Here are 10 A-level Chemistry study tips to help you learn how to approach problems in Chemistry, show you easy ways to do the hard stuff and help you avoid common mistakes. If you missed the first 10 A-level Chemistry study tips they’re right here.
When you’re working out the product of an unfamiliar organic reaction, make sure it has a functional group that you’ve learned about. If you have to invent a functional group, it won’t be the correct answer.
When you see the unit M, it represents molarity, i.e. mol dm-3, not moles. So 0.5 M is the same as 0.5 mol dm-3. The unit for moles is mol.
When you’re calculating the rate constant, k, using the Arrhenius equation, the units of k = the units of A. So, unlike when you calculate k using the rate equation, you won’t need to work out the units. You just need to remember this tip and check the units of A. This works the other way around too – if you know the units of k that will give you the units of A.
Revise the equation for a straight line graph (y=mx+c) and make sure you look out for where it fits with the A-level Chemistry content. The Arrhenius equation and Gibbs free energy are 2 of the topics where it’s likely to come up. And remember that y and x are variables, and m and c are constants.
When naming organic compounds, remember to put the prefixes in alphabetical order, not numerical order. E.g. 3-chloro-2-methyl-pentane, not 2-methyl-3-chloropentane.
When naming alkenes, remember to check whether the compound shows E/Z isomerism. If it does, you need to include the E or Z prefix in it’s name. his nearly always gets forgotten. And to be honest, you don’t always need to do it for the mark. But if it is required and you forget, it’s an easy mark gone. So get in the habit of including the E or Z prefix whenever it’s relevant.
If you’re naming an organic compound that could have it’s functional group in more than one position (in theory) remember to include the number of the carbon that the functional group is on. E.g. is it propan-1-ol or propan-2-ol?
To convert density to molarity (see tip 12) you need to divide by the molar mass. To convert molarity to density, you need to multiply by the molar mass. Density calculations seem to come up quite a bit for A-level Chemistry and this can be a bit of a time saver. If you forget how to calculate density you can always calculate molarity first and then convert from there.
When you’re answering practical questions, make sure you mention the specific apparatus you’d use. For example, if you’re making 250 cm3of a standard solution, you need to say you’d use a 250 cm3 volumetric flask.
If you do a calculation and you get a recurring number as the answer, remember to round it as you would any other number. E.g. 3.3 recurring rounds to 3.33 but 6.6 recurring rounds to 6.67 (both to 3 s.f.)
A-level Chemistry study tips 21-30
Here are tips 21-30. Most of the tips focus on organic chemistry, so if that’s your weak spot, this is the post for you.