The Chemistry O Level exam is often the one exam that really stresses out students preparing for their Chemistry final exams. They may be perfectly fine with the Practical part of the exam, but falter and freeze up when it comes to the actual theory part of the paper.
It especially doesn’t help if you’ve never really been good at Chemistry – often failing tests and exams, either due to test anxiety or lack of preparation. Chemistry is a fantastically intricate and often fascinating subject, but we tend not to appreciate it if we don’t do well at it in the first place.
Hence, we’ve written this article on our big 5 tips for how to study for Chemistry O Level. With our hand-picked tips, you’ll definitely be able to study effectively for the Chemistry O Level exam and get the grades you really deserve.
Read through your Chemistry notes before the teacher teaches that topic.
Yes, I know this sounds like drudgery, but you don’t have to read and memorize every single detail in that topic.
The trick is to just take note of the key points in the Chemistry topic such as how to draw diagrams, or what reactions occur when two chemicals are mixed together.
If you’re fast about it, the topic won’t take up more than 7-10 minutes of your time and won’t bore you to death.
For example, if you’re learning about how to draw molecular compounds, take note of the electronic configuration, which always stays the same.
If you read up on the topic before attending the class, you’ll have the basic details somewhat understood, which means that the harder bits of the topic that the teacher goes over in class won’t baffle you nearly as much.
If you recognize this compound, you’re probably better at Chemistry than you realize! This is methane or CH4. Study for Chemistry O Level by remembering the key points, and you’ll do just fine.
Make your own notes.
This may seem deceptively simple, but don’t underestimate the power of writing down your own notes on a topic, instead of simply looking at your textbook.
Simply sitting and listening to the teacher teach the topic is passive listening, but if you write down personalized notes and clarifications on what your teacher is saying, it forces you to actively listen and absorb what your Chemistry teacher is saying.
Don’t be afraid to fill up your notebook with your notes and get it “messy”. A lot of students are very reluctant to use up their own notebook pages and write notes in it, despite it being there for that very purpose.
If anything, a messy notebook is actually a great thing! It shows that you’ve put in the effort to actually master Chemistry topics and prepare yourself for the Chemistry O Level exam. So, go ahead and scribble all your notes all over it!
Seek out help if you don’t understand Chemistry well enough.
You may not like Chemistry, but to have any chance of clearing up your misconceptions and doubts about topics, you have to be a self-starter and reach out to others for help. If you’ve tried for hours and hours to understand a topic and still can’t seem to, it’s sometimes good to have a friend or teacher to offer a fresh way to look at the concept.
Naturally, the first source of help is your Chemistry teacher.
However, your Chemistry teacher may be the sort who absolutely refuses to help you outside of class hours, and is as helpful as an elephant in a minefield.
At this point, many students will just give up on trying to clarify their misconceptions at all and leave that area of their syllabus not fully understood. When it comes to the actual Chemistry O level exam, they then get a nasty shock at the topics they don’t understand.
Be persistent and don’t give up when your Chemistry teacher offers little to no help, for it is just one obstacle you can overcome. After all, studying for Chemistry exams is a marathon, not a short sprint!
You can also ask your friends who are better in Chemistry to teach you that topic, and if they oblige, you’ll get the knowledge just the same, which leads in to my next study tip.
Study in groups.
O Level Chemistry is a subject that spans many topics, varying widely in length and complexity. If you feel yourself flustered and struggling to catch up behind your more Chemistry-capable friends, it may be worth suggesting a study group to them.
Before you start asking your friends to study with you, compile a list of all the Chemistry topics and concepts that you’re confused about, and then start asking. It’s much easier to ask people to help you when you have a clear and direct goal in mind, and also helps you become much more efficient at studying.
It’s really tempting to pick your best friends to come study with you, but that all too often turns into a hang-out session with your friends, with no Chemistry studying being done. Pick friends who are serious about their studies and good at Chemistry, and block out about two hours for each study session.
At each Chemistry study session, bring along your list of things to ask about, and make sure to clarify your doubts well. Your study session time is precious, and you should make the most use of your friend’s time.
Get Chemistry tuition.
Sometimes, what you really need to do well for Chemistry, is O Level Chemistry Tuition. Chemistry tuition is especially helpful for students who need personalized, small group attention that expertly identifies and resolves their chemistry weaknesses.
The idea of going to chemistry tuition may seem intimidating to you if you’ve never attended a chemistry tuition class before, but fret not.
In fact, there is absolutely no reason to worry, as there is a whole bunch of benefits when it comes to chemistry tuition, like the ones below:
Learning Chemistry more effectively:
In O Level Chemistry tuition, a good Chemistry tuition teacher often stays ahead of your teacher in the syllabus, giving you an amazing headstart, as you’ll effectively be going over the topic twice!
If that isn’t enough for you, you can even come back to the Chemistry tuition teacher and ask them to go over the topic again, just for you.
Reviving your interest in Chemistry:
The way O Level Chemistry is taught in school doesn’t exactly inspire a whole lot of interest, as it’s main purpose is to get you ready for the big O Level Chemistry exam, not get you to have fun learning Chemistry.
However, O Level Chemistry tuition often runs on a far more relaxed schedule, which means there’s more time for fun chemical demonstrations!
More interesting Chemistry notes:
The notes given by school teachers are often boring, black and white and very dry, sparking absolutely 0 interest in most students. However, a good Chemistry tuition centres’ notes will be much more colourful and condensed, allowing for more informative and effective learning. Here’s a sample of our O Level Chemistry notes on the Haber Process!
See more of our free O Level Chemistry notes here.
Prepares you for A Level Chemistry:
If you’re preparing to go on to JC Chemistry, you’ll probably need JC Chemistry tuition to prepare for A-Level Chemistry exams. By starting chemistry tuition at the O Level Chemistry stage, you’ll have less of a speed bump when it comes to taking A Level Chemistry tuition as you’ll only have to get used to the pace of the A Level Chemistry syllabus, not taking chemistry tuition itself.
Get advanced insights from your chemistry teacher on what JC Chemistry is like:
By taking O Level Chemistry tuition, you’ll likely gain a better grasp on what JC Chemistry is like, and be able to better decide if you really want to continue on to take A-Level Chemistry.
A good chemistry tuition teacher can tell you about the JC chemistry syllabus, and will also cover JC Chemistry tuition, so you may not even have to switch teachers or chemistry tuition centres if you continue on with JC Chemistry tuition!
We hope you find our top 5 tips on how to study for Chemistry O level helpful in achieving the Chemistry grades you really deserve. For further reading on how Chemistry tuition helps with achieving better grades, check out our previous article titled “How Chemistry Tuition Helps to Get Good Grades”