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Scoring 1A in SPM Chemistry

A reader, Lix asked how to score in SPM Chemistry at Malaysia Students Forum (powered by Google Groups) so I write this post with the hope that Lix and other readers will benefit from it. I assume her to be a form 5 student this year since she mentioned the word ‘Kimia’ in her post. For your information, form five year 2006 is the last batch of secondary school students studying Science and Mathematics subjects in Malay.

Let me start this post with my own experience in SPM Chemistry from grade 4C to 1A. Last year, I scored 4C in Chemistry in my mid year examination. I didn’t even know how to write a correct chemical equation. I started worrying that I might get bad result in SPM Chemistry. From that moment, I studied very hard and finally scored 1A in SPM Chemistry. You should start revising each and every chapter in the syllabus now. How? Follow these tips:

    * Master basic but important concepts
    * Memorize important facts and processes
    * Practise past-year SPM papers
    * Practise all trial papers


Master basic but important concepts – You must at least know how to write correct chemical equation, do simple calculation and understand basic chemical concept likes Mole Concept. Note that there are only a few types of calculations in Chemistry compared to Physics so please master all the calculations. Try to learn them yourselves reading the reference books first. If you really couldn’t understand them, you should seek help from your class or tuition teacher.

Memorize important facts and processes – Memorize the colours of chemical substances, understand the salt preparation process… It works effectively although some might argue that memorizing facts is the wrong way of learning. I personally agree that you can surely get a 1A in SPM Chemistry if you could memorize all the facts. However, I strongly recommend you to understand each concept and fact before you start memorizing them. Learning Chemistry becomes more exciting and enjoyable using this method.

Practise past-year SPM papers – Past-year SPM questions will repeat from time to time because of the limited scope covered in SPM Chemistry syllabus. This is no secret that most SPM candidates realize it. Practice makes perfect. Try every question and learn from your mistakes. For essay questions, get the marking schema from your teachers so that you can see how the marks are allocated and which points or keywords deserve full mark, etc. Learning from the essay marking schemas is a highly effective method!

Practise all trial papers – After SPM trial examinations, try to get other states’ SPM trial papers and practise them. Try Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) SPM trial papers too! You can either exchange SPM trial papers with your friends from other states or get them online through certain websites. I was lucky because my Chemistry teacher collected other states’ SPM trial papers for us last year. Sometimes, one or more exact or similarquestions will come out in the actual SPM Chemistry paper. SPM question leaks do happen every year.

In conclusion, you have to study and understand every chapter carefully. Believe me, you won get 1A if you have read only a few topics and focus on only certainchemical concepts. Like it or not, read-understand-memorize all topics is the only way to guarantee a 1A in SPM Chemistry.

Update: There is a very useful message posted by a reader at Malaysia Students Forum, sharing his/her personal experience on the topic 'How to Score Well in SPM Chemistry’. It is certainly worth a good read!

BooNBoX wrote,

    You know what, there's an old legend in secondary school. Normally you hear this story when you are about to enter Form 4.

    "Bio, Physics, Chemistry... the difference between these three pure science subjects is that, all three require different brain usage in a different percentage... In Biology, where you need 75% of MEMORIZING skill and 25% UNDERSTANDING of your text. Mean while for Physics, it's the other way round where you need only 25% MEMORIZING skill (my friend derives the formulae other than memorizes it!!) and 75% understanding. Chemistry is some way in the middle and should be the easy for all ... ... you need half memory and half understanding, i.e. you are not only memorize the formulae and concept, you need to apply them as well ..."

    To be honest, for the first monthly test in my chemistry, i was about to fail ... ... i did even know how to get the numbers of atoms in a mole of oxygen gas ... ... becoz I couldn't see the concept and i did understand it... i could not imagine the concept... so.. the most important thing is .. YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT THE CONCEPT...

    then... you learn the basic, how to balance an equation... this is the most basic AND useful skill in chemistry... even in STPM, sometimes you really scratching your head til bleeding but still couldn't figure out the meaning and the question... all you need to do is to balance theequation and you will get the concept for that particular situation/condition... then you are half way to the answer...

    the question is .. HOW TO LEARN TO BALANCE THE EQUATION ?? well... ... this is different for every individual... it's more or less like Maths... ... someone good in Maths (and understand what is Maths) could normally do better in balancing theequation... ... just take it as a simple Maths equation and maybe you will get a clearer picture ... ... break the molecules into simple element... ... ... take it simple and think simple .. then it will be...

    HOW TO SCORE OK (WELL MAYBE) IN CHEMISTRY ... the most important key is ... ... go through every chapter and learn the basic concept... then... understand its concept but doing some practice questions ... ... doingquestions will let you know how to apply this concept ... ...

    e.g. : you study about thermochemistry... you know it's about heat produced/asorbed in a chemical reaction... ... but you won't be able to do the questions if you never done it before ... ... becoz you don't know how to apply the concept !

    With the concepts in your mind... you should be able to do most questions ... but ... what if you want to do ALL QUESTIONS ??

    HOW TO SCORE WELL IN CHEMISTRY then comes in your memorizing skill ... ... you need to memorize examples... ... you need to memorize the colours of elements... ... formulae... ...

    you probably know about daniel cell... how to draw the cell and know which way the current going around the circuit... ... but if the question ask you to give an example ??? what if the questions asking you to build an experiment to know what element contain in an unknown substances ??

    so to score very well, you will need this.

    that's all i wanted to tell you all based on my personal experience. Some might feel not comfortable with my way, I understand that becoz i believe every individual got its own way to excel. Hopefully you can benefits the best from my opinion other than following it blindly.

http://www.malaysia-students.com/2006/06/scoring-1a-in-spm-chemistry.html
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