Advice for year 12 A-level Chemistry students following the school closures in March 2020.
The reality of the schools closing has come as a bit of a shock to all of us, even though it became increasingly obvious that it was inevitable.
Based on the year 12 students I’ve spoken to in the last few days, it seems that a lot of you are struggling.
Some of you have been set work to complete, which may or may not be going well. Some of you don’t really know what you’re supposed to do. Some of you are realising for the first time that you don’t really know how to study.
Whatever situation you’re in, rest assured that everything will feel easier and a bit more normal sooner than you think.
In the meantime, you need to find a way of making the most of this time, complete the year 12 work and get yourself in a strong position for year 13. You also need to find ways to keep motivated – which I know is really not easy at the moment. I have lots of free resources to help you do this. Here’s what I think will be particularly useful for year 12 A-level Chemistry students right now.
If you don’t really know how to study
I have a huge collection of posts that will help you learn how to study for A-level Chemistry (and Biology) in an exam-focused way. These posts are aimed at students who are studying at school, but I always emphasise how important it is to take responsibility for your own studies, so you’ll find that almost all of the 30 tips in these posts is relevant to studying at home.
Start with this post and follow the links from there.
If you’re worried about the managing your studies at home
In this post I have 5 tips to make studying at home easier. It also includes a link to a free whiteboard tool that you can use to meet up with your friends online and do past paper questions etc. together. I think this is a particularly good idea at the moment so I really recommend you try it.
If you’re not sure what to study
Hopefully, you’ve been given a clear set of tasks to complete each day so you’ll be able to follow that. If not, easiest way to decide what to do is get your specification out, see what you’ve not yet covered, and work through those topics. Make your notes from the exam board endorsed text book and do past paper questions as you go along.
If you need more guidance on what to make notes on
I have some free self-study workbooks for AQA A-level Chemistry that will tell you what to make notes on so that you get a proper understanding of the topics. The only one I have available to download at the moment is Introduction to Organic Chemistry, but I have others to publish shortly. If you think these workbooks will be helpful for you, you can contact me to let me know which topic you need and I’ll make it available asap.
Catch up on the topics you missed
If you look back through your text book, you’ll inevitably find some topics that you didn’t even know where in there, or you really didn’t get the first time around.
Avogadro’s number and mass spectrometry calculations using algebra are a good place to start with this. I have free tutorials on both of these for you (Avogadro’s number tutorial here, mass spectrometry algebra video tutorial here). My atomic structure workbook (available here) will also help you fill in the gaps.
Revise the basics ready for year 12
At the moment, it might feel like you’re disadvantaged because you’re missing a significant part of the year 12 teaching. And it’s perfectly valid to feel this way. But we are where we are, so try and think about it like this instead: you have a lot of free time, so you can use it get yourself as prepared as possible for year 13. Here’s a list of topics that you need to be particularly strong on in year 13, so start with these.
Practice your exam technique with online MCQ quizzes
Now is the perfect time to work on your exam technique – believe me the earlier you start the better. I have some very challenging A-level Chemistry multiple choice question quizzes for you to try. These are based on the AQA A-level Chemistry specification, but they’ll be useful whichever exam board you’re studying.
These multiple choice questions will give you the opportunity to develop our problem-solving skills, which is perhaps the most important skill you need for A-level Chemistry.