When it comes to making notes, A-Level chemistry students often have 2 problems:
- Not knowing what they actually need to make
- Not making notes on something because they don’t realise it’s important, or because they haven’t been taught it at school.
To solve these problems for the thermodynamics topic at least, here’s a free 20-page workbook.
This workbook walks you through the topic and tells you what to make notes on, including things that come up on the exam but you might not realise you need to know (e.g. graphs of the relationship between Gibbs free energy and temperature.
How to use the workbook
This workbook is intended to be used alongside the Oxford AQA Chemistry textbook. Work through chapter 17 of this book and fill in the workbook as you go to give you a detailed and exam-focused set of notes. The workbook does instruct you to make notes on some points that aren’t covered in the text book. When you come across something you can’t see in the text book, you may need to find another resource (e.g. Chemguide). Or, ask a teacher at school. Don’t leave these sections out though. One of the purposes of this workbook is to make sure you learn everything you need to know. So if you see something in there that you don’t know, you need to go off and look it up.
Once you’ve made your notes, you need to put your knowledge into practice by doing lots of past paper questions. As you do the past paper questions, you should do the following:
- Use the mark schemes to help you understand what the examiner is looking for. Make notes on how to structure your answers and what to include in your explanations.
- Check that your definitions match what the mark scheme says and if not make sure you amend your notes.
- Make a note of any extra examples or details you see in the questions that you hadn’t picked up on before.
- Write down the methods for any calculations you come across that you haven’t seen before
I’ve included some pages at the end of the workbook to give you space to write down whatever you need to.
Why I’m not giving you a pack of completed notes
Most students like the idea of having a pack of notes already written for them that they can just go away and learn, rather than having to make the notes themselves. Unfortunately, that won’t help you learn the content. I get why it’s appealing – apart from the fact that it’s obviously quicker, you don’t have the stress of making sure you’ve covered everything. The problem is though, it’s the process of actually making the notes that helps you learn the content. Reading through someone else’s notes just doesn’t give you the depth of learning that you need. By using this workbook though, you’ll get the best of both worlds. You’ll get the knowledge of the material that comes with making your own notes and by following the prompts you’ll be confident that you’re making notes on the right things.