The HSC Chemistry exam is almost here! Make sure you maximise your chance of achieving your personal best! Here are a few tips that personally helped me alleviate the stress and allowed me to feel more confident before my exam.
- Understand before memorising:
I have seen plenty of students spending countless hours trying to perfectly memorise every aspect of the syllabus. Even though it is significant to remember key points and formulae, understanding them is more important! The HSC exam is designed to test your knowledge, which means that most questions require you to apply what you know rather than just repeat it.
An example of this are questions relating to hypothetical scenarios or experiments. When facing these questions, memorising something won’t help you, since you need to apply certain topics/concepts to the given scenario. If you don’t understand how the chemistry of that concept works, you won’t be able to answer those questions properly.
- Test yourself:
A great way to ensure you understand a complicated concept or process, such as the depletion of Ozone in the atmosphere, is to ask a friend to hear you out. It must be someone that doesn’t know about the topic in detail. Proceed to explain how the depletion of Ozone works, what caused it and the significance of it for our society/environment. If by the end of your explanation they understand it and you were able to talk about it confidently and concisely, congratulations! You have understood and memorised the concept!
After a study session, you can draw a mind map without notes. Write the topic, then draw arrows coming out of it, start with definitions and key words. The second arrow should describe key aspects. The third one the chemistry behind it, etc. This will help you visualise how much you know about the topic and which areas you need to reinforce!
- Base your notes around the syllabus’ dot-points:
HSC Science subjects require students to know the respective syllabuses inside out. This is crucial, because all questions are derived from them! Chemistry is no exception. This means that if you centre your notes on the syllabus and cover every single point, no question can take you by surprise!
I personally organised my notes following the dot-points, writing the corresponding information below them.
- Colourful, handwritten and organised notes rock!
Despite them taking longer, it has been scientifically proven than handwriting your notes can help you memorise them faster! Adding different colours for topics, key points, formulae and descriptions can go a long way, since it’s easier for your brain to locate and recall important information when you’re re-reading your notes! Add diagrams, drawings, anything that helps you to understand!
- Practice, practice, practice!
Once you’ve finished your notes, understood the topics and memorised important formulae, it’s time to practice! Get your hands on as many past papers and practice questions as you can. Ask your teacher and your tutor to give you questions. There’s no such thing as too much practice! The more you practice, the easier it becomes for you to answer questions. Practice makes perfect, remember? Keep in mind that questions derive from the syllabus, therefore most questions are similar! So, there’s a chance you’ll get questions that you’ve answered before, making the exam less stressful!
If you loved this article, you will LOVE all of our other articles, such as: How to balance the HSC and Life!,The Best Way to Reduce Stress in Year 12: It’s Not What You Think and Study Tips for HSC English This Year!
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