So here we are, April is with us and in the UK Spring is most definitely here. Which means one thing if you are in the second year of the IB diploma … exams. This year, the exams in chemistry start on the afternoon of Thursday 11th May (paper 1 and 2) followed by the morning of Friday 12th May for paper 3.

Which, depending on when you read this, gives you around four weeks until the examination.

So, how is your revision going? If you haven’t started yet, stop reading this blog and get your text book open.

Assuming you have started revision, how are you approaching it?

Here are my tips:

Find somewhere quiet, well lit, with plenty of ventilation. Don’t listen to music or watch TV –no matter what you think it is not effective to revise this way.

Start with the syllabus – read through the essential understanding for each section – brainstorm and make as many notes as you can on this alone.

Then, look at the syllabus content – concentrate on the left hand side of the guide, as this is the material that we have been told you will be assessed on.

Get ready to write – this, to me is the key for making things stick. Don’t use a computer. Get your pen out and start making some notes on everything that you have just read. Keep going until you can’t remember any more.

By Item is held by John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland., Public Domain,

Then, check. Check what you have written down with what the syllabus says, what your notes say ad what the textbook says.

Write down (again) the things you forgot about – the things you originally didn’t make a note of.

Finally, try some questions – proper IB questions. Lots of exposure to past paper questions will help you get a feel for what to expect. It gets you thinking in the same mindset as the examiner.

The more you practice paper 1, the easier the questions become and with paper 2, the more you practice the more you are able to understand which topic you are being examined on.

Finally, don’t forget to check the answers on the mark scheme – don’t be generous, be strict on yourself!

It should be stressed that revision is a personal thing – what works for one person does not necessarily work for another. By now, as you are reaching the peak of your school career, I would hope you know what works and what doesn’t. Which ultimately means that the above list is also a guide – if you don’t like one of the techniques listed – you don’t have to follow it!

Finally, I do wish you all the very best of luck not just with chemistry but all of your examinations.