Before you know it, the day of your General Certificate of Education (GCE) Chemistry exam arrives, and you feel a little anxious or nervous. You’ve worked hard and put in much effort; now it’s time to show off your knowledge and skills. With the right approach, you can maximize your performance and feel confident as you enter the exam hall. To help you excel in your GCE Chemistry exam, here are some essential last-minute tips that you should keep in mind to boost your confidence.
1. Review Key Concepts
To be fully prepared for an exam, it is essential to dedicate some time to review the key concepts, equations, and critical reactions. Identify the topics that you find challenging and prioritise them accordingly.
To boost your confidence and feel more in control, focus on using your pre-prepared flashcards, notes, or any concise revision guide the night before the exam or in the final moments leading up to it.
By doing this, you can give yourself the best possible chance of performing well on the exam.
2. Stay Calm and Get Adequate Rest
Managing stress levels is essential to succeed in any task, especially during exams. To control your anxiety, take deep breaths, stay calm, and avoid any last-minute cramming.
Make sure to get a good night’s sleep before the exam to ensure your mind is alert and ready to tackle any challenges that come your way. Remember, with a clear and confident mindset, success is inevitable.
3. Check Your Supplies and Arrive Early
The night before, ensure you have all the necessary writing supplies, e.g. pens, pencils, a scientific calculator, and a clear ruler. Ensure you are familiar with the calculator functions that might be useful during the exam.
Additionally, plan to arrive at the exam venue early. Being early will give you extra time to relax and mentally prepare for the exam.
4. Time Management
Suppose you are a student taking Pure Chemistry. In that case, you must complete 40 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) within 45 minutes for Paper 1. On the other hand, for Combination Chemistry students, the target to aim for is 20 MCQs within the same timeframe. It is essential to allocate sufficient time to shade the correct option in the Optical Answer Sheet (OAS).
In Paper 2, be confident in your abilities by assigning specific times for each section or question. If you get stuck on a particular problem, stick to the allocated time and move on. Sometimes, Section B may be easier than Section A, and you can return to it later if you have time. With this mindset, you are well on your way to excelling in the exam!
5. Identify Question Requirements
It is essential to understand the requirements of the question and the marks allocated for each part, e.g. ‘state’, ‘explain’, ‘suggest’. If a question asks you to ‘state’, avoid attempting to ‘explain’.
It’s also crucial to check if there is a second part to the question, which they often ask in the last sentence. Many students tend to miss this part as they rush through the question.
Keep your answers concise and to the point. Writing more does not guarantee more marks. Ensure that your answers are well-organised and make sense.
6. Include State Symbols in Equations
State symbols represent the physical states of the reactants and products in a chemical reaction. It is essential to make it a habit to include state symbols when writing equations, even if the question does not explicitly ask for them.
Including state symbols helps you to understand the topics covered by the question and the reaction itself. They can refresh your memory and understanding; some answers are based on state symbols. Therefore, it is always a good practice to include them when writing out chemical equations, as they can significantly enhance your understanding of the reaction.
7. Section B Question Choices
If you’re a pure chemistry student, carefully analyze the two ‘either/or’ questions to identify the covered topics. Then, confidently select the topics you are most knowledgeable in.
For those taking combined chemistry, you need to answer only two of the three questions in Section B. Similarly, confidently choose the topics you are most skilled in.
In either case, remember that questions related to organic chemistry tend to be straightforward.
📌 Bonus Tip for Pure Chemistry Students: Data-Based Questions
Stay calm during data-based questions, even if they cover unfamiliar content. It is common for this section to include material outside the syllabus.
The purpose of a data-based question is to evaluate your ability to analyze and accurately identify the evidence.
Quote and copy data, values, or evidence directly from the passage when the question requires you to “use information from the table.” Doing this will help you to provide the correct answers and perform well in your assessments.
Last-minute preparation for your GCE chemistry exams should primarily involve refreshing your memory and boosting your self-assurance. Trust in the hard work and intense practice you’ve put in so far.
By approaching the exams calmly and focused, you can effectively tackle them and achieve the outstanding results you deserve. You’ve worked hard for this moment and are ready to shine.
Best of luck!!
– Teacher Florence
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