Hello everyone! I hope you have all had a great week. Not long to go now before you will get a well-earned break before your last term of school forever…how exciting! I hope those of you who read my blog from last week were able to get something out of it and apply it during your week. As you may have realised with the end of the term fast approaching, things are starting to ramp up and getting prepared with a plan last week leaves you in a great position right now. In saying this, it’s never too late to plan ahead, so if you didn’t get chance a plan last week, I would highly recommend it to be the first thing you do after reading this blog! Hopefully you also had a chance to go over Spectroscopy. I know from my experiences at school that some weeks tend to be more hectic than others, so again, if you were not able to do much Spectroscopy last week that is totally okay! Just being aware of it can be quite handy and if you get a chance, I would suggest that you have a look over the topic this week. Even if you did go through the topic, a quick glance over your notes this week will do wonders for your revision! Speaking of revision, let’s move onto this week!
What are we up to this week?
Revision. The daunting thing you knew was coming but were happy to put on the back burner for later! Don’t worry, I have definitely been there myself; however, I think this week is a great week to get started with revision for your exams! I know that exams may seem quite a while away, but I would recommend getting started earlier just so that you can progress later on with less stress and hopefully more motivation! In regard to Chemistry, I believe the first point of revision is getting organised- yes, organisation is back for another week! Before you start revision, it is essential to know what you know and become aware of certain gaps in your knowledge. In Chemistry, we can group together topics such as Rates of Reaction and Equilibrium, Electrochemical and Electrolytic Cells, Analytic Techniques and Food Chemistry, and I found that organising my revision in this manner allowed me to simplify what had to be done and it made the whole task of going over everything seem a lot less daunting. So, what do I mean by organising? I would suggest that you get all of your notes together and divide them up into groups of topics (similar to how I listed above). When I was preparing for chemistry, I made a list of these topics and gave myself a rating on a scale of 1-5 of how confident I was with the topic. Some people use the “traffic light method” where you assign red for topics you really need to revise, yellow for topics that you feel okay about and green for topics that you are super confident on. This method works great too! I actually ended up doing a combination of the two when I did Chemistry back in the day (as shown by the picture)! The benefit of doing this is that you will immediately identify what topics you need to work on the most. Whilst it’s easy to procrastinate with these topics, working on your weaknesses early on will ensure that you have great overall knowledge going into the exam and that you will be prepared to tackle any question that comes your way. Whilst you may have expected to be doing questions or a practice exam in starting revision, I believe this step is one that is not very intensive but essential in kick starting your exam revision. We will talk about how to approach the next phase of revision next week, but if you eager to get going, I would briefly go over any notes you have on a weaker topic during this week!
How can we tackle Chromatography?
Chromatography is a topic that is commonly forgotten about by chemistry students. Whilst being separated from our broader topic of Analytic Techniques (which includes Spectroscopy), chromatography questions are common on the exam and can be quite an easy source of marks. Chromatography is quite a light topic in terms of content; hence, why I found it was an easy topic to revise whilst also organising my exam revision.
In my opinion there are three major components to Chromatography: understanding the principles behind chromatography, application to paper chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). When I went through Chromatography, I found that the same concept of “preferential adsorption and desorption of the mobile phase from the stationary phase” applied to every part of chromatography and this is definitely the case! As such, I think the best way to tackle the topic is to really understand how the stationary phase and mobile phase interact with each other and understand why different components of a mixture separate in different ways. Once you get this down pat, I think the rest of the topic will be relatively straight forward! Applications to paper chromatography and HPLC are quite similar with some changes in the set up. One major thing to be aware of is calibration curves! From my experience, most chromatography questions on the exam tend to involve quantitative analysis using calibration curves, so I think it is an aspect to definitely focus on! I found that chromatography was one of the easier topics to get through, so hopefully you can get through it in no time this week!
What mindset should I have for Chemistry this week?
The mindset that I think applies the most for chemistry this week, is one of awareness. In planning out your revision, you are really becoming aware of where you stand, and this is something that you should look positively upon. Being aware may not sound flashy nor too interesting; however, I found that being consciously aware gave me confidence later on in my revision as I had fewer moments of feeling overwhelmed. Being aware goes hand in hand with being relaxed, as you limit the amount of surprises and unexpected events- something which would be terrific in 2020!
Weekly Tips and Tricks
That is all from me this week! I hope that you all have fun planning out your revision and fly through chromatography. As always, here are three tips for you to take into the week:
1. Make sure you take plenty of breaks, get outside and talk to your friends! 2020 has been crazy, so its pivotal you keep flourishing in terms of your health and wellbeing
2. Set three goals at the start of the week specifically for Chemistry! Hopefully this gives you some direction with your work
3. At the end of the week, write three dot points reflecting on how you went for Chemistry. This ties into our mindset of awareness, as hopefully this helps you to reflect on what you achieved throughout the week and what you can do better going forward!