How to get an A* in A-Level Chemistry



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1. Use your A-level Chemistry specification

You can find your specification by Googling your exam board plus A-level chemistry specification. It’s a list containing all the topics you need to know for A-level chemistry. This is very helpful because if it’s not on the specification it means you don’t need to know it. If it is on the specification you do need to know it so, make sure you don’t avoid it during your revision.

You can also use your A-level Chemistry specification as a checklist. As you cover a topic you can tick it off the specification. This allows you to keep track of the topics you have covered. The specification also contains definitions that you need to learn and formulas that you need to know. Memorise these definitions as they can come up in questions and are easy marks to gain to help get your A*.

2. Don’t rewrite the A-level Chemistry textbook

If you prefer writing A-level Chemistry notes ensure that you aren’t just copying the textbook. Students often write nice, colour coded notes and feel as if they’re learning. However, this isn’t a method of active recall so it isn’t an effective form of revision. It can often end up being a waste of time. When writing notes, try to use your own words and condense the textbook.

Everyone has their own revision technique. You might prefer reading the textbook, making notes or using flash cards. Try to use a method that involves active recall. For example, this could be reading a page of a textbook, closing the book and writing out what you remember. This is a better technique than just reading the textbook because you’re forcing your brain to actively remember what you’ve read. The more you remember, the more marks you can gain to achieve an A*.

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    3. Identify your weaknesses

    As you go through A-level Chemistry, you will come across topics that you find more difficult. Don’t let this put you off. Once you identify your weakness, try to use different methods to tackle it. You can go to your teacher to ask for help or ask one of your friends. You can also look at videos on YouTube.

    Do not avoid your weaknesses as if it’s on the specification it could come up in the exam. To get an A* you want to be getting as many marks as possible, so you need to be comfortable with all topics. Leaving your weaknesses to the last minute or have you panicking. Whilst you have time tackle them as they come up so once it comes to exams you feel confident.

    4. Don’t neglect your maths or practical skills

    There’s a whole section of the A-level Chemistry specification dedicated to maths and practical skills. Ensure you are comfortable using the formulas listed in the specification and that you know the key ones from memory. This will save you time during the exam. You don’t need to be studying A-level Maths to handle the maths in A-level Chemistry, so don’t feel worried if you aren’t. Once you become comfortable with the maths, they often become quite repetitive and easy to do. It just takes practice.

    There are often whole exam questions dedicated to the practicals that you have done in class. Whilst you’re doing your experiments in lesson pay attention to specific details. You want to take note of how you set up the equipment, what chemicals you use and in which order. You also want to be comfortable with drawing and interpreting diagrams based off your experiments and explaining what you would do if something went wrong. It can be helpful to keep your notes from your practicals in a separate folder to refer to as you go throughout the year. If there is a specific step of an experiment you don’t understand, ask your question as soon as you can as it could come up in exam.

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    5. Practise, practise, practise

    Practising A-level Chemistry exam papers will help you improve your exam technique which can be the key difference between and A or an A*. You want to familiarise yourself with the topics that often come up to ensure that you are comfortable with them. Be strict when you’re marking your answers and really try to understand where you went wrong.

    Past papers also help you to identify your weaknesses so you have time to tackle them ahead of your exams. Practise under timed conditions so you get an idea of how much time you need to spend on each question. The rule of thumb tends to be a mark a minute, so if a question is worth 6 marks you should spend 6 minutes.

    6. Use the A-level Chemistry examiners’ report

    The examiner report is produced by the examiners for each exam every year. It’s a document explaining what the examiners were looking for and where students went wrong during the exam. There are often explanations beside each question so it can be more helpful than the mark scheme, which just gives you the answer. You can use this to see what common mistakes are often made and how you can avoid them.

    In organic chemistry there are specific ways which you need to draw structures and the examiners report goes into detail on this as it’s an area students often struggle. Pay attention to what they’re looking for to avoid losing marks over small details.

    7. Start early

    You want to start as early as you can when it comes to revision for A-level chemistry. Ensure you allocate time to cover all the topics in the specification with a timetable. Make sure you start early enough that you have time to utilise practice papers. Try to stay organised throughout the year with your revision materials so when it comes closer to exams you have everything ready to start your revision.


    →What does it take to get an A* in A-Level Chemistry?

    To get an A* in A-Level Chemistry, you need to have a thorough understanding of the subject matter, including the concepts, theories, and practical applications. You also need to be able to apply this knowledge to a wide range of problems and questions, both in the classroom and in exams.

    →What are some tips for studying A-Level Chemistry?

    To study A-Level Chemistry effectively, it’s important to start early, review your notes regularly, and practice as many past papers and questions as possible. You should also try to understand the underlying concepts and theories, rather than simply memorizing facts and formulas.

    →How important is practical work in A-Level Chemistry?

    Practical work is an essential component of A-Level Chemistry, as it allows you to apply your theoretical knowledge to real-world situations. You should try to approach practical work with a scientific mindset, being careful to follow procedures and record your observations accurately.

    →What resources are available for studying A-Level Chemistry?

    There are a variety of resources available for studying A-Level Chemistry, including textbooks, online tutorials, and revision guides. Your school or college may also provide additional resources and support, such as study groups or one-on-one tutoring.

    →What should I do if I’m struggling with A-Level Chemistry?

    If you’re struggling with A-Level Chemistry, you should reach out for help as soon as possible. This could mean asking your teacher or tutor for extra support, joining a study group, or seeking out additional resources online. Remember, it’s never too late to turn things around and improve your understanding of the subject.

    →Is it hard to get an A * in A Level chemistry?

    Getting an A* in A-Level Chemistry is considered to be a challenging task, as it requires a strong understanding of complex concepts and theories, as well as the ability to apply that knowledge to a wide range of problems and questions. However, with dedication, hard work, and effective study strategies, it is possible to achieve an A* in A-Level Chemistry. It is important to note that the difficulty of achieving an A* may vary from person to person depending on their individual strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles.

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