If you are an IB2 student who sits their exams in the May exam session, as the month of March, it comes to an end your thoughts are probably on revision. If your teachers have yet to finish the course, they will probably be almost there. If they haven’t yet finished, don’t let this from stopping you from carrying out some revision!

If you didn’t know it, the IB Chemistry exam this year is on Wednesday 22nd May (Papers 1 and 2) in the afternoon and Thursday 23rd May (Paper 3) in the morning – full examination timetable can be found here:


Chemistry is the last of the sciences this year, so if you are studying more than one science ensure you put time aside for your chemistry.

When it comes to revision, how do you do it?

Hopefully, by now you will have experienced some formal type of exams already and learnt from the experience. Are you a note taker? Do you read through your notes and text book, writing down everything? If you do, there is nothing wrong with this but try to use colour, highlighters and post it notes to help you out. Keep things neat so you can re-read them.

Try not to stick to one technique though; mix it up. Try the questions in your textbook and once you have answered these, try some past paper questions. If you can get your hands on the ‘older’ exams, these are good as the questions were written to reflect the individual topics, not like today’s more modern questions which will test you on a number of different aspects of the course. If you are using the ‘old’ papers though, a word of warning – the syllabus has now changed so you may find questions on papers of the course you are no longer required to know about (e.g. buffers in acids and bases – although this is now in the biochemistry option). You will also find that some parts of the course are absent from the older papers, e.g. formal charge. Even with these flaws, the older papers are good to get your knowledge base topped up before trying the newer papers.

Source: Carl Spitzweg, via Wikimedia Commons

Once you have tried papers, you need to check your answers – how do you do this? The obvious answer is to use a mark scheme but only look at the mark scheme once you have finished – don’t go taking any sneaky peaks.

The other thing you can possibly do is to ask a friend to mark it (and you mark theirs). It is good for a number of reasons, for example, letting you see how they write the same answer differently.

How do you carry out your revision? Do you have any techniques or strategies that work well for you? If so, I would love to hear about them so please feel free to post them below.