Updated: Sep 10, 2021
Hey everyone! Welcome back to another blog! I hope everyone is going well with their revision and enjoying the easing of restrictions as best as possible. We are in touching distance of the final exam now, how exciting is that? I am sure everyone is working really hard and getting ready for the upcoming weeks. Last week, we went through how to effectively go through exams, which in my opinion is the last phase of revision and what I imagine a lot of you are completing right now. As such, I thought that this week I would change up the blog and give you my top ten tips in regard to Chemistry revision and sitting your exam! I hope this will be beneficial and give you some reminders of things that you can be doing to get yourself prepared for the Chemistry exam. The tips will be quite varied and target different things, but I wanted to keep it simple by putting forward 10 specific things.
Let’s get right into it!
Ash’s Top 10 Tips for Revision
1. Schedule breaks and take some time off during study
As I have reiterated right throughout my blog posts, it is essential that you take some time off during this busy period. Studying all day every day is not going to result in optimum performance and keeping a happy and healthy mindset is vital! I highly recommend getting outside, even if it is to just go for a walk. Getting some fresh air and some sun will always do wonders!
2. Get into a good sleeping pattern!
At this time of the year it is very easy to mess up your sleep schedule and sleep really late! This is completely fine in general terms; however, coming into exams getting into a routine would be great! All of your exams will be during the day, so being ready to complete an exam at 9am in the morning is a good habit to develop. See my earlier blogs to get some tips on doing scheduled practice exams.
3. Check over the chemistry study design
As you are probably well aware by now there are some changes that have been made to the study design for this year. I really encourage you to have a look at these changes again and ensure that you are hitting every component that could be tested. I have had to refer to it multiple times as I cannot remember which particular things have been removed so refreshing yourself is never a bad thing! I would suggest printing out a copy and having it with all of your chemistry material, so it is at the forefront of your mind.
4. Do VCAA practice exams!
Ensure that you are completing some VCAA exams, especially the ones from the last few years. Keeping the more recent ones till close to the exam is great, but we have now reached that point! These exams are going to be the most similar to the actual exam, so it is important for you to go through them thoroughly!
5. Revise material on fuels
Fuels tends to be involved with a lot of different questions and applies to various areas of study. Ensure that you are making the connections between fuels and other topics. I think now is a good time to give the topic a good look through!
6. Complete multiple-choice questions
Multiple choice questions are hard in chemistry and require quite a bit of thinking. Make sure that you are completing a sufficient amount of multiple-choice questions!
7. Get someone else to mark one of your practice exams
Try and get one of your teachers or friends to mark one of your exams. It is hard to know whether or not you are marking yourself too harshly or too leniently, so getting someone else’s opinion is great!
8. Complete a revision session with friends
I found revising chemistry with friends one of the most effective forms of study. Try completing a practice exam in exam conditions together and then mark each other’s paper!
9. Have a look over your data book
Your data book is your best friend in the exam. Make sure you know the content in the data book inside out!
10. Have fun!
Revision can get boring at the best of times so try and incorporate some fun into revision. I used to create mini contests with my friends to see who could get the most questions done within an hour and it led to some friendly competition and was good fun!
Ash’s Top 10 Tips for the Exam
Before the exam:
1. Get prepared early
Preparation is vital to any important task that you carry out and definitely applies for your exam. Make sure that you have all of your exam materials ready to go well before your first exam and make sure that going into chemistry you have a verified calculated and all the equipment you need (pens, pencils, etc.). I was very superstitious and liked to use a particular pen for my exams and I made sure I had a few of these ready to go before my first exam!
2. Use the study design as a checklist
In the last few days before the exam print out a copy of the chemistry study design and check off all of the dot points to confirm that you have covered them. This is a great mental check to reassure yourself that you have hit all of the topics required!
3. Figure out a rough plan of attack
As we have talked about in previous weeks, attacking the exam with a certain plan is a great way to relieve the amount of stress you will encounter. Whilst you will have to adapt depending on the questions that come up, going in with a plan to do certain questions first (for example short answer before multiple choice) will give you some clarity and direction. Your plan could be as simple as to start from the start and go right through; just having that plan in place is really important!
4. Do not try to predict what will be on the exam
In a previous blog I went through ways in which you could get a feel for the type of questions that could come up in the exam. This is fine; however, especially in the last few days before exams, I would not encourage predicting what will exactly come up. Going in with an open mind and being mentally prepared for all types of questions will keep you in good stead and this way you will have no surprises in the exam (as you are expecting anything and everything to pop up at some stage or another).
5. Tone down revision in the last few days
Now this tip will vary from person to person. A lot of my friends liked studying to the last minute and I was somewhat the same. In my experience toning down the amount of revision I was doing for a particular subject in the last few days before the exam was the best way to go. By toning down the intensity I became more confident in my ability and did not stress myself out. This worked for me, but if you prefer to do some intense study the night before, by all means do what works best for you!
During the exam:
6. Be confident!
When doing the exam be confident in the answers that you are writing down. There is no turning back in the exam, so writing down an answer confidently will allow you to express your views as clearly as possible.
7. Keep an eye on the clock!
Make sure that you continually check the time and pace yourself as you go along. Try not to start too slow and spend a long time on a few questions, and rather get through at a steady pace. On the same token, try not to overcheck your answers as you go along; hopefully you will get some time to check at the end, but if not getting more questions done is ideal!
8. Use reading time wisely!
Use reading time to figure out a game plan! I would not recommend doing multiple choice questions in reading time, as going through the entire exam and picking out the easier questions which you want to do first is a lot more important in my opinion!
9. Work to your strengths!
Ensure that your first priority is to smash out questions that you are certain you can get marks on. There is nothing worse that missing out on marks that you could have got. Don’t stress if there is a question you can’t understand or do! This is normal and dwelling on it for too long will just compromise your performance!
After the exam:
10. Relax and Enjoy!
After your exam, do not stress about how it went or what you could have done differently. What’s done is done and you should be happy that you gave it your best shot no matter what! Look forward to finishing exams and the amazing break you will have!
For one last time, that is it from me! It has been my absolute pleasure to write these blogs up over the last few weeks and I really hope they were helpful in some way or another. I wish everyone the best of luck for all of their exams and hope that you are able to smash chemistry out of the park! You have all done a tremendous job navigating through what has been a very difficult year and you should all be very proud of your efforts. Once your exams finish up, enjoy and celebrate your graduation from school and I really hope everyone is able to go on to what they want to do! Good luck and go well!