Wondering how to best prepare for the IB chemistry course? Here are the top five tips to help you smoothly navigate your way through the course and complete it with flying colours!
#1 Before you begin the course
It is important to choose the IB Chemistry course at a level that is appropriate for you as this will carry you through the preparation process smoothly. Students are usually able to complete the SL Chemistry course successfully even without any previous knowledge of Chemistry. However, considering the breadth and depth of the HL Chemistry course, some background in IGCSE Chemistry or its equivalent is necessary to be well prepared for the HL Chemistry course. Speak to your teachers/seniors and decide between SL and HL based on your interest, calibre and background.
Related: IB Chemistry Content Overview
#2 Study consistently and try to stay ahead in class
Most IB Chemistry topics build on the previously covered topics, and if you do not understand the foundational topics, you will not be able to get your head around many topics that follow. Don’t let topics that you don’t understand accumulate over time. Spend at least a couple of hours every week to learn topics as they are covered, and do not wait till the night before a test to catch up. Since the teaching at most schools is pretty fast-paced, it is also good to stay a topic or two ahead in class by learning them beforehand. If you’d like, ask your tutor at Prep Zone to cover topics with you ahead of time.
#3 Build a strong foundation
Ensure that you have a solid understanding of all the concepts, and make sure that you are familiar with the different contexts in which they can be applied so that you can identify which concept you need to recall to answer a given question. Also, many questions on the IB Chemistry exam test in-depth understanding of the underlying concepts, and superficial surface learning will not be beneficial as the devil is indeed in the details. Use the textbook and other resources shared by your teacher to learn the concepts thoroughly.
#4 Remember all the definitions, formulas and reactions
There are quite a few definitions in each chapter, and it is important to remember all the keywords that are included in them. Although the data booklet has all the formulas, you are not allowed to use it for Paper 1, so you need to remember the important formulas to solve certain problems in Paper 1. Also, you need to have all the chemical reactions at your fingertips to answer the questions in a fast and efficient manner.
#5 Practice past paper questions and review
Once you have a firm grasp of the concepts in a topic, practice questions related to that topic from the textbook and past IB Chemistry papers. It is important to practice questions from at least the last 5 exam papers to get exposed to the different kinds of questions that can be tested from that topic. Review each paper before moving on to the next one, and compare your answers with the mark scheme. Take note of points that are missing in your answers, and be sure to include them when you answer a similar question in the future.
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