At the moment many of you are unexpectedly studying at home. If that applies to you, I have something that will help: A-level Chemistry workbooks for self-study.

Organic analysis workbook inside view

Who these workbooks are for

These workbooks are for the AQA AS and A-level specification and they will solve the problem of ‘I know I need to make notes but I don’t really know what I need to make notes on and now I’ve copied the text book out and I still can’t answer the exam questions.’

How to use these workbooks

The workbooks are designed for you to complete as you work through your text books. They’ll tell you what you need to make notes on and teach you some of the skills you need to answer exam questions that relate to the topic covered in the workbook.

You’ll also be instructed to make notes on things that you won’t find in the text book. This is either to get you to practice applying your knowledge, or to make sure you have notes on things that may come up on the exam but aren’t in the text book.

Push your knowledge beyond the basics

I’ve designed these workbooks so that you won’t be able to just passively make notes without having a clue what you’ve written. This means that you might find them challenging to complete, but they’ll push you beyond the basics, which is what you need if you want a decent grade.

You can’t hire someone to do your pushups for you

Jim Rohn

☝️ This quote explains why I think you need a workbook rather than a completed set of notes. While it can help to look at notes made by another student to make sure you’re on the right lines, I think you need to make your own notes to really learn the content.

Apply your knowledge as you acquire it

I often find that students learn the content without really understanding what any of it means. This will cause you huge problems at A-level because the questions require you to use your knowledge, rather than just parrot the content back at the examiner. You won’t be able to do this if you don’t understand it. Making your own notes won’t avoid this problem completely, but it will at least force you to engage with the material, and think about what’s important (as long as you don’t just copy the book out).

A-level Chemistry workbooks available now

Atomic structure

Includes a tutorial on how to calculate the abundance of isotopes using algebra and guides you to make notes on the more awkward bits of atomic structure that you may have overlooked e.g. the abundance of halogen molecules and time of flight calculations. Get your copy.

Introduction to organic chemistry

A walk through of the foundations of organic chemistry, including nomenclature, isomerism and formulae. This workbook includes lots of practice examples and will help you get a solid understanding of the basics, so that you can cope with the more complex organic chemistry. Get your copy.

Properties of period 3 elements and their oxides

Let’s be honest, this is such a boring topic. You have a lot of reactions to learn, and this workbook will guide you to make notes on those, but this topic is a bit more synoptic than you think. It links in with topics such as bonding and pH, as well as the periodicity topic you studied in year 1, so this workbook will also push you to make the kind of synoptic links that will help you answer exam questions. I’ve also included a guide to writing ionic equations, which can get a little overlooked in the AQA specification. Get your copy.

Alcohols

By the time you get to the alcohols topic, organic chemistry can start to be a bit confusing. This workbook will break it down for you, help you make sense of what’s going on with the reactions, and help you see where the alcohols overlap with the other homologous series, which becomes even more important in year 2. Get your copy.

Thermodynamics

This topic is full of calculations, but a common mistake is to focus too much on the calculations, and not enough on the theory that goes with it. This workbook will help you avoid that trap, but will also give you the opportunity to practice the calculations. I’ve included the more random bits of the specification, such as enthalpy of solution calculations and Gibbs free energy graphs, so you’ll be really well prepared for the exams. Get your copy.

Organic Analysis (year 1)

This topic can be a bit overwhelming. For the most part, it’s about applying your knowledge to the questions, but it can be difficult to acquire the knowledge you need. So it’s easy to get stuck in a catch 22 situation where you don’t really know what to learn, and you can’t learn by doing the questions because you haven’t a clue what’s going on. This workbook will help you get through the confusion and make sure you cover both the basics and the more complex aspects of organic analysis. Get your copy.