chemistry, it worked even more effectively.

Incorporating question blocks and scheduled practice exams made my study a lot more effective and I hope it does the same for you! You can adapt the things I did to make it more suited to you, but generally adopting any study habit is really beneficial going into the last few weeks before your exams!

What mindset should I have for Chemistry this week?

For this week I think a growth mindset would be ideal! We have adopted this mindset in previous weeks, but I think it really applies to the coming week. Being open to change and developing habits will go a long way in making your revision effective and boosting your overall performance going forward!

Weekly Tips and Tricks

That is all from me this week! I hope that you are able to make your study more effective this week and get through some more exams . As always, here are three tips for you to take into the week:

1. Continue to make sure you take plenty of breaks, get outside and talk to your friends!

2020 has been crazy, so it's important you keep flourishing in terms of your health and wellbeing

2. Track your progress

Note down what questions and exams you are completing as you go along!

3. Study with your friends

Studying with others can be really effective!

Have a question?

In the final weeks before exams Ashane will be hosting 2 Live Q&A sessions to help everyone get fully prepared for exams. If you have a question on how to best get prepared, have been stuck on an exam question or want to clarify an area of content send it through here, and Ashane might answer it live!

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