The GCE O Level examinations are indeed an important checkpoint for many students across Singapore which determines the kind of courses they would choose to pursue in the future. Apart from school tutors, O level tuition teachers at tuition centres also have a significant role in guiding students through their long and arduous educational journey. O Level has become so rigorous that school teachers alone would not be able to push students to achieve their best. Many students are moreover unaware of the tips for the preparation of GCE O level examinations.
Chemistry at the level of O levels is rather content-heavy subjects, and hence it is undeniable that O level Chemistry tutors would have emphasised time and again that memorisation is important and keywords should not be missed, etc. There are many fragmented pieces of advice and students are often confused at the end of it all.
So, here are a few simple tips that you can follow to revise GCE O Level chemistry…
#1: THE CONCEPTS
It’s, in fact, half the battle won if you have mastered the content. You should create the habit of highlighting keywords in the notes that your chemistry tutors provide you with, during lessons. This reminds you that those are the marking points that examiners look out for, which are worth valuable marks. This will subconsciously tell you that those points have to be present in the answer you write for related questions.
You could even write out important essays to ensure that keywords are incorporated. With the advent of technological devices like laptops, you might be tempted to type out your notes but in order to activate your muscle memory, you need to get into the habit of writing it all out. With every writing and re-writing of your draft, you would have perfected your essay.
#2: TRICK YOUR BRAIN
Your brain likes to store information in a compact and efficient manner and hence you have to organise your learning points in a strategic manner such that it gets easily internalised. For example, you can use mnemonic devises like an acronym sentence. By grouping information into an acronym, it allows your brain to increase its capacity in storing information and it aids in long term memory. An example would be, “Please Stop Calling Me A Cute Zebra” which represents the metal reactivity series of Potassium, Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, Aluminium, Carbon and Zinc.
#3: CONCEPTUAL LINKING
The kind of questions being asked in O level chemistry examinations is not at all straight forward; they interlink various concepts and also require students to relate it to real-life application. This is pretty laborious for the minds of 14- and 15-year-olds but this is what the education system demands, fortunately, or unfortunately (this is a whole separate debate altogether).
Creating mind maps is an excellent technique that gives you a macro perspective of what you are learning. Moreover, it is important to practice with a purpose, as well as to identify your learning gaps and patch them as fast as possible. You could create a list of the mistakes that you tend to make and read through them. This will be a conscientious effort to not repeat the same mistakes again.
Like all roads lead to Rome, so there is no one way to go about getting that A grade of yours. Try out different techniques and figure out what works out for you because every student is different and a combination of different techniques will help you excel; it may be vastly different from what works for your friend.